In an exclusive interview with Villain Media, writer Interview Michael Schwartz talks about the supernatural thriller, ARMORED (Clover Press). Find out what happened when an orphan stumbles across a mystical suit of armor haunted by the ghost who wore it centuries ago.
PLOT: “Meet orphaned teen Andy, whose parents mysteriously vanished years before he was adopted at the outset of our story. When Andy starts at a new school out in the countryside, he accidentally discovers a haunted suit of armor and its ghostly keeper, Sir William. When Andy is attacked by the same mysterious creature that killed his adoptive parents’ biological son, Sir William and the suit help Andy defeat the monster — but the monster was conjured by someone, and they’ll stop at nothing to gain control of the armor.”
With the project crowdfunded live on Kickstarter, the Gnome Alone screenwriter opens up about how ARMORED came about, the difference between comic book and cinematic storytelling, and working with artist Ismael Hernandez. Join us as we dive deep into the craft of writing.
VILLAIN MEDIA: Tell me about transitioning from screenwriting and making your comic book writing debut with Armored.
Michael Schwartz: When I first started conceiving the idea about a young kid who discovers a haunted suit of armor, I contemplated writing it as a movie or TV pilot. But the more and more I thought about it, and the world I was creating, it felt perfect for the comic book medium.
The first hurdle I had to overcome was understanding not only how to format a comic book script, but also how the story should be structured. I spent quite a few months just pouring over my favorite comics and analyzing their structure. Luckily all that research seemed to pay off because people are responding really positively to ARMORED.
VM: Tell me about connecting with your protagonist Andy, who is an orphaned teenager.
MS: Fortunately, both my parents are still with me. But I have dealt with loss, and change, and transitions, as Andy does in this story.
Crafting the story helped me to recognize my own walls and armor I built up to deal with my own issues. That became my driving force for Andy.
He can’t move on, he’s hardened his exterior, and it’s holding him back. One aspect of that is his obsession with finding his parents.
VM: Tell me how you and artist Ismael Hernandez came about with the look of the mystical suit of armor, which is integral to the storyline.
MS: I always envisioned the armor to be a fantastical version of 13th century medieval armor. When Ismael began designing it, he went through a few iterations.
Some of the initial versions were more sleek than what you see in the book. Eventually we ended up with this interesting look that was reminiscent of British armor with a bit of a Spanish flair.
Ismael was living in Spain at the time, so I can’t help but think that’s probably where the Spanish influence came from. While we did discuss realistic and accurate interpretations of the armor, I really did want this book to be a fantasy.
VM: How has ARMORED changed you as a storyteller?
MS: Thanks to the help of Ismael and the rest of the team, it has given me the opportunity to see one of my stories through from creation to end.
In screenwriting, I rarely get to see the story through to production and post. It’s given me the opportunity to examine what works and what doesn’t in storytelling. It has also helped me grow as a visual storyteller because I had to think about more than just the writing.
I had to think about the visuals that show Andy’s journey. For example, I had to think about things like what’s the best image to express Andy’s emotion here? Or the humor of Sir William?
Writing this comic pushed me to become a more well-rounded storyteller and to think beyond just the words.
VM: What are you working on now?
MS: I’m always working on numerous projects. My wife is a TV showrunner and we just finished writing a graphic novel we’ve been thinking about for over 10 years.
I’m also in the middle of developing and co-writing a few feature film projects, including a horror movie and an animated comedy. Both of which I’m really excited about.
And most importantly, I’m in the midst of writing the second arc for ARMORED. Issue five of ARMORED ends on a huge cliffhanger and I can’t wait for readers to see where we take Andy and the rest of the cast of characters!
Readers can check out the Kickstarter page for ARMORED for more info.