The role of the stunt man (or woman, naturally) in the movies is to make the actor look good. Really good. The stunt man does all the most dangerous things any actor wouldn't or shouldn't do, yet they get none of the glory for putting themselves in danger. Frankly, the last time the stunt man got any props was when Lee Majors brought the stunt man to life in TV's "The Fall Guy." That all changes this September when the stunt man gets his due in the pages of "Killer Stunts, Incorporated."
"Killer Stunts, Incorporated" is a new book coming from writer Alan Scott and David ("Private Beach") Hahn through Pulp Mag Press. The first issue of this four-issue black and white series will hit stands nationwide in September. The series focuses on Billy Andrews, an aspiring young stuntman bitten by a Hollywood vampire and subsequently becomes indestructible, certainly a trait that most stunt men would envy. This ability has rocketed Billy to the top of his field, but all that changes when Billy begins to crave human blood. CBR News caught up with writer Alan Scott to learn more about the series.
"The genesis of 'Killer Stunts, Inc.' is actually quite simple," Scott told CBR News. "I thought it would be cool to write a story centered on an indestructible stunt man. So, with this central concept, I began to craft an origin for such a character. When the vampire idea hit me, I knew I had many problems to solve. I don't want to give too much away here. Is my main character really a vampire - or something else? What does he have the potential to become? I explore these aspects as the first series (limited to four) progresses."
"Following his dream to be a Hollywood stuntman, Billy, an accomplished mechanic and champion motocross rider, moved to L.A. There, seduced by the big city nightlife, he found himself running with the wrong crowd - literally. However, his nocturnal activities didn't slow Billy down a bit. In fact, the young man was soon recognized as one of the best stuntmen in Tinseltown - for reasons revealed in the first issue.
"Today, Billy is more than a work-for-hire fall guy, he owns his own stunt company, Killer Stunts, Incorporated. A new star has risen in a city of legends.
"Laura Leigh, Billy's love interest, is a graduate of New York's Juilliard School of Drama and has migrated to the West Coast to conquer screen - big and small - as well as the stage. She was born into American aristocracy and is very used to getting whatever, and whomever she wants.
"After making a splash in the entertainment scene with a few notable box office debuts, Laura sets her sites on a young, up-and-coming star by the name of Billy Andrews.
"Cal (Caligula), the heavy in the story, is the leader of a roughhewn Hollywood motorcycle gang. As the saying goes, 'never judge a book by its cover,' for, Cal, a menacing juggernaut of taut muscle, is far worse than his appearance implies.
"Cal leads more than a mere motorcycle gang, he is the alpha vampire in a pack of Hollywood vampires. In a town known for its bloodsuckers, Cal is one of the top rat kings of L.A.'s underside.
"Billy Andrews is only the latest celebrity Cal has sought to add to his growing list of youthful Hollywood acolytes.
"The mysterious Rene introduces himself in a matter-of-fact way as a representative of the 'League Of Immortals.' If an individual has received this enigmatic introduction, they are ex post facto already a member of the League. As a member, inductees are bound by the laws which govern League members.
"As one the League's newest inductees, Billy Andrews learns to rely on the advice and counsel of Rene, the young man's only reliable source of information in a new realm of infinite possibilities."
We do feel it necessary at this point to note that while the idea of vampires and the likes of Hollywood actors mixing together might seem strangely real, the story is entirely fictional. Just so you know. Now that we've gotten that out of the way, we asked Scott what it is about vampires that fascinates him so much.
"I'm a monster fan from way back. It's cool that there's a lot of stuff coming out with vampires, werewolves, and other 'creatures of the night.' But, it's all so damn grim! I thought I'd add some twists to the whole vampire/horror genre. Have some fun with it. Blow some stuff up! I think I've come up with a unique way to get my own creature out of the night and get him into the movie business. I'll let the readers decide how clever and entertaining this is."
Art for "Killer Stunts, Incorporated" is handled by the Eisner and Ignatz nominated David Hahn, known for his creator owned series "Private Beach."
"I'm really very thrilled to be working with someone as talented as David my first time out of the gate," said Scott. "I met him through a friend of his, Matt Haley. I had commissioned Matt to do a sketch of a character I had created and asked if he knew an artist who might be interested in doing a comic with me. Matt mentioned Hahn and contacted his pal for me.
"At first, David and I had discussed doing a comic based on a heavily pulp-inspired hero I had created, 'Agent Zero.' After really studying David's style, I thought my 'Killer Stunts' concept would be perfect for him artistically. I was right! As soon as I saw David's character designs, I just knew we were on the same page."
Writers sometimes struggle when writing a comic to determine which audience their writing for, but with the variety of elements within "Killer Stunts, Inc.," Scott thinks the book will have broad appeal.
"The lead character has super powers of a sort. There are vampires in the first issue, a werewolf, and, um, a Great White shark in the second," said Scott. "There's stunts and action throughout the story. Did I mention that it's also a mystery with a cliffhanger ending?
"Jeff Parker, creator of the 'Interman,' had a great quote about the first issue. He said, 'Hand this to your friends who don't read comics yet.' I hope it does have crossover appeal."
There's a scene in the "Killer Stunts, Inc." where Billy visits a bar with a decidedly Polynesian theme. Native Los Angelinos should be well aware of a bar in Los Feliz called The Tiki Ti. While the similarity is uncanny, it's actually just a happy coincidence.
"After I sent David the complete first issue script, I wrote and told him to start anywhere he wanted in the book - no need to start cold, he could jump right into his favorite scene. David's first penciled and inked pages took place in my fictional tiki bar. The bar, as far as I know, isn't based on an actual place. However, a few weeks ago, a comic store owner in L.A., Gaston, owner of Meltdown Comics, said the bar reminded him of the Tiki Ti. So, this could be the place as the So. Cal. locations are meant to be as authentic as possible. Really, I wanted the bar to be styled in this fashion because I'm a Shag fan, and I was influenced by the awesome film, 'Swingers.' I love the bar hopping scenes in that flick. I wanted this important scene to take place in a distinctive and memorable locale."
"I have worked in and around the comic book industry as a graphic designer, colorist, and convention promoter for more than a decade," said Scott. "I worked with Terry Tidwell and his Miracle Studios off-and-on for a few years. Terry once published one of the top-selling independents comics of its time, 'Twilight Avenger.' He got me hooked on old serials and pulp heroes. I still read at least one 'Doc Savage,' 'Tarzan,' or 'Sherlock Holmes' story a month - often more. I love high adventure stuff.
"As a convention promoter, I helped organize and advertise a large sci-fi/comic/fantasy convention in the Midwest. I acted as a liaison to many of the show's guests from J. Michael Straczynski to Todd McFarlane. I enjoyed spending time with the creators behind the scenes and picking their brains. It was during this time, several years ago now, that I started to get the bug for writing comics. Life (having kids, owning my own business) has kept me away from this interest professionally. As a hobby, I've continually developed stories in my head and have stored them away for later.
"One of these stories I recently wrote out in pitch form and presented it to a creative entity-a group with comics-to-film expertise. The details I can't reveal at this time, but I sold the film rights to the story and am working on a graphic novel based on it."
This is Scott's first attempt at self-publishing and in fact, it's the first comic he's plotted and scripted from beginning to end. Scott outlined the journey he took with Hahn in getting his ideas on the printed page.
"The process for 'Killer Stunts' began with a story outline I sent to David Hahn. He sent it back with a few comments. I then provided a complete script to David. He made some great suggestions; I tweaked the script a bit and sent it back to him. As David's penciled and inked pages came in, I scanned them in and lettered them. A really great graphic designer named Jeff Tanis did the grayscale shading of the lettered pages in PhotoShop.
"When the book was totally finished, I sent it to a Brand Manager at Diamond Comics. They called me and said the book would be listed in the July Previews-as a 'Spotlight' and 'Certified Cool' feature. Steve Leaf and the guys at Diamond have been really supportive of the book. As readers, I hear they can't wait to read the second issue!
"The hardest part of the journey has been the book production - scanning, lettering, laying out the pages, making sure the cover, which I pieced together from several panels of the book and new images David provided, would print correctly in CMYK (4 color printing process). Blah!
"I want to write these stories, not do all the other work! But, that's the self-publishing gig. You've got to love the medium to go to all this trouble for no pay."
"Killer Stunts, Incorporated #1" is available in the July edition of Previews from Diamond (see page 350 Diamond order# JUL032422). The first issue features 22 pages of art and story as well as a pin-up by Matt Haley. The first issue will debut in Los Angeles at Meltdown Comics on Tuesday, July 15. For those attending Comic-Con International in San Diego next week, both Scott and Hahn will be in attendance.