Another author interview! Today is with Landon Porter, who writes prose comic fiction as well as fantasy. You can find out more about Landon at his website here: descendantsserial.com .
1. So how did you start writing?
I started very young. My mother used to tell me stories, then have me take over for her. I eventually ended up telling her stories and just never stopped. The first actual writing I did was in middle school, where I convinced a teacher to let me write a book as independent study.
2. I saw an article recently about the rising popularity of prose comic books. Do you agree it’s becoming more popular? Why?
Oh, it’s certainly on the rise. I think the reason is that the mainstream comics aren’t matching up to the movies that are making superheroes cool again. X-Men: First Class and the Avengers are wildly popular, but the actual comics based on them aren’t anything like them anymore. They’re so serious and dreary-dark while lacking the sophistication like more mature fare like The Dark Knight. So people are looking for superheroes elsewhere and that’s how they find the books. Plus, the movies have inspired a whole new generation of writers to take on the genre.
3. I understand that Book 4 in your Descendants series just came out. Tell me about the series and the book.
I’m proud to say that The Descendants is the oldest continuously-running superhero webserial online right now. The story is an attempt to get the fun but still thoughtful feel I loved from older comics. It follows a group of people born with superpowers after they uncover a plot to kidnap and manipulate teens like them. In the midst of trying to take down that conspiracy, they end up as the defacto protectors of the city they settled in. Book 4 collects the second half of Volume 2: five stories dealing with newly-established relationships from Book 3 and the return of an old, fan-favorite villain from Volume 1. The most fun part is that this is where the main Descendants Universe first makes contact with the magical world. It’s a fun ride. There’s plenty of action, but a lot of heart and family beats, which are something I love.
4. You also have a fantasy series out, the Runebreaker series. What is that about?
Rune Breaker is pretty weird, but that’s why I think people like it. It’s Fantasy, but not the kind of fantasy people are used to. It stars Ru, the titular Rune Breaker, who is a wizard who’s become curse to serve whoever happens across him. He’s… obviously evil and bitter and cruel, which makes it more fun that after serving complete monsters for 5,000 years, he ends up serving a very nice former slave named Taylin. Ru of course expect to conquer and pillage while Taylin is only concerned about living a normal, free life and refuses to even treat him the way he’s used to being treated. They have to put that aside though because someone even worse than Ru shows up and makes their life difficult. It’s not a romance by any means. There’s family themes again and a lot of magi-tech and steampunk elements mixed into fantasy, something that’s called Dungeonpunk. Despite it being light, I feel obligated to warn people that it’s violent. Taylin is a seven-foot tall winged woman with super-strength and a sword and Ru is a shapeshifting monster who like stabbing people with his fingers. There’s a lot of awesome action is what I’m trying to say.
5. Who is your favorite writer, and why?
Brandon Sanderson. The man is a machine when it comes to worldbuilding and linking that up to his various magic systems. Everything is always new and fresh without being weird for no reason and it all makes perfect sense in context. He just puts a lot of thought into his work. For example, in the Stormlight Archive, some writers would just have the storms be bad, but Sanderson made sure the entire ecosystem has evolved to deal with said storms and society is built around dealing with them as well. That shows thought and willingness to work things out and that’s really th ekind of writer I can respect and want to read.
6. What’s the strangest research you’ve had to do for a book?
Besides getting up and acting out my combat scenes? Ha. Let’s see… I think that would be all the crazy materials science I needed to learn for Descendants, not just because it’s set in 2074, but to make sure Alloy, the metal-contoller wouldn’t just win everything instantly. You would be shocked how many elements are actually metal. It’s not just iron and aluminum; potassium, sodium–rubies and emeralds are basically crystals of oxidized metal. And then trying to find things that aren’t metal, is discover the building material of the future is… dirt. Ceramics maylized out of the exact same type of dirt my house sits on. When 2050 rolls around, I’m going to be rich.
7. What project are you working on now?
A lot of different ones. The Big One being ‘So I Married A Supervillain’, a dramedy about a man who finds out that his sweet wife of 17 years, mother of his two children, is his world’s most notorious supervillain complete with being dictator of her own country.
8. What do you think is the future for the literary Superhero genre?
Diversity. Not just more characters of non-white and mixed races, genders, sexualities, but diversity in the genre itself. Most people set superheroes in modern cities, but we’re going to see Superhero period pieces, superheroes in sci-fi and fantasy setting, Superhero romance, horror, erotica–everything. It’s a very big genre and people are only now starting to fill it. I hope you don’t mind, but I’d like to plug a group I belong to: the Pen and Cape Society (penandcapescoety.com) because we are the first literary group for writers in the genre and hopefully, we’re going to be at the forefront of pushing it forward. As a commercial genre, Superhero was only recognized by the BISAC last year, so there are infinite directions we can go from here. This is what it must have been like back in the 50’s, 60’s and 70’s when Asimov and Heinlein were essentially building the bones of modern science fiction. It’s exciting and a bit daunting. I can’t wait to see what comes next.