Chip Mosher is an independent producer, screenwriter, and director who created “Kiss Your Ass Goodbye.” He also is the writer of BOOM! Studios’ Left On Mission, a new spy mini-series, with Francesco Francavilla (Black Coat, Fear Agent). In this interview with The Outhouse, Chip explains LOM, what it’s like transiting from screenwriter to comic book writer, and why skidmarks are Superman’s greatest enemy:
The Outhouse: Okay, first off, what’s Left On Mission about?
Chip Mosher: It’s a spy thriller. Eric Westfall, our protagonist, is called out of retirement to track down a rogue agent who has stolen a hard drive chock full of classified info, but all is not what it seems. Eric and the rogue agent, Emma, have some history, romantic history….and that complicates things. The world “Left On Mission” takes place in is a world where being a spy, being an assassin, being someone who tortures takes a toll on your humanity, on your heart - and here we have Eric who is tasked with killing the one woman he had opened his heart up to. So we have the spy thriller with a little romantic complication thrown in for good measure.
Outhouse: How did the idea for Left On Mission come up?
Chip: Well, I had always been planning to write a comic one day and had been jotting notes down here and there for different things. Then 9/11 happened. And I noticed that there were all these articles about how we should reconsider torture as an interrogation technique. At the same time I was working in the special effects field producing motion capture shoots and I had to do some motion capture for a military game and got to know some military contractors. And this one guy, well he just can’t operate unless he is being shot at. Unless he is under that pressure, he’s totally ADD. So it just got me to thinking what kind of toll this new war on terror world would have on the actual people tasked with protecting us. And I just took all those ideas and put them in the spy thriller genre to explore. I wanted to do something with a lot of deep character work, but also with a ton of action…and out came “Left On Mission.”
Outhouse: How did Francesco get involved in this project?
Chip: Once Ross Richie, the publisher at Boom!, decided to do the comic, he immediately got ahold of Francesco and had him do some initial characters and pages and it just totally clicked. Francesco is a madman. He is just incredible to work with. I have been working off and on in comics in different capacities since I was very young; retail, distribution, publishing etc. and I have been lucky enough to get to know and watch a ton of different artists at work…and Francesco…he is just amazing. Not only is his work incredibly good, but he is probably one of the fastest people I have seen work. He’s a machine. And the quality never waivers. I am amazed. He’s a joy to work with.
Outhouse: On account of Left On Mission being a spy thriller, was there ever any desire to be a spy or are you one now reporting on me for the government?
Chip: I went to Cuba on a humanitarian mission in 1997 with a bunch of old SDS types, people involved in a very high level with the student movement of the late sixties. We took a bus around Cuba during the trip and there was this one guy that was a “photographer” that had all this equipment and was always showing off his photos to everyone. Of course the photos were some of the worst composed shots we had ever seen. So all the old-timers on the trip thought he was C.I.A. spying on us. That’s about as close to being next to a real spy I ever got…maybe.
Outhouse: Damn… You are spying on me. Anyways, as a flimmaker, is there a difference between writing a script for a movie and writing one for a comic book?
Chip: Scripts can have people moving around in space with comics you have to figure out what your key frame is so to speak, you have to figure out what is the one thing you want the characters or character to be doing in that panel. I always liked the more cinematic comics like Krigstein’s “Master Race,” the Silent Interlude “G.I..JOE,” and “Cerebus.” People always look at me funny when I say that those were touchstones for my vision for the book, but I think once people read the series they will see where I am coming from.
Outhouse: Any desire to do more comic books?
Chip: Being creative is being creative, so I mean that’s what get’s me going. So whether it’s comics or film, you know it’s just a matter of what my vision for the material is….I have a list of ideas for comics and screenplays that I have taped up near my desk. So yeah, I definitely have so more comics in me.
Outhouse: Time for a silly question; why does Superman wear his underwear on the outside of his pants?
Chip: To stop super-skidmarks from happening.
Outhouse: Finish this sentence: “If you like ______, you’ll love Left On Mission?
Chip: Casino Royale, Bourne Identity, and Queen and Country.
Posted originally: 2007-05-15 17:34:11