Writer Antonio Brice And Illustrator Caanan White Talk BRAND, A Horror Comic About The War Between Heaven And Hell
If you’re a fan of horror comics, you might be interested in Brand, which has been described as a ‘love story set on the battleground of the war between Heaven and Hell’. The forty-eight page comic is currently raising funds in Indiegogo, and writer Antonio Brice got in touch with us to discuss the project. We were also lucky enough to talk to his illustrator Caanan White about Brand, and about several of his other projects which are being adapted by major Hollywood studios.
Dread Central: Antonio, can you give us an overview of this project and how it came about?
Antonio Brice: Absolutely! Brand is a supernatural comic book about a group of warriors caught in the middle of the war between Heaven and Hell. The story centers on the Craven family, particularly my main character David Craven and his wife Dawn and their struggles to stop a group known as the Covenant from finding a powerful artifact known as the Judas crown.
Brand actually started as a movie script I was writing called Glitch. The premise was the idea of a serial killer that actually worked for God. He falls in love with a crazy red head at great personal cost and she joins him on his adventures around the world. The idea came to me after watching The Iceman Tapes documentary about the Mafia hitman Richard Kuklinski.
I took my serial killer idea and combined it with the television series Friday the 13th, which had very little to do with the movie franchise. It had the heroes hunting down these cursed objects that had been sold by their late uncle who had made a Faustian pact.
That’s Brand in a nutshell. David is a lethal supernatural hunter, and you’ll see him and Dawn on missions taking down witches, vampires, werewolves, and a crazy old man with a cursed antique doll. Anything can happen!
DC: Why do you think Brand will appeal to comic fans?
AB: Frankly I think Caanan and I are telling a different type of story. It’s not so much big action sequences although Caanan excels at those. Brand is more character driven. We released a free preview of our comic and one thing I’ve heard frequently was that people were interested in all the various characters we’ve introduced and their relationships with each other. They want to know how they are connected to this vast universe we are creating.
DC: We asked the following questions to Antionio’s illustrator, Caanan White.
Canaan, How did you come to be involved with the project?
Well that’s kind of a long story – well not real long, hehe. Basically, I was initially commissioned by Antonio to do some promo art for this “Brand” book he had. I didn’t know much about it. Was honestly looking at it as just another commission job. So one of the first things I did was a pin-up of David Craven (the main protagonist), Penance (David’s sentient mask and partner), Dawn, and Morgan (the soul reaper hound). I liked the concept – Blade meets classic fantasy, meets super heroes. So he started to get my attention, but I wasn’t sold yet. Until the next commission. I did a concept for one of the key characters named Dark Santana – he’s our Joker character – well if the Joker was a supernatural vengeful spirit full of nothing but hate, hehe. Anyway, He loved it – and I low-key REALLY enjoyed drawing him too hehe.
I was sold on doing cover work for Brand, but due to some other commitments I had I didn’t really want to do the story. So it was maybe almost a year/year and a half later – I was still in contact with Antonio and doing pin-up art for his project and he offered me an ownership stake in the IP. I was like “Wow, you’re really serious aren’t you?” and the rest is history. I was on-board for the book. And I say this because you hear so many times as a freelancer “Hey man I got this idea…” but it doesn’t come to fruition. So I was skeptical, until I saw the response the book was receiving. After that Antonio began to explain more of what “Brand” was and I can honestly say I’m glad I said “yes”. Hehe.
Canaan, can you talk about the art style?
Caanan White: Art style…hmm…we’ll that is a journey in an of itself, but the short of it, it’s a mix of realism and illustration by use of defined and pronounced shadow work and really emphasizing light source. That’s a condensed technical description of it hehe.
The journey: I’m an 80’s kid but my comic awakening definitely spawned out of the 90’s? See what I did? “Spawn”ed? 90s? Hehehe. Anyway, yeah so my style was birthed out of the early Image pedigree – Jim Lee, Marc Silvestri, Rob Liefeld, the late Michael Turner, Stephen Platt, and David Finch to name a few. Later though, in the early 2000’s, my attention as to what I looked at began to change due to feeling discontented with my art. So I essentially trashed everything (some literally, most figuratively) starting over just drawing things around me – not many comic book references, but drawing from real life. This led my attention to the likes of Alex Ross! OMG! And if you are familiar with that name, you will know why I was blown away. A prolific artist the likes of Rembrandt for the comics world, his work just comes to life with a realism you could almost literally touch! This led me to get back into various comic book artist in that same vein – Bryan Hitch, Ivan Reis, Rags Morales, Brent Anderson (Astro City), and John Cassaday.
Meshing all those various artists with 2 guys I really pull from now, Mike Perkins and Mike Deodato Jr., and you get the art for Brand, hehe. Told you it was a long story.
Can you talk about some of the possible film adaptations of your projects?
Now this aspect of what I’ve done, still kinda seems surreal. I’m definitely grateful.
•Harlem Hellfighters: Written by Max Brooks (Author of World War Z – Son of Mel Brooks) – purchased by Will Smith’s Overbook Entertainment.
•Son Of Shaolin (Top Cow/Image comics): Written by Jay Longino (script writer and co-producer of the movie “Uncle Drew”) – purchased by Dwayne ”The Rock” Johnson‘s Seven Bucks Productions and in development at Sony Pictures.
•Most recently, Essessa (Stranger Comics): Written by Sebastian Jones – short story part of the world of “Niobe” In a place called Asunda – rights to the entire universe of Asunda were purchased and that’s being adapted into an HBO series.
So yeah…crazy huh? Hehe. It’s definitely been a world of experience that in many many ways, I know I’m still just scratching the surface of. Who knows, maybe Brand will be number 4?