Original article appeared on Comic Conventions UK.
Noah Dorsey is a Denver, Colorado native who is a giant comic, film, and all around pop culture fanatic. His first novel, a horror/thriller titled Blackout, was his first publication. He co-created the comic Non Humans for Image Comics with Glen Brunswick and Whilce Portacio. Along with Saint Chaos he has two other comic projects he’s involved with that he’s hoping to have out early next year.
Milán Kovács (Comic Conventions): You chose a very interesting title for your 4-issue limited comic series with Hungarian artist Zsombor Huszka. Saint Chaos to me sounds like a real saint first and a Greek God a few moments later.
Did you come up with the title first or did you derive it later from the complete or semi-complete story?
Noah Dorsey: The title definitely came first. Just kind of popped into my head out of the blue and I wrote a screenplay in 2007 with the title. The stories for the comic and the screenplay are similar, but I think the idea needed some time to gestate first because the story for the comic is way more solid. The rights for the screenplay sold in 2008 to a small production company in L.A. and they began putting all the pieces together to bring it to the screen. Michael D. Olmos was attached to direct and they started gathering investors as well as other key players. The whole thing fell apart at the end of the year and I threw it in a drawer until I brought it out for the comic.
We’re also hoping that it will be an ongoing series. The only reason we numbered the first few issues is because it’s the first story arc and very significant to establishing the Saint Chaos lore. We wanted a definitive beginning and end to the first chapter.
How did you and Zsombor find each other? How do you think your collaboration is going? Do you plan future projects together or is this a one-off team?
I got extremely lucky. I posted an ad on Craigslist for a different project that I was working on and Zsombor responded. Unfortunately, at the time I had already found an artist, but I loved his work so much that I pitched him another idea for a comic that would become Saint Chaos. He really dug the idea so I got a script together and we had the first issue out in a few months.
Seeing the cover first (as the way usually is with a comic) I immediately wondered if that’s a kind of self-portrait of Zsombor, the artist.
Did you think about this or did you notice the resemblance? Even better did you give him the instuction to look like him?
Huh. I guess I never really noticed, but I suppose you’re right. It’s the bald head right? There were never any notes in the script to what Simon would really look like. When I write a comic script I don’t usually add specific details unless it’s pivotal to the story. It gives the artist some room to be creative themselves. If Zsombor planned on making Saint Chaos resemble him a little that’s fine by me.
The comic opens with the death of a pet animal. I hope I won’t spoil anything if I tell that it ends with another animal’s salvation.
Do you consider yourself an animal-lover in any sense? It seems to me that it’s no coincidence.
Nah, it won’t spoil anything. I am very much an animal lover, very much a dog person. In fact, the bulldog that Simon frees in the comic was inserted because I have a Victorian bulldog myself. That chubby canine is like a son. The opening scene with the cat committing suicide was more of a joke. A cat doesn’t always land on its feet… that’s the punch line. A sick joke for sure, but there is a lot of black comedy throughout the story.
I had a feeling reading the first issue that this particular style of the artist suits both him and the story very well. Did you request this type of artwork when you layed the story out or it’s just a lucky accident?
Lucky. Lucky. Lucky. Like I said before it was pretty amazing that Zsombor answered my ad because once I saw his artwork I immediately got to thinking about the story of Saint Chaos. His style very much inspired a lot of how the story was constructed. Definitely the first issue for sure. Once I had the first script the story kind of just wrote itself.
Actually, I don’t believe I told him anything about my childhood working in a handmade candy factory until after he drew that certain scene. It was a little crazy that he got the look of the equipment right off the bat. The candy puller for instance looks exactly as I remember it as a kid. I described it as best I could in the script, but he got it spot on. Working in the factory when I was young was interesting. I heard lots of stories. Some that particularly made my stomach twist. The people who worked on the factory floor with me would tell me horrific stories of accidents that had supposedly occurred. The shot where Honeycomb uses the candy puller to tear the arm off of a helpless victim is a real story I was told. A man who worked under my grandfather wasn’t paying attention and got his arm caught in the rotating steel bars. The bars move so fast that it almost took his arm immediately. Evidently he lived, but not before being horribly injured.
Also how do you think Zsombor approaches these parts of your Saint Chaos scripts? How much detail do you give for these scenes?
I see working with an illustrator on a comic as a collaboration. I like writing with a sort of “bare bones” mentality. I want Zsombor to have his own creative input as well so I’ll intentionally leave some details out of the script so that he can have a say in the design of the characters, setting, and stylistic choices. Unless I feel that a detail is especially important I won’t include it.
The design of Honeycomb was a big part attributed to Zsombor’s artwork. There were a few details that I included but the appearance is mostly his. However, Honeycomb is very much his own character. If he ever met the Joker they may acknowledge their physical similarities to a certain degree, but as similarities go it would end there. These two characters are egomaniacs and certifiable psychopaths, but while the Joker does not have control over his psychoses (even though he is aware of it) Honeycomb is in complete control and knows exactly what he’s doing. When he tortures all of those innocent people he does it because he loves it. He gets off on it. It can be argued that the Joker does as well, but he HAS to do it. It is the only way he can function. He thinks it’s normal. Honeycomb does it as a CHOICE and that makes him much scarier I think.
Was it always the idea to publish this comic in digital-first and how did your co-operation with Mile High Comics came?
Actually, Saint Chaos hasn’t come out on Comixology yet, which is the largest digital platform for comics by a long shot. It should be out in September sometime. The publication through Mile High Comics was a pretty random one. I had gone to college with the daughter of the guy who owns Mile High. On a whim I emailed and asked him if he’d be interested in partnering up to bring this comic out. They responded positively and we collaborated to put it on the shelves. They also took it out with them to San Diego Comic Con where it did quite well.
Lastly is there anything you’d like to add I forgot to ask you?
Issue #2 is officially finished and should be out in the next couple of weeks. Those who are interested can go to er-studios.com to order a copy. Zsombor and myself will also be at the New York Comic Con. He’ll be promoting a couple other books along with Saint Chaos at his own booth and I’ll be crawling the floor (not literally) with a few copies myself. If anyone is attending and want to meet up email saintchaoscomic at gmail dot com and I’ll respond to where I’ll be. Thanks!
Thank you for taking your time answering our questions, Noah and also good luck for NYCC!