Richard: How did you end up working on this graphic novel?
Christopher: Easy: I was asked. And you don't dare say "no" to Mr. T!
Richard: What is the storyline for "Mr. T"?
Christopher: In the graphic novel, Mr. T is "The Greatest Bodyguard in the World!"
I don't want to give too much away, but I see it as a mystery thriller laced with action and adventure, somewhat in the vein of Lost or Heroes.
Mr. T is slap bang at the centre, but whether that's through his choosing or not is a different matter.
My intent from the beginning was to make the story novelistic, and yet not neglect the fun of the graphic novel's forefather, the comic book. So hopefully I succeeded in bringing all those elements together.
Richard: What is the appeal of Mr. T?
Christopher: I believe, for me and many others, Mr. T's appeal is his honesty to say exactly what he means. His moral compass, which is to always be a positive role model and help people. His willingness to kick a bad guy's butt. The fact that he's a free thinker and doesn't dress like everyone else and follows his own path.
Society would be a lot better if we all possessed at least some of those attributes.
Richard: Did you work with Mr. T on this graphic novel?
Christopher: Yes, Mr. T is Executive Editor. He was very supportive throughout, and also kind enough to answer questions for the "Ten Rounds with T!" feature column.
Richard: Is there any social message to this graphic novel?
Christopher: While I try not to preach in my writing, as that's a taboo for us writers, it'd almost be a crime not to use this book's real-life star as a platform to address some controversial "hot potato" real-life issues.
But I see graphic novels, like all storytelling, as a form of art, and the meaning of art is always down to the interpretation of the audience, so I'll leave them decide what any message may or may not be.
Richard: Who else is in this graphic novel with Mr. T?
Christopher: I am very aware of the rule a hero is only as good as his enemy, so one of my major goals with the Mr. T graphic novel was to do something that had never been done, but was vital: create a rogues gallery for Mr. T.
This begins with the introduction of an armor-clad maniac called Metal Ed.
Of course, Mr. T needs allies as well, not just to bounce off, but because nobody exists in a vacuum in real life. Every hero needs friends almost as much as foes.
His major ally is a strong female character, Indigo Jo.
For some of the others in the supporting cast, the lines of friend and foe are blurred, tying in to the mystery thriller style of storytelling.
Richard: "How to Break into Comics" was your first professional comic book so it worked for you to break you in?
Christopher: It certainly helped me get my foot in the door, and published work carries more clout with editors than just about anything else. I think my big break came later, with Action Man, who for the benefit of your US audience is very literally the British incarnation of G.I. Joe. I'm not sure How to Break into Comics had any bearing on that directly, I just made a strong pitch.
Richard: What did you enjoy about writing "Action Man"?
Christopher: Growing up, I loved Action Man, comic books, and The A-Team.
Like writing Mr. T, who I grew up watching on The A-Team, it was a real dream come true to write a comic starring Action Man. Working on Action Man also helped me refine my scriptwriting, as there's nothing quite like actually doing it.
The Action Man comic also had good old-fashioned fun stories, something you just don't see enough of anymore. I think my preference for these types of stories can be seen in the Mr. T graphic novel.
Sure, the Mr. T graphic novel has lots of drama and controversy, and some darkness, but I was still sure to add in lots of fun!
Richard: Which comic character that you have not written would you most like to?
Christopher: I'm probably repeating what so many other writers have said, but in terms of comic books, all the big Marvel and DC characters appeal to me: Spider-Man, Hulk, Avengers, Thor, Superman, Batman, the list is endless. In fact, some of their lesser-known characters are just screaming out for their day in the limelight.
There's other (non Marvel and DC) characters I'm interested in too, but as I'm currently looking into them, I won't say too much right now.
Richard: What do you have in store for the future?
Christopher: I'm working on a different graphic novel, which is going to take the comic book and graphic novel world by storm.
I've an idea for a cool animation, may write a novel, and Mr. T asked me for ideas for a project to star him and one of his Hollywood celebrity pals, so I'll see what may possibly come of that.
My eye is always on more Mr. T stories of course, while Mohawk Media are also looking into "Mr. T versus Dracula".
Richard: Have you watched "The A-Team:?
Christopher: See above.
Richard: If you could have one super power what would it be and why?
Christopher: Flight. To be able to be so free, and have a bird's eye view of the world, would be amazing.
Richard: How can someone contact you?
Christopher: Either through my own website www.writing.me.uk . Alternatively, I know that Mr. T graphic novel publisher Mohawk Media (www.mohawkmedia.co.uk) forward on all correspondence to creators.
Richard: Any last words of wisdom?
Christopher: Yes: buy the Mr.T: Limited Advance Edition Graphic Novel!
It's available on the Mohawk Media website (www.mohawkmedia.co.uk) and will also be on Amazon and the major online stores any time.