Phillip K Johnson talks Kill a Man!

We talked with PKJ before about other comics he’s worked on, we talked with Steve Orlando about this Comic, Kill A Man, but never have we talked to PKJ about Kill a Man! LEt’s fix that!

Find Kill A Man online:
https://aftershockcomics.com/category/kill-a-man/
https://www.amazon.com/Kill-Man-Steve-Orlando/dp/194902847X

Find Phillip K Johnson online:
https://www.phillipkennedyjohnson.com/
https://www.comixology.com/Phillip-K-Johnson/comics-creator/70692
https://twitter.com/phillipkjohnson

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Phillip K Johnson – Kill a Man – Interview

[00:00:00] Casey: all right, everybody. Welcome again, to another episode of spoiler country today on the show we have, well, he’s an author, he’s a musician. he, he does a lot of stuff. Let me start that over. That was awful.

Let’s see.

All right, everybody. Welcome again, to another episode of spoiler country today on the show we have Eisner nominated writer and musician. it’s filler Kenny Johnson. Phillip, how are you doing man?

Phillip K Johnson: Great, Casey. And what I was silky smooth radio voice. You have.

Casey: That’s my NPR voice.

Phillip K Johnson: That’s great. I love it.

You’re a pro

Casey: I, well, when you, when you grow up in Birmingham, Alabama, and, you. You realize that people who live in the real world, can’t understand you unless you, you try to annunciate. And

so, thank you. Thank you. So how [00:01:00] you been,

Phillip K Johnson: man? I’ve been great, man. I mean, it’s been, it’s been real busy and you know, it’s times or times are a little weird and I’m trying to keep on top of everything and trying to keep my, and my son engaged and, you know, You know, everyone’s having a hard time to some degree.

It’s just, things are a little weird right now, but I’m doing my best with it and, you know, got plenty of work to do. And it’s been, been really good.

Casey: Awesome. Awesome. Are you you’re you’re still in DC, right?

Phillip K Johnson: Yeah. The DC Baltimore area.

Casey: Awesome. Yeah. I have a friend that just got back from there the other day and she, she said it was, it was really interesting over there, but, man, it’s, is it as hot.

Up there as it is here because it’s 101 today.

Phillip K Johnson: today was not as bad, less complaints, complacent been. Okay. It was real hard before that, but it’s since been, you know, it’s been spotty.

Casey: Oh man. It was, it was rough. I got off work and immediately like my, my yard was looking like Sanford and son, so had to take care of that.

And then my, my [00:02:00] father-in-law. Called me and was like, I need you to come down to the gun range. And, I had to help him change two flat tires on their trailer and it was just, yeah, it was, it was yucky and gross. but I’m clean now. I lost like 15 pounds, at least just from sweat.

Phillip K Johnson: Sounds like it’s rough down there.

Casey: Oh man. It is, it’s super hot, but yeah man, so. You have a new book out? Yeah. Can you tell us about it?

Phillip K Johnson: Man. I’m so stoked for this book. So Marvel zombies, resurrection, the miniseries have just hit last, Halloween. We came out with, Marvel’s armies, resurrection number one, which is just a prelude issue, like a one shot that was supposed to set up this mini series.

And it was supposed to come out not long after COVID hit. but then like then that, that Retallack and everyone’s shipping schedules. and plus the first [00:03:00] image on page one is, Times square in terror. It was like at, at that moment in New York was at its worst and that was before they bounced back, it was just rough, rough timing for that.

So, I found out that, post-apocalyptic efficient is not an evergreen John era. And so we sat on it for a little bit, but now it’s coming out finally and we’re really stoked about it. it’s the art is incredibly good. Leonard. Kirk is one of the most underrated guys in Marvel. He’s just. His storytelling chops are so good.

And his beautiful, yeah, he’s doing the best work of his career on this book. And Rochelle Rosenberg is doing the colors. I get some of her best work. It’s everyone is just really firing all cylinders and I’m extremely proud of the work we’ve done.

Casey: Yeah. Yeah. It’s th that art is so dynamic.

Phillip K Johnson: Exactly.

That’s the word, I guess. And that’s, that’s something I look for in all my art. Like I really, I love it when an artist can, can make things look like they’re in motion from static images and [00:04:00] such an important skill and Leonard, Kirk just, you know, typifies that is just perfect. Like how dynamic everything is not, and not even just the action sequences, but even like the conversations, like everything, everything just looks fluid.

Yeah. was beautifully done.

Casey: Y’all are hitting all the buttons and, it’s, I, I don’t want you to give any spoilers away, but Oh my goodness. It, it’s pretty rad. So, D how many more of these are going to be coming out? What, how.

Phillip K Johnson: Well, this was, this miniseries specifically is, four issues. The first issue that came out, the other day is a double sized one shot.

So it’s 40 pages, I think. And, the ones after that will be 20. So there’s three more 20 pages. He was coming out and, But it ends in such a way that there could be more chapters. This does not, I’m not, I don’t mean to suggest this one doesn’t end. It does. There’s a definitive ending to this, to this chapter.

but it does also hint that the world is bigger than what we’re saying. And so if we want different readers, one more, there could be more, [00:05:00] the same way that there was more in the original series. I do want readers to know that it’s a super different thing than the original. really? Yeah. I know some people really love the original series, and want more of it.

And I want them to know that’s not what this is. I, it’s the first, the original Marvel zombies that Kirkman did. It was just like a fun zombie romp, you know, like it’s, you’re, you’re seeing your favorite soup. It was like this. Novelty, you’re seeing your favorite superheroes, zombies, you know, making zombie jokes and eating brains.

And it was just a, just a fun zombie. My superhero, Rob, it wasn’t anything to take seriously. It was just like, Oh crazy. This is crazy. Like we need covers. this is a very different thing. Like if. If, I told somebody the other day in an interview, if, if Marvel zombies, the original Marvel zombies was like planet terror, that Rodriguez did then Marvel zombies are his is more like the road where you’re, you’re seeing who you’re seeing a world after the fall of man, you know, like it’s is the prelude is what you see.

You see when you see everything [00:06:00] initially go down and then issue one that you see now. There are flashbacks where you see, you know, the original outbreak, but mostly it takes place several years later and you see what earth has become and you see follow this little group of characters through their adventures and, You see?

So yeah, it becomes more like the world is trying to, yeah. They’re trying to survive in that crazy world. And it’s more like, you know, James Cameron’s aliens in the road, so it’s very different take, it takes itself pretty seriously and it’s, but it’s still, we still wanted to have, you know, You know, I ideas of heroism and fun imagery that makes Marvel books what they are.

And it’s kind of a tricky line to balance, but I really feel like we crushed it. I I’m extremely proud of it. It’s it does. It does feel like the road and bleak, but also. You know, there are things in it that are very fun too, which sounds like sounds impossible. But like, for like, for example, forge is, is prominent in the, in the first issue.

and I thought he was right underrated X, man. I really like him. And [00:07:00] we see that he’s been very busy and he’s, he’s gone to work, making the. The bodies of his former friends and neighbors into Ray practicals, I’ll be fighting weapons. It’s pretty rad. And there’s some, it makes for some really fun imagery and really fun fights.

even though the world is coming apart and everything’s sad and all that, it’s also, it’s also really exciting and fun. I really want to get this book in as many hands as we can, because I think everyone’s going to love it.

Casey: How did you pitch it to Marvel? Because it seems like it’s such a, a tone change from, from what had proceeded it.

So,

Phillip K Johnson: yeah, definitely.

Casey: Can you guys remember that, that buddy travel comedy?

Phillip K Johnson: Exactly. Exactly. You know, that the all ages comedy writer, Cormack,

Casey: McCarthy.

Phillip K Johnson: Yeah. What if he wrote Spiderman? So, yeah, it’s, they actually pitched me on it, not on the concepts. they there’s like, we want you to do marbles. Obviously. I’m like, [00:08:00] sweet. You don’t even know what you’ve done here. Like, I’m going to crush the shit out of this book, but I kind of don’t want to do what has already been done.

Like as, as fun as the original was, is kind of not my brand. And I didn’t want to do more of that. I, that’s the way has already been told. Okay. and I really wanted to do a different take and I honestly, I. I loved. What do you see had done with deceased? that, that had just recently been coming out and I thought, Tom Taylor did a great work on it.

And this is more in line with that. It’s different. It’s not, it’s not anything like deceased really, but in, in tone is much more similar to deceased where you’re actually, but these are desks that you can care about and really feel for. Are they, The big thing that, that was cool about that book is that it made, it made the death matter.

It made the victories matter. It made, you care about everyone.

Casey: There are stakes,

Phillip K Johnson: there are stakes. Yeah. That I really needed this book to have stakes. and that’s, we just went so all in on [00:09:00] that. This is like just this, all about the emotional stakes, as well as the stakes for, you know, humanity and earth and all that, but even more so about the stakes for the characters and for each other.

so that’s what we did. We just found a really interesting eclectic group of characters to follow around people that you wouldn’t necessarily imagine would be together and, you know, see how much they mean to each other. And. Start to take them away and just give them something to care about again.

Cause it’s in the, in the story they’ve been out there kind of aimlessly wandering for a long time, just trying to survive, but they’re really just running away. they’re not, they don’t have a goal in mind is as much as it’s like, it’s more like the walking dead. Yeah. They’re trying to keep one step ahead of the monsters.

but an issue one, they find something that changes all that and suddenly they have a goal again, like, wait, we could actually. We can actually do something and they start to remember who they used to be and who they could be again. so, and that’s, that’s where they, that’s where they begin. It’s very, yeah, it’s going to be really cool.

I think I read it where they’re going to respond.

Casey: That’s awesome. I, [00:10:00] I, I would imagine if, if one of the big two come to you and say, Hey, we want you to do this book. They’re not asking you to do a carbon copy of whatever, you know, they, they, they want you, they want the Phillip Kenny Johnson style on that book.

So that’s, that’s gotta be pretty gratifying.

Phillip K Johnson: Yeah, I was, I was honored and I really was. I mean, yeah, at this point, I’ve I think people tend to know me now for the last God at DC black label. and when people come to me to do a book, they’re mostly coming to me because they want. They want a world building.

Cause that’s kind of what I’ve hung my hat on. Like I world building is why I write comics. I love the, you know, practically, you know, compared to movies, it has like an, you know, unlimited resources. They can, you can draw whatever you don’t have to worry about, you know, CG. and I just love how far I want to take that as far as I can.

I want to, I want to give, but as much as we can on the page, I can just build all these worlds, in, [00:11:00] in, languages and religions and creatures and everything we can and just make everything feel real the way that. Token did for his worlds and George R. Martin did for his and, Jackie rallying. And for her it’s like, there’s, you know, the one thing that those three writers all have in common is how far down the rabbit hole they went with their creations and how, how, how Epic the world building was that you could, you could tell whenever you, whenever you read a page of any of those properties, you could tell that there were a hundred pages behind it that you can’t see.

and that is mostly what. I think people come to me to right now, things where they, they want something done. Well, they want somebody who’s willing to, Work 10 times as hard as they need to for a book. they come to, and so I went in all in on that. I was like, okay, let’s see what the world would look like.

After the, after the, you know, zombie outbreak with a world, with superheroes in it, like, who do we follow? What would happen? What would happen to shield? What would happen to AME? What would happen to, how would the, How it robots be involved the way they were [00:12:00] in the original zombie story. how would like the, the phalanx be involved?

Oh, wow. what about the hulks? What about the, you know, what about the regular humans? Where would they have gone by now? What about Atlantis? What about, you know, we just, we can’t show everything. in a, in a, you know, four issue mini,

Casey: it seems like you you’ve still went pretty in depth.

Phillip K Johnson: Yeah. I really tried to show as much as we could from the perspective of these people.

Like, if it doesn’t make any sense, like there was, you know, I, you know, I. I had an idea for what the Inhumans would be up to in this scenario, but there was no place for them in this particular story. So we don’t see the Inhumans here. there were these, arcs that humans took to try to get away from, from earth, with the help of heroes that we all know and love.

And. We know, we haven’t had a chance to see those arcs yet either, but they’re out there. So I, you know, I just made all these decisions about what, what the world what’s out there in the world and then see, what can we actually show? so then when we make little references to things, they feel fleshed out and real the way, you know, they should, whenever there’s a bigger world, you know,

[00:13:00] Casey: That’s awesome.

So was there, was there anyone in the story that, that you felt kind of bad? Like, ah, I hate it. I’m going to have to kill you.

Phillip K Johnson: Yeah. I mean, issue one maybe.

Casey: Oh wow. Nice.

Phillip K Johnson: Yeah. And there’s, and there’s a, there are others in a subsequent issues as well. I’m not saying that, you know, we’re going to move through the whole party, but, but yeah, there are.

There are other characters that, that I really love in this story that I related to kill, but it’s, you know, that’s, that’s the biz and I own it. Not for not gratuitously. Like I, I never killed it. Like, well, we’ve got to have a death now to make something seem serious. I didn’t wanna, I didn’t wanna, you know, take that road, but, Yeah, whenever, whenever it made sense for the character and for the other characters around them and for the story, it definitely happens.

And I try to make everyone feel those as much as possible. So it’s not just a mindless B movie where everyone’s just fodder.

Casey: Oh yeah. Yeah. [00:14:00] So. Do you have any other plans with Marvel after this? Is it, do you think that you have any other stories for Marvel?

Phillip K Johnson: Oh God. Yeah. Yes, I do. well I’m a captain America and the empire miniseries for captain America just wrapped up too.

That was a three issue. Many that just finished. I wrote that and that was super fun. it was an honor. He gets to write cap. I mean, as an active duty soldier getting the right capital, it’s like a dream come true. and we got to ride him, we got to give him a, like a, a group of real life, American soldiers to fight with kind of like a, kind of like a new Holland commandos team made up of modern day American soldiers.

And that was super awesome to get to do that. let’s see. Yeah, I’ve got a, I’ve got an upcoming thing with Marvel that I am over the moon. Stoked about. It’s like an actual dream come true writing egg, which is weird to say, because I mean, this one was also a dream come true. but yeah, they could not be more perfect for me.

And we’re probably gonna announce it in about a month or maybe between a month and two months. [00:15:00] It’ll get announced. I think. Oh, nice. I’m happy to come back here and talk to you about it again. Cause I mean, I’m going to be, I’m going to sit for, maybe I’m going to be literally singing from the top of buildings about this.

Casey: You sound so stoked about this. Yeah. You’re coming on. If, if you have yes.

Phillip K Johnson: Yeah, I’d love to, and I honestly I’m, I feel the same way about this book, but this next one is just as God. Anyway, I can’t wait

Casey: and there’s some trouble.

Phillip K Johnson: Yeah, no, I’ve got another thing coming up from DC. That’s also on the same level.

I’m just like the, just feel unbelievably fortunate right now with everything I’ve got coming up. aside from the things I can’t talk about yet, I’m also, you know, cap is wrapped up. I’m doing, For DC, I’m doing the tales from the dark multiverse story. that’s going to be out next or in November called, this based on Batman, hush.

Casey: Oh,

Phillip K Johnson: nice. Yeah, I’m really excited. And extra soy is drawing it guy. He’s he was the artist on red hood for a long time. yeah, it’s really exciting take. And like [00:16:00] we basically get to see a Gotham without Batman and then Batman suddenly appears it’s really, really fun.

Casey: Awesome. Awesome. that, that must be fun.

Getting into that universe. are, are you completely done with the last God?

Phillip K Johnson: I am actually working on the last guy that was running on issue 12 right before I came on here. And I’ll be, I’ll be hitting it again, as soon as we’re done. I, yeah, I see issue. Let me think nine comes out next month and, Or this is, I guess, later this month.

And then, and those issue 10, and there’s a spinoff issue that Dan waters wrote called the songs, songs of lost children that, is a story of science, of queen science. in the years, between for those who haven’t read the book, it follows two timelines. It follows a, This party of heroes that save the world very much like the heroes of the fellowship of the ring.

and back in their day, except the big victory that supposedly was won at the black stair at the edge of [00:17:00] creation, didn’t go down the way that they said, and then we see another. scenario 30 years later where the last God returns and the another group of heroes got swept up in this, in this adventure to actually do what the first fellowships said that they did.

And like, there was this big, big lie and conspiracy that’s been happening for decades. And now they’re trying to unravel it, see what really happened and, killed the last God and save everyone. So between those two. Timelines 30 years apart. There’s another story that happens in between with the queen.

and Dan waters is, as written that story, Steve beach, my old collaborator is drawing it and, that comes out after issue 10 and then 11 and 12 and, and it’s all wrapped up.

Casey: Wow. Wow. How did the, the spinoff thing come up, come about? Did you ask him to do that or was DC just like, what else do you, what do you have anything else for the, for this world that you’re doing?

How, how did that. What was the impetus of that?

Phillip K Johnson: it’s been, the book has been really well received, honestly, and we wanted to do [00:18:00] more. We did the, the D and D source book, the role-playing, source book that we’ve put out after issue six it’s two arcs, six issues are, yeah, I know. God it’s been a dream come true.

So the F is two six issue arcs, after the first six, we, we put out the source book so that people can make their own role-playing campaigns in that world. cause there was like an, just an unthinkable amount of, of back matter that people hadn’t seen. And they were like, we have all this shit, man.

We should really do something with it. And my editor is a huge gamer tabletop gamer when he’s not doing comics, he’s doing that. and he really wanted to make this playable. So we put together the source book, which is just this massive undertaking, but I mean, a lot of the, a lot of the. Oh, the lore was already there just behind the scenes.

I said it was just a matter of, you know, writing it in such a way that makes it look pretty and adding illustrations. so yeah, so we have, we have the 12 main issues and then the source book, and then we decided to do one more issue that would flesh out character science a little more. There [00:19:00] was, there was a single image in the first issue.

Of King TIR as a young man, apparently trying to kill a baby. And we never really find out specifically, there are hints about what was happening there, but it never specifically says, what was this about? What happened? Like why, why is science childless? What happened with TIR? Why did he go crazy? And, the issue that we gave to Dan to write, flushes

Casey: that’s that’s awesome.

Do you, do you have any. When this is wrapped up. When this is done. Do you think that you will have anything else for it? Do you want to return to it or are you just happy with, you know, putting the toys away and calling it a day?

Phillip K Johnson: I need to take a breather cause it’s a crazy man. Like every issue has about six, like four to six pages of back matter six, six pages mostly.

that’s a ton.

Casey: I’m too stupid to write that much. There’s no way I could. [00:20:00] Oh, my gosh.

Phillip K Johnson: I mean, w when you’re writing prose, it’s just to take, you know, you need it to, to read really well. it’s, you know, it’s, it’s not nothing and it’s, it makes it harder because it’s in the end, needs to be in the language of that world.

You know, it can’t just be. You know, just normal sounding language. it’s a very delicate art. so, and sometimes it’s a journal entry from a character that lived a long time ago. Other times it’s a religious text. Sometimes the religious texts in a different language. Sometimes it’s, some original song.

So it just takes a lot of time. I mean, it’s very, it’s hugely rewarding. I love doing it. but it also takes a lot of time. So I love this book. I would gladly write it the rest of my life. And there are other arcs that we can do that would, that would go with it nicely. I think. I would love to come back to it.

I’m sure Ricardo needs a break too, because we’ve been burning them up for like a year. Oh, I bet.

Casey: Yeah. And that artist’s beautiful.

Phillip K Johnson: it’s crushing. Yeah. But yeah, there’s tons more stories that we could do in that world. And I would love to do that.

Casey: The ultimate edition of this book. When you, when you get [00:21:00] around to that, if y’all don’t delve into the back matter stuff that you wrote it, I, I think that, I think people would eat it up.

Phillip K Johnson: Yeah, no, we’re just, there’s going to

Casey: be the care and attention that you put into it.

Phillip K Johnson: Yeah, there’s a, there’s a lot that’s already written that they went in the back of the single issue is that will already be in there plus the stuff from the source book plus more stuff that wasn’t even in the source because we even cut.

As long as that source book was, we cut out pages of stuff. I mean, it could have been even longer. plus all these other things that I have in the form of notes that have not yet been transcribed into something like readable and like. You know, nice to read for the reader.

Casey: It’s almost like you have the similarity, you know, just kind of waiting in the wings while you’re riding the same.

Phillip K Johnson: Right, exactly. Yeah. Just waiting for me to die. So my son can do it. I

Casey: didn’t mean to get into them. You know, that was,

Phillip K Johnson: that was a little bit, a little jab at the, at the token and state. Yeah, [00:22:00] yeah. Waiting for me to like all this stuff that I never intended to actually publish that my son then takes and sells for more money.

Casey: I, I, so I loved Lord of the rings could not get into, I couldn’t get into the habit. Which I think there’s something wrong with me for that and could not get into the similarity. And, and I tried to read both of them, just, it just wasn’t working, but I loved the Lord of the rings books.

Phillip K Johnson: Yeah. I think the Hobbit might be my favorite of the bunch.

I, I liked that it was just a, like a standalone adventure. It wasn’t like the state of the whole world didn’t ride on it. yeah.

Casey: Yeah. It’s

Phillip K Johnson: like an, a with a dragon and it was just really, I mean, it was big and it was obviously a huge consequences, but, it wasn’t the, yeah, I didn’t have the doomsday stuff attached to it as much.

And it was, it was really just a great read. And also the cartoon when I was a kid was really awesome.

Casey: That is on HBO max, and I can’t

Phillip K Johnson: wait to watch it.

Casey: That’s awesome. I mean, they [00:23:00] don’t have it set up so you can like watch it via Roku, which is how we do our stuff. Cause we have, an old TV. Yeah. And so it’s just on my phone.

So I’m just waiting for him to put it on Roku. So I can watch that puppy on my big screen instead of looking at my

Phillip K Johnson: phone gall and so creepy and beautiful. I really love that version. All of them

Casey: when I was a kid and they had like the same voice actor of the thing, it scared the crap out of me.

Phillip K Johnson: Yeah, he’s creepy.

He does a great job. He was in the, that same animation company, I think. Did, the last unicorn, right? Yes. Is there a character isn’t that Liberty similar and the same, the same actor does the voice of like a. Like a Carney, like a guy that’s like taking care of the heartbeat or something. And he’s also very creepy.

Casey: That bird creeped me out.

Phillip K Johnson: Oh yeah. She was awesome.

Casey: Beautiful.

Phillip K Johnson: But yeah, I really dug the Hobbit, but I, I know what you mean about similarly and I don’t, it’s not like a. [00:24:00] Fun read per se. It’s not, it’s not exactly a story the way we’re accustomed to reading them. It’s more like the old Testament.

Casey: Exactly.

Exactly. And so-and-so begat so-and-so and so on. Yeah.

Phillip K Johnson: Yeah. So I love it for the musical quality of the word craft. I love it for the world-building. I, it was actually like, It was, it was probably the most, it’s probably the biggest influence on the last God of any, of any single book. I mean, I’ve got the last, I’ve got the similar land and Lord of the rings all within arm’s length right now.

And the similarly, and I definitely opened it the most. Like I, I read through that thing several times over the course of writing last God is to kind of study the hands of the master, you know, as far as the, just the way, the, the way the language is rings, but also. The way he built his world. I just really admire it.

It’s not as fun. It’s not like a page Turner, but it’s just, just to study it it’s as fascinating.

Casey: I have to pull it out out of my bookshelf later on and check it out again. [00:25:00] So I, I do have a question about that. because as, as you are a token was a soldier, right? And he was, people have speculated that he was influenced.

By his experiences during world war one. do you think that you, your writing has been influenced by your, your experiences in, in the, the military?

Phillip K Johnson: Sure. I mean, I think everyone’s everyone’s experiences make them who they are and influence anything that they make. I know token actively. disliked the idea of metaphor.

He was not trying to make a point with any of his works. There was a story that he was telling he, if any, if there were, if you had like a mission statement and his work was that he, he hated that England didn’t have its own mythology. Really. he didn’t feel like it had its own stories the way other, other nations did.

[00:26:00] Even King Arthur is largely a French work. So he basically set out to make the English mythology, essentially.

Casey: It’s so weird, like, because there’s so many, so much Gallic mythology and Welsh and, Scottish, stuff. So it’s weird that he would. Thought that, that wasn’t enough.

Phillip K Johnson: Yeah. I, well, yeah, he, I mean, he was this, you know, the pinnacle of the scholar of English languages, like, Anglo-Saxon ECU is like professor of Anglo-Saxon that, Oxford, he knew his shit, you know, and he, he just loved language.

So he made up all these languages that eventually became the Lord of the rings for me. I, yeah, I’m not. I’m not actively trying to, tell my own story or whatever, or like pay homage to my own influences, but it all, my influence has just come out of my work the way they do with anyone’s. so yeah, my, my soap, my.

My [00:27:00] service as a soldier, but also just my identity, myself identification as a, as a Patriot in a really crazy time politically. I think probably colors my, my work, even more like things that I think they’re happening that are dangerous and scary and makes me worry about the fate of the future of our nation.

And, those things come out probably more prominently than anything I actually experienced as a soldier as more, a bit more about my identification as an American. If that makes sense.

Casey: Oh

Phillip K Johnson: yes. And it’s not, again, I’m not trying to exactly, you know, prove a point with my work either, but it’s, the thing is I care about and get mad about and scare me.

I’m sure those things come out in my work to some degree, certainly in the captain America thing I just wrote, but my other work too.

Casey: Aye.

It’s weird America right now is, is in a moment. And, a whole lot of the future going forward is going to be [00:28:00] decided on how we act like now. And that is that it scares the shit out of me, Phil. it’s It’s it’s really worrisome because, I, yeah, it just looking at social media. I don’t think people are prepared.

Phillip K Johnson: Yeah. I mean, we’ll see what happens. I we’re a couple of months out and see what happens, but, without getting into it too deep, yeah, it’s an important time. And, One good thing is that people seem to really care right now. And that’s good. That’s, we’re obviously very divided, but, yeah, we don’t even get into all that, but it’s, it definitely is on my mind.

So obviously it’s going to come out and I’ll work to some degree, but not, I’m not trying to, I’m never trying to like lecture the readers. I think that’s important that you can. You can write work that matters without trying to actively beat him over the head with it, or, you know, make a statement that you need them to acknowledge it.

It’ll just come out on its own. So I don’t feel the need to, to go to your heart into it. So, yeah.

Casey: Yeah. [00:29:00] And I mean, it’s, it’s one of those things. When, when people see your

Phillip K Johnson: actions,

Casey: They, they will speak way louder than a lecturer will. Yeah. So, and, funny, funny enough, like comics stuff like captain America and, seeing those ideals on, you know, on the page, it’s one of those things that really does make me go like.

This, this is awesome. We can do this. I believe in this. And, even when you know, the news tells me otherwise, so it it’s, Doing what you’re doing is important stuff. And, and I definitely appreciate it.

Phillip K Johnson: Thanks. Yeah, it’s a, it’s a great gig. And then even in my day job, but with the, with the army, that my job is to kind of be an ambassador and connect America with its army, [00:30:00] play it, you know, primarily play concerts for, for American citizens and, you know, just actively telling the story of American soldiers all the time.

And so to get to do it more directly, even with. You know, by telling a captain America story was really a huge honor. I mean, that’s cap cap represents the army values that are beat into us in training. Like we’re the values that we’re supposed to live up to. he is like the personification of that stuff.

So it’s, you know, to get to right. But then on the page, it was really, you know, super rewarding.

Casey: Did, has, does anyone else that you, that you work with in, in your day job and do they know what you do?

Phillip K Johnson: Yeah. Yeah. The most of them do. Yeah, it’s been really cool. I mean, most of them are very supportive.

They’ve actually been really great about it. I have friends who read my work now and I have people in my chain of command who are also very supportive. I’ve actually gotten to do little spotlights about it. I am. Right now due to COVID and we don’t our, our, our tours have been canceled for the immediate [00:31:00] future.

cause normally we tour like a third of the year right now. We’re not doing that cause it’s kind of it’s, you know, it was getting unsafe to

Casey: Oh yeah,

Phillip K Johnson: for sure. so yeah, we’re not doing that, but we are streaming a lot and I’m doing a lot, a lot of live streaming concerts. Oh, that’s cool. Yeah. It’s it’s been really good.

one of them was a, what they call a soldier session, which was a focus just on me. and just for like 15 minutes, I just played music that I, you know, I write music for my book sometimes. And, one of them like, well, the last God, I have a lot of, a lot of music in the last guy that I’ve written for that.

I also wrote music for a warlords of Appalachia book. I wrote right around the time of the last election. so I did a whole program, just a music I wrote from my comics. And they were, yeah, that’s what they want. They asked me to do that and they’re really cool about it. So yeah, I couldn’t ask for a more supportive chain.

So,

Casey: that I love that they they’re supportive and, and right now, like due to like the Marvel films and all that captain America is hugely, you [00:32:00] know, In, in the moment in the Zeit guys. So in a lot, I’m sure a lot of the, especially the younger soldiers that you, that you come into contact with this, they grew up watching it.

So, yeah. And I’m sure they, they probably have paid to go see a Marvel film at least, sometime in the last 10 years. So, that is, that’s, that’s pretty fantastic.

Phillip K Johnson: It’s crazy that you can buy like captain America or Batman shirts at like Walmart, you know, like that it didn’t used to it. Didn’t used to be that way.

And now, like, literally everyone, people are calling captain America cap, like, like the fans used to, you’re not like everyone, just, everyone just knows what you’re talking about. That’s such a change. Like now it’s all kind of taken for granted, but that’s just so awesome. So,

Casey: I’m going to veer the conversation a little bit away from superheroes.

Okay. Away from, from fantasy. I want to talk about killing man.

Phillip K Johnson: All right, let’s do it.

Casey: So you [00:33:00] did this, this project with Steve Orlando. you, you co-wrote a book. How, how was the co-writing process?

Phillip K Johnson: It’s great. I have not done too much of it. I, there was like a comic strip that I wrote a long time ago for, you know, just on the internet for, as a web comic called band is a, there’s a site called, what was it?

Music comic.com. It was just this, this friend of mine, this professional saxophone player is also very talented artist who would do these single panel cartoons or make little comic strips, that in some way deal with music. And he said he wanted to do a. Band themed, like kind of like South park, like a little, little class of kids that would go through band together.

so I helped him write that. And that was my only other like co-writing experience really until this and Steve, I met Steve Orlando at Albany con years ago. And, we ended up at this like a sports bar, eating wings and watching a UFC fight. And he told me that he had just recently gotten [00:34:00] into it. and I actively practice MMA and we just kind of started talking about it and became friends.

And we’d occasionally meet up at other conventions and grab a drink or just, you know, catch up a little. At some point he told me about this book he wanted to do. about a queer MMA fighter who gets outed and, it’s, it’s about much more than that. It’s it really, it’s a powerful story. the roots of the story really go back to a real life fighter named Emile Griffith, who was one of the top 10 boxers in the world in the sixties.

And truly one of the greats of all time, he was bisexual and he got called a slur, like just before a fight and he ended up killing the guy in the ring. well I guess technically the guy who died was wounds later, but, that it really haunted him and Steve wanted, he had an idea for a story that was kind of inspired by that.

So, so we did it and yeah, the co-writing process. [00:35:00] Was he, he wanted to bring me on in part, because I have such a, so much experience with MMA and you really wanted this whole thing to read Ray legit. He’s got, you know, he’s, Steve is LGBTQ he’s by himself. And, he had very clear ideas that he wanted to explore with the relationships in the book.

he wanted the fight stuff to be just as authentic. And I’m like, I, I can do that. So we got together. So whenever we write a script together, there are scenes that we will both take lead on. Like here’s, here’s a fight scene. I’ll take lead on that one. Here’s a thing, a relationship thing with, main character and you know, his partner, let’s, you know, Steve we’ll take that and then we’ll both read each other’s work and kind of homogenize the whole thing and make it all sound more of, of one voice.

pass them back a couple of times and then it’s done. It’s actually been very, it’s been a really easy, intuitive relationship that way.

Casey: That that’s awesome. did, do, [00:36:00] did you learn. about writing, from working with another writer, like obviously, you know, you, you don’t need any help. You are, you’re killing it right now anyway.

But did you learn a little bit about yourself, about how you write by, working so closely with another writer?

Phillip K Johnson: yeah, it was, it was interesting to see how another writer does it, you know? Cause I, I mean there are, there are other. I have graphic novels by other people that sometimes the back matter in the back of the issue will back up the volume.

We’ll have, you know, a script or something or a few pages of script. You can see it this a little bit of behind the scene stuff. See how, see what the script looks like, or see how, and sometimes there’ll be a script and then pages of thumbnails and then pencils and inks and colors. You get to see the whole thing come together.

And that’s always really informative and cool, but, yeah, seeing someone. Actively writing a script. Like another pro was really interesting is that guy, you know, I, he gave me opportunities to see things [00:37:00] that I hadn’t thought about the same way, like, huh. This is something I might change in my own scripts from now on, or this is going to get, Steve does really well.

I’m going to steal it. You know, and there are other things where I, you know, I prefer my way because I’ve also been doing it for a little bit and we both have our preferences, you know, but, but yeah, I definitely learned from like seeing someone else’s script come together in real time, it was very interesting and informative.

Same thing with Dan waters. Like Dan was taking an idea that I had fleshed out already pretty much. And I just kind of gave him the idea and let him run with the actual script. And seeing that come together in the hands of another writer, like an idea that came out of my brain and then was interpreted through dance and it became a script through Dan.

That was really interesting. Yeah.

Casey: Well, is that hard letting go of one of your babies, like going like, Hey, this is in my world and you know, totally my toy box, but I’m going to trust you with it was that hard giving that trust to, to another writer. I mean, he’s, he’s very capable. He knows what he’s doing, but.

I mean cheese and [00:38:00] crackers, man. That’s that is, you know, something that you, you burst all on your own.

Phillip K Johnson: Yeah, it, I mean, I trusted Dan he’s a, he’s a really good writer and he and I, have similar enough voice that he just felt like the right choice for this. but for that one, I, I think if there was like an actual mistake or something where if he’s contradicting, if he’s, if Dan, accidentally contradicted Laura, that I, that I knew to be true, that he doesn’t know about it because he hasn’t read like.

I can’t expect it. I can’t expect it to read pages of notes. Yeah. Like there’s like, well here, actually this, you know, this, this Elvin slave’s character is in the language of, you know, the, you poo at tribe and they don’t use vowels this way. So here’s actually how, you know, this won’t work for her name.

Here’s a variation that might work instead if you’re willing to do this well, this, this name actually sounds too similar to the word for. Whatever so that they can’t, that wouldn’t make sense for a name either. You know, like I, whenever there was something that didn’t make sense, he and I would flesh it out [00:39:00] so that I didn’t contradict something else that would show up in some of their, you know, I don’t, I don’t know if anyone’s ever going to like pick apart the last guy to the extent that people pick apart, you know, cling on now or, you know, tokens languages.

But if they do, I need it to be right. I want the world to be real enough that. People can, you know, take the nine different, references to the money system there throughout the entire series. And they all make sense together, you know, like it’s, so a lot of care was taken to make sure it all works.

As far as his storytelling, I tried not to get into like micromanage him. Cause I like, cause I paid that personally. Like I don’t like. Being like, you asked me to write this thing. So now I’m going to write it back off the guy that’s like, do the strip, like I’m giving you the work to do, but I actually am not.

I’m really just going to control you the whole time. I didn’t want to do that. So I let Dan know the things that matter the details that were like fact in this world, like here’s what this monster [00:40:00] is. here’s how these languages work. Here’s the region in which this place exists. Here’s how the language works.

You know, and do your thing. And then from there I would, I would just let Dan Dan work cause he’s great, you know, and the same kind of thing with Steve on killer man though. But Steve, he, I’m not gonna, I’m not going to tell him, you know, he came to me with this story. He there’s a, the story he wanted to tell.

And a lot of it is him dealing with. Past experiences and things he wanted to say that mattered him a great deal. So I’m not going to tell him how to write a queer relationship or, you know, and I, if there was something where I feel like, it was getting a little too, like if, if a, if a sentence was like too loot or something is like, eh, I think this is like, we’re going to turn readers off with this.

Or when I started getting into the fighting stuff, When I’m, you know, to I’m showing a training scene between the main character and his trainer. And if I get into the weeds too much about fighting technique, he would walk me back to, I mean, like this is getting [00:41:00] pretty fucking doll talking about, we don’t need to get in this detail, this amount of detail, as far as how to train for power, you know, like nobody actually gives a shit.

So let’s just. Take it back. He’s not saying it quite that way to me, but, you know, we would just kind of check each other, you know? So in that way it was really great to have another set of eyes like to have another Perot kind of looking over your shoulder was really helpful. And the ending is something that neither one of us could have done alone.

I had a very specific ending in mind and he had like, basically the opposite version. and we both knew that we were, we all knew that we had the better solution and we kicked it around until we came up with a solution that was better than either one of those that really does walk the middle, but also has this interesting twist.

And I, we couldn’t have done it alone. So that was really great. That’s

Casey: it? That’s awesome. Did you learn anything about writing about the, LGBTQ I a community?

[00:42:00] Phillip K Johnson: Yeah, I, I mean, the, the comics, community is already is famously diverse and I’ve learned a lot just from being in comics in general. And, you know, Steve is definitely a part of that.

And he, there were some things in the story that, that I learned along the way. Yeah, it was, it was really interesting. and I’m very proud to have been a part of this project. I think it’s an important one. I think that it kind of shines a light on a shortcoming in the MMA community of which I’m a part.

I mean, I really don’t know what would happen in, in the, in the situation where if, if, Prominent fight. Prominent MMA contender came out as gay or was out at his gay. I don’t know how fans would take it. I feel like there are fans that would be shitty about it. I know there’s. I mean, there are no. there were no in the UFC.

I don’t believe there are any openly gay male fighters. There are some openly gay women fighters for some reason. That’s cool. [00:43:00] But for, for dudes, it’s not as cool. I don’t know. Maybe it’s maybe I’m speaking out of turn. Maybe it is cool, but I don’t think I know of any, and I have a hard time believing that there’s literally not a single one.

But, I mean, honestly, that was kinda the community I grew up in. I grew up in Kentucky and I, I didn’t know a single gay person growing up. I mean, in real life, I’m sure I did, but I hadn’t even now I have no idea who they would have been. it just, wasn’t the kind of place where you wanted to come out and not, not at that time.

I don’t know. It’s like there now, but at the time it was being openly gay in a place like that. And in high school with that would have been. Frigging really hard.

Casey: You, you would have been putting a lot of debt. You’d be putting yourself in danger. Yeah. Just

Phillip K Johnson: even aside from physical, maybe like just, you know, just constantly ridiculed and it would have been, yeah, it would have been shitty.

So, Yeah, I’m curious how, how even the book will be taken by the MMA community. I think very well. I think I, but I think it’s an important story to tell is I wanted to, I [00:44:00] wanted to show the LGBTQ community kind of superimposed with Anna Mae community and have both sides. I give both sides and authentic, look at themselves, also not authentic.

Look at the other side and let them kind of learn from each other, you know?

Casey: Yeah. Yeah. And I think it’s cool that you guys are able to do a story that, that, that marries those two communities together in a way, because, I mean, I’m sure that there are a ton of. Gay folks that are into MMA and they don’t see themselves reflected in the sport and people want to see themselves in their thing.

Phillip K Johnson: Oh my God. Totally.

Casey: Yeah, it is. I think it’s part of human nature. They want to see a reflection of who they are. In the thing that they’re interested in, whether it be comics, whether it be [00:45:00] film, whether it be TV and, sports, I’m sure a big part of it. one of the biggest football fans I know, in, in the South, you know, as much as I do college football is life.

One of the biggest, football fans on now is, is, out and proud gay man. And he, The roll tide is, is his life.

Phillip K Johnson: Wow. Okay. Yeah, man, that matters, dude.

Casey: Yeah. Yeah. And, so it it’s, it’s. Good to have that, those stories. also roll tide. I don’t care what team before I

Phillip K Johnson: said don’t follow college football right now.

Casey: Oh man. Yeah.

Phillip K Johnson: But having grown up in that scene, I know I Def I know exactly what you’re talking about, where I grew up. It was all about UK basketball.

Casey: Yeah. We suck at basketball. That’s what, that’s what we’re all offering. Yeah. Yeah. Hopefully they, they, they didn’t do too good last season. Did they?

Phillip K Johnson: Yeah. UK basketball.

Yeah. I don’t know, dude. I don’t [00:46:00] watch TV.

Casey: You know why? Cause you, you got like 80 different jobs. That’s why,

Phillip K Johnson: I do try to watch, I do try to follow MMA and lately I’ve been stuck into that too. I mean, part of that is the, you know, we’re all locked down. I don’t have, I don’t have cable.

Casey: My, my wife and kids are all about some.

I have two daughters and my wife. They love watching boxing and MMA with me. Actually, I think my wife wants to watch MMA.

Phillip K Johnson: that’s so cool.

Casey: You’re blessed. And it’s so fun. I was, it was like Saturday morning. I was, sitting down with my coffee and I saw an old boxing match on and I was watching it and, my five-year-old was like sitting next to me in her little, Princess skirt that she had put on.

Cause she likes dressing up and dancing around and she said he needs to put his guard up. I was like, yeah, he does. so they, they watched this stuff and they totally dig it.

[00:47:00] Phillip K Johnson: Yeah. That’s so cool. Yeah. I’ll watch a little bit of stuff with my son too. And he, and I like I’m actually teaching him some more time right now.

Oh, nice. juicy too. He was in classes for. Did you just see one more time before everything shut down, but it’s, I’m, I’m teaching him stuff myself now. He and I were both like training at the same place. so now he, and I just, just do it at home. I’ve got a really pretty cool little home gym situation downstairs and like have some mats and a couple of bags and got him a little grappling dummy.

And, yeah, it’s really fun.

Casey: My wife’s wanting to, go to an MMA gym and, and learn how to do that. she. I think she could do it. I think she would enjoy it. the close, the nearest MMA gym though is like 45 minutes away. So, you know, it might kind of put a pin in that for now, at least, but she’s a kindergarten teacher and I’m sure she has a lot of, a lot of energy sheets she could get out.

Phillip K Johnson: Yeah, I’m sure. Well, if you can, if he’s into it and. Like, does that one place you’re talking about? Does it advertises up as an MMA gym [00:48:00] specifically?

Casey: Yes.

Phillip K Johnson: You can find other places. I have no idea how like kind of area you’re in, but there could be a place closer that teaches things like Muay Thai and jujitsu and those kinds of things separately that would essentially be giving you the same experience as, as MMA.

And it doesn’t have to be necessarily in a cage. You know, it can be your people who do MMA are often learning jiu-jitsu and Moya Thai and traditional Western boxing or wrestling or judo or whatever separately. and then kind of working on their style, you know, as well. But, yeah. So if you find a place where they teach jujitsu, see if they have any striking at that same school, often they will.

Casey: I’ll have to look

Phillip K Johnson: into that and might have a, you might find a more convenient place.

Casey: We watch Strikeforce fairly often too, but, so, kind of moving, moving again. You, you mentioned COVID you mentioned being at home. How [00:49:00] has, how has that affected you guys in particular? Have, have you been, it sounds like you’re still working fairly steady.

Phillip K Johnson: Yeah. yes, that’s definitely true. well my and my unit, it was, I don’t know. I planned the us army field band, one of the, military bands in Washington, DC. And normally we tour around the country and play concerts, American people, and it’s going to tell the story of the American army, but, Now everything’s shut down, but the mission continues.

So we are mostly performing live streaming concerts from our, our home base. we stream every single day. that’s cool, but not everyone is playing every single day, like a lot because of the constraints of how many people we can have in a room at the same time, it is mostly smaller groups. So there’ll be like a, a horn band playing blue stuff.

Next day. There’ll be a brass quintet next day. There’ll be, you know, a clarinet group next day. There’ll be a, like a. A bluegrass thing. And I was like, I was just hugely varied a lot, day to day. so we’re doing those. [00:50:00] there’s also, you know, there’s always just logistical things I have to get taken care of as a soldier.

There’s, you know, army things you have to do like computer training and, Yeah, physical stuff, which took a, my combat fitness test yesterday. And I got to, when I’m not taking mine, I’ll be grading others on theirs. Oh, nice. I’m also responsible for a lot of the writing that comes out of the unit, like the, you know, liner notes or newsletters or whatever.

So I’ll write some of those and farm out other ones. So there’s lots of things that need to be done for, for the day job. and also there’s comics and those deadlines and never stop, you know, that’s, comics are, Train that never stops, stops moving. And the track is being. Taken apart behind the train and put together in front of it all the time.

It’s just constantly moving. And, so yeah, trying to get those books out on time as well. And plus, and plus, you know, kids aren’t in school now. I mean school, there aren’t school in some places like here, my son is still gonna be, schooling from home. like do schooling virtually.

Casey: Yeah. That’s the way my kids are doing it.

Phillip K Johnson: Yeah. So it’s, anyone who’s not doing that, you’re trying [00:51:00] to make it, so he’s not just sit and watching TV all the time. So it’s been, it’s been busy.

Casey: Yeah. Yeah. I’m trying to, hours are, I think minor perhaps yet younger than yours. I have a 10 and a five,

Phillip K Johnson: no, minus minus six.

Casey: Oh, okay, cool. Yeah. Yeah.

So a lot of Minecraft, but, They they’ve gotten really into making slime. We’ve made a lot of slime and, slime is restricted to one room of the house.

Phillip K Johnson: Cause we,

Casey: yeah, so we, we recently had a new carpet put in the living room because we, man, we, we painted the living room. My father-in-law came by to help out with some electrical stuff.

And he called his buddy. And he said, Aw, Jeff’s going to come over. He’s going to help out with the electrical acid. Well, we’re trying to social distance, man. And I don’t know, Jeff is like, ah, you know, Jeff? I said, I don’t, but just because I know him [00:52:00] doesn’t mean he’s not sick.  yeah, we’re trying to do. And so it came down to that.

Jeff was an actual electrician. He knows what he’s doing. My father-in-law did not feel comfortable doing this thing. So I was like, okay. I’ll have the family on the other side of the house and it’s not like he can touch any of the furniture because the furniture is already put up because we’re painting.

So, my father-in-law is finishing up some tiny little touch up painting. Jeff is wiring the electrical and I I’m cleaning brushes. Like we’re literally wrapping shit up and I hear, Oh, no. I walk

Phillip K Johnson: into the living room.

Casey: Jeff is a portly man and he bumped into my, my father-in-law was doing his touch up with a whole can of paint.

I handed him one of those little [00:53:00] tiny cups and said, Hey man, you want to use this? He’s like, nah, I’m just going to pop this open and put that back on. That’s good. Jeff bumped into my father-in-law, who was holding the whole can of paint. The whole gallon can of paint and got paint all over from head-to-toe also, he got paint on the wall.

He got paint in the hallway. He got paint on my dog, outside of the baby gate, in the hallway. He got paint on a guitar that a friend had custom built for me, that I was just kind of lean. It goes in the living room and I usually have a hanging up. but instead I had that lean in, in the hallway, just out of the way, get paint on that and paint all over our carpet, which we were very happy with.

you got paint all over it and it was like a, a very dark blue.

Phillip K Johnson: Oh my God, dude. It sounds like there was not a drop wasted.

Casey: Not at all. [00:54:00] Oh, man. So my wife comes in cause she hears a commotion, immediately runs to the bedroom and starts riding her by reading her Bible and crying

and yeah. Yeah, she, it was, it could have been much worse and, I felt bad for Jeff because Jeff is a good day. Yeah. And he didn’t mean to, and he’s like, I’ll pay for the carpet. It’s okay. And, Or like, no, no, but I am going to have to get this carpet replaced. So we got the carpet replaced and now the girls are restricted on so many things in the living room because we’re not buying it fricking carpet.

How I, I saw like you, you had to like rip up your bathroom or something.

Phillip K Johnson: God, when was that?

Casey: You posted something on Twitter. And I was like,

Phillip K Johnson: Oh, in there.

Casey: What’s

Phillip K Johnson: that? What happened? Okay. I’m trying to remember. Well, we, we, yeah, I’ve been doing some work on the house.

Casey: Like I don’t want to get into

Phillip K Johnson: all of that, but yeah, there’s a, [00:55:00] we had a, the downstairs, mostly I, took out all the old paneling and put up drywall everywhere and redid the ceilings and yeah, it’s been spent a lot.

It’s

Casey: work, man. It’s hard work that drywall does not. I had to move, 80 sheets of drywall. The other day for my father-in-law, who has a project that he’s doing in his barn. And, I was like, I’m pretty sure you bought too much drywall. And he’s like, no, no, I’m not just doing the upstairs. I’m doing the downstairs too.

This he’s wanting to, completely and totally, make it climate controlled in the barn.

Phillip K Johnson: Cause

Casey: he’s, he, As a side thing, he does, gunsmithing.

Phillip K Johnson: Okay. Nice.

Casey: Which is why I was at the gun range earlier today. I was moving crap for that, but,

Phillip K Johnson: Oh my gosh.

Casey: So much. Hmm. Yeah. But anyway, kill a man.

Phillip K Johnson: Yeah. So for those who don’t know the story, [00:56:00] so kill Amanda is a story of a top mixed martial arts contender named James belly.

The real superstar whose father DJ belly was himself a pioneer in MMA and was killed in the ring for slurring a gay opponent, a guy named Xavier Maine, in present day, just as james’ belly. That dude’s son is about to finally get his title shot. His opponent outs him as gay in a live press conference.

And overnight he loses everything because his endorsements, his fight camp, his fans, and support of the league, it’s all gone. And now he has to win it all back. And the only person in the whole MMA scene who’s willing and able to train him is Xavier mate, the man who killed his dad in the ring all those years ago.

it’s inspired by stories like creed. but it’s also, again, inspired by the real life of Emile Griffith that boxer who killed his opponent.

Casey: still one of the top 20 boxers pound for pound. and, he’s been dead for since like [00:57:00] 2013,

Phillip K Johnson: I think. Yeah. I believe I do, dude was bad-ass yeah, completely. yes, largely about his story and also just kind of the, you know, the contrast of boxing with MMA and just how the.

You know, the ways in which the MMA scene should be better. And it’s yeah, really powerful. I’m really excited about it. Steve is over the moon, happy with this book and we’re all raised and stuff for it to get a, for, to come out.

Casey: That’s awesome.

Phillip K Johnson: It is.

Casey: So, it’s coming out via aftershock.

Phillip K Johnson: Yes. Aftershock comment.

No, actually this is the best place for this story. Like there is super brave publisher. Like they just they’ll put out whatever

Casey: I was about to say. I was about to say the same thing. They’re taking a lot of chances and, and going in, directions that a lot of comic companies, I do not think would. Would give the time to, which is amazing.

Phillip K Johnson: I mean, they’re like the slogan dangerously and they, they live that [00:58:00] man. They like, you see that in the books they publish. That’s great. And some really they’re telling stories that matter stories that take chances, and this is definitely one of those and yeah, we’re very proud to be with

Casey: them. Yeah. I never would have thought a, a book about, gay MMA fighter.

Would be something that would be like a major, like at one of the, the bigger companies and, be something you could find at comic shops and

Phillip K Johnson: polices are proud of even to put it up, like it was on the cover of publishers weekly a couple of weeks back. Oh, that’s

Casey: rad.

Phillip K Johnson: I mean stories. And you’ll also see it with stories like George Takei when he said, they call us enemy.

But they did recently that won some awards, like stories, stories about these populations are getting some press because they matter right now. So yeah, we’re very, very stoked about it.

Casey: I can’t wait to read the book. And, is there anything else you want to talk about before we, for we head out? I don’t want to take too much of your time.

Phillip K Johnson: well, [00:59:00] just the last God is still coming out and we’re, you know, we’re always proud of that book is so much of myself in it. just the music and all the background stories, as well as the actual mindblowing art on the page. That’s, Very proud to be a DC black label. captain America, empire is all on shelves.

And right now, one, two, three issues, one, two, and three. That’s the whole series, Marvel zombies, resurrection to start it. And that’s going to be coming out roughly every two weeks. Like the first issue just hit. And the second, third, and fourth, they’re all going to be coming out before the end of October.

Oh, that’s so cool. Yeah. that’s, that’s one of the, as my best Marvel work, in my opinion, I really happy with that book. And so proud of it.

Casey: It sounds like you have more to come though, so yes.

Phillip K Johnson: And then another and another a month or two, there’s going to be some really huge announcements at both DC and Marvel.

It’s like next level stuff. And I cannot wait to talk about those things. So we’ll be talking again. When,

Casey: when I found out about that you were on the cab book, I was, I was like, Oh, freaking course, he’s on the cab book. That’s amazing. That’s the smartest [01:00:00] decision they could have done. So I was super stoked when I saw your name attached to that project.

Phillip K Johnson: Yeah. I’m really proud of how that turned out to Ariel Olivetti. Did the art for that. And who’s a legend. Yeah. got to do a little, a little body horror thing in there that they let me get away with. It was that’s super fun.

Casey: Well, Philips Kennedy Johnson. Thank you so much for coming on the show, man. Come back anytime I see what you have coming up because you, you sound as much as.

A bad-ass who does MMA and is in the army could sound giddy. You sound kind of giddy about it. So

Phillip K Johnson: God, both of these upcoming announcements, I they’re like I could die happy after these things. I just can’t wait to talk about them. I got such so much, I want to say with both of them, so yeah, let’s do it, Philip.

Casey: Thanks again, buddy.

Phillip K Johnson: You too, brother.

Casey: All right, bye.

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