Swords, sandals and the supernatural!
Swords, sandals and the supernatural!
"Rennie and Gallagher talk ‘Aquila’ for the 12 Days of Thargmas "
On the second day of Christmas, my true love gave to me... Two Art Droids and a Mek-Quake chewing on me.

Continuing our Tharg-blessed progression to the Tide of Yule (which laps against the shore of Christmas, just across from the Winterval estuary),’s Ed Kaye talked to Gordon Rennie and Leigh Gallagher about their forthcoming swords-sandals-and-sorcery epic, AQUILA, which premieres in Prog 2012, available from 14th December from all good Thrill merchants!

2000 AD: Aquila is a brand new Thrill, debuting in Prog 2012. What sort of story is it, and what can fans expect?

Gordon: Well, if you're expecting Black Hawk Redux, then you're hopefully going to be sorely disappointed. It's partly inspired by the old strip, but really takes an immediate left turn and goes off in a different direction entirely. It's set against a backdrop of real history, although historical liberties have been taken, by virtue of dramatic licence. (For example: Julius Caesar's first beachhead landing on British soil was a fairly sedate affair, and not really like an Ancient World version of the opening of Saving Private Ryan...) Although heavily based on real-world events, there's also a strong fantasy/supernatural element to it. Oh, and it's a bit grim. The prologue opens with the mass crucifixion of the 6,000 survivors of the Spartacus slave rebellion, and proceeds on in a similar cheery note.

2000 AD: As this is just the prologue, when can fans expect to see the rest of the story?

Gordon: The pitch for the first series, called ‘Londinium’, and set in 60AD, is currently sitting in Tharg's in-tray, awaiting feedback and – hopefully – the go order. [It features] lots of real history stuff. Lots of Roman Empire stuff. Lots of grim sword-and-sandals stuff. Lots of wandering the Ancient World in search of... something.

2000 AD: Your artwork on Defoe has a very “period” look to it, which is quite distinct from your work on Dredd. What approach have you taken with Aquila, and how would you describe the look of it?

Leigh: Aquila will look closer to my recent Dredd work rather than Defoe. This is mainly due to the fact that the talented Dylan Teague has coloured it beautifully, and I'm using more imaginative panel layouts to better display the more shall we say, superhuman action scenes.

2000 AD: What was your favourite thing to write or illustrate on this story?

Gordon: Probably the bit where one of the characters in the story wonders if Aquila might not be Jesus of Nazareth.

Leigh: It has to be the big final splash page! Gordon just let me go crazy with it. Very happy with how it ended up, and after Dylan got his hands on it I turned it into my screensaver. If people don't let out a slow orgasmic moan upon seeing it, they are clearly dead inside.

Michael Molcher

Monday 5th December 2011