Exclusive - Thirteen Questions to Moonstone's Head Honcho - Joe Gentile (4/16/02)

With the release of the first issue of Moonstone's new "Kolchak: The Night Stalker" comic, Joe Gentile took time out of his schedule to answer an appropriate number of questions about the first issue and the future of Kolchak and Moonstone.

1) Choosing to adapt the original tele-movie seems a logical place to start. Still, how are you choosing the order of Kolchak issues?
Joe: Well, things don't always go according to plan...We originally wanted to alternate between adaptations and original stories, but different artists work at a different pace, so books aren't always done when you need them to be. We don't foresee many more adaptations, for I am not a fan of them much.

2) How much did Jeff Rice change/add to the original TV movie when doing the adaptation? Some stuff seems different from the novel, the movie, or both.
Joe: Jeff pulled from both his novel and the TV movie script. He added a couple of scenes, that maybe add up to about three pages worth of material. We felt it was important character stuff that we needed. If you don't get to know the characters, then you don't care what happens to them. The added stuff had to do with Sam, some of the ending sequence with the stake was expanded, and the consequences thereof.

3) What was the situation with using the likenesses of actors from the series and movies? For instance, the Tony Vincenzo shown in your samples of "Get of Belial" looks a lot more like Simon Oakland than the one in the movie adaptation in Issue #1.
Joe: This is a very nebulous issue. Each artist has his own take on the characters, or at least their own style. Some are closer to McGavin and the rest, while others are not. This book would not be possible if we had to pay for any kind of likeness rights. We just get it so the charcters look "similar", which is very hard to define.

4) When exactly are the events of the movie adaptation supposed to take place? There are a lot of references to 70's events (particularly Nixon) and very little reference to events between 1972 and 2002 (such as in Skorzeny's history). On the other hand, the 1992 movie "Innocent Blood" appears on a marquee as an in-joke, people are using remote phones, the newspaper's web site URL is listed, etc.
Joe: This is a production gaffe, unfortunately. The entire issue is supposed to take place in 1972, just like the movie.

5) Will you continue to do adaptations of the remaining movie and some TV episodes, or will Moonstone confine itself to original works ("Shock Fever") and adaptations of unfilmed material ("Get of Belial", Dawidziak's "Grave Secrets")?
Joe: We will mostly be doing original material from this point on, although I certainly see this as the opposite of "confining". We have one or two "lost episode" scripts that we might adapt, and Mark's novel, and the remote possibility of "Night Strangler", but that is it.

6) If you do original stories, where will they be set? Mark Dawidziak set his Kolchak sequel "Grave Secrets" in Los Angeles/Hollywood and we see Carl heading that way at the end of Issue #1. Or will you continue to set the stories in Chicago, particularly if you do adaptations of the TV episodes? Or will it be a mix?
Joe: Mostly, the stories are set in Hollywood. They all will occur in the present day. We are trying to bring more readers in, so we thought keeping the characters the way we remember them, but just teleporting them to the present, would be the best thing to do. That is what Jeff (and Mark obviously) has wanted to do as well.

7) In "Grave Secrets," Mark Dawidziak played with the timelessness of Kolchak, ignoring the 25 year gap between the end of the series and his own novel. Will you show the modern-day 2002 Kolchak as 30 years older than he was in the Night Stalker movie and your adaptation, or will you treat him in a similar "timeless" manner?
Joe: Kolchak will remain timeless. There's not a compelling argument why we wouldn't.

8) Who will be some of the artists, writers, etc. working on Kolchak in the future? Particularly those who have been involved in the past (thinking of David Chase... :) )
Joe: In no particular order: Jeff Rice, Mark Dawidziak, Stuart M Kaminsky, Gordon Purcell, Terry Pallot, Doug Klauba, Ken Meyer Jr, Dave Ulanski, Art Nichols, Joe Gentile, Trevor Von Eden, Christopher Jones, Barbara Schulz, Stefan Petrucha, etc.

9) Will Jeff Rice continue to write for the comic on occasion?
Joe: That's an unknown at this time. He last expressed interest in just doing a "Strangler" adaptation.

10) Will Moonstone's writers expand on the characters: Kolchak, Vincenzo, the INS office staff from the series, the characters Mark Dawidziak created for "Grave Secrets", etc.?
Joe: Moonstone will be expanding the characters of Kolchak and Tony, that's for sure. Again, that's another reason for doing original stories.

11) Will we see more of Carl's life before the events in Las Vegas?
Joe: Good idea, but seeing as how we're trying to move everything to the present, that might be difficult.

12) Will Moonstone do any Kolchak stories that try and fill in the gaps that fans sometimes wonder about? Does Carl ever try and find Sam? Do we find out what happened to Louise Harper (from "The Night Strangler") after she left Seattle with Carl and Tony? Will we ever see some of Jeff Rice's characters like Titus Berry, Dr. Kirsten Helms, and Janie Watkins again?
Joe: Well, yes and no to all of those questions. Neither we nor Jeff want any kind of "sequel" to any of the stories. I'm a huge fan of Sam, though, so you never know. And at the very least, you will see Prof Helms again.

13) Both Jeff Rice and Darren McGavin expressed an interest in doing non-supernatural Kolchak stories. And some critics griped about Kolchak's "monster of the week" format. Will every issue still be Kolchak dealing with some kind of supernatural menace, or will Moonstone occasionally do a non-supernatural issue with Kolchak?
Joe: Here lies the crux of the entire Kolchak thing, really. Yes, it's true that Jeff wanted to take his reporter more the non-supernatural way. We agree as well. However, there are just as many fans of that "monster of the week" format. When fans talk to us about Kolchak, they remember the monsters. So, we are trying to start off with the monster-thing, for we believe that's how to get fans into the book. We will sprinkle in some character stuff, have Kolchak question his involvement in this strange occurrences, and then maybe, do something a little more, well, different. There's a non-supernatural story in the pipeline, but we're trying to time things right, and not do things too fast, and risk the integrity of the character. Plus, we don't want to change the character too much from what many people have fond memories of.

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