When professional soldier Timothy Vance receives information from someone claiming to be his long-lost father, he takes a trip to out-of-the-way Harbor Moon, Maine. It turns out that man hasn’t been there in thirty years and pretty soon Tim’s life is in danger. Fighting for the truth and his survival, Tim discovers that Harbor Moon is harboring a secret. The entire town is werewolves and the man he was looking for may be just like them. Just as a ruthless band of werewolf hunters descend upon the town, Tim must decide whether he is going to stay and fight or turn his back on what he really is.
We caught up with writer, Ryan Colucci to talk about Harbor Moon.
Horror News Network: Tell us a bit about yourself.
Ryan Colucci: I'm originally from Long Island, NY. I got a late start on all of this... I went to school to play lacrosse, studying Accounting at Villanova. I spent a year overseas studying Economics and Terrorism at Cambridge University - and when I came back I knew I was destined for other things. I transfered to Hofstra University to study Film - but my focus was still on lacrosse. I was still playing lacrosse after graduation and then I got accepted to the Peter Stark Producing MFA Program at USC, which was really the turning point in my life. I don't come from tremendous wealth and know no one in the film or publishing industries, so it provided me with a much needed base and the alumni from there are a small group and are extremely supportive. It was there I met classmates who I would later work with - when I graduated I helped launch Keith Calder's Snoot Entertainment. Our first project out of the gate was Battle for Terra: 3D and we actually built our own animation studio from scratch in Los Angeles. While at Stark I started to beat down the doors trying to get the rights to Terry Brooks' 'Shannara' series, which took years of prodding.... It was there I also met classmate Dikran Ornekian, the co-writer of HARBOR MOON.
Horror News Network: How did you come up with the concept for Harbor Moon?
Ryan Colucci: I was pretty active while I was at USC, reading about 25 scripts a week - from any source I could. Mostly internet sites and other students at schools all across the country... I was determined to come out of graduation with a wealth of material, no matter how much I had to read - books, comics, web comics, etc.... I literally must have read over 500 scripts before one caught my eye. Titled 'Bloodkin' it was an X-Men type story about a man without a past who finds out he is from a town in Maine that the government has its eye on because the inhabitants are werewolves. I took the script to Dikran and we immediately sparked to the core idea (by Brian Anderson) about a man who doesn't know he's half werewolf coming home to his 'family'. I optioned that script and Dikran and I began a long journey taking the story down many paths before we came to what is now HARBOR MOON. So what started off as a military action thing with political components became a smaller, isolated horror piece. More like a Clint Eastwood western from the 70's than X-Men. The loner with a ton of secrets entering a town with even more secrets.
From the start I knew that we weren't creating a movie script, but something that would play out better as a graphic novel. It was more liberating that way - because although the setting was small, we could do anything we wanted with the story. And had no preconceived notions about what audiences wanted or liked. I think some writers/creators are creating graphic novels/comics in the hopes it becomes a movie. That was never our intention. We both love the world of comics and were raised on them long before we fell in love with film. We wrote HARBOR MOON to be a comic that we would pick up and love. Since I had no idea how to produce a comic, I had to just say 'screw it' and dive in headfirst. It was a labor of love - and there were definitely some bumps along the way - but I think it paid off because we accomplished our goal - creating a book we love.
Horror News Network: Can you give us a run down of the main characters we will see?
Ryan Colucci: How to do this and not give away some good details...
We follow Timothy Vance throughout the story. An orphan, he has no information as to who he is or where he's from. Blessed with agility and skills that he takes for granted, he puts his skills to use in the military - where he is accepted as family.
Sheriff Roland Sullivan - the law in Harbor Moon, and the man calling all the shots in this tiny town. Nephew of the town's founder, he tries his hardest to modernize Harbor Moon and keep the town's secret safe.
Patrick Sullivan - Roland's son, he tries his hardest to take the town back to their old ways, which only endanger the town members. Patrick left town once and came back a changed man, violent and clinging to the ways of the past.
Kristen - she runs the school in town and takes immediate interest in the outsider. She knows her town is off, but it is home and she accepts her lot in life. When Tim shows up he challenges this world view and her decisions might just be the undoing of the entire town.
George - as the town butcher he holds a pretty high spot in the hierarchy. His son KJ is getting mixed up with Patrick, and although George may remember the old days he is enjoying the prosperity of the town and wants Patrick stopped for good.
The Brotherhood of the Moon - a quasi-religious organization dedicated to eradicating what they believe to be a religious curse, werwolves. Started in the Baltic during the Crusades, the organization is as covert as it is powerful.
Horror News Network: Tell us a bit about the werewolves in this series.
Ryan Colucci: First off, the werwolves of Harbor Moon are not a curse. They are also not a spirit. They are a species, a race if you will. You can't become a werewolf from a bite or a blood transfusion or an Indian ceremony. The wolves here don't turn on a full moon. However, their animal instincts are sharpened or heightened during a full moon. Their religion is based around this, almost like the Native Americans. They turn when they are pushed - if they are in stressful situations, angered, etc... And Harbor Moon is run to protect its citizens against such things.
Also, in other werewolf stories, they are usually lone werewolves - and they are usually terrorizing a village or a town. Or it is a pack of loosely knit wolves. Even in Underworld there seems to be no family structure - they are like a flock of lost wolves. In Harbor Moon, there is a clear delineation in the pack and a definite family structure to it all. Dikran and I did a lot of research on actually wolves and tried to model the society of Harbor Moon after that. We also wanted to spin the werewolf story on its head a bit - and rather than be the hunters, they become the hunted. Hopefully I am not giving too much away...
Horror News Network: What made you select Maine as the location for this book?
Ryan Colucci: That was all Brian. It needed to be a remote location. The idea of Harbor Moon (originally called St. Agatha which is a real town in Maine) was a model American town, but they are so out of touch that it is a model American town 50-75 years after the fact. It's their idea of how a town should run and appear 'normal'. We toyed with taking it out of Maine, to a place like Alaska but decided to keep it Maine because it just felt right.
Horror News Network: How did you hook up with the publisher of this book, Arcana?
Ryan Colucci: When the book was about halfway done I decided to put a pdf together and approach some publishers. I thought it would make sense to have the publisher lined up before the book was finished - again I was winging it. I knew how to produce a film, but I was in over my head here. I made a really short list of about 4 publishers that I thought were good (in terms of reputation, size, content they were putting out, etc...) and emailed them a query letter. They all agreed to check the book out. But the first response I got was from Mark Poulton at Arcana saying he really liked it and wanted to send it to Sean O'Reilly. Before anyone else even got back to me Sean responded and wanted to be involved. Those guys have been amazing and I can't thank them enough for giving Harbor Moon the platform it has now, and for believing in it enough they were willing to put their name on it.
Horror News Network: What other media influenced this book?
Ryan Colucci: I have a very specific answer for this one. Dikran and I can point to 3 movies that heavily influenced us - Bad Day at Black Rock (a western with Spencer Tracy from the 50's), Pale Rider and High Plains Drifter (two Clint Eastwood westerns).
Horror News Network: How did you hook up with artist, Pawel Sambor?
Ryan Colucci: I was actually on the hunt for artists before I even landed the financing for the book. I thought, if I can get a really good artist to agree to do this - it's a no brainer for someone. One day I got an email from someone in Poland (Karol Wisniewski) saying he had the perfect guy for my project - but they were on the other side of the world. He sent me some samples from Pawel and I was blown away. He has a very unique style that people sometimes compare to Templesmith, whose artwork I love... but I think Pawel's attention to detail is greater and this makes him stand out a bit rather than be a clone. Then I was told that he hand paints his pages. But all the while I thought this was insane... besides the whole language barrier, what happens if I pay this guy and he runs off with the money. Or what if he gets in a car wreck and I never hear from them again? Karol was persistent and was confident they could make it work. They even took a scene from the script and drew it. The artwork from this blew me away. So I decided if I was going to make my first book it might as well be with the best artist and why make it easy? And I guess this doesn't happen every day, but I got the money for the book immediately after I presented the investor with those sample pages.
Horror News Network: What has impressed you the most with his artwork on this title?
Ryan Colucci: The texture. His coloring (he handpainted a good portion of the book) has really captured the tone of the piece. I grew up a comic geek, I am still a comic geek - and I have to admit that I would geek out everytime I got pages in. He really captured the dark, creepy nature of this town - at least how we envisioned it. The best moments were when he would send pages with blood splatter - they're my favorite.
Horror News Network: Do you have any other plans for this series or is it a mini and done?
Ryan Colucci: We definitely have future plans for this. We actually sat down with the intention of writing it as a trilogy. So, if there is an appetite for it then there will be more stories that follow this storyline...
There are also plans to do a Brotherhood of the Moon spin-off that ties into the first book.
We may also do a book that includes a series of separate stories that tie into the first book - following characters from the first book in the lead-up to Harbor Moon.
But it is all up to the fans and their appetite for more. We're ready to get to work... Karol Wisniewski has been extremely helpful in this regard and he may even come onboard to write some of this .
Horror News Network: Where can our readers find out more about Harbor Moon?
Ryan Colucci: We have a Facebook Page and everything is on our website - www.harbor-moon.com. It has a news section which will update what's going on and where the creative team is going next in terms of conventions and things like that.
We've got some cool things on there, like the history of werewolves and all of the legends throughout the years. Including a list of all of the sightings throughout history.
We are also working on building the store, where fans can get books, original pages of artwork from the book, art prints, t-shirts and things like that.
The other section we are working on deals with The Brotherhood of the Moon. We're going to expand that universe and give the readers a lot of information on how they came about and the workings of such a clandestine organization.
Horror News Network: In closing, what would you like to say about Harbor Moon?
Ryan Colucci: I'd like to thank you for this interview. You guys are awesome. Anyone can read the first 23 pages on the website... so give it a shot. That's all we ask. And let me know what you all think - the email on the website goes directly to me. I promise I read and respond to everything sent my way. Even questions about getting your own book off the ground... Thanks!
Horror News Network: Thank you for your time, Ryan.
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