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CHRIS HASTINGS talks SIX MILLION DOLLAR MAN #5, on sale in JULY from Dynamite!

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  • CHRIS HASTINGS talks SIX MILLION DOLLAR MAN #5, on sale in JULY from Dynamite!

    BYRON BREWER: Chris, July brings this series’ grand finale with issue #5. Even though we are still in mid-run for the title, looking back from #5 is there anything non-spoilery you wish you had done in the series that you did not have room for, etc?

    CHRIS HASTINGS: In general, I really appreciate that the monthly comic miniseries format demands the story be lean and tight. But I think with some more room, I would have liked to let in more of the other characters' viewpoints on the scenario. In particular, we've almost completely removed OSI from this story, and I would have liked to have had a little more from that end. But I also think this focus on one single operative's perspective on Steve Austin helped make the story as fun and interesting as it is, as well as the relentless pace with keeping the focus on just a couple of characters jumping from frying pan to fire back to pan again the whole way.

    BB: What has been your favorite aspect of writing this series? It has certainly been a different albeit entertaining iteration of the character.

    CH: I know that for readers, a lot of what makes this a new take on Steve Austin is the humor, but for me, that's my everyday. No matter what I do, at least a little comedy tends to creep into what I write. In fact, most comics I work on are a lot crazier than this one. (My first comic series was about a doctor ninja who fights giant lumberjacks and universe destroying unicorns.) What I particularly enjoyed about writing Six Million Dollar Man was exercising more restraint than usual. I really liked keeping it honed in on these two characters and making them live in the experience of destroying an ICBM, ruining Steve's cyborg body parts, and then trying to escape with what's left.

    BB: Since it’s been awhile, talk a little about Niko Abe and your choice to make this secret agent character the POV of the series. How’s that been working out?

    CH: With issues 3 and 4, I really enjoyed getting into her character more than just being the person that rolls her eyes when Steve makes a lame joke. The island they're trying to escape from was once her home, the people on it are trapped in a terrible economic relationship with the madman who runs it, and the problems are more complex than just "Oh no, big missile."

    BB: Without spoilers, can you give us a little hint at what awaits readers who have followed this series from its beginning as its finale issue hits?

    CH: Readers may have noticed that Steve's expensive cyborg body has been depreciating in value with each issue. In the final issue, we take that as far as possible without outright killing Steve, and then force him to finally battle it out with the mutated, insane Mr. Amari.

    BB: Any story thread left untouched in this series that may be a launch a sequel series for your Steve Austin, if demand is there? Would you like to write another Six Million Dollar Man series?

    CH: Oh for sure. We left little breadcrumbs to pick up in a new arc if it happens. Some of those crumbs are in the untranslated foreign dialogue of the various bad guys in the book, but they're there...

    Also, our editor Nate [Cosby] cooked up a phenomenal premise for the follow-up. I really hope we get the chance to do it. It takes the series in a completely opposite direction, but totally maintains all the tone and fun of what precedes it.

    BB: Talk about the art of David Hahn and your collaboration here with him.

    CH: Besides David's technical skill and draftsmanship, he is one of the most thoughtful visual storytellers I've had the pleasure to work with. A lot of that is invisible, you don't notice it, because he's guiding you along in a way that covers his seams so expertly.

    BB: As long as we’ve got you here, Chris, what projects are coming up for you that you can tell readers about?

    CH: I've co-written a graphic novel with my friend Branson Reese, and we are now in the long, slow days of illustrating it. It's called Draculagate, and it's political comedy about the United States opening up diplomatic relations with Transylvania, sovereign nation of the undead. We've successfully Kickstartered our first print run, and I'll be screaming about it everywhere once it's on sale for the public. I also write and draw weekly comic strips on my twitter, @drhastings.