Interview with The Silent Descendents Writer DaiQuan Cain
Passion and love for comics is one of the reasons I’m so supportive of indie comics and anyone that has put sixteen years into the thought and development of his book clearly has a passion for his creation. The struggle to create something is different with every project and every medium so here is a little insight into DaiQuan Cain and his experience creating The Silent Descendents.
Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and why you want to write comics?
DC: I’m a twenty-six-year-old New York native who’s been collecting comic books for over twenty years since his childhood.
I respect and adore the medium which has always held my interest – and after studying the craft of writing independently for years, having once achieved a grant to study screenwriting at the New York Film Academy, and claimed a few top prizes in writing competitions over time: I feel as if I’m finally ready to publish my dream project which has been dear to my heart for over a decade now.
Can you tell us a little bit about your book and where the inspiration came from?
DC: The story is primarily about the Darkfurys, a family from Yonkers, New York who suffer the losses of their patriarch and soon-to-be in-law in a school bombing perpetrated by a powerful crime syndicate called “The Chain Gang”. It’s not too long after that act of domestic terrorism when the third of the four Darkfury children accidentally unleashes an ancient power which grants he, his younger sister, and five of their friends mystical abilities of which they collectively decide to use in search of justice for the recent loss of life as The Silent Descendents.
I created these characters and their universe in November of 2001 while the memory of September 11th was still a fresh wound upon the country. I was ten at the time and I realized that I’d rarely, if ever, saw comic heroes face down the type of real-world terrorism or social issues that surrounded me at the time so I aimed to fill that void for myself through my own writing. With some encouragement from my mother and brother, I committed to the story and used it cathartically for years. And while certain details and the tone of the story have seen several incarnations over time: The themes of unity, morality, and survivalism have remained consistent over the past sixteen years since day one.
You have a Kickstarter that started on 11/7, can you tell us a little bit about it?
DC: The Kickstarter campaign has truly been a blast to put together. Seeing my characters drawn up at long last over the past year has been a uniquely fulfilling experience as well. It’s something that I’ve worked incredibly hard on for a long time and I hope that it pays off. I’m humbled by the support it’s garnered over the last several weeks especially. The purpose of the campaign are solely to raise funds for the production of the book by taking care of printing costs, talent fees, and promotion of the project.
Can you tell us a little bit about the rewards and things we can expect to see from the Kickstarter?
DC: There are six pledge options available ranging from the $10 option which features a set of nine postcards and a “Thank You” in the book’s acknowledgement section, to the $500 option which features the following:
1. 35 colored 11×17 prints.
2. A signed physical copy of the book.
3. A PDF of the book.
4. A signed 100-page script of the story.
5. A one-page sneak peek of the next chapter in the story.
6. A set of 9 postcards.
7. A “Thank You” in the book’s acknowledgement section
8. A limited edition T-shirt, of which 150 are available.
What were some of the trials and tribulations you faced getting ready to launch the Kickstarter?
DC: The biggest trial in preparation for the campaign was certainly time management. As a young working father, I had to work hard to compartmentalized my time wisely to fulfill my responsibilities as a family man, to the story that I’ve always wanted to tell, and to my demanding day job.
Two other obstacles that presented themselves were deadlines – of which I and my hired talents thankfully accomplished – and finding the money to accomplish all of my promotional and commission goals on a very limited budget.
Where did the inspiration for The Silent Descendents come from?
DC: As mentioned earlier, they were the product of what I felt to be a void within the comic book medium following the tragic events of September 11th. Also, I think that after spending sixteen years alone with these characters it would be fair to say that much of my very own struggles and trials in life have bled into their narrative as well.
Can you compare The Silent Descendents to anything and was the comparison also inspiration?
DC: I would say that The Silent Descendents and their universe are certainly comparable to Eric Kripke’s “Supernatural” in terms of scale, Howard Gordon & Alex Ganza’s “Homeland” in terms of tone, Michael Mann’s “Heat” in terms of connectivity, and Kevin Falls’ “Journeyman” in terms of character depth.
Can you describe the universe the Silent Descendents are in and do you have any plans for spinoffs?
DC: The universe that The Silent Descendents inhabit is a pretty opaque one with glimmers of light every so often in multiple forms. Something that I was adamant with myself about when creating these characters and plotting their stories out was that I wanted to make both aspects of the story as realistic as possible despite dealing with certain elements like mysticism. So while you’ll see things like traditional crime fighting with the use of superhuman abilities, you’ll delve deep into the issues of politics, religion, corruption, abuse, and vice just as much.
Now that we know a little bit about the Kickstarter can you give us some character bios?
DC: The story is an ensemble, featuring what I hope other folks find to be deep characters. There are seven members on the central team and an entire library of over a hundred characters that we’d probably be here discussing for days. That said, here are some short teasers of The Silent Descendents themselves:
– Hayden Darkfury, also known as Firefury: Brooding leader of The Silent Descendents who’s still in mourning over the death of his High School sweetheart from years ago, as well as the fresh losses of his father and practical sister-in-law in recent weeks.
– Rachel Jane Jones, also known as Starshock: The Darkfurys’ new next door neighbor who’s a single mother and former stripper currently in search of her friend Margaret who disappeared under the employ of crime boss Stephen Fiorelli (also known as “Chain”) – the head of the deadly “Chain Gang” syndicate.
– Evan Kyles, also known as Defyer: God-brother of the Darkfury siblings, former college track star, and older brother of Travis Kyles – an innocent teenager who was murdered five years ago by a racist detective on Chain’s payroll.
– Maxwell Ford IV, also known as Tack: Billionaire CEO of Dynecore Enterprises, retired Marine, and respective former best friend and fiancé to Harold & Marie Darkfury whose past deeds as a covert operative in a government unit called “Virus” have come back to haunt him after the truth behind the disbanded group’s missions are revealed to have been less than upstanding.
– Sarah Darkfury, also known as Deck: Youngest of the Darkfury siblings, former gymnast, current college student, and the secret love of her best friend Ben’s life who is coping with her family’s tragedy by documenting their mourning period in a documentary.
– James McAllister, also known as Grunge: The newly-returned hot head of the group and former con-artist who’s seeking revenge against the Schlatter Sisters for killing an old friend of his on orders from Chain; Trained in a life of crime by his mentor Eva Salazar – a woman who adopted him with the intention of training a protegé to assist her in her crimes.
– Ben Lewis, also known as Buldger: College student, ethicist, and longtime best friend and admirer of Sarah Darkfury’s since becoming pen-pals during his childhood in Chicago little before his father, a doctor, moved his eccentric wife their only son to Yonkers in order to coincidentally take up a position beside Sarah’s mother Dr. Christine Lorio at Van Hollen Hospital – something that Ben has held in his heart as fate for years.
Who’s the artist team and how did you come about finding them?
DC: The amazingly talented artists who I’ve met and hired over this past year have all been the best that any young writer such as myself could ever hope to work with. Working on the actual book are cover artist Rolf Hausen, interior artist Felix Morales, colorist Jesse Heagy, and letterer Dezi Sienty – all of whom have been a pleasure to know over the past year. I recruited all of the first four gentlemen from a fantastic group on Facebook called “Comic Artist Seeking Commissions” while I met Dezi through our mutual friend Sal Cipriano, who’s done work for DC Comics. In addition to those guys, I also hired several other artists and colorists to produce work for my Kickstarter campaign like Steven A. Wilcox, Don Walker, Maz Adams, Dimitrius “DH” Miller, Jefter Leite, Adriano Araujo, and Dijjo Lima – all of whose contributions I’m eternally grateful for.
What are some comics you enjoy or are reading right now?
DC: While I’ll forever enjoy and appreciate many of the works from the Big Two, I’m currently more involved with the phenomenal stories being told by my fellow indie creators – especially from Image Comics.
At the moment, I’d say my top six favorite ongoings are “The Wicked & The Divine,” “The Realm,” “Skybourne,” “Southern Bastards,” “Jessica Jones,” and “Action Comics”.
How can people get a hold of you?