First Comics News: What is the world like in “Scout’s Honor”?
David Pepose: It’s seen better days, that’s for sure — Scout’s Honor is the story of a cult that has risen from the ashes of a nuclear war… and their bible is an old Boy Scout manual. So it’s a rough group of survivalists who have pushed themselves to endure the even scarier radioactive Colorado Badlands. But the Ranger Scouts of America are a cult that is deeply patriarchal, shaped by superstition, mythology, and toxic masculinity — if you fit the conservative mold of manhood, life is good, but for anyone who doesn’t adhere completely to those rigid standards, it can be a lonely and isolated life.
1st: Why would one want to be a Scout?
David: The Ranger Scouts of America are the dominant force in the Colorado Badlands, and as such, they’ve protected other territories from local raiders and mutated wildlife alike. Trained from birth to survive the wilderness, the Ranger Scouts are masters of techniques ranging from archery and wilderness survival to explosives and tactical driving — which are displayed proudly on their chests as merit badges. But ultimately, the drive to become a Ranger Scout is rooted in the same reasons that someone would join the Boy Scouts today — camaraderie, practical skills, and imposing structure and direction upon your life — but in this case, those traits can also mean the difference between life and death in the post-apocalyptic landscape.
1st: What makes Kit so special among the Ranger Scouts?
David: Kit, the hero of Scout’s Honor, is an interesting case — in a society that only allows men to serve, she’s had to conceal her identity as a woman in order to pursue her calling as a Ranger Scout. She’s got a passion for this work, and so despite needing to fly under the radar, Kit’s often unable to hide her light under a bushel. But when she makes a chilling discovery dating back to the Ranger Scouts’ creation, she’s going to find herself unexpectedly losing her religion…
1st: What is a Gamma Boar?
David: The first of many irradiated creatures that still populate the Colorado Badlands. Despite the fact that centuries have passed since the bombs fell, the world of Scout’s Honor is still a pretty messed-up place, and the Gamma Boar is one of the deadliest species in the region.
1st: Who is Doctor Jefferson Hancock?
David: Doctor Jefferson Hancock was the original founder of the Ranger Scouts dating before the Final War — while he’s been long dead when the events of Scout’s Honor begins, Hancock has been mythologized over the centuries as a sort of messianic prophet, whose teachings have been codified in the Seven Scout Laws. Doctor Hancock looms large over all the characters in Scout’s Honor for a variety of reasons, and I think he really is a character unto himself.
1st: The Laws that a Scout lives their lives by seem like an oath a solder might pledge is this on purpose?
David: Definitely — while I based the Seven Laws on the actual laws of the Boy Scouts of America, it was definitely intentional to tie that in with our culture’s toxic masculinity, our fetishizing of the military and survival preppers, and the rise of evangelical religion. In the Badlands, might makes right, but that doesn’t mean that’s something we should aspire to be.
1st: If Kit’s secret comes out would it ruin her being a Ranger Scout?
David: I think it might do more than that — I think it’d be considered the height of blasphemy, resulting in exile or death.
1st: Do you like writing characters that are different than most others?
David: Honestly, all I can do is be true to myself and my own voice as a storyteller. Usually, I write to amuse myself first and foremost, and I usually use my close friends and family as sounding boards. Enthusiasm is contagious, and if someone I trust really seems excited by my ideas, that gives me the fuel needed to follow through on them. So far that’s served me pretty well.
1st: So if Dorothy Gale, Emily, and Kit all got together what would happen?
David: Dorothy’s the battlefield tactician calling all the shots, while Kit’s the one who can execute at an astonishing level. Emily is the one that everyone underestimates, which means she’s the one who winds up making the decisive blow at the eleventh hour.
1st: What piece of advice do you have for new comic book writers?
David: Start small, and keep practicing — you don’t have to publish your first scripts, you just have to finish and learn from them.
1st: Can you tell us what the storyline is in “Grand Theft Astro” and why you enjoyed writing it?
David: Without giving too much away, Grand Theft Astro is the story of Hakeem “Hermes” Henrikson, the fastest star chaser in the galaxy — unfortunately, when he tears open a wormhole in time during a race, he finds himself stranded seven years in the future. Caught in a world that’s long since left him behind, Hakeem will have to embark on a faster-than-light heist to steal the technology he needs to return to his home era. It’s like Fast and the Furious meets Back to the Future meets Star Wars.
1st: Do you think you would make a good Ranger Scout?
David: No. (Laughs) Absolutely not. I’m not much of a joiner.
1st: Outside of comics how do you spend your time?
David: I’m raising a brand-new puppy, so she’s always keeping me on my toes. Beyond that, I like to decompress with some good TV or a good movie — maybe even a video game if it hits my sensibilities right. But comics are definitely a 24/7 job for me, so I’m usually always working in some capacity.
1st: Any final words for all your readers?
David: Preorders make or break books like ours, so tell your local comics shop to add all five issues of Scout’s Honor to your pull list!