Todd Dezago interview

In his career as a comics writer, Todd Dezago has written such books as Marvel’s Sensational Spider-Man, DC?s JLA: World Without Grown-Ups, and Image?s Tellos, which he created with artist Mike Wieringo. This month, Todd is writing IDW?s Mage Knight: Stolen Destiny mini-series. Worlds of Westfield Content Editor Roger Ash recently contacted Dezago to find out more about this project.

Westfield: For those unfamiliar with Mage Knight and the Mage Knight Universe, what can you tell us about it?

Todd Dezago: It is vast. When I was first approached to write this series, I was a bit intimidated by the incredible amount of work and creativity that had gone into the Mage Knight mythos. There is so much history, so many different races and political factions; Sorcerers, Trolls, Elves, Dwarves, Dragons, Centaurs, twisted evil mutations... it was a bit overwhelming. As simple and brief as I can make it; the world of Mage Knight, after a long period of calm and relative prosperity, is now in a state of chaos prompted by the death of the ruler, Tezla, who knew of great magic and passed it on to his many disciples. The three major factions now warring with one another over political supremacy are the Atlantis Guild, the Elemental League, and the Necropolis Sect. Caught in between are countless other groups determined to stake their own claim. It is a time of war, with battles and skirmishes breaking out at every turn. And with so many bizarre and magical creatures, you never know who - or what - you'll be going up against next!

Westfield: What challenges does working on a licensed project present?

Dezago: Well, learning all of that stuff! Actually, what was also a bit unsettling (at first) was making sure that I did justice to the characters and Universe these talented people had created! I didn't want to be stepping on any toes, and wanted to make sure that I was able to deliver the type of tale they were looking for. I hope I have. Jordan and Scott and the rest of the WizKids guys have been very supportive and giving.

Westfield: What can you tell us about the story in the book and who are the characters involved?

Dezago: The main characters in this arc are the dark assassin, Kerraii, of the Necropolis Sect, and Jason, a young warrior desperate to prove himself a man. This mismatched pair suddenly find themselves thrust into an adventure that takes them to the four corners of The Land... and puts them in conflict with all manner of strange creatures and even stranger people! It's a journey of discovery - both literally and figuratively - as The Land of Mage Knight is revealed to Jason through a series of battles and adventures. We also follow the efforts of the Centaur Warrior, Skyros, as he tries to track down his lost friend, Jason, eager to protect him from the dangers of The Land... and retrieve his stolen destiny.

Westfield: You've done heroic fantasy before with Tellos. How does the Mage Knight: Stolen Destiny compare or contrast to Tellos?

Dezago: With Tellos, there really were no rules. It was our book and Mike and I made it up as we went along (although we did have that particular ending in mind right from the beginning). Tellos was a world that really took shape as we went along, and continues to do so. With Mage Knight, we already have a well established history, some very hard and fast rules to follow, and an environment where lots of Gamers have already trod. They are very familiar with this world already and will know if we throw in an element or a twist that just doesn't feel right. I'm writing to them, to those that have gone before and done battle in the Land of Mage Knight.

Westfield: Is there anything you'd like to say about the other people working with you on the book?

Dezago: As I've said, Jordan and Scott at WizKids, and all of the Mage Knight people have been very helpful and supportive. Thanks for that! And my Editor, Kris Oprisko, at Idea and Design Works, has made much of this information gathering and communication very easy. And while I've only seen a few pages of the finished art, I've gotta say that David Cabrera is doing a fantastic job with the story and I really can't wait to hear the response to his beautiful style! The only ones left are the readers - let us know what you think. And if you'd like to see more! I've had a great time working on this and would love to do it again!

Westfield: Do you have any other upcoming projects you'd like to mention?

Dezago: Look for some new Tellos material to be out the end of this year leading into the next story arc, Tellos: Second Coming, out in Spring 2003! (I've got some other irons in the fire, but I don't wanna talk about them yet...)

Westfield: Any closing comments?

Dezago: Thanks for the opportunity! And thanks, everyone! Personally, I love flipping through the solicitations each month and discovering new books and new worlds to explore! I hope you'll pick up Mage Knight: Stolen Destiny and give it a look. I think you'll be glad you did!