In celebration of the finale of Silent Hill: Downpour – Anne’s Story, we sat down with writer Tom Waltz and artist Tristan Jones to get their thoughts about the comic and the titular town, Silent Hill. Today we’d like to feature Anne’s Story and Downpour writer Tom Waltz’s responses! (See our original interview with artist Tristan Jones here)
Q: Where did the inspiration for Anne’s Story come from? And why in comic format?
TOM WALTZ: Way back when I first started working with Konami on the video game SILENT HILL: DOWNPOUR, producers Devin Shatsky and Tomm Hulett (who were also my co-writers on the game along with Brian Gomez) and I had a number of discussions about the story possibilities of a multi-character co-op SILENT HILL game. As time passed, however, and budgetary constraints took hold, we realized creating a co-op game was out of the question, but creating two main characters with duel storylines-in this case, Murphy Pendleton and Anne Marie Cunningham-was not. We chose Murphy’s story as the playable journey but were always very cognizant of Anne’s importance to the overall plot and had hoped to release her story as a playable DLC/add-on someday. Unfortunately, that was not to be… but as fate would have it, IDW Publishing stepped forward and allowed us to tell Anne’s story in comic book format-a storytelling medium I’d utilized as a writer to tell SILENT HILL stories in the past with SILENT HILL: DOWNPOUR and SILENT HILL: PAST LIFE. It was a fantastic opportunity and I couldn’t be happier with the way SILENT HILL DOWNPOUR: ANNE’S STORY turned out, both graphically with artist Tristan Jones’ and colorist Michael Spicer’s fine word, and story-wise based on the plot the Konami gang and I had worked out for Anne in the past. She’s an intriguing and complex character and one of my favorites to explore in my writing career.
Q: You were also the writer for the original game, Silent Hill: Downpour. How is working on the title different from working on a comic?
TOM WALTZ: Comics are like movies with unlimited special effects budgets, so we have a lot less constraint on what we can do visually, which is great. But, we’ve also only got 20 pages per issue to do it in, so it’s very important we tell (and most importantly, show) a story that never stops moving forward (even when we’re flashing back). Pacing is key-the reader has to feel engaged at all times, whereas in a game, a player can step away from the main story and wander around and explore at their own pace, coming back to the main story when they choose.
Q: What lessons from Silent Hill: Downpour did you apply in creating the comic?
TOM WALTZ: The main thing I wanted to convey with Anne is exactly what I felt we did so well with Murphy Pendleton, which is to present an extremely flawed protagonist, who is far more than they appear to be in their initial actions and on the surface of things. They aren’t perfect, they make many mistakes, and they aren’t necessarily what you might call good guys, but in the end, you can’t help but empathize with their situations and hope they find the peace and the answers they are seeking… some how, some way. I think that’s what you can say about all the best SILENT HILL characters, actually.
Q: Are there other stories in Silent Hill you’d still like to tell?
TOM WALTZ: Yes, indeed. I’m always ready to wander down those spooky, fog-shrouded streets. It’s like a home away from home for me now (um, I’m not sure what that says about me, to be honest).
Q: Who’s your favorite/most interest character you’ve created for Silent Hill?
TOM WALTZ: I have a special affinity for all my characters but the one that stands out most in my mind is Inola, the old Cherokee woman from SILENT HILL: PAST LIFE. More than any other character I’ve
written, I feel she comes the closest to representing the… well, the calculated anger, I suppose… of the town in the flesh. And artist Menton3 realized her visually EXACTLY the way I imagined her in my mind,
Q: What would you do if you ever found yourself trapped in Silent Hill?
TOM WALTZ: Well, I know what I wouldn’t do in Silent Hill – use a toilet. Have you seen how nasty those things are there?!
Thanks again to Tom and the staff at IDW for their amazing work on this “B-Side” story to Silent Hill: Downpour. See more info, purchase issues and see the full list of Silent Hill comics available from IDW by clicking here!