The weaving of topics of time travel, history, and romance make for a compelling tales, especially in the hands of a deft storyteller. Enter comic book writer Steve Orlando, who, among his many four-colored yarns, has tackled stories featuring Spider-Man 2099, The Scarlet Witch, Wonder Woman, and so many more. Now Orlando is focusing his skill in his new creator-owned work Saint Love: A Gay Science-Fiction Adventure Comic, launching as a Kickstarter today in conjunction with Vault Comics. Partnering with the fabulously skilled artist Giopota, Orlando is crafting a story in Sainted Love that includes everything from love to secret societies to queer history—all with a time-traveling romp through a multitude of eras.
Mr. Orlando was kind enough to speak with me recently about the idea behind Sainted Love, his influences that impacted the creation of the book, partnering with the artistic talent of Giopota, and the blending of genres found in the book.
Steve Orlando is a creator we’ve covered often here at FreakSugar, and with good reason. If you are looking for a writer who consistently produces engaging work that can be enjoyed on a multitude of levels, Orlando is your guy. Sainted Love does not look to be breaking that pattern of solid storytelling, so the Kickstarter is well worth a look.
FreakSugar: For folks reading this and curious about the premise, what can you tell us about Saint Love: A Gay Science-Fiction Adventure Comic?
Steve Orlando: It often feels like Sainted Love is the story I’ve been building towards, across many books and many companies, since I inked the first contract. It’s provocative, it’s proud, it’s passionate and action-packed. This is the story of 1907’s greatest inventor and greatest boxer, both of whom history forgot. Or did it? Because after their home is raided by an infamous NYC detective, Malcolm Irina and John Wolf escape into the timestream! There, they uncover a crosstime conspiracy to erase queer achievement, love, and people, from the history books. And their only choice is to set them up and knock them down – fighting a two-fisted war deep in the past and far into the future to defend us all! Their enemy – a secret society known as the Pilgrims – wants nothing less than to stamp out any trace of our role in history. But Irina and Wolf are here to fight back for all of us! Yesterday, today…and even tomorrow!
FS: You are partnering with Vault Comics for this Kickstarter. What made Vault the right partner for this project?
SO: Vault has been incredibly supportive of Sainted Love from the start. And no surprise! Look at books like Heather, look at Money Shot. This is a company that’s walked the walk supporting not just queer content, but provocatively queer content. This was the perfect place to tell the story with a powerhouse at our back, and with complete confidence behind the characters, the world, and the adventures we want to explore.
FS: The story is described as a gay science-fiction adventure comic, right in the title. What are some influences that impacted how you approach your tale?
SO: I’ll be honest – the approach tends to be the same regardless of if the story I’m working on is queer focused or not, but that’s because for me, the goal is always to dig right to the core of who a character is, then present that with relentless resolve and passion. So, for queer characters, that means not tokenizing the queer aspects of their lives, but also not compromising or trivializing them. We know who these heroes are, we’re proud of who they are, and we do not blink when we show that to the world.
FS: Following up on that, time travel and romance are like peanut butter and chocolate. Do you have any particular favorites in the genre?
SO: I’d be full of it not to point to my love of Doctor Who, especially when it’s at its most swashbuckling. And with the time period our heroes come from, of course we reference The Time Machine. But I should also mention books like Jack London’s The Star Rover and A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court-as well as the Pellucidar cycle from Burroughs, though that’s not time travel.
FS: Giopota’s work is just gorgeous. How did your collaboration come about?
SO: This book wouldn’t exist without Giopota! The fine folks at Vault brought us together – and for that, I’ll be eternally grateful! Gio is an unrivaled talent, bringing an incredibly energy and style to the book, something I would’ve never imagined for Sainted Love. And that’s the beautiful thing about comics! It’s a collaboration. Giopota has helped steer the book from moment one. We’re just in sync! He’s my first audience, too. Luckily, he’s a master of his craft—every new time period appears on the page with even more vigor and vitality than the last!
FS: On to the Kickstarter itself, what can you tell us about the campaign?
SO: This is about creative agency and freedom, first and foremost! Vault has been the perfect creative partner from moment one, and we knew from that point we wanted to tell the wildest, truest version of this story we could. That means reaching out to printers and collaborators that support unabashed queer content. The Kickstarter allows us to work with the exact folks we need to, who support the story and its aim without even a second’s hesitation. It’s about freedom to make Sainted Love as amazing as it deserves to be, with nothing held back.
FS: What kind of backer rewards are available to patrons?
SO: You’ll see that all here as of June 13th! https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/vault-comics/sainted-love
Once we’re live, you’ll find not just our rewards but if all goes well, plenty of stretch goal plateaus to follow. And either way, I’ll be there running my mouth.
FS: You are a very busy man. Are there any other projects you’d like to discuss, either current projects or future ones?
SO: I’d be remiss not to mention Exorcists Never Die, coming out right now from Mad Cave Studios with incredible art from Sebastian Piriz. I’m so proud of this book! It’s The Raid meets The Exorcist, and is one of the most gorgeous releases I’ve ever been part of. And then there’s Scarlet Witch! Coming out monthly now from Marvel, this book’s been a joy! Every month we’re delivering titanic superhero battles with just the right amount of humanist flare. It’s a new chapter for Wanda, and everyone can come along for the ride!
FS: Based on the success of this installment, do you have other chapters of Sainted Love that you’re interested in tackling?
SO: Absolutely! We’ve got stories stretching all across human history – and that’s before we get to the future! Sainted Love can run and run, there’s always a new time period to land in, always new people to meet, new places to explore, and always the next battle to fight. Mac and Irina won’t stop until every Pilgrim cell is defeated in every time period. And on the way? Who knows who they’ll meet on the battlefield…or the bedroom!
FS: What are some comics that you’re reading right now—assuming that you have time to sit and read any?
SO: As it happens, in front of me is a reread of Simone and Eaglesham’s Villains United as well as a first time read of Garner and Woods’ Metal Gear Solid: Sons of Liberty adaptation.
FS: If you had one final pitch for the Kickstarter, what would it be?
SO: When Sainted Love began, it was important to celebrate the queer community’s existence throughout human history. Now? It’s not just important. It’s vital. And Sainted Love does so in the most exciting way possible! It’s a sexy swashbuckling time travel action adventure! It’s David and Goliath, two lovers fighting against a secret society whose grip on history is centuries long! Two men against the bastards trying to rewrite history. Honestly? Sainted Love fights and Sainted Love fucks—there it is!
The Sainted Love Kickstarter launches TODAY from Vault Comics, Steve Orlando, and Giopota! Make sure to check it out here when it goes live!