‘Seven Swords,’ teased by the ‘Divergent’ scribe as a “slightly darker and more modern” swashbuckling story that mashes up some of the greatest heroes in literature, releases June 16.
Divergent screenwriter Evan Daugherty has penned a new adventure comic titled Seven Swords.
From independent publisher AfterShock Comics (Babyteeth, Witch Hammer), Seven Swords follows jaded muskateer D’Artagan who is drawn into final conflict with Cardinal Richelieu, and recruits the help of Don Juan, Captain Blood and Cyrano de Bergerac to defeat a looming enemy.
“My greatest passion as a screenwriter is telling old stories in new ways,” Daugherty tells The Hollywood Reporter. “It’s what I tried to do with Snow White and the Huntsman: take an iconic fairy tale and find some new way into it, updating and revising it for our modern era. That was the goal with Seven Swords as well.”
Daugherty says that he grew up as a fan of “rip-roaring swashbuckling” books, movies and TV series such as Alexandre Dumas’ novel The Three Muskateers, Edmond Rostand’s play Cyrano de Bergerac – both of which he re-read for this project — and Rob Reiner’s The Princess Bride. He also revisited Richard Lester’s Muskateer series of films from the 1970s’ and Errol Flynn’s 1948 interpretation of Don Juan.
“I desperately wanted to tell a story in this genre,” says Daugherty, “and it felt like a mashup of some of the greatest swashbuckling heroes in literature would be a clever way to do it.” Noting that there is an “electric sense of fun and adventure” in those old stories, Daugherty adds that his goal with the comic was to give the series a “slightly darker, more modern edge.”
He then summons a “curveball” influence: the John Wick series. “I felt like these swashbuckling swords-for-hire were, in a strange way, sort of the mercenaries or hitmen of their era. In fact, as a shorthand, I often describe this series as ‘John Wick with swords.’ ”
On the comics front itself, Daugherty says that Alan Moore’s League of Extraordinary Gentleman “greatly inspired” this book. Meanwhile, the “pulpy quality” of pre-Unity Valiant comics, in particular Magnus Robot Fighter, Turok, Archer & Armstrong, informed his approach.
Daugherty, whose screenwriting credits also include Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and Killing Season, notes that his approach to comics writing differs to that of a script because “you have to think even more visually about what’s on the page,” and “be far more economical with your words.”
Of that process he recalls, “I often found myself drawing little thumbnail sketches as I wrote, just to get the roughest sense of how the story might flow on the page. Of course, I kept those sketches to myself and let the amazing artists interpret the words in their own way. Invariably, their changes or adjustments were a vast improvement over what was in my head.”
Seven Swords is illustrated by Italian artist Riccardo Latina, with color by Valentina Bianconi. The book releases June 16.