Tim Midura: Modern Testament is an anthology series about modern Biblical beings. How did you decide on which Biblical stories to modernize? Or are these more loose interpretations rather than adaptations?
Frank Martin: I would say the stories themselves focus less on the ancient myths the characters come from and more on the characters themselves. I definitely tried get to the core of the characters through their original incarnations, but Modern Testament is really about transcribing those roots into today's world. So in that regards, all the stories are original and the biblical beings featured within them have adapted to their modern environments.
TM: With other Biblical inspired stories in comics (Sandman, Hellblazer) what makes Modern Testament stand out?
FM: Other biblical inspired stories in comics put a heavy emphasis on plots. Whether it be a coming Apocalypse or evil spirit that needs vanquishing. Modern Testament is all about the characters. The stories are short and standalone. They don't interconnect. So I have a very small window to get down to business. I'm not interested in developing some grand epic. I get right down to business in talking about who these characters are and what they're all about.
TM: What's the takeaway from Modern Testament? That Biblical stories are timeless?
FM: In a way, yes. Just like we keep seeing modern reboots of our favorite golden age superheroes, characters from mythology can continually be revamped and refitted to whatever world they need to fit in. These characters were created at the dawn of civilization. And since we still have a place for them today, there's something about them that connects us with the people who first read about them all those years ago.
TM: What made you decide to do this anthology-style with different artists?
FM: Each character is unique. Furthermore, each story is unique, too. Some are scary. Some are suspenseful. Some are (kinda) funny. It was essential to find an art style that fit what each story needed. The fact that I got to meet and work with so many talented people was an added bonus!
TM: Did you tailor stories to each artist?
FM: I did not. The characters were always at the forefront during development. I always put the script first and then sought out artists that I thought would fit nicely with the artistic tone that was required.
TM: What was your writing process for the anthology?
FM: Believe it or not, the hardest part was finding biblical beings to use. When I first started I thought there would have been plenty of creatures to choose from. There are characters, sure. Abraham, Moses, the Apostles. But creatures? Not so much. There were only a few creatures or supernatural beings that people could resonate with. Once one was chosen, I stripped that particularly entity down to its thematic core or original purpose. I then asked myself, "what place would it have in today's world" or "what would he/she/it think about people today?" From there, the stories practically wrote themselves.
TM: Which story was your favorite and which did you feel was the most important?
FM: My favorite and most important? Hmm. Two very different questions, both equally hard to answer. Because all the stories are SO different it's hard to pin down one. If I had to pick I would say "The Bad Guy" was my favorite to write. It's about a wise-cracking demon that possesses a rebel teenager. The demon was sarcastic, witty, and evil. A fun combo to get in the head of. The most important story I would say is "Campaign Promises." It's about the Antichrist running a campaign for president. I don't want to say the story was politically motivated, but it was definitely the story I felt the most inspired about while writing.
TM: This collection has all four volumes of Modern Testament along with the FCBD shorts. Do you see yourself adapting other Holy texts next, kind of filling the religious comics niche?
FM: Probably not. I do have a couple crossovers planned for Modern Testament such as Hollow Testament featuring the Evolutionary Comics' character Hollow Girl. But for the most part, I'm looking to build new series and characters for the future. And that means leaving mythology (biblical mythology especially) behind.
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