Skybound sat down with writer Chris Dingess to discuss the end of the first arc of MANIFEST DESTINY, where the series is going in future issues, and, most importantly, when he’s going to finally name the letters page.
1. Congrats on wrapping up an amazing first arc! What was your favorite part about working on the series so far?
There have been many wonderful things about this experience so far. I’ve learned so much about writing for comics from Robert, Sean, Sina and Helen. But I would have to say my favorite part is watching Matt Roberts do spectacular work to bring my writing to life. It’s always a surprise and a pleasure to see his panels come in. And Owen Gieni’s work is stunning as well! And Pat Brosseau! …I’m terrible at picking “one thing.”
2. Looking back, were there any historical tidbits you stumbled on that you wanted to include, but couldn’t find a way to fit them in?
Not so much, as far as factual tidbits go. I want to find organic spots to drop flashbacks into the book to show the mission in it’s cradle; to see Lewis, Clark and the crew before the mission began. But once the current adventure gets rolling, it’s hard to take a break from the action to go back in time.
3. You set up Clark’s dark past at the end of this issue… will we learn more about what haunts him in the upcoming arc?
In the next arc we see a flicker, literally a flicker, of the past that haunts him. I plan to wade deeper into these waters as the book progresses.
4. Matt Roberts said that a lot of the creature ideas come from your imagination. We know writers hate this question, but where do you come up with the ideas for creatures?
You are correct! I hate this question. There isn’t any one particular way we come up with the creatures. The buffalotaur were supposed to be a straight up centaur. I wanted the first creature Lewis & Clark encounter to be a beautiful creature that, being good americans, they promptly lay waste to. Then we kicked around ideas to make it different and put a real “American Frontier” spin on it. That’s when the Buffalo aspect came in. One of the creatures in the next arc has a bit of americana sprinkled into it.
Other things just come from stuff that creeps me out. The Flora exist because I’m grossed out by fungi and their parasitic nature… and because I love Swamp Thing and used to be terrified of the Ted Danson bit in “Creepshow.”
5. What can we expect from the next arc? Can you tell us anything?
I don’t wanna give anything away, but I’m terrible at keeping secrets. I will say that there are more monsters, some of which are in the crew.
6. When you said Sacagawea’s baby would be a big character down the road… were you toying with us?
Did I say that? Hmmm. Then I guess I’m not toying with you. But we’re a LONG way from that baby making the scene.
7. And last but not least, the most frequently asked question by fans, when can we expect the letters page to be titled?
Good question… good question… paging Mr. Mackiewicz! Paging Mr. Mackiewicz!
8. Thanks for chatting with us, Chris! Any parting words?
The chat was my pleasure. I just want to thank everyone again for picking up the book. I really appreciate everyone’s enthusiasm for this book and the adventure and the monsters and creeps like Jensen.