RICH INTERVIEWS: Andi Ewington Writer “Freeway Fighter” Titan Comics

First Comics News: How did you end up working at Titan Comics?

Andi Ewington: Networking and a huge slice of luck! I was trying to pull together funding for Freeway Fighter at the time and bumped into Chris Teather (of Titan) when I was visiting a book fair in London. I spoke briefly about the project and he said to keep him updated on its progress. The project moved forward rapidly and when all the funding and team were in place I formally pitched Freeway Fighter to Titan. It was a nervous wait for their response, but when they got back in touch it was all systems go! I have to give credit to Titan, their team has been very proactive in their approach to such an iconic brand.

What is the storyline of “Freeway Fighter”?

Andi: It’s a prequel story of ‘how’ the famous Interceptor car from the gamebook winds up in an outpost called ‘New Hope’. We’re introduced to the original owner of the Interceptor, an I-400 racing driver called Bella De La Rosa. This mini-series focuses on the transformation the car goes through, from high octane racing car to lethal killing machine.

1st: Who exactly is Ian Livingstone?

Andi: What a tough question! I guess to some he’s best known as the co-founder of Games Workshop who brought Dungeons & Dragons to Europe, to others he’s the co-creator of the epochal Fighting Fantasy gamebook series which defined reading in the 1980s, while a third group will know him better as the man who launched Lara Croft: Tomb Raider. To me, he’s the guy that helped shaped my formative years and ultimately inspired me to write.

1st: What about this comic is unique?

Andi: This is the first time a book from the famous Fighting Fantasy brand has been interpreted into the comic form, that’s pretty special in my mind. Secondly, I also think the fact that we have a female racing driver in the ‘Lone Wolf’ role is pretty cool, setting it apart from the Mad Max franchise (which, for the record, I totally love). Finally, where we stand out is that the car has as much as an important role to play as the characters, it’s almost a character in itself, something I’ve always looked for in stories of this genre. I mean, if you were on the road for so long with just a car for a companion, wouldn’t you start talking to it?

Who is the Freeway Fighter?

Andi: In the comic series that’s very much up to debate, on the surface it appears to be Bella De La Rosa, a 1-400 racing driver who drives the Interceptor. But without giving too much away, I think everyone in the story is a Freeway Fighter to a greater or lesser degree. If you’re asking about the Gamebooks, then my answer would have to be ‘You’.

1st: You’re the writer on “Freeway Fighter” who is the artist and how well does their art mesh with your writing?

Andi: Simon Coleby is on art duties for Freeway Fighter, he’s got an amazing style with some real grit to his work. I’m fortunate that Simon and I have worked together as a ‘dynamic duo’ for a little while, both on the Dark Souls II and Just Cause 3 comics. I find we work well together and I’m constantly amazed how he manages to pour so much detail into his panels from my script.

1st: Would you like to be the driver in “Freeway Fighter”?

Andi: The reckless part of me would, but then the sensible part would realize the great loss of life that goes hand-in-hand with this scenario. I think everyone toys with the idea of being the ‘lone survivor’ in a future, but nobody really wants that to happen.

1st: How would you feel about doing more comics along the line of “Freeway Fighter”?

Andi: That’s the Holy Grail for me, I’m hoping that fans want more from the Freeway Fighter universe. I feel this mini-series only scratches the surface of a huge well of possibilities. If not Freeway Fighter, then I’d certainly want to see a Deathtrap Dungeon, Forest of Doom or City of Thieves comic in the future.

1st: How has your writing improved over the years?

Andi: I like to believe I’m more confident in my writing style, self-belief plays a huge part in growing as a creator. Freeway Fighter would bring my issue count into the mid-thirties, that’s a good indicator that I’m doing something right.

1st: What is “Red Dog” from 451 about?

Andi: I have always seen it as ‘Lassie in Space’. It’s a touching story of a boy, his robot dog and the fate of a distant mining colony on an inhospitable planet called Kirawan. Rob Cohen’s script has plenty of heart intertwined with tense action set pieces which is synonymous with his film work.

1st: Before “Freeway Fighter” what were a few of the comics you worked on?

Andi: I’ve been working with 451 Media Group on most of their titles, including: Red Dog (with Rob Cohen), Exmortis (with the Williams Brothers), S6X (with George Pelecanos), Sunflower (with Mark Mallouk). Outside of that, I self-published my Creator-owned title, Overrun, which I co-wrote with Matthew Woodley.

1st: What comic that you have never written would you like to?

Andi: Anything from the Aliens universe, I’m a huge fan and already have planned out a story I want to develop.

1st: If you could have one super power what would it be and why?

Andi: Teleportation, I want to avoid having to use Southern Rail at any cost.

1st: What would you like to say to those who have enjoyed reading your comics?

Andi: Thank you for taking a chance on something I wrote, if you enjoyed it, tell everyone! If you didn’t then maybe just keep that to yourself.

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