Interview: Brian Hawkins Says, 'Not Today, Satan' With 'Devil's Dominion'
Oct 01, 2020
Interview by Troy-Jeffrey Allen
It kind of goes without saying, but NEVER renege on a deal with the Devil! (Actually, how about you don't sign an agreement with the Devil in the first place?) Just in case you're still foolish enough to take the deal with your fingers crossed behind your back, writer Brian Hawkins has a cautionary tale. It's called Devil's Dominion. A new supernatural series from Blackbox Comics that focuses on a demon hunter taking back control from ol' Beelzebub. Hawkins explains in this exclusive interview.
Catch us up to speed. What is the setting for Devil’s Dominion?
So, the setting for Devil’s Dominion is “Somewhere in the Midwest”. Like, opening page, it says that. The reason behind the loose setting and the caption reading this way -- is to set the mood of wandering, that we are entering this unknown journey with this unknown character that is wandering herself. That set’s the stage for the story.
How did Devil’s Dominion come about as a project? How did you two get involved?
I’m a freelance writer and editor (presently a tech writer by profession with an educator background) and I’m always looking for opportunities to write and to tell stories. I’ve been doing it for a while through Upwork and working with a few indie pubs, also I am an editor for Mad Cave Studios, so I reached out to Dimitrios, the publisher and owner of BlackBox Comics, about possible writing opportunities. A couple weeks went by, he got a couple of references for me, and then we officially linked up. We started talking story, and he had this concept for a character that is possessed by a demon but gets control of the demon and then uses the demonic power for good. From there, we started building and crafting the story together, and we ended up with… Devil’s Dominion.
What inspired this book?
The book began with Dimitrios’ concept of using what is bad for good. It then began to grow and evolve, and it became also about what’s bad inside all of us, the flaws, the struggles, the anger, all those potentially negative attributes, and turning them into something good; how that happens. But see, then you have to think about what influences the “bad” and then what becomes the catalyst for “the good…” So, the story is really inspired by the human condition.
Are you having fun with all the supernatural characters?
Absolutely! The supernatural element for me really hits home. I’m big on fantasy as a genre (who isn’t?) but also, I have a background in theology so I love this kind of stuff. I like looking at what ifs and mythos and everything in between. So, on an intellectual level, this stimulates me, but also it’s so much fun writing especially as a comic book -- because you’re visualizing these powers and appearances of creatures, another world that is hidden within and all around ours…
Or maybe it’s all in our mind… “Heaven and hell are of the mind.” It’s terribly cool. But what’s even cooler -- is seeing Raf bring it all to life. It’s magical.
Tell us about the main character. Why do we follow her through this story, specifically?
Devlynn St. Paul is a wanderer. She’s had something really bad happen to her in life, a horrific event that she “made a deal” to get out of. We don’t find out immediately what that is, it’s alluded to and it’s part of the layers of her character, but as the story moves forward we really get into who she is and where she comes from what happened to her, and how that affects the “hero,” really anti-hero in a sense, that we are seeing. But also, she’s a black woman, and for me as the writer, it’s something that I am really excited about with this story -- seeing a woman of color taking the lead in this kind of story, demon-possession, the supernatural, and all those creepy things that goes bump in the night in a comic book. We live in an interesting time right now, and Devlynn is a special character, a clear representation of the human condition, and she’s a young black woman; we are going to get to walk with her on her journey to fight demons and save people while she herself carries her own demon.
What is it like working with each other? What’s your process like.
It’s like Raf is in my head. Haha! No, really, he’s captured the script and story so well. We’ve had conversations about the beauty of the story -- the underlying message, the struggle of Devlynn, her environment, the deeper meaning of the demons and what she’s fighting. He gets it all and we’ve really connected on this, creating what I would like to think is a very engaging and entertaining story that also has depth. There’s this aspect to the story that’s about perception -- and he just crushed it, he did it so well, and that comes from the script and our talks -- Devlynn is seen in demon form when she’s in the panel with other people who have demons, but when there’s a character that does not have a demon, then she’s seen in human form, herself, so the character sees Devlynn and so does the reader. It’s this perception game that Raf and I are playing with the readers -- I say game, but it’s really a part of the story, a fun part I think. It’s important to understand that Devlynn isn’t transforming into a demon, no character is; rather, the demons and the characters are one in the same, it just depends on who’s perception we are in -- and the panels are our view of that perception! Raf, did such an amazing job with that! I feel like the readers are going to be in for a treat with that!
Looking forward, what can readers expect from Devil’s Dominion?
Readers can expect a journey full of adventure and intrigue, some horror, and a lot of thrills. It’s the human condition on display, full of daemonic dread and the supernatural.On a deeper level, I’m hoping that readers see themselves in this book, in Devlynn, in other characters, and the choices that are made and ultimately, the consequences of those choices.
In terms of audience, who is Devil’s Dominion for?
Can I say everyone! Please, everyone just go out an get this book -- EVERYONE! In conjunction to that though, if you’re into adventure, horror, thrillers, the supernatural, this book has all of that. It is definitely entertaining. But also, if you are into seeking, philosophy, theology, mythos, if you like your comics to have depth, we have that too, and it’s not overwhelming or thick -- it’s all palpable. So, again -- it’s for EVERYONE!
Devil's Dominion #1 is available to pre-order at your local comic shop now! It hits shelves December 30, 2020.
Troy-Jeffrey Allen is the producer and co-host of PREVIEWSworld Weekly. His comic book works include BAMN, Fight of the Century, the Harvey Award nominated District Comics, and the Ringo Awards nominated Magic Bullet.