An interview With Titan Comics’ Writer George Mann

Author of Warhammer 40,000 Vol 2: Revelation

Titan Publishing has been a publisher of comics, graphic novels, fiction, and licensed based publishing for over thirty years. Since 1981, they have delivered content for many big licensed film and television properties, including The Walking Dead, Star Wars, Transformers, and Star Trek. They have also become the de facto leader in the industry for comics related to video game properties including Assassin’s Creed, Warhammer, Wolfenstein, etc.

This is our interview with writer George Mann who released the Warhammer 40,000 Vol. 2: Revelations TPB (Trade Paperback, aka “Graphic Novel”) back in November of 2017. Since many of our readers might not be familiar with Titan Comics how about introducing yourself a bit George? How did you get into writing? What is your experience with the Warhammer IP?

George Mann: Hello! Well, where to start? I’ve always been a writer, for as long as I can remember, although it wasn’t until my first novel was published, about ten years ago, that I realised I could make a professional career out of it. Lots of novels followed, and continue to follow! I started writing comics in 2014, although I’ve been a comics reader since I was a kid, so it’s been a real treat to turn my hand to this favourite of mediums.

As for Warhammer, I spent many years working for Games Workshop [GW], so the IP is very familiar and I’m incredibly fond of it. I’ve also written for Black Library, so when the opportunity came up to write this comic series, I leapt at it!

GS: Warhammer 40,000 Vol. 2: Revelations is the second trade paperback (or collection of single comic issues, in this case issues #5-8) featuring a new story arc and the Eldar Harlequins. How does this story arc cross over with any Warhammer 40,000 video games, does it just run parallel to them?

George: There’s no specific crossover with any of the video games. The Warhammer 40,000 universe is so big and rich that there’s scope to tell all sorts of different tales. Early in the development of this series, we decided to carve out a new, previously unseen sector of space in which to set our stories, in order to give ourselves as much latitude as possible. It means that we can tell meaningful stories that are impacted by what’s going on in the main GW background but don’t interfere with it. It also means that we’re operating in an environment where no one is safe – any of our characters could die at any moment!

GS: When writing for an IP as large as Warhammer 40,000 how do you go about deciding what to write and how far in advance? Do you draw any inspiration from the game’s campaigns? Also, a lot of Titan Comic’s series seem to fall into four parts, does that come into play in your writing?

George: We tend to plan a year in advance, working out the broad beats of the story. That way we can foreshadow things nicely and tell an ongoing story that always feels as if it’s building to something momentous.

I absolutely draw inspiration from all the great work the team at GW are doing – the comic doesn’t exist in isolation, and all the fantastic stories, artwork and miniatures that GW are constantly developing is like brain fuel for me and the team!

The four-part structure is pretty standard in comics these days, in that you always want the trade collections (which tend to contain four or five issues) to feel like a complete chapter of the bigger story. So, I plan on four issue arcs, and so a year’s worth of comics becomes three trade collections, comprising the beginning, middle and end of a larger narrative.

GS: Looking back on the four issues in this volume what was your favorite “moment”?

George: I think it has to be that moment when Sabbathiel first dons her Terminator armour. For me, that’s absolutely iconic, and the team worked so hard to get it right. It absolutely paid off.

GS: Do you have a favorite character in this Warhammer 40,000 series that you always look forward to writing about?

George: Without doubts, it’s Inquisitor Sabbathiel. For me she’s the standout character of the series, and Tazio did such an amazing job on her design. She’s incredibly passionate, but somewhat misguided, and I enjoy writing interactions between her and Fitch in particular.

GS: In this second volume, covering issues #5-8, you had the same team behind you (Tazio Bettin,‎ Enrica Angiolini abd Rob Steen) that you had for the first four issues. Consistency is something the big comic publishers in the States always seem to grapple with. Having this consistency must be a nice benefit?

George: Oh, it’s an amazing team to work with, and I feel incredibly lucky to be part of it. I think that consistency really helps give a sense that the whole 12 issue run of the first year is a complete work. And I’ve absolutely come to rely on the team, who really seem to understand my intentions, and then visualise them in a way that’s always better than I could have ever imagined. In every script I apologise to Tazio for trying to push him harder and further (‘wouldn’t it be great if we could try this…’), and every time he outdoes himself.

GS: If someone is new to the Warhammer 40,000 IP could they jump right in by reading Warhammer 40,000 Vol. 1: Will of Iron before reading this latest trade paperback and still follow the story arc appropriately in volume 2?

George: That was certainly our aim! Will of Iron was intended to be a jumping on point for new readers, and an introduction to the 40K universe as a whole. That said, we purposefully didn’t spend ages trying to explain everything upfront – we want people to be carried along by the story and if they’re not familiar with the setting, hopefully, there’s enough in there that they’ll learn as they go.

GS: Are you finding most of the series’ fans are fans of the Warhammer 40,000 video games and/or tabletop games or just comic book fans in general?

George: It’s a real mix of all of them! I talk to people who are seasoned 40K veterans, and others who are comic readers who were drawn in by the visuals and characters. Which is brilliant to hear. We want the comic to appeal to as wide an audience as possible. Hopefully, if you’re an existing 40K fan you’ll find lots to enjoy in there, and if you’re new to the 40K universe you’ll find yourself drawn in and wanting to find out more.

GS: Any other Titan Comic projects you’re working on? You just finished or are working on the next Warhammer 40,000 comic book story arc “Fallen” as well.

George: Certainly more 40K! And hopefully more Doctor Who, too. Other than that, we’ll see what the future brings. Titan are working with so many great properties at the moment. First and foremost, though, I’m keen to keep exploring this new corner of the 40K universe we’ve been developing.

GS: George, thanks for your time! In parting we’d like you to have a chance to end saying whatever you’d like to your fans and potential readers!

George: I’d just like to thank people for reading and supporting the comic. It makes such a difference to know there are people out there following the story of Baltus, Sabbathiel and the gang!

Written by
Scott is a comic book, music and gaming nerd since the late 70s. Gaming all began on the Colecovision and Atari 2600. He buys and reads new comics every Wednesday from his LCBS and helps run an online Heavy Metal radio station.

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