By Owen Quinn author of the Time Warriors and Zombie Blues
We know you’re a man of many talents, from acting, to musician to martial artist. What exactly is Miles Away?
– Miles Away is hip, edgy and fun new action adventure science fiction franchise I’m launching (beginning with an exciting graphic novel series) about a teen aged boy with a clouded past who discovers that he has superhuman abilities; he gets recruited by a shadowy government organization to battle evil; and he allies with alien refugees and falls into an interstellar war as he explores his family’s dark past. I plan for the epic scope of the franchise to ultimately span across three mass media outlets: graphic novels, animation and live-action feature films.
Has writing always been a passion for you?
No, I never had a passion for writing, my true passion is acting. But I learned that if I wanted to make my dream of Miles Away a reality, I couldn’t wait for others to make it happen for me. I learned how to write Hollywood quality feature films and then partnered with a talented writer named Brandon Easton (WB’s new Thundercats series), who is also a graphic novelist himself. I wouldn’t say I now have a passion for writing but I have definitely developed a new respect for writers and even though it’s a challenging process, I’m always motivated to see what I can create.
What comic books did you read growing up?
– I used to read a lot of different comics: Archie and Jughead, Richie Rich, Scoobie Doo; but the comics I loved the most were more action driven like The Uncanny X-Men, Power Man and Iron Fist, Fantastic Four, The Amazing Spiderman: all the ones that are movies now (or planned for movies in the future).
With the recession and television companies pulling in their purse strings was the graphic novel a suitable means for you in that there is literally no budget and anything can happen?
No, because I funded the Miles Away graphic novel out of my own pocket and it cost me a considerable amount to bring my vision to life. Now I do own everything since I paid for it all, but it was not free. You can only create a comic or graphic novel for nothing if you: 1) Have a solid idea, 2) Know how to write a quality graphic novel, 3) Do all the pencils and inks yourself, 4) Do all your own coloring and 5) Do all your own lettering. And you have to do them all at a professional level. I had a solid idea that I believed in but had to hire everyone else.
How did you go about getting it realized on paper?
It was a LONG process. It took twelve years. I actually created a “History” section in the back of the Miles Away graphic novel where I detailed the journey of bringing my vision to fruition. I don’t want to sound redundant, so I’d rather not go into the full story here (hopefully all the readers will buy their own copy and learn the full story). I can tell you that the most important component in the process was my collaboration with Brandon Easton. It was a blessing to meet and work with Brandon because he was able to help me effectively turn my source material into a compelling graphic novel that will be the foundation of my Miles Away franchise. I truly appreciate Phillip Boute, Jr. (Concept Artist), Jeff Stokely (Pencils/Inks), Dawnsen Chen (Colors), Jonathan Mullins (Pencils/Inks), Rashad Doucet (Colors), AdamPruett (Letters), Brian Denham (Cover Art and Logo) and everyone else who helped make the Miles Away graphic novel a reality.
Is your lead character an attempt to break the barriers so to speak?
I get asked that a lot. I assume you’re referring to the fact that my lead character (Maxwell Miles) is Black. Although there has been outcry for years from fans of the superhero action adventure genre to add more Black superheros to the ranks, and there is currently a growing trend of trying to answer the call (i.e. Rocket to the Young Justice team and Icon to Justice League, among others), I never created Miles Away so I could create a “Black superhero.” My dream was to create a superhero who happened to be Black, but who would be relatable to the masses. I have an amazing fan base with my core Star Trek fans and the most important part of Gene Roddenberry’s vision (to me) is that in his universe, color didn’t matter. And color doesn’t matter in my Miles Away universe. Both of Maxwell’s parents disappeared under mysterious circumstances and as he pieces together his past, I feel that readers will identify with him because everyone will be able to relate to Max’s desire to know where he comes from and know his own history. And they’ll have a lot of fun watching the birth of a superhero!
Where did you get your inspiration from?
I’ve always had a vivid imagination. I grew up in an abusive home and my imagination was the only way for me to escape the pain of my everyday life. I used to love to escape into the world of comics and all the different adventures they would take me on. As I got older and realized that science fiction was a wondrous way to escape, tell amazing stories and deliver powerful messages I decided that one day I would create something of my own in the science fiction genre. I didn’t know what that would be until the idea for Miles Away came into my head. Once the seed was planted in my mind, I let it grow until the universe was formed.
The book is released in April 2013, what’s the response been so far?
Yes, Miles Away released April 24, 2013 and the response has been amazing! I’ve gotten excellent feedback from everyone regardless of gender, age, ethnicity or any other factors. So far the support for Miles Away has been overwhelming and people are eager to see the next book, the animated series and where the adventure goes from here!
As a writer myself, I plot the story arc and find that it changes as I go to some degree. Did you find that?
Being an actor first and knowing how the Hollywood structure works, I took the approach of planning for Miles Away to be revealed over multiple years. I have the story arc planned but I realize things will alter slightly once I’m working with my development team. With that in mind, I have laid the foundation but keep myself open to my amazing team adding wonderful story points that will enhance the experience for the project and the audience. Eric Vale and Brandon Easton are the two writers I have collaborated with so far (Eric for the pilot episode for the animated series and Brandon for the graphic novel and pilot episode), and my original story did adjust a little, but for the most part everything has stayed on the course I’ve laid out. However, they have each added excellent ideas that have made the story better.
With the reveal of the aliens and their secret organization, do you have further stories in mind in that you already have their back stories in your head?
Yes, I definitely have back stories and other story directions for all the characters I created. I actually created a “Characters” section in the back of the Miles Away graphic novel where I put all twenty of the original characters that I created who will be the main and recurring characters over the franchise’s history and each of their back stories. I thought it would be a fun way for the audience to get to know them by having their biographies in writing.
Will there be more volumes in the series?
Yes, I do plan to do more graphic novels down the road. I was only going to do this initial book and then just do the animated series, but after talking to many comic collectors, I learned that true comic/graphic novel enthusiasts like to acquire their material in sets, if at all possible. So I’m going to launch the animated series and it will pick up immediately after the first book, and then pick a point to do the next graphic novel (which will continue the story from the animation), and then do more animation, and then another graphic novel, and so on, until it’s time to do the first live-action feature film. By the time I’m done, I will have created a fun trans media roller coaster that the fans will have ridden to the franchise’s inevitable end. And yes, I do have the end in mind.
What can we expect from them?
The first year of Miles Away will establish the exodus of the RO-TWYLAN royal family to Future Earth, Maxwell learning more about his super power (Max has SUPER PHOTOGRAPHIC REFLEXES: he can mimic any physical feat he sees regardless of the complexity or danger, BUT he has to wait 5 minutes before his ability “kicks in” and he never knows when his ability will fail.), the unveiling of MADAME INIQUITY and VILAMAN, the revelation of the BUREAU OF ULTIMATE UNDERGROUND TECHNOLOGY and their forces and the strange, twisted family background of the Miles clan.
Each episode of the animated series can stand alone but will definitely reveal another aspect of Max’s world; either he learns more about his ability, or he meets another ally/villain, or the ever-present danger of an alien invasion becomes more apparent. Every episode will revolve around a moral issue (study harder, be yourself and believe in yourself, understanding different cultures and lifestyles, try to get more exercise, eat balanced meals, trust your friends, etc.) but will not be overtly stated. As we approach the end of the first season, all the clues and various “background events” will coalesce into the unmasking of the grand plan of the villains and leave the audience breathless for more information about the plan and more adventures of Max and his crew.
Where can people buy it from?
People can order a copy of the Miles Away graphic novel from BarnesandNoble.com (http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/miles-away-anthony-montgomery/1115241192?ean=9780930655037) or Amazon.com (http://www.amazon.com/Miles-Away-GN-Anthony-Montgomery/dp/0930655036/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1367265750&sr=8-1&keywords=miles+away+graphic+novel) or you can still order a signed and numbered Limited Edition copy directly fromAntarcticPress.com: http://www.antarctic-press.com/html/version_01/store.php?id=Miles+Away.
Anyone who wants more information about Miles Away, I’d love for you to follow me on Twitter: @MrAMontgomery and “Like” me on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Anthony-Montgomery/33244826628?ref=hl (my Anthony Montgomery Fan Page); I’d also love for everyone to “Like” the Miles Away Page on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/THEMILESAWAY?ref=hl. Also, I’ll always post updates on TheMilesAway.com.
Please help spread the word for me so together we can make Miles Away a global phenomenon. Thank you!! And welcome to the Miles Away universe!!!And thank you again Owen! I appreciate your help spreading the word about Miles Away.
Anthony thank you very much!
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