Garth Ennis talks about writing his World of Tanks comic series

Garth Ennis is a prolific and well-known comic book author. His best-known work is undoubtedly Preacher, but Ennis has also had runs on PunisherHellblazer and Judge Dredd.

Ennis has also written plenty of historical war fiction comics and has been tasked by Wargaming to write a five-part series for World of Tanks.

His World of Tanks: Roll Out series was released in 2016 and now he’s back with World of Tanks: Citadel.

The Eastern Front, 1943: as the cataclysmic Battle of Kursk looms large, Captain Piotr Piotrowicz and his driver, Natalya ”Ginger” Pulkhova, prepare their unit for action– equipped with the worst tanks in the Russian inventory.

On the opposite side, German tankers Karl Kraft and Freddie Stadler brace for the onslaught–well aware that failure here will put their Soviet enemy on the road to Berlin.

Garth Ennis and PJ Holden present a second action-packed story of armored warfare, inspired by the phenomenally popular game World of Tanks.

We had a chance to chat with Ennis about working with Wargaming and his experience in creating this series.

World of Tanks Garth Ennis

PowerUp! – What’s it like working on historical fiction like this, rather than superheroes, fantasy and the like?

Ennis – Couldn’t be more different, really. Fantasy is just that, pure invention- whereas with historical fiction you’re telling stories about what people actually did.

Some writers might find that restrictive but I’m the opposite, I find the experiences of people in real-life violent conflict much more intriguing.

There are things that happen in war, in conflict, on the most violent knife-edge of human existence that simply cannot be invented, that utterly dwarf fantasy.

PowerUp! – Do you have to have a different approach?

Ennis – Simply put, you’re hemmed in by the actual historical record- so you can’t have some goof in a cape or giant robot appearing to save the day- but that record is also entirely at your disposal. You can read about the incredible events that unfolded in any given period and use any of them you choose.

PowerUp! – How does World of Tanks: Citadel compare to your War Stories or Battlefields series? & Was it a similar experience writing them?

Ennis – They’re very similar; there’s no difference in terms of the basic approach. The only real difference comes with some of the restrictions on language and violence imposed, which are minor enough that I can live with them.

The one rule I find odd is the no swastikas one, although with tanks that isn’t much of a problem because the Germans didn’t mark every single vehicle that way, and the notion that you can go for a while without seeing them on the battlefield is credible enough.

With aircraft it would be very different- a story featuring German aircraft without swastikas would simply not be credible for me, and I wouldn’t be able to write it.

PowerUp! – Do you have a different process when writing something based in reality rather than fantasy fiction? Does your experience writing superhero stories help you write something like World of Tanks?

Ennis – I have very limited experience of writing superheroes, and what I have written is mostly pretty skewed. They have nothing in common with war stories (beyond the various storytelling techniques that all genres share).

What I draw on for World of Tanks is my experience of writing other war stories, along with my knowledge of military history. In terms of genre, I usually stick to war, crime, horror, humour etc.

PowerUp! – Do you play World of Tanks? Do you play other video games?

Ennis – The last video game I played was Pacman, in a bar in San Francisco at some ungodly hour of the morning- that would have been around September of ’96. It was one of those ones where you and a pal sit opposite each other and take turns to play the game.

Pretty sure I lost or got killed first, or whatever. What this means, I suppose, is that I’ve definitely never lost a single match in World of Tanks.

PowerUp! – Would you like to see any of your comics adapted into a video game?

None of them really come to mind, but I’m certainly open to offers. 

Thanks to Garth Ennis for his time. 

World of Tanks: Citadel is available now from Dark Horse.

As for game developers and publishers out there, Ennis is open to offers for video game adaptations, so lets’s see a game based on Preacher sooner rather than later.

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Leo Stevenson
I've been playing games for the past 27 years and have been writing for almost as long. Combining two passions in the way I'm able is a true privilege. PowerUp! is a labour of love and one I am so excited to share.

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