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Comic Writer VITO DELSANTE Discusses ‘STRAY’ and ‘WORLD WAR MOB’

Photo by Seth Kushner

Forces of Geek’s Cosmic Treadmill talks to writer Vito Delsante about hisupcoming projects, including the Kickstarter book Stray and next year’s gangster war story World War Mob

The Stray campaign is in the final stretch, so check out the video there and see Vito and Sean’s amazing superhero comic concept and consider becoming a backer in these last days of the campaign!

Vito took some time out his busy schedule to discuss the Kickstarter, his upcoming work and his plans for conquering the comics industry in 2014.

FOG!: Vito – thanks so much for joining us today. And congrats on your Kickstarter reaching its goal! How has the comic book community reacted to Stray?

VD: That’s hard to say. I mean, it’s a creator owned book that’s not endorsed by Image Comics, so no one really knows about it. Those that do, however, seem to be behind it 100%. Maybe more.

The character designs are amazing; how did you hook up with Sean Izaakse for Stray?

I had been “watching” him on DeviantArt, this site for artists of all different disciplines, for a bit, and was a fan of his designs. 

Doberman & Rottweiler created by Vito Delsante and Sean Izaakse

Eventually, I commissioned him to do a character of mine, which ended up being for Project: Rooftop. And…we kept on talking.

You’ve even got a couple of days left for stretch goals — should people still back you? What do you have in store in the final stretch?

Yeah, people should still look to back us.

I know it looks as if we are funded, and we are.

Our initial goal was $8000 and we’ve gone past that, but…and this is what needs to be stressed…we’ve merely funded the first issue.

Out of four.

It’s a long uphill battle, but I feel like, if we can fund two out of the four, we will be extremely successful.

And I know how that sounds; it sounds like double talk. But I’m telling you; two is better than one even if it isn’t better than four.

What’s your involvement with New Paradigm Studios – we see them approaching publishing from a bit of a different angle.

Honestly, I’m just an idea guy and a freelance writer. They’ve given me a forum to publish. It’s a little more cut and dry with World War Mob than it is with Stray. The way I’ve been describing our relationship with Stray is…they are sponsoring it. In other words, they are facilitating it getting into direct market comic shops. The burden of producing the book is on Sean and I (and our team).

In Stray, Rottweiler’s mentor has been murdered and he’s out to get to the bottom of the mystery. What sets Rottweiler’s world apart from the superhero stories we are used to?

Probably nothing! I like to tell folks that it’s a DC Comics hero written in a Marvel Comics world. What that means is…it’s an iconic, almost mythological, character written in a real world setting.

The universe, for lack of a better term, that my superheroes inhabit has a few fictional cities, but Stray takes place in New York City of 2015. What that means is…well, probably not much, but in terms of backgrounds and setting, you have fashions that are cyclical…something we’ve seen in the past coming back. The buildings are updated, especially downtown. This is a new, but familiar world.

You’ve also got a new book, World War Mob with artist Giancarlo Caracuzzo coming out in January. These are very different books! How did the Mafia manipulate the outcome of World War II?

Without being too much of a shill, you’ll have to buy the book to find that out.

But, I can tell you this. It’s no secret to anyone that knows history that “Lucky” Luciano helped the military out during the War. Mostly in terms of keeping the docks safe. So, a precedent is set; you have a known criminal acting as hero.

And sure, it’s probably all for his benefit in the long run, but on paper, if you didn’t know the conditions under which he was brought into those operations, and you saw his name on a list of war heroes, it’d stick out.

Did they manipulate the outcome of the War? My answer is, “Maybe.”

The opening pages remind me of Goodfellas, “You look like a gangster”. A few years later, in the Army in France, Vinny is “pulled back in” to cross reference another great movie. How was the war affected by gangsters going back to Europe?

I think…wait, let me say this first.

In all of comics, I don’t think anyone has touched on this. The fact that, you know, if a draft was in place, then wise guys from the neighborhood must have been drafted.

So, let’s think about this for a second. You have some guys, very much used to murder and death and all sorts of dark business, pulled into an international war. What does that do to them? What does something like the Battle of the Bulge or the Normandy Invasion do to a guy who used to collect money from local businessmen for protection? Who gets changed by the War and who uses it to their advantage? What does a world war do to a man who has always been a soldier?

That’s one of the questions we’re asking in the book because, no matter what you think, the answer is never cut and dry.

You’re writing is very fast paced and full of action. How many issues do you have planned for Stray and World War Mob? Does World War Mob have a Kickstarter as well?

Both are four issues. Stray is actually planned for four volumes.

World War Mob has a potential sequel, and that won’t make sense until you read the first one all the way through. We didn’t do a Kickstarter for it, and I think that’s a good move on our part. This story has the potential to take off and be bigger than anyone is expecting, but as a Kickstarter campaign, it might get lost in the shuffle. Granted, I’ve only run one, so I might not know what I’m talking about.

No one likes to dig up the past, least of all DC, but you’ve already got quite a pedigree in comics. Was it your absolute dream to write Superman #676? Great issue! I love one-off Superman stories!

The issue is a source of pride, but very painful for me. I went into on my blog around the time of Superman’s 75th birthday this year.

On one hand, it’s an incredible honor to write, literally, the first superhero (yeah, I know…Gilgamesh, Jason and others. Whatever you say…Superman was first).

But bringing that story to life was not easy. It cost me a bit of my soul, in a way.

Next year looks like it will be huge for you, Vito, congrats. What else can we look forward to from your studio? Compliments on being able to write such a good range of different kinds of stories!

After these two…I should probably quit while I’m ahead. However, there are a few things on tap. ChrisCross, the artist (not the band), and I have started our own transmedia concern called Eternal Kick. We hope to have our initial title coming out of there soon. I may be involved with a certain company’s superhero line (let the guessing games begin, but eagle eyed readers will have already heard or seen this tidbit mentioned already). FCHS Volume 2 is being worked on as we speak. And as of the new year, we will be resuming Prisoner of None, my webcomic with David Bednarski.

Thanks so much, we look forward to running into you soon!

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