Action, adventure, heroism, and overcoming impossible odds—that is what Harken’s Raiders promises in every page. Set against the backdrop of World War II Europe, the graphic novel comes from writer Ron Marz and artist Darryl Banks, the same creative force behind Green Lantern Kyle Rayner. The story follows Captain Harken and his team of American commandos as they sneak behind enemy lines to find a German scientist with the ability to stop the Nazi war machine. The mission is far from easy as the team faces attacks, setbacks, and a race against time to complete their critical goal.
Published by Ominous Press, the 64-page hardcover graphic novel’s Kickstarter campaign recently launched and has already garnered positive attention as well as almost 150 backers at the time of this writing. Rewards for backers include the first collection of Banks’ gorgeous art, beautifully compiled in Black Book: The Art of Darryl Banks, Ominous Press’s latest edition in the ongoing series of collected work by renowned comic artists. Other notable rewards include variant covers by Amrit Birdi and Craig Cermak as well as prints, signed copies of Silver Surfer #75 (Marz and Ron Lim), and Green Lantern issues signed by both Marz and Banks.
Marz gave us a little insight into how this project began and what fans can expect.
Deanna Destito: How did this project come about?
Ron Marz: It started with a man named Allen Cordrey, an Army veteran who has published some comics under his Vanbreed Studios banner, including a charity comic I worked on. Darryl and I both know Allen, and he came to me and told me his idea for what turned into Harken’s Raiders, and asked me if I would write it. I love doing period stories in general, and I’m a bit of a WWII buff, so I signed. Darryl also agreed, and we were off and running. As we got deeper into the project, it seemed like bringing it to Ominous Press, to gain a bigger platform, was the way to go.
Destito: Is this story or the characters based on any actual missions?
Marz: The mission and characters are fictional. But our characters work for the S.O.E., the Special Operations Executive, which was a real British organization in the war, the branch that directed a lot of the espionage resistance missions in occupied Europe. So we’re making up the story, but hopefully it has the feel of authentic history.
Destito: Considering our current political (and comic industry) climate and the parallels that many make to Hitler, WWII, etc., how important is a book like this?
Marz: Well, Nazis are always going to be the bad guys, whether it’s a World War II story or some hateful, ignorant jackasses carrying tiki torches or wearing Fred Perry polo shirts. It’s shocking we even have to point out that Nazis are the bad guys, but here we are. I think anybody that knows me, or even follows me on Twitter, knows I’m pretty left-leaning. But this isn’t a political story. It’s about good guys and bad guys, heroes and villains. I don’t have any problem putting political aspects in a story when it’s part of the story. But that wasn’t the case here.
Destito: How did Darryl come on board?
Marz: Darryl signed on just after I agreed to write it. I think the lure of working together again on a longer project was pretty strong for both of us. Then Dee Cunniffe signed on as colorist and really fit in with what we’re doing.
Destito: What makes you and Darryl such a good team?
Marz: I honestly don’t have a real answer for that, beyond sharing the same storytelling sensibilities. Writer-artist collaborations are a bit like alchemy, you’re not quite sure why particular ones work better than others. But you stick with the ones that do. In this case, I think part of it is that Darryl and I have worked together so much, I know how he approaches a page, so I script to that. And he knows what I’m looking for on the page, so he draws to that. It’s really a matter of two people working one goal. And then the colorist, and then the letterer, also working toward that same goal.
Destito: Including the Black Book series in this campaign is definitely a draw. Can you give us any teasers about other artists who may be featured in their own book down the line?
Marz: We’ve already got volumes on Jim Starlin, Graham Nolan, Bart Sears, and Andy Smith as part of the series, so Darryl’s will be the fifth. After that, we’ll be doing a book on Rick Leonardi, as well as one on Tom Raney. We’ve spoken to a number of artists about being included in the series, and we’ll have more of them announced next year.
Destito: In the Kickstarter video you mention how this story is about real people. No superpowers or cosmic rings. Are real-life stories a nice break from the superpowered crowd?
Marz: Honestly, I don’t approach the story any differently. Whether it’s a World War II adventure, or a cosmic crossover, or a cop wielding a supernatural artifact, my job is the same. I want to write characters you believe in, characters whose fates you care about so that you’re invested in the story. That never changes, regardless of what kind of story it is. If someone liked what Darryl and I did on Green Lantern, there’s a pretty good chance they’ll like what we’re doing on Harken’s Raiders.
To back this Kickstarter before it ends on Friday December 21, head to:
Deanna Destito is a writer and editor based in New Jersey. When she is not writing about comics or scripting her own stories, she’s watching the lowest budget horror movies available.