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Wed, 25 Jul ’12

Comic Book Day: Tom Morello Grows an Orchid

Raging against the fairy-tale machine.

Meet Morgan Grindstaff. Morgan is living with Cystic Fibrosis and being a fan of both comics and music, Morgan became the natural choice to handle one of our interviews for us, comic writer and musician Tom Morello. Morello’s Dark Horse book Orchid follows the title character as she transforms from a prostitute in a post-apocalyptic future to the leader of a rebellion. Morgan caught up with Tom and artist Scott Hepburn, and picked their brains about the book, his music and where the two meet.

Morgan Grindstaff: Let’s talk about Orchid. What’s it about? What inspired it?

Tom Morello: Orchid is an idea I had probably about four years ago. I really love kind of those fantasy epics, like Lord of the Rings and Star Wars. But the thing I thought they were always missing was a sense of class-consciousness. They were always about getting the king back on the throne or the princess back to glory. All of my music and worldview has been about the people on the lower rungs of the ladder—not about the kings and the queens, but the people stepped on by the kings and queens. I wanted to write a story that was from someone who was from the absolute depths of society. She’s a girl. She’s a teenager. She’s a sex-trade worker, and that’s going to be the hero of the book. I placed it in a world of a sort of imagined future world, where everything has gone wrong. The seas have risen, humans are no longer the top of the food chain. In that, our heroine has to fight this monolithic power and becomes a Joan of Arc-like character.

MG: The art’s got a whole different feel and look. What inspired that?

Scott Hepburn: Visually, I tried to treat it like something I’d never drawn before. I think I looked at a lot of ’70s heavy metal album art, stuff like that, and just sort of the energy, sort of a loose quality to a lot of stuff, like European comics stuff. I wanted it to be more cinematic, because you can tell just in the descriptors of Tom’s scripts, he’s thinking of it in a huge way. He wants that big screen feeling.

You can read Morgan and Tom’s full interview on Nerdist.com. If you want to know more about how you can help people like Morgan in their fight with Cystic Fibrosis go to the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. Orchid #8 & Volume 1 in trade paperback are in comic shops now.