Created by Scott Schmidt and art by Slobodan Jovanovic, Northern Steele is a historical/horror comic book that’s packed with adventure, action, and mystery. Follow the legendary Sam Steele as he battles both man and myth on the ferocious frontier of the Canadian West.

Northern Steele features the real-life, legendary Sam Steele set in a fictional setting of mystery and action. Steele’s real-life highlights include being a distinguished officer of the North-West Mounted Police, the head a Yukon detachment during the Klondike Gold Rush and commanding officer of Strathcona’s Horse during the Boer War.

His ability to touch history is uniquely his own. In 1877, Steele was assigned to meet with Sitting Bull. This was after Sitting Bull defeated George Custer at the Little Bighorn and moved with his people into Canada to escape American wrath. Steele along with U.S. Army General Alfred Howe Terry unsuccessfully attempted to persuade Sitting Bull to return to the United States. These are just examples of many amazing things Steele did.

Steele even crossed over into pop culture! He is a character you can meet in the 1994 video game The Yukon Trail, was featured in the Don Rosa Walt Disney comic Hearts of Yukon, his character has appeared in episodes of Due South, Murdoch Mysteries as well as movies Klondike Fever, and other pop culture places, including Schmidt’s comic series, Northern Steele!

JOESEPH SIMON
What was your introduction to Sam Steele and what inspired you to create a comic featuring Steele?

SCOTT SCHMIDT
I first read of Sam Steele in a book called The Klondike Fever: The Life And Death Of The Last Great Gold Rush by Pierre Berton. I picked it up because of my interest in the American writer Jack London, who participated in the gold rush. It was in this book that I learned of a man whose larger-than-life character whose footprint on history is huge. The idea for a comic book came naturally as I learned more about Steele and the Canadian frontier, a place brimming with legends and lore. 

JOESEPH SIMON
How similar and how different is Sam’s life in Northern Steele?

SCOTT SCHMIDT
Every Northern Steele story has a nugget of truth to it. Some are just larger than others. In real life, he was a man of great authority and great ability. There’s a story that I always come back to that I read in the biography Sam Steele: Lion of the Frontier by Robert Stewart in which a young Steele carries a sick horse along a trail during a blizzard. His capacity for great feats of strength and natural leadership ability are qualities that inform Steele’s character in each Northern Steele adventure.

JOESEPH SIMON
What kind of myth and lore might we find in Northern Steele?

Scott Schmidt, Northern Steele creator / writer

SCOTT SCHMIDT
When I started developing the series, one of the first things I researched was myth and folklore from Western Canada. But, as I tried to pigeonhole Steele into confrontations with the myriad of cryptids, the stories became less about Sam and his already-rich history. So, while there are a few that are planned for the series, such as the Wendigo, so far Steele’s adversaries are all extrapolations on historic events and not directly inspired by any specific creature myths. More easily said, readers can expect “northern” twists on familiar monsters like werewolves, zombies, and serpents.

JOESEPH SIMON
It is interesting to see your literary and biographical references.  Was the call of Northern Steele what brought you to comics?

SCOTT SCHMIDT
By the time I started developing Northern Steele, I had been learning how to make comics for a few years. When I started I didn’t necessarily have a specific story that brought me to comics, I just had a realization one day that the stories I tell are best told through sequential art. The debut issue was the first full issue I had written and produced in full color. The discovery of Sam Steele’s legendary life was my first idea with wings.

JOESEPH SIMON
Hailing from Missouri, I’m curious about your interest in Canada.

SCOTT SCHMIDT
I wouldn’t say that I have an interest in Canada as a whole, but I am very keen on Canada’s frontier history, thanks to Sam Steele. It’s so different, yet so similar to our own American West.

JOESEPH SIMON
That is true.  It’s interesting as that part of history is becoming more known with TV shows like Netflix releasing Frontier and your comic. What is your background as a writer and as a comic book reader?

SCOTT SCHMIDT
I have a BA in Creative Writing. Early on, I wanted to write fantasy novels because that’s what I had read all through high school, but college really broadened my horizon and my influences started changing. However, the stories I began working on really didn’t fit any genre of fiction I knew of and I was baffled what to do. And then, like many comic book creators, I rediscovered comic books as an adult.

I had always gotten them from the spinner rack at the grocery store as a kid. I started with Archie’s TMNT Adventures series, then moved on to Spider-Man, the Fantastic Four and X-Men. Spider-Man Maximum Carnage and X-Men: Age of Apocalypse made a big impact on me as a kid.

My rediscovery came about in college when I was lent a copy of 30 Days of Night. I had never read a horror comic before and I was floored. From there, I went on to great books like League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, Hellboy and the Goon. Eventually, it dawned on me that the stories I wanted to tell could be done as comics. Aside from a few prose pieces here and there, I’ve been writing comics exclusively ever since.

JOESEPH SIMON
What comics aside from Northern Steele have been published or will be published soon?

SCOTT SCHMIDT
I have a few new books coming out in the first quarter of next year. The first is issue three of Hank Stenier: Monster Detective, my creator-owned book with artist Tyler Sowles, published by Source-Point Press. Then I have issue two of my retro game-inspired comic Final Street with co-creator and artist Brian Atkins coming out through Devil’s Due Comics. I also plan on launching a few Kickstarters in 2020 to develop some new books and finish up some old ones.

JOESEPH SIMON
Devil’s Due and Source-Point Press! Sounds like readers and the comic industry will be taking notice, congratulations.  Looking at Northern Steele, I’m curious about what your pulp connections might be.

SCOTT SCHMIDT
My writing and comic-making are heavily influenced by the pulps. Robert E. Howard’s body of work, in particular, is a constant source of inspiration. I would sooner read a Shadow, Doc Savage or Spider adventure than a modern comic.

JOESEPH SIMON
What kind of creative partnership do you and Northern Steele artist Slobodan have?

Slobodan Jovanovic, Northern Steele artist

SCOTT SCHMIDT
Regarding Northern Steele, Slobodan and I have always worked together in a work-for-hire arrangement. But, while I am the sole owner of the Northern Steele property, Slobodan’s involvement is absolutely integral to the book and wouldn’t be what it is without his skill and devotion.

JOESEPH SIMON
Do you write the Marvel style? Or does Slobodan get full scripts?

SCOTT SCHMIDT
I have always written in full script. Especially with a book like Northern Steele which is so dependent on historical details. I wouldn’t feel comfortable asking an artist to do the kind of research needed to fully put readers into Steele’s world. I also feel writing a full script helps the writer control the pacing and flow of a story.

JOESEPH SIMON
He has a distinct art style. I’m curious if he is influenced by pulps as well.

SCOTT SCHMIDT
I can’t speak definitively about Slobodan’s influences, but he and I share a love for all things Conan, so I would say that he is indeed influenced by the pulp era.

JOESEPH SIMON
Howard has such a huge catalog of works. It is amazing the amount of work he did! What resonated with you? Obviously Conan. What else? Breckenridge Elkins?

SCOTT SCHMIDT
I am actually most drawn to Solomon Kane and prefer his adventures to that of Conan or Kull. There’s something about Kane that I just love. If I had to put a finger on it, it’s that while Conan is the foundation of an entire genre and has been replicated thousands of times, there is something incredibly unique about the dark and somber world of Kane that no one else has been able to build on or replicate. 

I haven’t read much of Howard’s “lesser” characters like Elkins, Costigan or Dark Agnes yet, but I loved the El Borak stories.

JOESEPH SIMON
There was a lot of debate on the Roy Thomas penned Conan vs the present-day relaunch.  Have you read any of the new series?

SCOTT SCHMIDT
I have not read any of the new Marvel Conan, but I am interested in picking up Jason Aaron’s run if only to see what he did with Beyond the Black River, my favorite Conan story. And I won’t lie, my interest is piqued by some of the more far out takes on Conan like The Savage Avengers and Conan 2099.

JOESEPH SIMON
Pulps laid the groundwork for the comic industry to form. What do you think modern comic creators are missing when it comes to the Pulp influences on comics?

SCOTT SCHMIDT
Honestly, I think comics have come so far since their pulp origins, pulp is really a genre in itself. What with the explosion of horror and post-apocalyptic comics in the last decade and companies like Scholastic and Boom! Studios investing heavily in young readers, people are coming to comics from almost every background you can imagine, so I don’t think many new readers, and therefore writers, find themselves starting out with pulp, but some do find their way there if their interests align with the genre.

JOESEPH SIMON
Similar to my question on Marvel’s Conan, any opinion on the modern publishing of pulp heroes?

SCOTT SCHMIDT
I really appreciate what Dynamite Entertainment has done since their inception with characters like The Shadow, The Spider, Zorro and their resurrection of public domain heroes via their Project: Superpowers titles, but for me, I think the use of pulp works best in modern comics when it’s a new character or a new take on the genre. I think modern creators can get too bogged down or pigeon-holed when working on such seminal characters like Doc Savage and The Shadow. One of the favorite modern pulp books is Five Ghosts by Frank Barbiere and Chris Mooneyham. Another great one to check out is The Nevermen by Philip Mara and Guy Davis. I also love Batman when he’s worked from a pulp angle, particularly in Matt Wagner’s Batman and the Mad Monk, Batman, and the Monster Men.

JOESEPH SIMON
What pulps do you really enjoy reading?

SCOTT SCHMIDT
The Phantom is by far and away my favorite pulp character. My biggest complaint with the two heavyweights of the genre, The Shadow and Doc Savage, are the supporting characters. For the life of me, I could never understand why Savage kept those guys around as he was better than each of them at their own specialty. If you read Northern Steele, you’ll find out that a character with a dog and a horse is right up my alley. Plus, the Phantom’s world is so adventurous with pirates, jungles and just as good of a supernatural undercurrent as The Shadow.

JOESEPH SIMON
Thank you, Scott.

 

Northern Steele is free to read on Scott’s Patreon with back-of-the-book material available for Patrons! Click the banner below for more!

www.patreon.com/NorthernSteele to get your Northern Steele adventures!

 

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Created by Scott Schmidt and art by Slobodan Jovanovic, Northern Steele is a historical/horror comic book that's packed with adventure, action, and mystery. Follow the legendary Sam Steele as he battles both man and myth on the ferocious frontier of the Canadian West. Northern Steele features the real-life, legendary Sam...