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Q&A: Gerald Welch and the Destroyer spin-off series Legacy

Many fans of the men's action paperback genre (essentially the bastard child of the Pulp hero genre) are familiar with The Destroyer -- a series by the late Warren Murphy and Richard Saphir about cop-turned-covert operative/assassin Remo Williams and his Korean mentor, Chiun (the series introduces a fictitious martial art called Sinanju which renders its disciples virtually invincible). But the series, which Marvel briefly adapted for comics and comic magazines, also spawned a spin-off titled Legacy. We spoke with series creator Gerald Welch about the books (including an upcoming 500-page Legacy hardback, featuring the first three books and a 140-page encyclopedia) and its main characters, Freya and Stone -- half-siblings fathered by Remo.

Q: Could you tell me about the basic idea for the series was developed? I presume this idea was percolating for quite a while.

A: Originally, I pitched two series to Warren. What you know as Legacy was originally called Young Destroyers and consisted of Stone, Freya and Mark Howard (Smitty’s assistant at the time). I still have all of the original writing, but it had to be reworked after Warren said that I had to replace Mark. That was a scary time for me, because I’d spent a couple of years developing the idea and to have to create a character who would be the backbone of the series was a bit intimidating.

Q: What do you consider to be the biggest difference between this and the Destroyer series?

A: Legacy takes a step back from the Destroyer, which kind of bypassed all of Remo’s early training and slows down the development of two students of differing levels of Sinanju. That being said, I wanted to keep a strong family vibe, though it’s obviously different than the relationship between Remo and Chiun.

Q: How will these characters develop as the books progress?

A: Freya and Stone will grow in both skill and in their personalities and it’s important to me that the readers are brought along for the ride instead of seeing that they’ve developed. Since Freya is the youngest, she will show more growth in the short term, while Stone is on a longer path toward finding out who he is. We’ve seen him struggle with smoking, knowing that this is a decision that will change his life either way. Sinanju is not just an art. It’s not just a diet or making you a Kung Fu god of sorts. It’s a lifelong commitment that changes you…who you are, how you see things, what is important. Once you’ve committed, there’s no turning back. We’ll see Freya and Stone begin to look at things in long term (thousands of years) as well as things that affect the entire world. And while I’m not going to give things away, they have personal lives as well. You’ll see more of that side than you did in the Destroyer. I consider it a matter of pride that we’ve had two books without a ‘mission’ per se. They were stories following Stone and Freya on their paths.

Q: Are other spin-offs of the Destroyer being considered? A: The other series that I pitched to Warren was called The Masters. In fact, my short story for the first fan fiction book (Monuments) was the pitch. The series would center around Hyunsil, the caretaker for the House of Sinanju, and provide background detail on life in the village. Each book would be her telling the children of Sinanju a story of a past Master. Warren had very little interest in that proposal, but fortunately, was interested in Young Destroyers. That being said – I can’t say anything because what I’m referring to happens in future Legacy books – you’re going to see why it’s possible for another spin-off in the next two years.

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