If you haven’t picked it up yet, then do so immediately. I’m not kidding. Don’t be an idiot and trade-wait like I did for Postal (another title written by Hill), which is now being turned into a television series. Pick up the singles and cement your future comic hipster cred.
For those of you who did pick up Romulus #1, however, you have no doubt confirmed what we told you a few weeks ago: This book is going to be awesome.
You also might have a few questions about what you read. Thankfully, Mr. Hill was gracious enough to sit down and divulge a bit about what we can expect and the inspiration behind the story.
WARNING: This interview will contain spoilers for the first issue of Romulus (which you should have already bought/read, anyway).
AiPT!: Where did the idea/inspiration for Romulus come from?
Bryan Edward Hill: Recently, I’ve been studying Jung and his concepts about the collective unconscious. Stories come from a combination of internal desire and the external influences that swirl around you. Philosophically, I’ve wanted to address that feeling we all share, that feeling that the world is owned by the few and suffered by the many. That’s where the concept began.
Ashlar herself happened when I was strolling around Downtown Los Angeles, just people watching. I saw a young woman skateboarding underneath an overpass, hitting her lines and working a grind for a video. She must have tried that grind line at least fifteen times, sometimes going down HARD, but she kept getting up, palms bleeding, and getting back to the work. After she nailed it, I spoke to her for a bit. I asked her how she kept her focus and she talked about refusing to give up.
From that moment, I knew I wanted the hero of Romulus to embody that philosophy. I grew up reading Batman stories where Bruce would push through pain and fear to protect Gotham. I spoke to Nelson (Blake II) about doing something like that with Romulus, a book about its concept but also about what it takes to tackle adversity and bear with setbacks. He agreed that it was a good direction and we just attacked the story from there.
AiPT!: Is Romulus firmly planted in the realm of science fiction and secret societies, or is there a supernatural element the mythos, as well?
Hill: I’m a longtime student of the esoteric, the mystery schools, things people would consider arcane in nature. I believe that we, as people, have potential that reaches past what most traditional perspectives teach. I’m a martial artist, so I’ve felt the power of chi, and I’ve known people who had preternatural abilities of intuition. What’s most important is I don’t believe any of us can’t access these abilities, but we have to maintain the discipline required to expand our limits. You’ll see those explorations in Romulus, for sure.
AiPT!: Will we see things happening in Romulus that also reference/interact directly with real world events (like that awesome Kennedy letter at the end of the first issue)?
Hill: YES! I love history and its influence on our present. THE ORDER OF ROMULUS, in the story, has had a finger on the significant events of world history—hopefully I can put real-world history into the book and lead people to studying hidden aspects of the world we all share.
AiPT!: While I thought you and Nelson Blake did a superb job relating Ashlar’s origin in a condensed format, there was definitely a lot of history we missed. Will we get some longer looks into her past as the series goes on?
Hill: Most assuredly. Whenever I create a story I explore a tremendous amount of backstory and create a hyper-detailed journal of the lives of the characters and the history that existed before them. You can’t throw everything into a first issue, but as the series continues we’ll see more and more details of Ashlar’s world, the world of her mother Axis, and the hidden history of The Order of Romulus.
AiPT!: What about Axis? Will we see her time in the Order of Romulus before and after Ashlar was born? During her time on the run from the Order?
Hill: I looooooove Axis. Readers seem to really be interested in her, as well. Expect more Axis in Romulus and if there’s an appetite for it, maybe Axis will get a mini-series of her own!
AiPT!: Will you ever revisit how The Order’s female assassins were replaced by The Hunters?
Hill: Definitely. The story of the Wolves vs. The Hunters is a dramatization of what often happens between warriors and rulers. Rulers need warriors, but they also fear the strength of the warrior class. There’s a lot there to unpack.
AiPT!: Aside from people Ashlar saves, will she always be a lone wolf, or will she develop a supporting cast and/or find other warrior allied to her cause?
Hill: It’s hard to fight an organization like THE ORDER OF ROMULUS by yourself. Perhaps Ashlar will realize this and find a community of the like-minded, or perhaps pride will prevent her from making those connections. Keep reading and we’ll find out together.
AiPT!: I had assumed that the Order of Romulus was a stand in for everyone’s go to secret society, The Illuminati. Then I saw that they’re entering the fray next issue. Will Ashlar and The Order be going up against other fictional (and not so fictional) shadow organizations?
Hill: The actual history of secret societies is a history of groups vying for power against one another, working from the shadows, spilling each other’s blood. Even in the world of esoteric conspiracy, there is human ambition and the development of factions.
Nothing in Romulus is as simple as it seems.
AiPT!: Okay, this might be a really stupid question, but I have to ask: Will Ashlar ever encounter David Icke’s Lizard People? Because as utterly stupid as that conspiracy is, I’d really like to see Nelson Blake draw them.
Hill: HAHAHAHA. No plans at the moment. Icke is actually interesting if you can move past the sheer nuttiness of his claims, but Romulus is a story about belief systems and mystery organizations rooted in human civilization. It’s not a full stop “never,” but exploring Queen Elizabeth the Lizard Tyrant might be another book.
AiPT!: Any chance of Romulus interacting with Postal or other titles in the Top Cow universe? I’m not sure the world could handle the awesomeness of Ashlar and Laura Shiffron in the same scene.
Hill: Hmmm. That IS interesting. Never really considered that. I don’t think I’ll link those worlds any time soon, but I can say that Mark and Laura from Postal are ardent readers of Romulus. Maybe I’ll have Maggie from Postal dress up like Axis for Halloween.
Pictured: How Ash deals with unwanted cosplay attempts.
Thank you to Brian Edward Hill for taking the time to speak with us AND creating one of our new favorite books.
Romulus #2 is currently scheduled for release on November 30. Romulus #1 is currently available on Comixology or at your local comic shop (and should already be on your pull list).