Law & Order In A World of Magic: Christos N. Gage talks "Paradox"

Fri, September 23rd, 2005 at 12:00am PDT

Comic Books
George A. Tramountanas, Staff Writer

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"Paradox" #1
Take TV's "Law & Order," set it in the world of Harry Potter, and the result might look something like "Paradox," a new four-issue miniseries coming this October from Arcana Studio. Considering the creator of this book is Christos N. Gage, the "Law & Order" aspect makes complete sense as Gage worked as a writer on "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit" (in addition to writing DC's recent "Deadshot" miniseries). CBR News caught up with the creator of this miniseries to find out more about the book and its cool concept.

Gage laid out the genesis of "Paradox" by saying, "I enjoy mixing genres to create something that feels new and unique, yet familiar at the same time. 'Paradox' came from a notion I had to combine fantasy and police procedurals. I wanted to create a world where hard-boiled detective noir coexists with sorcerers and golems; a world of fantasy that doesn't have the medieval, 'Lord of the Rings'-look we all know, but rather seems modern and high-tech until you look closely and realize all the tech is powered by magic."

As for the story itself, the writer went into even further detail and said, "Imagine a parallel Earth, identical to our own but for one major difference: it runs on magic instead of science. Cell phones, SUV's, flatscreen televisions-- people have them all but they operate on magical energy. Doctors, firemen, prostitutes, the LAPD-- all ply their trade using sorcery. Police detective Sean Nault must investigate a baffling murder committed by a means unknown on his world: the power of science.

"Paradox" #1, Page 1
"'Paradox' is a parallel-earth fantasy, a police procedural, a mystery, a love story, and a high-concept special effects extravaganza all rolled into one with the fate of both the world of magic and our world of science hanging in the balance.

"Sean, the main character, is a Los Angeles based homicide detective who is respected but not liked. His fellow officers think he's arrogant, aloof, and superior. This comes partly from the fact that a lifetime of seeing the worst in human nature has led Sean to keep people at arm's length; but a big part of it is that Sean, unlike most cops on his world, doesn't use magic in his police work. He prefers to rely on instincts, his keen mind, and--when necessary--a good ass-kicking. Sean can also be intense and obsessive. All these qualities make him a good cop with an impressive record of solved cases, but they've also led to the dissolution of his marriage.

"The female lead is Lenoir, a practitioner of the ridiculed field of science. The powerful 130 year old sorcerer Winston Churchill also figures prominently. I don't want to give too much away, so I'll leave it there!"

"Paradox" #1, Page 2
According to Gage, "Paradox" ended up at Arcana Studios indirectly due to his work on "Deadshot." He explained, "Steven Cummings, who drew 'Deadshot' (as well as the cover to 'Paradox' #1), is good friends with Arcana editor Egg Embry. Through them I met publisher Sean O'Reilly. I already had the idea for 'Paradox' and knew I would only want to do it on a creator-owned basis. I discussed it with Sean and he was very intrigued by it."

The artist for the book is Luis Henrique Ribeiro, who was selected with Arcana's assistance. "Sean O'Reilly showed me several different artists' work and I thought Luis' was great! His art has a gritty look that fits the noir detective part of the story, but he can also render cool looking magical creatures effectively within that context, so that they seem fantastic yet still believable. This balancing act is exactly what I knew the story needed."

With Gage's past credits, his passion for tales of "cops and robbers" should be fairly obvious. However, the telling of these kinds of stories requires a detailed knowledge of police procedurals and crime scenes. For this writer, however, that's half the fun of the genre. "It's something I've always been interested in-- from the work of novelists like James Ellroy to TV shows such as 'Law & Order,' not to mention classics like 'The Maltese Falcon.' Of course, writing for 'Law & Order: SVU' was very research intensive, and when we were shooting I took the opportunity to ask questions of real NYPD cops who were at the scene. Through various methods like these, you learn the basics and how to research what you don't know. It's important to me not to make mistakes of the type you sometimes see for instance, a cop movie set in New York where they call for a SWAT team. There are no SWAT teams in New York (they're called something different). And L.A. doesn't have police precincts, it has stations. Things like that."

"Paradox" #1, Page 3
CBR News also talked with Gage about writing for comics and TV, and asked about the difficulties involved with hopping between the two mediums. The writer responded and also gave us an update on his television-writing career. "I am not writing 'Law & Order: SVU' this season. Instead, I am currently writing an episode of the CBS TV show 'Numbers,' which airs on Friday nights at 10pm. I don't find the transition (between writing for the two mediums) that difficult, really, but I think it's because I've gotten used to both. Sometimes when I first switch from one to the other it takes a day or so to get back into the groove, but not much longer than that."

While "Paradox" is currently scheduled as a bi-monthly miniseries, Gage said that he would be open to creating further adventures if the book does well. In the meantime, comic readers have plenty more to look forward to from Gage. "I have a story in November's 'Spider-Man Unlimited' #12 that is drawn by 'Fantastic Four' artist Mike McKone, which I'm really excited about. It features the return of that classic 1970's cheesy villain, the Big Wheel!

"Paradox" #1, Page 4
"In 2006, my three-part Batman story will appear in 'Legends of the Dark Knight' #204-206. It's Batman in 'World's Greatest Detective' mode. A true crime writer announces he's discovered who committed Gotham's decades-old, never-solved Robinson Park Ripper murders: someone with the skills of a surgeon…none other than the late Thomas Wayne, Batman's father. Batman must reopen a very cold case to clear his father's name, a task complicated by a mysterious figure killing anyone with information on the murders…

"Then there are other things in the talking stages that I can't reveal just yet."

Spoken like a true writer of mysteries-- always leaving readers in suspense.

 
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