Interview: Bluewater’s Darren Davis On A New Superhero Line & AIDS Activism
Sometime ago, I had the opportunity to interview Bluewater Productions President and Editor-in-Chief, Darren Davis. With Bluewater’s new comic book line of superheroes coming out soon, Scifipulse wanted to catch up with Davis and learn more about this project.
Nicholas Yanes: When doing research for this interview I discovered that you are HIV Positive. I was wondering if you could comment on some of the activism you know do to educate people about HIV/AIDS awareness. Additionally, what are your thoughts one what comic books could do raise awareness about people living with HIV or AIDS?
Darren Davis: I created a graphic novel called LOST RAVEN that won a bunch of book awards. It is about, after learning that he has contracted the HIV virus, attorney Zak Raven leaves his practice behind to set forth on a mission of relaxation – until his peaceful trip goes wildly astray, leaving Zak shipwrecked on what he thinks is a deserted island with only the words in his own journal to keep him company. Unknown to Zak, four miles below the surface secretly hides a government experimentation center where scientists are playing God by trying to artificially evolve a human-based species that can survive evacuation missions in deep space. It is a book where we do not discus how Zak gets it and you do not know if he is straight or gay. I did not think the “how” he got it was important to the story.
Everything I ever read about HIV at the time was really sad, often about a main character who ended up getting AIDS and dying. I put this book out mainly to give those people new to HIV hope. It was also a tool for people that just wanted to learn about the disease. Is not a death sentence anymore and manageable like Diabetes.
It is surprising to me how little people know about it in this day and age. I was at a comic book show and working with this woman who knew I was HIV positive for years. We were good friends. I ended up getting two ice teas and we could not figure out whose was whose, so when I turned around I saw her throw it out. I was shocked because this was a well-educated woman (and you cannot get it from drinking out of someone’s cup). I worked for an HIV/ AIDS organization for 3 years, so I got to learn a lot. The highlight of my career was tied to this book when I got to speak at Yale University about the Lost Raven graphic novel.
Yanes: Now, Bluewater Productions will soon be releasing titles for its new line, The Wave. These comics will focus on what happens to the Greek Gods once humanity has moved beyond worshiping them. What else do you think readers should know before picking up these books?
Davis: Like the DC Comics reboot, we decided to do this awhile ago with some of our characters. Gregg Paulsen (Judo Girl) and Aaron Stueve (Legend of Isis) took on the task of redeveloping characters like Orion and Airtimes. Bluewater was founded on these types of books 10 years ago with the 10th Muse (which launched at the 6th highest selling comic book). We hope to catch lightning in the bottle twice with the new titles.
Yanes: As mentioned, The Wave will feature characters from Greek mythology. With all the rich mythologies from across the world, what do you think the appeal is of using Greek mythology? On this note, are there any plans to branch into other mythologies?
Davis: At this point, they are focusing on the Greek mythos. We currently have new series coming out on Legend of Isis and Power of the Valkyrie thru Bluewater Central. We did a book called the Odyssey in which we combined all our mythology characters together. It was cool seeing the Greek characters fighting the Norse ones!
Yanes: DC Comics has made the move recently to sell its comics digitally on the same day they are available for sale in stores. Is Bluewater currently planning to sell its books digitally? Also, what are your personal thoughts about reading comics on a computer?
Davis: As much as I try to ignore the world of digital comics, Bluewater is moving forward with them. We have books already on the NOOK, Kindle and with places like Comixology. It is only a matter of time until all magazines and comic books go digital. It is a hard thing to understand because it changes the whole medium of comic books. Are you going to have Jim Lee sign your Ipad? We do have a lot of the biography comic books we do go day and date.
Yanes: With The Wave getting a lot of media coverage, are there other projects by Bluewater you want fans to know about?
Davis: People think that Bluewater only does biography comic books, but we have been doing fiction titles for 10 years. Working with creators such as Marv Wolfman, Randy Green, Mike Weiringo and Roger Cruz. We have unique titles like Nanny & Hank, Insane Jane and the new Adam West series, which is doing well for us. Working one on one with Adam West is a lot of fun. I now have him call me “ol chum” when I talk to him. We are also spinning off a title with Adam West’s TV nemesis Julie Newmar. We are still currently doing titles like Logan’s Run and working with bestselling novelist John Saul.
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