Packs Of The Lowcountry Interview

Posted May 29, 2015 by Alexander Handziuk in Comic Books

We The Nerdy Staff Writer Alex Handziuk had the privilege of sitting down with writer Jon Dudley and artist Don Cardenas to talk about their new miniseries, Packs of The Lowcountry, a post apocalyptic tale of werwolves, aliens and the people caught in between.

WTN: So for those who haven’t read it yet, can you give a quick synopsis of what Packs of The Lowcountry is all about?

Don/John: PotL takes place sixteen years after the world was invaded by monsters. Nobody knows what these murderous creatures are or where they came from. Dozens of different species of these nasties have claimed regions of the world as their own. Werewolves, giant kiaju-like creatures. You name it, the world’s now plagued with ’em all. Only one fortified human settlement of any consequence remains. Within the walls of this militarized city is a young ‘hero’ who serves as the lens of our story. Rather than biding his time safely behind the walls, this young man still believes that people should be trying to help the survivors still left out there with the monsters. As such, he accepts an ominous mission file called ‘The Packs of the Lowcountry’ report. With sparse (possibly even falsified) details to work with, he jumps into the land now ruled monsters with only a vague hint of what he’ll find. As such, the reader and this young man jump into the Packs world together. We jump into the lowcountry region of South Carolina.
Local Invader species: The Wolves.

We soon learn that the situation on the ground is somehow even worse than expected. The story is structured as a mystery, and our central protagonist and the reader have to pay attention (and watch their back).

The tension builds until it snaps. Then its monster/action/horror mayhem for the duration of this story’s six issues.

Heck, we may even discover what caused the invasion in the first place!

WTN: This series encompasses a number of different genres from horror and adventure to mystery and sci fi, was this genre bending something that was in the original plan or something that sort of melded together as the creative process went on?

Don: It was a natural progression of the story. As we began to dig into what type of imagery and look we wanted for the series we discovered how much it lent to all these genres, so we embraced it.

WTN: Three issues in we’ve been introduced to a number of characters with very distinct personalities. Who is your favourite to write/draw? 

Don: Helena, followed closely by Bastion then Lyle and Dr. Beach.

WTN: Seeing as this is a six issue mini series, are there any plans to continue the story in the future in any way?

John: This is a six issue story with a very-specific ‘ending’. We knew how this ended before we began. Some character beats or sequences have changed as we go, but our ending has always been a fixed goal. That said, at story’s end this world still remains ripe for further exploration. perhaps more than ever. Our ‘Death Star’ may have been taken out, so to speak, but this ending may not be the victory to end all victories, even if it (hopefully) feels sweet as can be.

The fact that we only get to meet a few of the species of monsters alluded to throughout the story leaves the door open more than a crack. Indeed, though the group’s collective arc (and each individual character arc) is given a satisfying conclusion, they are also primed for future adventures.

WTN: The setting of Packs of The Lowcountry is something that is very prominent and is an essential part to the book, how much of it  and the entire series inspired by the real life Lowcountry of South Carolina?

John: The setting is crucial. Our central character is overwhelmed by meeting the challenges of a world far larger than himself. The lowcountry, itself a vast and awe inspiring landscape, represents Bastion’s journey as he stares down this intimidating environment. Even without the ‘unnatural’ monsters, the lowcountry is already home to alligators, sharks, and countless other predators.

Also, werewolves are scarier in a post-apocalyptic southern marshland. Obviously.

WTN: What was your first comic book that you read and who are your idols in the industry?

Don: My first comic had to be an issue of Secret Wars, followed closely by reprints of the Ditko/Lee Spider-Man. I’d say my current idols in the industry are Greg Capullo, Ryan Stegman, Mike Norton, Marc Laming, and Ron Garney. Such great artists that have consistently been doing fantastic work for years.

John: The first comic cover I remember is The Spectacular Spider-Man #147 by Sal Buscema. I’m sure I read it a hundred times. The story is a blur, honestly. But I remember every last panel. These days, I’m floored by Mike Del Mundo’s recently concluded Elektra interiors and Charles Soule and Jesus Siaz’s Swamp Thing run. I’m also lingering on every word written by Jonathan Hickman. As a comics writer who is also from South Carolina, I think I might envy-hate Mr. Hickman.

WTN: What is your favourite comic run of all time?

John: Fear Agent. Wait… Ultimate Spider-Man. No, wait! Y:The Last Man. Actually… This isn’t a fair question. Pass.

Don: The first Ditko/Lee Spider-Man issues. I mean, it set the bar. Some have hit it, some have surpassed it, but this is my favorite.

WTN: What advice can you give to aspiring writers and artists?

John: Comic books are the promised land of unbridled creative storytelling. There are no budgetary restrictions or ‘storytelling by mass committee’ like with other visual storytelling mediums. So why conform your story? Don’t hold back. Just do it.

Don: Make comics. Draw everything. Listen to constructive criticism, even the best don’t sit on laurels. Make comics.

WTN: So this book is kinda a downer at times with the whole post apocalyptic wasteland thing going on, do you guys think that you could survive in the world you created?

Don: I’d like to say yes but overconfidence is the downfall to people in these situations. All I can say is I ain’t going out without a fight.

John: It can be hard to stay positive even in the real world. This absurdly heightened reality in the PotL world would make it all-too easy to curl up into a ball and give up. On the other hand, the more direct hardships of post apocalyptic settings could also produce heroic role models. It may even be easier to clearly see these role models in such a world. Maybe that’s why they’re so popular these days? The clutter of the world today makes it hard to see the positive examples that really are all around us.

Would I be one of these role models? I’d like to think so. But I also might be the dude who steals your secret stash of twinkies. I guess we won’t know until the monster apocalypse.

WTN: Werewolves or Aliens, who comes out on top?

John: All these answers and more, in issues 4 – 6 of Packs of the Lowcountry!

Don: I think the more interesting question is, what happens to those stuck in the middle?

WTN: Any last thoughts or words of wisdom to give to your readers before we sign off?

Don: Be excellent to each other.

Packs of The Lowcountry issues 1-3 are available on Comixology right now and you can find John Dudley on Twitter at @jdudley006 and Don Cardenas on Twitter at @DonCardenasArt. Also be sure to check out their website which gives a more in depth look at Packs of The Lowcountry.

About the Author

Alexander Handziuk

Alex is a comic aficionado who loves Aquaman, Overwatch, the musical Hamilton and medium length strolls on beaches. Check him out on the Comics Dash Podcast, on twitter at @axehandziuk and in real life patrolling the borders of Canada.