Ryan Thomason

WPR Interview with Dark Matter Writer Joseph Mallozzi

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What happens when one of the Writers and Executive Producers who’s worked on every series in the now on hold Stargate Franchise needs something to do? He writes a killer sci-fi comic book. We had a great opportunity to talk with him about his upcoming four issue comic book titled Dark Matter and of course, I couldn’t help but try to get some kind of info on the defunct Stargate Series. Though, Stargate fans shouldn’t worry, if Dark Matter becomes a TV show (which it will) we’ll get our Sci-Fi Geekery on Hardcore. Read on! And don’t forget to check out Dark Matter when it comes out in early January!

WPR: Is it just me, or does the ship lost in space feel have a Stargate: Universe feel to it, are you going to try and get some stories or ideas you had for SG:U into Dark Matter?

– You know, I hadn’t realized the similarities between the ending of Stargate: Universe and the beginning of Dark Matter until actor Patrick Gilmore (who played Dr. Dale Volker on SGU) pointed them out to me. I was pitching him Dark Matter and had gotten no further than the crew awakening from stasis when he threw me a hopeful look and asked: “Is this a continuation?” Had to laugh. Unfortunately, no continuation of Universe yet. The opening for Dark Matter was envisioned some five years ago so any similarities to SGU in terms of tone are coincidental. The opening arc will demonstrate Dark Matter is a very different series.

WPR: Does putting your time writing Dark Matter mean that Stargate shows won’t be coming back anytime soon?

– Sadly, Stargate’s fate doesn’t rest in the hands of the production team that brought you SG-1, Atlantis, and Universe. It’s up to MGM to decide when and how the franchise will make its return.

WPR: Where did the Idea for Dark Matter come from?

– I was inspired by a number of different sources – all of which will have to remain secret. For now.

WPR: It seems like you and Paul have been co-writing for a while, is it a synergetic relationship with you two, do you live next door to each other and sling words over the fence?

– Depends on the script. When we first started our partnership, we would write together in the same room, throwing dialogue back and forth. Nowadays, we tend to write our own scripts and do passes on each other’s work. Such was the case with Dark Matter. I wrote the first draft, he did a pass, I scripted the comic book while he dealt with much less enjoyable “other work”-related matters.

WPR: Has Sci-Fi always been a big interest for you? Where do you draw your inspiration and devotion to the genre from?

– I loved SF growing up. Whereas other kids received records and hockey merchandise for their birthdays, I got books. My mother did all she could to encourage my passion for reading. I still have those old Isaac Asimov and Arthur C. Clarke titles sitting on my book shelf. As real life took hold and I grew busier, that passion for reading waned – until about six or seven years ago when it was rekindled by a single novel: John Scalzi’s Old Man’s War. Since then, I’ve been on a reading tear, average a couple of books a week. As an aside – it was no coincidence that author John Scalzi was hired as a creative consultant on Stargate: Universe. That guys all sorts of brilliant. And funny as hell.

WPR: What was your favorite episode that you wrote for any of the Stargate Series?

– I put together a top ten list for my blog a while back and, in reviewing it every so often, I’ve found that, while the rankings may change, that list remains pretty consistent. Off the top of my head: Ripple Effect (SG-1), Remnants (Atlantis), Gauntlet (Universe), Window of Opportunity (SG-1), Broken Ties (Atlantis), Morpheus (SG-1), The Ties That Bind (SG-1).

WPR: Are we going to get crazy aliens in Dark Matter? What lays ahead?

– Dark Matter takes place in a not-too-distant future in which multi-national corporations have expanded their influence beyond Earth’s confines, seeding worlds and exploiting planetary sources. As a result, much of the interaction our crew will have (at least initially) will be with humans – be they representatives of these galactic corporations, the galactic authority policing colonized space, or civilians/colonists. As the ship’s journey takes it further away from colonized space and into uncharted territory – well, there’s no telling what sort of life forms the crew will encounter.

WPR: I absolutely love the artwork in the comic, how did you go about deciding how to make it look and eventually having Garry Brown do the art?

I have to give credit where credit is due. Artist Garry Brown and colorist Ryan Hill, in conjunction with input from Dark Horse editor Patrick Thorpe, are chiefly responsible for Dark Matter’s visual style and feel. Back when we were looking for an artist, Patrick suggested I send him some examples of the look I wanted for the series. I sent him some samples and he proposed Garry Brown. In short time, Garry was turning around designs for the characters, ships, and various props. I would offer feedback, but I can’t really say I asked for significant changes. I loved Garry’s vision for the series and, as the process evolved and I was sent the various layouts, pencils, and inks, my requests continued to be minimal, more related to character and narrative rather than the overall look. In the end, Garry not only provided the artwork for all four issues, but he did all four covers as well. Ryan’s colors, meanwhile, married beautifully to Garry’s work. I couldn’t be happier.

WPR: How hard was it to get Dark Matter published? Did you have to shop around or did Dark Horse immediately sign up?

Dark Horse was the first and only stop on my comic book pitching tour. My agent mentioned that he had been chatting with someone at DH and I immediately recognized the opportunity. I ended up pitching Dark Matter to Dark Horse Entertainment’s Keith Goldberg who liked the concept enough to champion it in those early deal-making stages. If not for Keith, we wouldn’t be here discussing a Dark Matter comic book series.

WPR: Thanks again for taking the time to talk with us, are you working on any other projects you want to give a quick shout out about or is Dark Matter your sole focus for now?

Dark Matter is my main focus right now. I’m doing everything I can to support the comic book and get the word out. The next step will be to set it up as a television series (or mini-series).

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