There are seven secrets with the power to change the world. For centuries, they've been guarded in briefcases. But what happens when one of these secrets are released?
That's the story of Seven Secrets, a new creator-owned ongoing series from writer Tom Taylor and artist Daniele Di Nicuolo from Boom! Studios. Debuting August 12, Seven Secrets follows a man named Casper as he attempts to uncover the truth - and those seven secrets - before his rival, Amon.
With days yet until the book has released, the first issue has already sold out at the distributor level with the publisher going back for a rushed second printing. That sounds popular, eh? Boom! said its their best-selling creator-owned launch in the company's 15-year history.
Although the first issue might be hard to come by, Taylor and Di Nicuolo were happy to talk to Newsarama about this new mystery/adventure concept. We discuss how Taylor’s first comic book about a briefcase helped him come up with the concept for Seven Secrets, how Daniele and Tom connected for the book, and the possibility for spin-off titles.
Newsarama: Tom, you’ve had comic tie-ins for your TV show The Deep, but what made you want to fully jump into creator-owned books with Seven Secrets?
Tom Taylor: I've been doing a lot for DC and Marvel and a lot on my own TV show, but my dream is always creating more and creating more creator-owned, obviously. And the trick is finding incredible talent to do that with.
We got very, very lucky with Daniele. But Seven Secrets was an idea that I've had in my mind for - oh, probably about seven years, maybe longer. So, it's just been sitting there waiting to be brought to the world.
Nrama: So, you came up with the concept seven years ago, do you remember what gave you the spark for the idea?
Taylor: My very first comic book was about a briefcase on a train station. It originally went all around the world. It was at the Edinburgh Festival and the Sydney Opera House. It made me enough money to pay my mortgage when I was flat broke when it won a competition.
Nrama: You're referring to The Example, a series you did with Colin Wilson.
Taylor: It's a very simple concept. It's what's inside the box? And the idea with this briefcase is it could be anything. In that case, it represented terrorism, racism, and all these things.
In our cases, these can be anything.
The idea that there are these seven cases held by these 14 people and only they know what's inside. But we do know that if these secrets were to get out, the world would be changed and not for the better. So, the secret society that protects the seven secrets, it's essentially seven stories of what's in the box. There’s something just captivating about that idea.
Nrama: How did you and Daniele Di Nicuolo connect for the project?
Taylor: We actually connected through Boom!. It was through our editor Dafna Pleban. She was keen on me doing a creator-owned at Boom! and reached out to me. I had a couple of ideas and I started telling her about Seven Secrets. She immediately just said that one, and we ran with it from there.
She loved Daniele's work and really introduced me to him. I got to see it and just went - 'Yes. Okay, yeah, this is perfect.' In particular of the two projects, this just seemed to be custom made for Daniele - for the energy and the heart that he brings to something like this. That's the way we went. It was just a great little marriage from day one.
Nrama: What's your collaborative process been like with each other?
Taylor: It's been fantastic. Between myself, Daniele, and particularly Dafna coming in and casting her eye over everything. it's just been a joy. Daniele was sending characters sketches straight away, as soon as we had the character ideas written out.
I'll often look at those images and adapt the characters to suit the image and vice versa. The only one we really wrestled with was Casper because of how important he was. But there were so many - I mean the first time he drew Sigurd I was just like yes, that's perfect.
It was the same for a lot of the characters. We saw these characters and I as the writer wanted to know more about them instantly. There were some that I immediately printed out and stuck up on my wall. At that stage, I hadn't explored them because Daniele had drawn this character that I just wanted to know more myself.
Nrama: Daniele, what drew you to the project?
Daniele Di Nicuolo: Dafna, my editor that was with me on Power Rangers, told me she wanted me to do a new project, something beyond Power Rangers. She told me about the chance to do something with Tom, and I love Tom's work. I love how he creates characters. And because I love stories about characters, families, groups of people, and friends - my favorite stories are about strong characters.
When she told me about this project, she sent me the pitch and it was like, 'Okay, this is my dream come true.' It's the story that I always wanted to tell and draw, and I couldn't believe that it was happening. I’m honored and happy to be on this with such a talented writer like Tom.
Nrama: What was your process for coming up with the vast character designs for the book's cast?
Di Nicuolo: It came pretty naturally, to be honest, because I was in the middle of my run on the Power Rangers when I started to design the cast. And I really had the need of doing something not related to swords, helmets, and Zords. It was something that I had been doing for three years.
I was in love with all these characters that Tom sent me. Then it just popped up in my mind immediately because they had a short description in the pitch of the project. And they were characterized so cool that I sent immediately like five, six characters when we started.
It's been a really natural and easy process. Maybe the protagonists it's been a little bit harder because he has to be perfect, but we did it.
Nrama: You told us who was the most difficult, but who has been your favorite character to draw?
Di Nicuolo: I love Casper but my true favorite character is the villain, Amon. I just love villains. I think the best stories have the best villains because through the villains we can drive the protagonists and all the other characters. If a villain has very good and strong motivations then the story is stronger. I really love Amon. I love who he is. I love what drives him. I also like how he looks. I love the bad guy.
Nrama: So Casper and Amon are the primary characters of the book? Tell us more.
Taylor: Daniele hit on it before, that it was really hard to get the protagonist. We actually don't really meet him in the first issue. He's the narrator, Casper, and he's a child that shouldn't be born, basically. He's a bit of a no-no. He's raised in this society - goes away for a while. Because of the nature of the society: he's not really allowed to have a family and he's not allowed to have parents.
His first duty has to be to the cases and it's the same thing for his parents. So, there's a real difficulty there, but he's such a joyous, positive character and really sort of impish, I guess. He's got a great sense of humor, very witty, and very clever but also very innocent. There's something about him that I think everybody will gravitate to, and it's the same for his parents. They're both amazingly kickass, capable, great characters. Their story - what they can't have and what they want is a real draw for this book.
Nrama: This is going to be a tough one, but what can you tease about these secrets?
Taylor: To tell you the truth, they're secret. It's that simple, but we can tell you that they've been protected for a reason, but these literally are seven secrets that could change the world. There is one that's unleashed, right at the very beginning, which people will get a taste of. They are words, weapons, ways, and worse that can fundamentally change the world. It's incredibly important that they're protected.
And that's what the order of the seven do.
Nrama: How many issues would you like the series to run for?
Taylor: It's one of those things that could go on forever. I've got a lot planned out. A lot that Boom! doesn't even know about yet, but Daniele and I have talked about - off to the side we keep planning. We know secrets that others don't. And I know one big secret that I still haven't told Daniele, I'm just holding that one in my head. Every so often I'll throw like 10 at him and he'll go 'What? yes!' Which is great, but I've got one I'm holding onto.
We'd love it to run for a long time, and we couldn't be happier with the initial response from retailers, fans, and all the preorders we've had for this book. It's just incredibly exciting. That sort of uptake means we can plan for something bigger, which in this day and age is rare. We feel very honored.
Nrama: Daniele, what do you think fans of your Mighty Morphin Power Rangers run will enjoy about your work on this book?
Di Nicuolo: If they like my style, my energy on the pages, my love for emotions, feelings, characters, action, adventures, and mysteries - if they love those topics the same way that I do, I think that they’ll be pretty happy and satisfied with this story.
Nrama: And Tom, same question, for fans of your DC and Marvel work, what do you think they'll enjoy the most about Seven Secrets?
Taylor: I'm well known for making people fall in love with characters and then twisting the knife. Obviously, you'll get quite a bit of that with Seven Secrets.
These characters that we've created on the page, and there's a large cast, but in particular, our main sort of family, I guess - we've all fallen in love with them very, very quickly from issue one and then issue two. We've taped them into our hearts very quickly, and I think everybody who has read the book so far has felt the same way.
So, what you're going to get are characters that you should instantly fall in love with and want to see get through this. And, of course, with everything I write, there's no guarantee they will.
Nrama: Would you like to do more creator-owned work following Seven Secrets?
Taylor: Oh, for sure. If everything goes well, there won't be an after this. It would be great if this book did get the audience that we're hoping it will and, certainly, what it's looking like it's going to have.
We'd love to tell the story for a while. We've already talked about spin-offs with the characters we'd like. Of course, we're always up for doing more. Daniele and I have talked and said, yes, whatever happens - we will keep working together.
There are people that you really gel with on the page in comics. That you know you work well with - because you're both on the same page, literally. With Daniele and I, it's immediate. He does these scenes, he does these faces and these expressions. And I'm exactly the same as him. For me, stories are about the character first. I don't care if you can blow up a planet or you have the best action scenes, which luckily Daniele does anyway, but I want that nuance. I want to see those little emotions.
Danielle does these scenes where it's the most kinetic, most energetic - like people flying through the air and it just takes your breath away. But then he does these tiny little moments where you see Sigurd's face, you see this sadness and this mixture of regret. You're just drawn to these characters, and that's what gets me invested in the story, and that's what he brings. To gel with another creator like this is exciting. So, yes, I would definitely work with him all the way, but hopefully in about seven years when people want something else.
Di Nicuolo: I truly hope that this new project can continue for a very long time because I love it and love working with Tom. I love how he treats characters and what he pulls out of me.
It's the best work I've done to now because I love how he writes and if I can do what I'm doing it's because there's a great script to work on. So, yes, I'd love to do something else with Tom, but for now, I'm very happy we are doing this and I really hope that we can do it for a very long time.