Troy Hickman speaks about Twilight Guardian
Comic Vine: First of all, congrats on the win. Looks like you were in the lead for pretty much the entire time. I realize that a lot of my questions may be answered in the upcoming series so feel free to be vague when necessary. I'm not sure if you plan on going in depth about her background or not.
How much of a story do you have in mind so far to continue the Twilight Guardian's story? Is it a mini? Ongoing?
Troy Hickman: At the moment all I'm promised is a mini-series, and I've certainly been plotting that out. If sales warrant it, though, Top Cow might be willing to do an ongoing, so I've started thinking about ideas all down the line. Twilight Guardian is a story that takes place in the "real world," and as we all know, there's little that can't happen to a person on this planet.
CV: Will we find out her name? (We have nothing listed for her name on the site).
TH: I'm not sure. I do have a name for her if it ever becomes an issue. For now, though, I think it adds to the commonality that the readers share with her if she's only "Twilight Guardian" (and that's almost certainly how she thinks of herself).
CV: Where did the idea of a character with OCD come from?
TH: Twilight Guardian first appeared in a mini-comic trilogy I did in the early 90s called Tales of the Pathetic Club, which was about a doctor who studies people with various forms of OCD (in my opinion still one of the best things I've written). The idea for TG, and all the folks in Pathetic Club, came from my own anxiety-ridden, ritualistic noggin.
TH: As far as we know, she's relatively new to this. She may have always been a "night walker" (much like her creator), but she probably donned the hoodie and mask fairly recently.
CV: When does she sleep? It seems she gets home after six, eats and prepares then goes out until dawn.
TH: She probably doesn't get as much sleep as she should, or perhaps she doesn't need that much. She sleeps from the time she gets back from her patrol (around dawn) to the time she has to go into work (probably around ten). She may slip in an occasional nap, just so she stays sharp on patrol. Not meaning to add to the autobiography here, but my own sleeping habits are pretty mixed up.
TH: Not for her. OCD is an extremely varied condition, and its manifestations are, thankfully, also inconsistent from one ritual to another (otherwise everyone who suffered from it would be totally unable to function). We're used to seeing the stereotypes of it in fiction (Jack Nicholson in As Good As It Gets, for example, stepping over cracks, or the germophobia of Adrian Monk), but it's often more subtle than that. I remember a friend of mine, another comics creator, telling me that in his case he's totally functional, but if he's reading a book or a newspaper, he can't put it down if the last word on the page is something negative, like "bad" or "death." He has to read to the end of the NEXT page, and hope it's at least neutral.
In TG's case, varying her route may actually be CAUSED by the OCD. Hard to say.
TH: Good question, and one we might see answered in the mini-series. It really depends on WHY she normally sticks to her "territory." Is is the OCD? Is it, as she says, a courtesy to "other crimefighters"? Stick around.
CV: What would she do if she didn't make it home in time to go on patrol?
TH: Something else to explore. Chances are she doesn't allow herself to get put in a situation where that could occur...and how does THAT affect her life?
TH: I've been thinking about it. "Time to go" is hard to beat, though...
TH: Definitely, as TG is a book about, among other things, comic books. I'll be working in more of that sort of thing, though not always in the same way. I really enjoyed doing those, though, as they allowed me to do two of my favorite things: (A) create new superheroes, and (B) work with conventions of the Silver and Golden Ages. If Top Cow would be interested, I'd really dig doing a book that's nothing BUT that kind of thing, sort of like Moore's 1963 (and a little like what I did with Common Grounds).
CV: Do her neighbors know who she is? Do they know her identity?
TH: As far as we know, they don't know who she is. It's always possible that they do, however, and they're just steering clear of the "crazy lady in the mask."
CV: There was mention of snail races and it being outlawed in that town. Have you seen snail races before?
TH: I've never attended one, but they've grown in popularity over the last ten years or so (I give the credit to the small press version of Twilight Guardian...cough cough). The famous horseracing critic John McCririck once said "It's always difficult to study the form with snails because they hide inside their shells - but it's actually much easier to commentate on the race because it's slower than horse racing."
TH: Oh, nothing's ever a coincidence.
CV: Does she live in a normal world or are there actual super powered people around?
TH: As far as we know, TG's adventures take place in the same world in which we live. So I guess it depends on whether you believe there are actual superpowered people around us.
CV: She carries deer jerky and mentioned hunting season coming up, does she do the hunting herself?
TH: Yes, she does. TG's adventures take place here in mid-north Indiana (a couple of folks have mistakenly pegged it as Ohio), where we do a pretty fair amount of deer hunting. She only hunts for meat, though, not for sport.
CV: Has she ever faced real danger before?
TH: Every single day.
CV: Do you have any other projects in the works?
TH: I actually have a ton of ideas that I'd like to bring to fruition, and I just need to get out there and sell some editors on them. My biggest flaw as a comic writer is that I'm not very driven to network and such (I've never submitted a pitch to an editor; they've always come to me to ask me to do stuff). I could probably use an agent, but I don't think at this point I'm well-known enough for anyone to want to represent me.
CV: Do you know anyone with OCD? (I know a couple and even my dog might have it, according to his vet).
TH: I have OCD myself, and it has come and gone throughout my life, depending on the amount of stress I'm feeling. It was at its peak in high school where, if I rubbed my shoulder along the wall of the hallway, I'd have to go back and rub it in the opposite direction to "even it out." But that was an intensely awful time for me. These days it's very minor stuff, if at all, like the fact that I never remove this bracelet that my girlfriend gave me. Most folks have some degree of OCD. It's just a matter of to what extent it affects your life. Have you ever played that game where you say "If I make it through this stoplight while it's still green, I'll get that raise at work"? That's OCD. It's the belief, conscious or otherwise, that totally unconnected actions can change things in our life for the better or worse.
CV: Those darn green lights never got me a raise.
Are there any other comics you keep up with these days?
TH: Very few, and that's mainly because of money. I do try to keep up on what's happening in the field, though. The last comic I bought? Twilight Guardian #1.
CV: What was the last good movie you've seen? Book you've read?
TH: My g/f and I went to see both Dark Knight and Iron Man. Enjoyed them both very much, but for different reasons. Last good book? At the moment I'm making my way through Neil Peart's various travel books.
TH: Peanut butter and bologna, of course. And the autobiography continues.
CV: Anything else you'd like to mention/plug?
TH: Uh, let's see. I'd like to thank everyone who voted for Twilight Guardian, and urge you to pick up the mini-series when it comes out (which will be a while). And if anyone is looking for a comic book writer, I work cheap and fast (fill in the "your mama" joke here).