Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Lance Star: Sky Ranger Volume 3 Launch Interview: Van Allen Plexico

With the release of the third volume of Lance Star: Sky Ranger from Airship 27 Productions and Cornerstone Books, we here at Sky Ranger Central talked to the creators, writers, artists, and publishers involved with the latest installment in the Lance Star: Sky Ranger series.
Next up is Lance Star: Sky Ranger writer, Van Allen Plexico.

LSSR: Tell us a little about yourself and where readers can find out more about you and your work?

VAP: I’m the literary offspring of the mating of a Roger Zelazny novel with a Jim Starlin comic book.

I was writing as far back as junior high school. I always wanted to do big, cosmic space opera stories, either as comics or novels or both. About eight or nine years ago I got serious about it, resulting in LUCIAN: DARK GOD’S HOMECOMING, a sort of SF/Fantasy/murder mystery novel from the first-person perspective of (basically) the Devil. It was published by Airship 27.

Not long after, I found a way to combine my love for space opera novels with my love for superhero comics, and started writing the SENTINELS books—which are (as you might have guessed) novels about a superhero team, set in an SF-oriented modern day universe. Basically these books give me the opportunity to utilize tons and tons of my own interpretations of ideas, concepts, tropes, and elements of the great comics of the last forty-plus years in one big, ongoing storyline.

A couple of years after starting to write the SENTINELS books, I branched out into what has become the New Pulp movement, writing characters such as the Griffon, Sherlock Holmes, Mars McCoy, Gideon Cain, and now Lance Star.

If any of this sounds appealing, folks can learn more at http://www.plexico.net/ or at my Amazon Authors Page: http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B002QISYCA

LSSR: How did you become involved with the Lance Star: Sky Ranger series?

VAP: You invited me! And how could I say no? It’s a great character; great milieu; great opportunity to tell a good, fun story with a good cast and all kinds of action thrown in.

LSSR: Who is Lance Star? What makes pulp characters like Lance and the Sky Rangers appeal to you as a writer and a reader?

VAP: For me, Lance is a sort of prototypical Thirties hero with a great supporting cast. These characters are enduring; they will always have great appeal. They are able to rise up and do the hard things that have to be done, that no one else can do, in order to save the day. That is the essence of pulp.

LSSR: Your Lance Star: Sky Ranger story in Volume 3 is called “Thunder Over China.” What can you tell us about this story?

VAP: Several ideas were already bumping around in my head when the opportunity came to write this story. I had been working on a new character—a secret agent operating during the 1930s, who wasn’t the most upstanding kind of guy; sort of rumpled and drunk half the time, yet very effective when the chips were down. I’d also recently read a James Bond novel that involved a plane crash in the Himalayas. And I’ve taught enough Chinese history in my other life as a college professor to know about the Kuomintang. All of this came together in conjunction with Lance and his supporting cast, as well as a fancy-pants British pilot who could give Lance a run for his money, and of course a secret villain society. After that, it just became a matter of typing the story down fast enough!

I think readers will really enjoy it. It has lots of character interaction and conflict, a couple of air battles, and an anti-hero you’ll probably want to punch yourself before you’re finished.

LSSR: Any upcoming projects you would like to plug?

VAP: The latest SENTINELS novel, STELLARAX, came out only a few weeks ago to rave reviews. (Both Kirkus Reviews and Pulp Fiction Reviews had really nice things to say!) It’s the concluding volume in the “Rivals” trilogy, in which what’s left of the team has to face no fewer than FOUR Galactus-level threats at once. Yeah, good luck with that, guys!

All of the SENTINELS books, as well as LUCIAN: DARK GOD’S HOMECOMING, have recently been made available for Kindle and other e-Readers. See Amazon for the Kindle editions and Smashwords.com for the others.

In just a few months, a new anthology I’m editing will debut. (And I’m hoping there will be a Bobby Nash story in it!) All I can say for now is, James Burns (Lance Star: One Shot) is doing the cover, Chris Kohler (Sentinels; Portland Underground) is doing the interior art, and the characters and setting will have readers harking back to a really fondly-recalled animated show a few years back, that involved none other than Jack “King” Kirby. The piece of interior art by Chris that I’m including here might offer the slightest hint. Just can’t wait to get this one out to the public!

LSSR: Thanks , Van.

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