A Visit With… The Warden!

Steven Hudkins is the creator of a an exciting new hero, The Warden. I’ll be contributing a short story to the canon soon and I thought all of you would like the opportunity to learn more about Steven and his creation!
1. Tell us a bit about your secret origin, Steven. How did your incredible writing powers develop?

I wish they were incredible, my editor wouldn’t have to work so hard! When I was young, I decided I’d either become a film director or a novelist. It wasn’t until I was a little bit older that I really discovered comics. In a way, it combines the two art forms. Cinematography is a huge part of writing comics. After that, I just began to work it. As I’m sure you know, that’s really the best and only way to become a writer. You have to put in the time. I never took any classes, but there are hundreds of resources online that teach you how to tell a good story. I am also in a critique group, so we try to become better writers together. When I am ready to move forward with a project, I always work with an editor to make sure the script is top-notch.

2. The Warden seems to have some strong pulp influences – can you tell us about your past with pulp? What characters or stories resonated with you?

When I was younger, I was obsessed with film. I also loved fantasy, so I was a fan of the Conan and Kull movies (bad acting and all!). From the movies, I discovered the stories by Robert E. Howard. That was my gateway into pulp, really. I started with the really well-known authors, like Howard and Lovecraft, but then I learned about specific characters like Doc Savage. It was new territory for me and I really had to work to find pulp books. Mostly, I found them at flea markets or garage sales. I love Doc Savage, but I think Conan the Barbarian would have to be my favorite character. Howard has an incredible talent of taking a story with all these fantasy and supernatural elements and making it believable. Conan has all of these larger than life experiences, but Howard makes you believe every word of it. I’m still expecting archeologists to find evidence Conan existed.

3. Who is The Warden?

The Warden is a man with a unique quality. Every time he dies, he is reborn and his life starts over. Memories of his past lives often come to him in flashes or dreams and he uses the skills and experiences remembered to fight the supernatural. The main story is set at the turn of the 20th century. Science and industry are beginning to shine a light on the world, but casting deep shadows. The Warden is the one that delves into the darkness to prevent the shadows from engulfing the light.

4. Tell us about the Kickstarter involving the character – who’s involved and what’s coming out of it?

We have 13 total collaborators on the project, so it’s a big team! Our team is also a great mix of full-time professionals and a handful of up-and-comers. We are creating five short comic stories and one written story, then binding it all together in a beautiful hardcover. The first story, “Swamp Magic”, is already completed and is a free download on the Kickstarter page. George Sellas handled all of the art and did an incredible job. The other stories are scripted and ready to begin production. I wanted each story to have a slightly different feel to it, so they all take place at different times in the Warden’s life and in different locations. One story is set in the jungles of India while another is set in a boxing gym in Boston. This is the first appearance of the Warden, so I wanted to introduce the character in a broad way while leaving the origin story for later. Each story has a different artist and colorist as well, allowing for each artist’s style to suit the storyline. For instance, Jen Hickman has a softer, flowing style, so she is illustrating “Death Waltz”, which adapts a folk tale of a ghost seeking revenge during a wedding dance.

5. Any links or websites you want us to check out?

The Kickstarter page is the big one, but feel free to follow the project on Facebook as well!

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