If you’ve never heard of Lance Henriksen you have most likely been living under some sort of strange substance. While he has appeared in well over 150 movies and TV shows he is probably most noted for his turn as Bishop in Aliens and Frank Black on the TV series Millennium. He has worked with everyone from Arnold Schwarzenegger and Jean Claude Van Damme to Bruce Willis and Leonardo DiCaprio just to name a very few. With his recognizable look and voice he has always brought something special to every role he plays. Now he is taking on a whole new genre with his new comic mini-series To Hell You Ride from Dark Horse Comics, alongside Tom Mandrake and Joseph Maddrey and I got the chance to sit down to talk about it with this legendary icon.
Bobby: Good morning sir, how are you today?
Lance: I’m good man, I’m good.
Bobby: Thanks for taking the time to do this; I’m a huge fan so this is a great honor for me.
Lance: Oh hey thank you, thank you very much Bobby.
Bobby: You’re here promoting your new comic To Hell You Ride from Dark Horse, can you tell us a little about where this idea came from and how you got into this industry?
Lance: The result of this is I’ve never been prouder than this for anything I’ve ever done. I’ve worked with Joe Maddrey before and Tom Mandrake who is doing the art; we’ve had an extraordinary adventure together the three of us, including Dark Horse. They’ve been very supportive of us in the way we’ve approached this. This story came out of a script that I wrote twenty years ago, then a young actor with no work. Then I wrote a script that I’ve got the starring role in, but of course the thing never went anywhere and it was finally lost, then twenty years go by and Dark Horse asks me if I would like to do a comic. I met them down in San Diego Comic Con and I said sure and then this is what we used, the idea of that story that I had already written years ago. But I had been up there in the early 70’s and the whole story had just fallen in my lap the way the way the place looked, it had those vertical cliffs, it was a box canyon and there was very few people there because it was in between summer and winter and it’s sort of the end of the road, that highway that goes there is a dead end. So I was like who are these people, who lives here, why and that started the seed in my head. The story came to me very quickly and now that we’ve worked on it for about a year and a half already it’s really developed into this incredible kind of story. The first comic is coming out in a very short time on 12/12/12. We are way into the comic already into the fourth issue now and there are only five, it’s a complete story and five by the way at twenty two pages is the exact amount is a script again, so wouldn’t it be funny to go through the looking glass put out the comic and then suddenly it becomes a movie, which it was meant to be that in the first place.
Bobby: I’ve actually read the first issue and loved it. I have to admit I’m not a usually a big fan of the supernatural western genre but because I’m a huge fan of yours and decided to give it a shot and was immediately sucked in. Mandrake’s art was so good with an old school feel to it, how much input did you have on character designs and things?
Lance: We all did it together, I mean literally Tom had gotten all five scripts and knew what the story was and the deal we made was that we were going to process this, we are going to talk constantly on Skype, then Tom would do pencils and we would discuss them at what the characters are looking like and how they are going to come off and it’s been a process that’s normally not used in comics. You know what I mean, it’s been very intimate with us and we all get inspired ironically in the same way. If it’s truthful and there’s and authenticity to it then we’re good and Tom, his drawings are very dramatic, it’s really going to change my acting somehow because it had to be so specific and there’s no sound or movement, so it’s very restraining at first and then I realized without restraint there’s no art and especially in this one. So we were forming up the imagery based on the intention, which really God it’s great, a really great process.
Bobby: I love that almost that whole first issue is told through narration and very little dialogue, and mostly all visual. As you mentioned it was approached like a movie and felt like that instead of just a page by page comic book.
Lance: Right and in a lot of ways that’s what it ought to be. To me if you’re going to tell a story, you better find a way of doing it because those word balloons are a big drag, no matter how you cut it everybody wants to avoid them. You say exactly what you mean, because otherwise it ends up being something more akin to a newspaper than an intimate comic story.
Bobby: This one felt like everyone wasn’t just talking so the reader could figure out what was going on, his art tells you what’s going on and they only talked if they really needed too. It works beautifully, I went into it being a fan of yours as well as a fan of Mandrake’s Spectre stuff and decided to give it a shot just for that, but when I finished it I was ready to get that next issue because it’s cool, but this issue tells you a lot without ever really telling you anything.
Lance: Yeah, there are so many messages in that first comic that when you the second and third and other comics you will see that everything is so perfectly linked. I don’t want to tell you where this is going because it’s a little bit like dating a girl, you see how beautiful she is you look at her hands, the sound of her voice and all of that before you go and do the ultimate thing, you know what I mean. Its better that way, believe me by the time you get to the end of this you’re going to have been through something. It’s really good, I’m so excited about it getting out there, I really think the Native American community all over the country that it will resonate with them and I hope so. The whole comic is about a lot of respect, believe me.
Bobby: It’s also something completely different, of course you’re name on it will make it stand out because you have so many fans, but it’s just something completely different than anything else out there and offers something new to the industry that I think is missing.
Lance: And that is really good storytelling. A lot of the comics in the world, what they do is they write a script and get it to the artist and they never talk again. Then the comic comes out and a colorist does it and a caption guy does it, the letterer and all that stuff. There’s a disconnect there that’s not good, where as we used the process where we were in constant communication. Even with Dark Horse, they took a big chance. From the beginning we laid out the process we would like to use and at first they were concerned because I’ve never done a comic, but it’s worked out very well and I am certain they are happy.
Bobby: I’ve already told some people about it using your name to sell it to people that may not normally read this kind of thing. I am just hoping it does really well because once this series finishes I would like to see where it’s going to go.
Lance: We’ve got some big surprises coming man. You know it’s western, but it’s mostly modern day.
Bobby: That’s one thing I loved about it, it’s got that western aspect, but mostly is here in the now. You mentioned earlier that this was originally a movie script, is the plan to hopefully still turn this into a film after the series is done?
Lance: Well of course I’m an actor and in fact I’m leaving to do a movie at the end of the week, but of course I would love to see it as a film, but as somebody at Dark Horse said and I really agree with this, you don’t start out telling an audience of comic book readers that you’re going to make a movie out it, because then if it doesn’t happen, the disappointment level is pretty high and I don’t want to do that. If it goes to a film that would be wonderful, but really our concern mostly was just getting this story out in this format and we’re loving every minute of it. We are totally devoted to that there’s no moves towards a film in anyway shape or form, but of course being an actor you know where I’m coming from. You know this process is unique to me.
Bobby: That’s one thing that steps it apart, there have been numerous actors involved in comics and it adds a certain something different to the level of storytelling that is often missing in comics.
Lance: Again talking about Mandrake’s work it is so dramatic with what he is capable of. We share pages as soon as the pencils are done or the inks are done and I look at it and go “Oh, man! Man did he capture it.” Because I’m used to seeing storyboards my whole career. I’ve stood there and watched Jim Cameron’s storyboards and Spielberg’s and all these different people, I get a glimpse of them, or Paul Anderson who really works at storyboards and they are always fascinating to me, but they don’t have the same impact as a comic. You know comic is so its own thing and it’s pretty incredible. I love this genre; I mean I love telling a story with these kinds of restraints on it.
Bobby: Once you wrap this one up, I hope we see a lot more of you doing this whether it’s more of this same one or some new ideas. While I know you are promoting the book as a fan I just have to ask, is there any plans or discussions to bring Frank Black back in some form?
Lance: You know there was a book that was written in England called ‘Back to Frank Black’ that’s a 500 page book that is all fan based. It’s pretty amazing and doing very well, it just came out and it’s all about trying to get FOX to do a film. So who knows, I think communication and connection is the biggest allies we have life. Who knows what’s going to happen, there are no guarantees, but man the push is on. Because of the way Millennium wrapped up I don’t think anyone was satisfied. Chris Carter wrote the introduction to the book and Spotnitz is in it, and every actor that was in the show, it’s really good.
Bobby: That’s awesome. Is there anything else you would like to promote or tell us about?
Lance: Nah man that’s my dinner, this whole thing has been like a feast.
Bobby: I really appreciate you taking the time to do this and hope to see you here in Texas again soon.
Lance: Hey buddy, I love Texas by the way I really do. Every time I do something in Texas it really goes well. I did a movie down in San Antonio called Champion and it’s made by people that are from Texas and it’s a good movie a good country movie.
Bobby: Do you have an official site or anything?
Lance: There’s a website called notbadforahuman.com just go to that.
Bobby: Thanks again, it’s been a real honor to get to speak to you about this book and I wish you continued luck and can’t wait to see what you have next.
Lance: Thank you my friend, thank you very much, if we’re ever in Dallas again together just come over and tap me on the shoulder buddy.
Bobby: Will do thanks again and have a safe trip.
Lance: Thank you.
For more information on To Hell You Ride head on over to www.darkhorsecomics.com
For more information on Lance Henriksen head over to www.notbadforahuman.com