Post by Susan Hillwig on Oct 28, 2018 8:30:40 GMT -5
Happy Halloween, y'all! In the spirit of the season, WWQ has briefly risen from the grave to bring you a tale that's part ghost story, part love story. I didn't start out to write such an amalgamation, but I can tell ya how I got there.
Charlie contacted me in September to ask if I wanted to jot up a Halloween tale for DC2. I said I'd give a think and, to my surprise, got the spine of an idea pretty quickly: El Diablo and Conjura teaming up to fight some supernatural creature, with flashbacks interspersed showing what El Diablo was before it got grafted onto Lazarus Lane's soul. In regular DCU canon, they're kinda vague about what exactly El Diablo really is (early stories implied it was actually Lane reanimated by Indian magic, while Palmiotti & Gray made it a Hellborn creature of vengeance separate from Lane in both body and spirit), so when I started doing WWQ, I had to figure out what DC2's version would be. Being well-versed in both Etrigan the Demon and various versions of Ghost Rider, I went with a similar angle for the possession/transformation, with the twist being that El Diablo was, in the realm of Hell, a nobody, and is just as much of a prisoner under Wise Owl's thumb as Lane is. It didn't even have a proper name, hence why it takes the moniker of El Diablo as its own, even though it's not the actual Devil. So the general idea of those flashbacks have been in the back of my head for the past 13 years, just waiting for the right story to lay it all out.
A good friend of mine gave me a wonderful reference book years ago called Spirits, Fairies, Leprechauns, and Goblins, so I cracked that open to figure out not only what demon our proto-Diablo was crafted by (yep, Sonneillon, Demon of Hatred, is an actual thing!), but also what creature it and Conjura were facing. I originally thought of something that was stealing kids, so I looked up "spirits associated with children" in the appendix and came across a type of djinn associated with Morocco. I wanted to keep the action Stateside, though, so I needed to check whether or not any Moroccans would've been living here in the 19th Century (I always try to be as historically accurate as possible). An Internet search led me to an article about Santa Elena and the real-world slaughter that caused Spain to abandon what's now called Parris Island, which is currently a recruitment depot for the U.S. Marine Corps. All that material was too good to pass up, so I ditched the kids angle and came up with the tale you just read.
In regards to the relationship between Lane and Conjura, it was something I'd been considering for a while, but it wasn't until this story idea came along that I decided to go for it. For those unaware, Conjura is based on a character of the same name created by Joe Kubert in 1978 for a series of educational comics, which consisted of older DC stories rewritten with simpler language and more-diverse cast members added. Conjura took the place of Zatanna, and therefore had a similar power set. I first learned of her while reading up on the legendary Super Dictionary -- which she also appears in -- and decided to add a version of her to WWQ to help broaden our cast a bit (it didn't hurt that Kubert also created a couple other members of WWQ's cast!). Being the title's only major black character and one of the few females, I always try to show Conjura in the best light, so I was wary of making her a "love interest". But when I kept looking at her and Lane together -- two people who can never be fully part of "normal" society due to their supernatural nature -- it seemed to make sense. Add in El Diablo being confused-yet-fascinated by the very concept of love, and you have the makings of an interesting subplot.
So there ya go, one more story advancing DC2's Western history a little further. There's still a few others waiting to be told, and I wish I could say that they were coming soon, but I've been hard at work on things like promoting my original novel and crafting the next installment of my Jonah Hex history project, plus a top-secret thing that's kinda-sorta related to that (keep an eye on my blog and Jonah Hex, Via Pony Express in the coming months to learn more). Those tales will be told at some point, I promise. In the meantime, why don't y'all go see what Jonah's been up to over in the Omega Crisis section, eh?
What a welcome return to one of the best series the DC2 has ever hosted. To be honest, I was surprised when you had this up your sleeve, Susan—it seemed to come from nowhere, planned for the Halloween special, sure, but perfect for its own standalone issue of WWQ when the former fell through.
And what a story. Continuing to build on the threads from the last epic story arc that you delivered with your usual gusto and providing a really interesting glimpse into the relationship between the demonic El Diabo, its host in Lazarus Lane, and the love that seems to connect them metaphysically in Conjura.
I really enjoyed the snippets of hell, because it’s unlike anything I’ve read recently, and the threat posed by the Djinn was both scary yet sad, knowing full well why it came to a head like it did.
What else can I say? Well written, well researched, and a perfect capsule of what Weird Western Quarterly has always been for the site. I’m hoping we get more of these stories from you in the future, but I know how busy your schedule is!
Now, if I can get the next issue of Omega Crisis sorted, we’ll see more of Jonah Hex, and that’s something the site needs to see. Our plans there are brilliant, and I just have to hold my end of the bargain up in that regard!
Post by Susan Hillwig on Nov 28, 2018 19:42:45 GMT -5
My brain has been dwelling on upcoming WWQ stories lately, partially thanks to this issue, but also because of Omega Crisis. Once that particular epic is done, there is a WWQ issue I absolutely want to do...might even end up being two issues, 'cause you know I like to ramble most times. As with El Diablo's backstory, it's something that's been in the back of my head for well over a decade, a tale that I wasn't sure I'd ever actually write it out in detail, but it was complete enough in my head that I could put a vague reference to it in a story as if I had written it already. However, I now feel like this needs to be addressed in full before WWQ can move on to its final act.
Having said that...yes, I've already made reference to the tale that will grace these pages once Omega Crisis wraps up. You can find it in Justice League #16, which has been on this site for 10 years. That's all the info I'm giving you. Go read it, dissect it, and come on back here when you think you've ferreted it out.