We got a chance to sit down with one of the creators behind the graphic novel- Hawken Genesis at Wondercon and talk to him about the book.
Published by Archaia
Cover & Concept by Khan Le
Story by Dan Jevons, Miles Williams, & Khang Le
Written by Jeremy Barlow
Lettered by Deron Bennett
Interstitial Story Material by Andrew Nielson & Heather Nuhfer
Design by Scott Newman
Illustrated by Francisco Ruiz Velasco, Alex Sanchez, Kody Chamberlain, Sid Kotian, Bill Sienkiewicz, Bagus Hutomo, Michael Gaydos, Feferico Dallocchio, Nathan Fox, Christopher Moeller Colors by Grant Goleash, Derek Dow, Eddy Swan, Chad Fidler, Logan Faerber
HAWKEN: Genesis tells the story of Rion Lazlo, the ruthless corporate spy who claws his way to the top of the Prosk Enterprises corporate ladder, and his best friend, James Hawken, the brilliant scientist who designed the first mechs. The tumultuous story of their partnership changes the landscape of the world of Illal forever, and sets the stage for the mech battles now raging across the planet in the HAWKEN game.
The Outhouse: There is a lot of hype about both the game and the book happening all at once. Was this part of the plan?
Khang Le: Yeah. When we set up Hawken, we really wanted to have a trans media property where it could accomplish not just video games, but graphic novels (GN), prose novels, and even live action cinematic films. The graphic novel we are here for [at WonderCon] is HAWKEN : GENESIS, and it basically tells the story that leads up to the beginning of the game. The game is basically a multiplayer, mech versus mech combat, and it’s very hard to tell a story during that time, so the GN is a nice way for the player to sink their teeth into the lore of Hawken and get that connection.
OH: I notice a lot of science is written into HAWKEN : GENESIS storyline. How does it translate into the game?
KL: The GN sort of explains things in the game HAWKEN like how the mechs move very quickly. They are pretty big, like 20 feet tall, and as heavy as a tank. And the reason for their mobility is because of the armor which is infused with this anti-gravity liquid that can only be found on one planet. We have so many things where sci-fi mumbo-jumbo in the graphic novel really does help the player understand the game more.
OH: Did you personally have to do some kind of research into creating the story?
KL: I didn’t write the Graphic Novel, I did the overall concept of the world. Me and Miles Williams wrote up the basics of the world, like what they eat, the oxygen levels on the planet, and little details like that. The graphic novel is written by Jeremy Barlow, and he basically put the characters in inside that world.
OH: Did the GN live up to your expectations of the world in your head?
KL: Yeah, I’m really happy with it. It’s done by a bunch of amazing artists I really admire, like Bill
Sienkiewicz, who I grew up copying. He hadn’t done a comic in a long time, so I was really surprised he even accepted to work on the book. I am big fan of these guys.
OH: Did you have any say what was going into the comic story wise?
KL: Yeah, just basically we decided to do a synopsis, like a page of what it was about. I did the cover part and mostly watched from a distance because I was so focused on the video game. I really don’t want to be micromanaging someone else and just let the talented people do their thing. I, myself, would hate someone micromanaging me too much. That’s why I would give a general direction and just let them do their thing. When you have the right talent, everything works out so much easier.
OH: Who came up with this fantastic creative team?
KL: Actually Archaia did. We came to them wanting to put together a graphic novel and they just put together this awesome team that stood behind it and made it all come together.
OH: As the popularity of the game gets more successful, are we going to see more graphic novels come out?
KL: Definitely! We are already planning for the second. They basically help market each other: the game market’s the book and the book market’s the game. That’s what great about mixed trans media, you get little bits and pieces of information about this world from different perspectives.
OH: In the graphic novel, there is a lot of political play. Do we see that in the game as well?
KL: In the game is between two different companies, Sentium, and the Prosk. The Sentium are more German, very precise, where is the Prosk are more like the Russians in having a different ideology. So in the graphic novel we set up how these two companies came into conflict, their difference in opinions, the characters’ lives, and how they are affected. We really want to focus on the human characters in the novel since the game is all about action.
So check out the graphic novel and try out the game. It’s free and I think you’ll enjoy it. You can find the game at PlayHawken.com.
Khang Le received a BFA in illustration from The Pasadena Art Center College of Design in 2005. After doing freelance work for various games, music videos and film companies, he joined Offset Software as Art Director. The company was eventually acquired by Intel in 2008. In 2010, he co-founded Adhesive Games and became the Creative Director on HAWKEN, the basis for the upcoming Archaia graphic novel, HAWKEN: GENESIS. Some of his previous clients for visual development include Steven Spielberg, Roland Emmerich, Robert Zemeckis, Bryan Singer, Alex Aja, Gil Kenan, Linkin Park, Blink 182, Shania Twain, New Found Glory, Microsoft, Activision, NCsoft, Red 5, and Spark.
Written or Contributed by Angela Jones
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