David Gallaher: Well, between High Moon and Winter Guard, Steve Ellis and I were working on Box 13 for Comixology, so that was a transition in a way, as we adapted to the vertical orientation of the page, as opposed to the 4:3 ratio we use for High Moon. But, Steve and I both have previous Marvel experience, so it was easy to adapt to their method of storytelling.
High Moon is on its fifth series? It’s won a Harvey award and continues to do well online. What has that road trip been like?
The trip has been an amazing one, honestly. Winning the Harvey Award last year was such a wonderful surprise and a nice way to celebrate a journey that officially started in 2007. I work with a great team of editors and creators. With Zuda shutting down it's website and transitioning everything to different platforms and networks, it is going to be fun to see what happens next!
You’re taking this kind of obscure Russian superhero team into the limelight, what will American fans be able to connect with?
I first read about these characters in 1990. For me, it was my first connection or exposure to Russia. At the time, I found the characters extremely interesting not just because of who they were but also because the world they inhabited was so very different than my own. I think there is a certain novelty to discovering worlds and countries beyond ours. I think the core cast is relatable in that they are all driven to do the right thing -- no matter the cost -- for the good of their country. Beyond that primal drive, I feel that they are as flawed and heroic as any Marvel character is. They all have their quirks, just like all of us.
My biggest memory of the Winter Guard was from the X-Men VS The Avengers mini series – (although at that time they were the Soviet Super Soldiers). The main group was portrayed as heroes who were very loyal to their mother land, but Crimson Dynamo was definitely painted in a villainous light. Was it just the end of the cold war that enables them to take on this heroic role, or have you always thought of them like that?
I liken it to baseball. Yankees and Red Sox fans hate one another, but in their respective towns both teams are celebrated, loved, and adored. The United States isn't the only place where monsters and big bads roam free -- and the Winter Guard is every bit as dedicated to protecting the world as the Avengers are. The end of the Cold War has certainly helped move the team away from a political place -- and into a more heroic role, but in some sense they have all been heroes in some form since the start.
How has it been working with Steve Ellis again? What has he brought to the table for Darkstar and the Winter Guard?
Steve has such and incredible imagination and spectacular layouts. I think we bring out the best in one another. For this project, he juggled a large cast with incredible grace! And wait till you see issue #3!
With the concept in place that these heroes are expendable and there are a pool of candidates at the ready in case one of them falls, does that make it easy to kill one off? Or is it still a difficult thing to do with these characters that you’ve revitalized?
It is easy to kill them off. I like working in a series where nobody is safe. I want to find new ways to surprise our readers. But it doesn't make it less sad.
I recently added Red Guardian to a list of being one of the top comic book patriots. What do you think makes him a candidate for being one of the most patriotic characters?
I think Red Guardian exemplifies being a hero. He is willing to put his life on the line time and time again for the good of his country and the world. Wearing the hood and carrying the shield is a big responsibility -- and I think he honors Russia's glorious patriotic tradition with flying colors!
The Agents of Atlas have made a brief appearance in the first issue of Winter Guard, can you allude to whom else from the Marvel Universe we might see in the next two issues?
In issue #2, we spotlight The Presence, we re-introduce Starlight, Vanguard, and Powersurge to the Marvel Universe! There are also a few other incredible surprises that I think readers will get a kick out of.
What do you have planned next after and the Winter Guard?
I've submitted material for the next season of High Moon -- and on Friday, August 13th -- Steve Ellis and I debut the next season of Box 13, through Comixology! It's going to be awesome!
Thanks for taking the time to answer these questions, good luck to you!