CVM: Now you were slated to do Cable

Platt: …which I was totally looking forward to doing…

CVM: …but that fell through because you went to Image with Prophet. Can you tell us the story behind that?

Platt: Rob [Liefeld] is a very agressive person. When he came after me it's not like he needed to do a lot of convincing, because I knew the Image schpiel. I know a couple of guys who work for Image. I knew what the schpiel was going to be. Every artist in the industry knows what these guys say to you to get you to come aboard. It's no secret. It's also no secret that Marvel's been losing people for a long time.

At my age right now, Image is a good place to be because they have a very young, fresh perspective in many ways. Rob is giving me a lot of creative freedom. I'm so excited about this book. It's overwhelming. Some of the things we're going to be doing are going to be hardcore. Other times we're going to investigate the psyche of the character, which I think is not first priority at Image, but it is with me because I enjoy that kind of writing. I think if people know a character, they start to create empathy and sympathy for that character. If it's just some guy in armor who goes ballistic every time he's in a situation, who really doesn't think at all, who is just giving those one-liners every time he's blowing somebody away, people don't care. You can't get attached to that type of character. I only create something that's entertaining, and involves you, too. With that you're not just watching it, you're involved with it.

CVM: Are you going to be writing Prophet?

Platt: I'm co-plotting it. Rob will be handling the writing chores. We're going to re-outfit Prophet. We're going to shock the hell out of people with the character. Prophet is a religious zealot. Religious zealots can be really dangerous people because they're blinded by their faith. That's an explosive ideology, and also extremely confrontational. It can also be a dichotomous existence when you're an unforgiving zealot and yet, as a person of God, you're [sic] belief is based on forgiveness.

CVM: You're going to be doing a lot of internal conflicts with the character?

Platt: Yeah. One of the things we're going to be developing, is Prophets [sic] association with the status chamber. Prophet was put in a status chamber. As far as the readers know right now, he never left that status chamber from the day he was put away during World War II, to his awakening in 1993. We start to discover that that's not the only time that Prophet has been exhumed from his chamber. He's been traded around like a weapon of war to the highest bidder. Governments have bought Prophet and used him in their operations until he was no longer useful, or until the satellite linked up with him again and Prophet became conscious of what he was doing and realized that what he was doing was immoral.

We will introduce other characters that were summoned to shut Prophet down. The CIA uses Prophet for this expedition, and all of a sudden, President Lyndon B. Johnson gets a 6:30 a.m. call saying, "We have problems with the Prophet project. He's not doing what we're telling him to do." The President puts the phone down, saying, "Okay, shut him down." We have to introduce a character that is capable of doing just that.

Prophet pencils
Pencils of Prophet by Stephen Platt

CVM: Are you going to be furthering the Prophet supporting cast as well?

Platt: Kirby will be consistent; Kirby is a hardcore atheist. Prophet is extremely religious, so we're going to be having a lot of discussions of atheism versus religion.

CVM: That's something you don't regularly see in a comic book…

Platt: No, but if we're doing it in a context that's exciting, it can co-exist peacefully in a storyline. Obviously, there are scenes that are violent or where the situation goes totally berserk, and that's tuned in to my artwork. A lot of my work is like that.

Prophet also starts having these flashbacks. He starts having flashbacks of Vietnam, and he doesn't know why. Eventually, he comes to the conclusion that he was in Vietnam, but he has suppressed the experience. It's almost like post-traumatic stress disorder where they go through the trauma after they've come back. The brain shuts down, unable to deal with the experience, and just stores the information. I think Prophet suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder is such an interesting thing to do because a lot of soldiers that have seen combat suffer from that.

CVM: So you're throwing in a sense of real life…

Platt: Real life with absolutely fantastic storylines. Prophet is going to be dealing with a lot of different situations. He's going to be in outer space, he's going to be going all over the place. We have a story arc where Prophet is going to be searching for the Holy Grail. As a religious person, he feels that yearning within him. He acquires Excalibur during that time, and Excalibur becomes the sword of Prophet.

CVM: You're going to be including a lot of legend as well?

Platt: Yes, Arthurian legend is going to play a large part in it; Prophet may acquire the Grail.

CVM: Have you done a lot of research on this material?

Platt: I'm a Vietnam freak. I'm very much into that war. I'm also into armaments. I read a lot about the Gulf War. I read a lot about campaigns. I'm very much into covert operations, and teams that run cover operations like Navy team Seal Six, the S.A.S., the Mossad of Israel, all of these things.

If a SWAT team runs a mission, it's in the paper the next day. If the S.A.S. runs a mission, executes it, and it's in the paper the next day, the mission's considered a complete failure. That's the mentality that intrigues me. There's [expletive deleted] going on out there that we have no idea about. Millions of dollars of our tax money goes into operations, that if we had access to the dossiers, we would throw up at the absolute unethical agenda of those missions. If we're not investigating where the money is going, then we're responsible for that agenda because we didn't care enough to find out. I want to bring that element into Prophet.

I'm not going to indict any political figures, but I will indict the ideas and the idioms of government. To me, any comic book that breeds discussion is a good one. With Prophet, I'm just showing the world that we have created, and what happens after that is characteristic of what happens in that world. Prophet has to come to terms with acts he's going to do - horrible, atrocious acts.

Have you heard of the Phoenix Project?

CVM: No, I haven't.

Platt: It was a CIA interrogation program that existed in Vietnam towards the end of the war. The director of the CIA at that time denied all the things that the people who were running the program said had happened. Guys running the Phoenix program had Viet Cong spies, Communist spies, and were "extracting" information from them. They had a prison called Devil's Island, on Cansun. They had provincial interrogation centers, nicknamed "picks". The information they were getting was so bad that they ended up interrogating all these innocent people. By the time they let these people go, they had already created their enemy. They made so many Vietnamese hate Americans that they recruited half the enemy for the Viet Cong just simply by the things they were doing.

That's what Devil's Island was all about; all kinds of activities that the papers never heard about because of the saw that were extreme censorship.

I want to introduce that side into the title. Prophet was working for these people. He starts having flashbacks of Vietnam and all these things he's done. They horrify him, he's running from it. Kirby is the guy that's trying to run him through it.

Kirby and Prophet become political fugitives from the U.S. Army because at one point, they agree to work for the U.S. government but in issue #4, they escape because Prophet goes on a berserker mode. [The Government] lied to them and told them all these things just to get them working. There's a virtual reality program that they hook Prophet up to, and that's when he starts having all these vicious flashbacks. The analysts and researchers go, "This isn't in the program." Some of the things are going on only in Prophet's memory. Some of the things the satellite has, but doesn't remember other things. [Prophet] is trying to piece his life back together. Everybody has a piece of the puzzle, and he's got to wrestle it from them.

© 1994 Attic Books Ltd.





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