We also look at objectionable content in comics, censorship, sex and violence, how far is too far, the indie sub-genre of hardcore sleaze comics as well as the mainstream, and dig into some key creators of the genre.
You can email us at kris (at)extrasequential(dot)com and befriend us on the NEW ES Facebook page.
Find the teaser for Fever Dreams, the guy’s upcoming TV show on Channel 31 here.
54 mins. Our interview with two lovely gents from English publisher Com.x. Also wrestling, the fake apocalypse and yes, Arnie’s love child.
NEWS 1: 21
Tintin on the big screen
Supanova Pop Culture Convention in Perth and Sydney in June. Get your tix now.
Batman villain Bane as played by Tom Hardy in The Dark Knight Rises is revealed. Well, some of him anyway.
EDDIE DEIGHTON AND ANDI EWINGTON INTERVIEW 9: 35
Our first ever interview via the wonders of Skype. English creators Eddie Deighton (co-publisher of Com.x and co-writer of BlueSpear) and Andi Ewington (co-writer of BlueSpear and writer of 45-whcih we talked about here) talk to us about the 45 spinoff one-shot BlueSpear, which comes out in July.
The chaps talk about the business behind publishing Original Graphic Novels rather than monthly issues, what they look for in a story pitch, how they find new talent, advice for new writers and publishers, and a lot of laughs.
This interview, conducted with the writer and artist of the unique OGN, Return of the Dapper Men (now available from publisher Archaia) was scheduled for the print version of Extra Sequential. This is the last interview from the recent final days of ES, but you can see the rest of our almost-to-print articles right here. Now, read on to discover more about this gorgeous looking book.
A group of men in sartorial elegance floating to the floor like feathers. It’s an unusual impetus for a new fantastic tale, but inspired by said image, writer Jim McCann couldn’t help himself, as he and artist Janet Lee reveal about their new original graphic novel for Archaia, Return of the Dapper Men. The book exists in a world called Anorev, a world where adults do not exist, and books are used for standing upon, not reading, or as Archaia describe it, “a tale of a world in between time, where children have played so long it’s almost become work, machines have worked so long they have begun to play, and all the clocks have stopped at the same time.”
“I’ve known Jim for about 15 years, I think,” Lee reveals. “He’s one of my closest friends. We met socially when he was still living in Nashville, worked at the same company for a while, lived less than a mile from each other. At one point, we had a mad scheme to go on Trading Spaces together. Eventually Jim sold his house in Nashville and moved to New York, but we’ve always kept in touch. He visits me when he’s in town to see his family, and I visit him when I’m in NYC.” The pair admit that it was three images in particular that set off the creative chain of events that would be the creation of these very well-dressed gents and the world in which they live. “A couple of years ago, Jim was visiting for the holidays; while in Nashville, he came to see one of my gallery shows,” Lee elaborates. “He saw three particular pieces: a six-foot-tall, Magritte-inspired image of men in bowler hats and striped suits raining over the rooftops of Paris; a tiny image of a steampunk boy with goggles; and a small illustration of a robot girl. About a month later, he sent me an email with what turned out to be the opening lines to Return of the Dapper Men and a note asking if I wanted to do an OGN. Of course, I said yes!” McCann aggress with Lee’s assessment of the project’s genesis in that it, “was born from three pieces she had created for different gallery shows but in my strange mind formed this story that I had to write. And every time she’d send me a sketch or I’d come across a doodle, more story would spring to mind. It’s truly a collaborative process, inspiring each other.” The writer also admits that in a broader sense, he finds inspiration in many corners of the world. “I love fairy tales and the fantastical. Anything that transports you away from the cabs and crowds and bills or changing cat litter, the things we all do or deal with as part of daily life. I want to remind myself (and others) of that overwhelming sense of wonder you feel when you see something new and exciting for the first time. In approaching Return of the Dapper Men, I looked back at my own youth and the worlds I would create with action figures or on paper or acted out in my backyard with an imaginary legion of characters. I thought about the feelings I had when I first saw Empire Strikes Back. The first time I read Shel Silverstein aloud. Acting like a Wild Thing or building a pillow and blanket fort. And the 50th time I saw Empire Strikes Back. All of that is what I wanted to bring to this, but also the perspective of the adults that are now my peers and the man-child I sort of have become by not letting go of dreams and instead making them destiny and reality.”
A huge part of making Dapper Men a reality was finding a publisher that would understand the unique book and trust the vision of the duo behind it. Janet recalls that during a trip to New York for a trade show, she and McCann, “spent about a week hashing out the story line and character concepts. We also came up with a short list of publishers we thought would be a good fit for the book. Archaia was at the top of that list. Later that year at San Diego Comic-Con, Jim pitchedReturn of the Dapper Men to Mark Smylie [Archaia’s Chief Creative Officer] and Stephen Christy [Archaia’s Editor-In-Chief], and the rest is history!”
Speaking of history, creating the background for Anorev and its uniquely enchanting world was one of the first challenges for the tale. “I remember our early discussions as being the time where we really fleshed out the world of Anorev,” Lee recalls. “What did it look like where the robots lived, where the children lived? What did the children and robots look like; what did they wear? I spent a week in New York making character sketches and bouncing ideas off Jim. Initially, my thought was that the city would look a lot like my neighborhood in Nashville, which is filled with Victorian and Craftsman-style homes, lots of trees. We ended up with a cross between Paris and East Nashville with a fairy-land of gears beneath the streets for the children to play in.”
McCann mentions that the scope of Dapper Men can not necessarily be contained in one book. “It’s also large in scale in that this is actually the first in a trilogy of books. Wait until you see what’s planned for the future.” He describes the tale as, “both incredibly large and universal in scope, and at the same time a very personal and microscopic story. At its center, there are three main characters and their actions determine their fates, and also the fate of the world even though two of them don’t know it. It deals with larger themes of clockwork universe and some theology if you dig deep enough, but then if you just read it as a story with no analysis, it’s a tale about kids not wanting to go to bed (for the first time in as long as any of them can remember) for fear of change. But without sleep, you can’t dream, and without growing up, there is no such thing as destiny. It’s about discovering that, and learning that first step of growing up and embracing what you are meant to become.” Within this steampunk/fantasy/sci-fi realm exists Ayden, the sole boy to possess curiosity, a cherished robot girl named Zoe and a Dapper Man referred to as 41. These three must discover why time has frozen and come to grips with who they truly are in their world. The aforementioned 41 is just one of the many Dapper Men who fall upon Anorev. McCann refers to Lee as his “amazing co-creator and artist” and reveals that she “finds it large in scope when I tell her that there are 314 Dapper-Looking men raining down from the sky. She loves me for that, don’t believe otherwise.”
As an artist Lee’s hands on collage approach couldn’t be more different from the slick renderings most comics readers are accustomed to, but its visual approach is key to cementing the inherent dream-like nature of the book. “When Jim talked to Mark and Stephen at SDCC, he showed them images of some gallery pieces,” Lee reveals. “For the past several years, I’ve been working in a sort of “original collage” technique where I draw images on vellum, cut them out and then layer them onto wood or canvas or paper with other components (like art papers, or pages from old books). It’s a type of decoupage—very ’70s. Archaia was always completely clear that they wanted me to illustrate the pages my way using my style, so that’s the way I’ve approached it. Now that being said, I did discover pretty quickly that paper wasn’t heavy enough to support the number of layers I was using and that I wanted to build each page as a single board rather than making individual images which we’ve brought together during Photoshop layout.”
Going from the art gallery to the comic book shelves is a transition for the artist, but hopefully one that others will also continue to make as the line between art forms, whether sequential or otherwise, continues to blur. Lee reveals, “After Roy Lichtenstein, I’m not sure anyone can possibly claim that the art world at large is unfamiliar with comics. I suspect that the percentage of gallery artists who read comics is probably pretty similar to that of the general population, a little higher number amongst the forms that respond to contemporary culture, a little fewer amongst the more traditional forms. That last part’s a guess, but comics are so pervasive now, anyone relating to pop culture must be aware. Lee continues, “In some cases, it’s probably true [that gallery artists don’t recognize or value sequential art] but heck, the oil painters look down at people working in acrylics. Old-school painters wouldn’t even draw their own figures, but would call in “draftsmen” to take care of that chore. My first teacher wouldn’t let me sketch out a piece on canvas with a pencil, but insisted we only use a brush and paint. In any type of artistic venture, people seem to want to classify something as “better or worse.” The trick is in realizing that all true artistic merit comes from how effectively the artist communicates with his/her audience.”
Considering this is Lee’s first foray from the gallery to the comic shop, the artist admits that she’s, “never been a “normal” gallery artist, and I’ve always been a huge comics geek, so in a sense it’s been surprisingly easy. I’ve been experimenting for a while with things like sequential portraits where I incorporate images and stories of the person’s life into their portrait. I’ve also played a bit with things like “sequential shows” where the individual pieces tell a story as you walk through the gallery. I find art to be a narrative medium, but it’s all well and good to produce a limited series of related images, and another thing entirely to phrase them on page after page in a way that’s interesting and supports the narrative. In that sense, the learning curve has been incredibly steep. I read just about every sequential book I can get my hands on to get ideas and, hopefully, become better.” The key to any good comic is a good collaboration, as Lee freely admits. “Fortunately, Jim has a great way of letting me know (kindly) when something sucks, and letting me bounce ideas off him. That’s one of my favorite things, so far, about sequential art: it’s wonderfully collaborative. The team works together to build something that’s better than the sum of its parts.”
McCann is not new to the process of working with other creative types however. Originally working as a script writer on the popular ABC drama One Life To Live, he moved to New York in 2004 and soon stared working for Marvel in their PR department before gradually writing their characters in stories such as Dazzler and New Avengers: The Reunion, featuring archer Hawkeye and the recently resurrected Mockingbird, two former Avengers team-mates and their life and death love life.
“The amazing thing about Marvel,” he reveals, “is that they always knew I wanted to write, and when it came time for that to happen, they helped me make that happen. I’d written for the stage and TV, and am a massive comic book fan, so it came as no surprise that the writer in me would finally say, “OK, time to get to work on THIS part of my life.” McCann has not left Marvel behind completely though, as his writing chores on crime-fighting lovers Hawkeye and Mockingbird prove, as does his new relaunch of Alpha Flight, focused on Canada’s foremost superhero team. “I love the Marvel offices and miss being a part of it. Fortunately, I am local, so I can pop over any time,” McCann mentions. “That said, I still miss being on the super-duper inside track. However, that has freed me up to explore and really work out my writing more than I imagined.” McCann is also aware that sitting behind the keyboard means, “I have more time to write, which means I HAVE to write! This is my source of income and it’s also what I’ve said I’ve wanted to do for all my life, literally. So, time to DO it.”
McCann’s scripts dedicated to long-time lovers with a generous dose of superhero action in the monthly series Hawkeye and Mockingbird are a great delight to fans of adventure and the scribe reveals that, “it was originally pitched as the Mr. and Mrs. Smith of the Marvel U, but I recently discovered the incredible show Burn Notice, which I watch faithfully now. The characters of Hawkeye and Mockingbird have a very human aspect as well, and for that I look to Nick and Nora Charles (of The Thin Man), Spencer Tracy and Katharine Hepburn, and many other classic film pairings.”
With his TV past and current comic book scripting there’s not necessarily a lot of difference in the approach to scripting for the writer. “Not really in the form of storytelling; they are both serialized mediums, dealing with years of continuity and existing characters, and have vocal fan bases. With an original graphic novel like Return of the Dapper Men, it’s more like a pilot or a film, where you put something new out there and hope people buy.”
Speaking of which Dapper Men was inspired not only by his co-creator (“Janet’s art continues to inspire me.”) but also those darker tales and fables that all good parents read to their kids, despite their darkness that some may not embrace in today’s sensitive world. “I went back and re-read the texts of Grimms, Barrie, Carroll and they all had dark overtones that have been glossed over in today’s cartoon adaptation world or pop-up book incarnations. They had real lessons there, some were deeper and hidden, something left for you to discover when you re-read them as adults. As a child, you take away one level from the story—the face value. That’s what’s become the modern way of remembering these classics. But they were intended to educate the adult as well. I love that, and I hope that Dapper can achieve something remotely close to that.”
As for his own status as a dapper men McCann reveals, ”I am the least Dapper Man you’ll meet (on the outside, at least). I’m a t-shirt and jeans (or shorts) guy. All the time. I don’t know that I have a suit…I’ll have to check,: and as for his favourite garment in his wardrobe? “There is a t-shirt two sizes too big that I’ve had for 15 years now. It’s been washed so many times that it’s like a blanket. It’s nothing special, a drab green/brown shirt. But it is my “serious writing” shirt. I always make sure it’s washed and if I’m wearing it, then it means I am in the zone or have a deadline. I only wear it when writing (but not every time I write) and I can’t imagine ever getting rid of it.”
One man who knows a thing or two about sartorial elegance is a certain Tony Stark, and the man who plays him on the big screen. McCann met the stylish man himself at Comic Con and relates an awkward tale about the encounter, though he does admit that when it comes to conventions, “I see something new and funny at every one of them. Personally, my most embarrassing moment was when I almost pushed Robert Downey Jr. in a pool at a party in SDCC trying to get to Katee Sackhoff and Joss Whedon to introduce them to each other (they had not met yet). I jumped over a stanchion at the corner of the pool and there he was—RDJ! I stammered out, “So sorry, Mr. Downey Junior!” and kept running.”
The 4 part Widow Maker storyline begins in December and runs through both Black Widow #9-10, written by Duane Swierczynski and Hawkeye and Mockingbird #7-8, written by McCann.
The luscious Return of the Dapper Men hardcover is out now from Archaia, containing 120 pages of whimsy, fantasy and very well-dressed gentlemen, as well as introduction from fashion guru Tim Gunn and a diverse and dazzling gallery from some of the industry’s best artists.
It’s a long story. Actually, it’s not that long. Late in 2008 myself and Dave Lapsley, a mate from work decided to start an on-line magazine because we wanted a creative project to do together. Dave’s not a fanboy like me, but he does have an eye for good art and is a whiz with Adobe software.
We called the mag Extra Sequential and created our first issue mostly during our one hour lunch breaks from work. After 3 issues in 7 months, we helped an international comics publisher with the new mag they were launching. It was fun and a great opportunity. It did happen but in a different way than we expected.
Nevertheless we were happy we got those 3 issues out there and achieved Rising Star status onIssuu and over 17 000 subscribers on Scribd. We did look into self publishing, but working in a company facing downsizing meant it wasn’t a wise move.
We then received interest from another publisher and well, “circumstances beyond our control,” and all that, so 2 strikes was enough for us.
A lot has happened in the 18 months since we started the mag. Dave and no longer have the benefit of working at the same place, and we live 2 hours apart, so there won’t be any more issues of Extra Sequential. This is the last one, and it comes with a note: it ain’t perfect. Think of it as a Raw Edition. A collection of articles and interviews that were destined for print, some of these pages are unfinished, but not many. To be honest, our motivation to see this issue to its final version is pretty much non-existent, after a year of false starts into print. However, it’d be a shame to at least not put it online, so here it is.
Dave and I hope you enjoy it. Yes, some of the interviews are dated, but it’s certainly a nice way to say goodbye. We believe there’s still a place for an accessible, arty mag that reveals to the curious, and the dedicated reader, how awesome comics can be.
I still write for Broken Frontier and am a co-host of a new, weekly Extra Sequential podcast so I’m not, and probably never will be, out of the talking about comics “profession” though and I do recall fondly the hours and hours of creating Extra Sequential.
You can read our final issue below or here. Thanks for reading!
Our farewell, or “see you later” issue, before we move to print in January has finally landed. It’s 40 pages of goodness including the obligatory perty pages and reviews. There’s also interviews with sci-fi author Robin Parrish, Brian Cronin fromcomicbookresources on his new book, Was Superman A Spy? and Wolfgang Bylsma from very successful indie publisher, Gestalt. Check it out below or here.
So, Dick Grayson is the new Batman, and Bruce Wayne’s son, Damian is the new Robin. Though you couldn’t really tell from reading this week’s Battle for the Cowl conclusion. The current Robin, Tim Drake and former (dead) Robin Jason Todd were running around in different Batman costumes while various classic Batman foes watched as Gotham descended into more hellish chaos. And just so you know Batman, AKA Bruce Wayne is not exactly dead. Rather he was sent way back in time thanks to Darkseid’s Omega Sanction eye beams. You can read all about it in Final Crisis if you don’t mind a migraine. However, as a sum up, here’s my latest Broken Frontier article, The Battle for Batman.
There’s also an interview at Newsarama with the writer/artist of the 3 ish mini, Battle for the Cowl, Tony Daniel. For those who are unsure as to the precise identity of the new cowl wearer, as it is rather ambiguous in the final pages of BOC #3, this excerpt from the interview should make it clear.
NRAMA: What can you tell us about how these last couple pages were designed? Why didn’t the readers see the face of the person putting on the cowl? The words from Dick make it pretty clear he is wearing the cowl, so does the lack of a face have another meaning? And anything you want to share about the design of the pages? They’re pretty cool-looking…
TD: Thanks – well, I wanted us to view what Dick was viewing, be Dick, for that moment. Going through the mansion, down to the cave. Putting up the cowl. Yes, his hair is shorter. But it’s been Dick’s captions all the way through issue #3, so I thought it was pretty self-explanatory.
Okay then. Here’s a few pages from Cowl #3 for your perusal.
This new series from the Lucifer team of Mike Carey and Peter Gross is different in a number of ways. Firstly it stands out from the other “Un” series launching this month (Unknown and Unthinkable from BOOM! Studios) by being bigger. Not bigger in format, but bigger in its story and by its very approach to the concept of storytelling. This debut issue has extra story pages, so you can feel a little heft when picking it up from the shelf. It’s also only $1! Thanks Vertigo/DC. They’ve had success with similar cheap launches, such as the After Watchmen…What’s Next? series of re-prints. This is a wise marketing move, and will only help give this series the attention it deserves.
So ,what’s it all about then? Imagine Harry Potter was real. That’s the basic premise. Of course, it’s not as straightforward as that, but basically Tom Taylor is a grown man trying to live away from the shadow of the fictional boy wizard Tommy Taylor, the hero of a series of much loved books by Tom’s father, who has been missing for a decade. It’s a very well constructed first issue and barrels along at a nice pace. It takes itself seriously but isn’t melodramatic about it. With clever use of web-site comments, news casts and journal excerpts it becomes obvious that this creative duo have thought long and hard about the story they’re building. There’s an insightful interview with the creators at Broken Frontier and you can also find Carey’s commentary on the issue at the same site.
If you’re looking for something fresh, with just enough nods to pop culture to make you feel smart, then pick up this ish.
Now this is a press release I can get excited about. The comics website, Broken Frontier has just received a classy facelift. BF has been around since 2002 and why there may be many comics sites out there, the Frontier has always given coverage to the spandex clan as well as indie gems. And why am I excited about that, you ask? Becuase I write for them! Yay for me. I’ve got heaps of stuff on the new site now, including reviews for Buck Rogers #0, Ultimate Wolverine vs Hulk #5 and Battle for the Cowl: The Underground. I’ll also be blogging there regularly, such as this article on how to improve the DC title, Green Arrow/Black Canary. And if that’s not enough, here’s my interview with writer/artist Scott Kolins about his new Solomon Grundy mini-series. Press release below.
Premier comic book website Broken Frontier is proud to unveil its new look and features. Broken Frontier is going back to its roots, while at the same time making the big bold leap into web 2.0. In addition to its own blog, Broken Frontier will launch several production blogs where readers get inside information on the development of a selected number of comics projects, straight from the creative team’s mouth. And of course, the regular wave of articles, interviews, columns and reviews will keep on coming. The most innovative feature in this regard is Post Your News Now!, a unique and user-friendly tool that allows all of BF’s registered members to post news, rumors and scoops directly to the front page. “I think this will be a great feature for smaller companies and self-publishers to put their projects in the spotlight,” adds Broken Frontier Editor, Frederik Hautain. “But at the same time, it’s a great opportunity for our members to grab their chance and do some comics reporting of their own.
In October of 2002, the site launched with the baseline ‘Where Fans Come First!’. In those days, before the existence of blogs and ready-made websites, Broken Frontier gave its readers an opportunity to submit their own articles, making it possible for the average comics fan to contribute to comics criticism. Now, a little over 6 years later, Broken Frontier is making its community as much of a focal point as its comics coverage. “BF has made a name for itself by way of the diversity of our coverage,” Hautain explained. “While we’ll continue to explore every corner of the comics universe, the new BF was built with the clear intention of putting the community back at the heart of the site.”
Looking beyond the new design and improved site technology, the biggest improvements have been made on the community end. Previously limited to nothing but a forum, the community is now keyed on on-site reader interaction by placing each individual member at the center of its site experience. Hautain commented, “I hope everyone will get a good vibe when they visit the new and improved Broken Frontier. Everyone on our staff is psyched now that we’ve started the engine of our new rocket ship. Full speed ahead!”
The tech-mag Wired appears to be ramping up its comic book cool factor lately. You can check out an interview with Neil Gaiman on his delayed conclusion to the Batman’s farewell, Whatever Happened To The Caped Crusader? Now, the interviewer describes these final two Batman-centric issues of Detective Comics as “hilarious” for some odd reason, but then again Gaiman’s issues, which either discard or embrace continuity, depending on your point of view, are somewhat intriguing. They’re also slightly maddening as a send off to the legendary man in the cowl. The interview is worth a read though, as Gaiman discusses Alan Moore, the Watchmen and Sandman films, and more.
Also, you can read an interesting piece in the latest issue of Wired, by guest editor J.J. Abrams about his frustration over the internet hating his attempted 2002 Superman script (the one where Krypton doesn’t explode, Lex Luthor is a Kryptonian and Jimmy Olsen is gay). Um…yeah, there’s many reason why fandom didn’t embrace your script, Mr. Abrams.
CWR is an on-line magazine all about comics. It’s text-focused, rather than littered with art, but the few topics they cover every issue offer something for everyone. The brand spanking new #31 features a great interview with the creators of Image’s intriguing Olympus series, a peek at Marvel’s mistreatment of female readers (and characters), an honest look at Y: The Last Man and much more. The writing quality is varied, but most of the team do a good job offering up concise and interesting views on comics and the world around them. There’s an even mix of articles for fanboys/girls and newbies too, and that’s always a good thing.
It’s finally arrived. Woohoo! Our second issue is 88 pages long (30 pages more than our first issue!) and features more interviews, features and reviews. Inside you’ll find stuff on the new Flash Gordon, the Brit detective series Harker, the all-ages Kid Beowulf, artist Joe Jusko, the scary Dread Force mechs, and a look at the gorgeous work of Steve Pugh in Hotwire, as well as a review of the brand new League of Extraodinary Gentlemen: Century. There’s so much more of course. Hope you enjoy it! Check it out right here.
I became familiar with writer Mike S. Miller’s work a couple of years ago through his Deal with the Devil series, as well as The Imaginaries, which is simply a great concept. He’s done work for every major publisher (either as writer or artist) and is most famous for his work on the adaptation of novelist George R.R. Martin’s Hedge Knight series, with writer/artist Ben Avery. He’s a creator that is able to change genres with ease however, and has also written Zondervan’s excellent The Hand of the Morningstar as well as the fantasy, Lullaby. The Imaginaries launched from Image four years ago, before moving to Abacus, Miller’s own publishing company. The series is back, and now withBluewater Productions.
I was fortunate enough to interview writer/artist/DJ Paul Sizer about his latest project, B.P.M for our first issue, so I thought I’d share this great piece of art from the man himself wishing his fans a great start to 09. Cool, huh?
The time has finally come. Our very first issue is now here! And on Christmas Day, to boot. Click on the link below to view, or download it. It’s 57 pages and a total file size of 9.9mb. Come January, we’ll also be making it available for reading on-line. on our official non-blog site. Any feedback is welcome and we hope you enjoy our humble beginnings. There’s articles on the new Hulk, Clockwork Girl, B.P.M, Street Fighter and a lot more, all with glorious full colour pictures.
In the 1400s a hungry army of vampires stake a claim on Eastern Europe, and only one man can save the terrified citizens. His name is Vlad Tempes, otherwise known as Vlad the Impaler. He is a man literally empowered by the church to fight these beasts, and does. Fast forward to modern New York. Widower detective Victor Dailey discovers corpses in an abandoned ship, and soon the vampire horde is back. However, so is Vlad, and he’s ready to end the fight for good. This time though, he has help, with the US military and Dailey doing whatever they can to stop the snow covered city from becoming a vampire covered one too.
Impaler was originally a three issue series published by Image Comics in 2006 and 2007 but went on hiatus. Top Cow picked up the reins in October and published a Trade Paper Back of those first three issues, plus three new ones. Now, Impaler receives its own ongoing series, written by series creator William Harms with gorgeously gory art from Brit Matt Timson. These are not today’s goth-wannabe vamps. Impaler’s blood suckers are horrific monsters, not introspective shadow dwellers, and as you can see on the following pages Impaler is an unashamed horror title.
This month’s Impaler series kicks off after the recent TPB. For those who missed out are you able to give them a heads up as to what’s going on?
WILLIAM: The Impaler trade ends with the vampires busting through the military’s blockade of New York City and pushing west, toward New Jersey. (And east, toward Boston.) The US military tries a desperate, last-ditch attempt to destroy the vampires, but it fails. At this point, Vlad and Victor (the two primary characters from the trade) are hiding out in New York City, and Victor is dying from radiation sickness. The story quickly expands in its scope to include a special forces team, led by Lt. George Wagner, that is sent to Newark International Airport to look for a VIP. By the end of # 1, it’s looking pretty grim for the human race.
How difficult was it to bring a fresh take to the vampire mythos?
WILLIAM: It was pretty hard, to be honest. The most important thing to me was to not be limited by the traditional defenses against vampires, such as holy water, crosses, that kind of thing. If the only way you can kill a vampire is by either staking it in the heart or dousing it in holy water, you’re pretty limited in where you can take the story. So I decided that as long as the vampires in Impaler are in “flesh” form, they’re killed the same way we are – if you can shoot them in the head, blow them up, or cut them in half, they die. Simple as that. That idea really drove the development of the vampires in Impaler, and I’m really proud of the direction they took.
What happened that put the initial series on hiatus and how did it victoriously return?
WILLIAM: Working in independent comics, even if it’s a place like Image, is really hard. In addition to writing the book, I was the PR guy, the marketing guy, the schedule keeper, that kind of thing. It was really exhausting. And, to be honest, despite the acclaim that Impaler received, the sales weren’t quite where they needed to be. Luckily, the guys at Top Cow really enjoyed Impaler and decided to take it under their wing and give it new life. And I’m forever grateful that the book got a second chance.
How did you manage to bring a level of realism to this series?
WILLIAM: One of the things I love about writing is thinking about stuff like, “if vampires were real, what would happen?” And sitting down and writing out all of the ways they’d attack us, how we’d fight back, etc. And that really drove the realistic nature of Impaler, because it was important to me that the characters and world look like our world – just a normal place where something horrible has happened. Of course, that’s the formula that Stephen King has used his entire career, and in my mind it’s the only way to approach horror fiction.
What is your favourite interpretation of a vampire character from pop culture?
WILLIAM: “Shadow of the Vampire” (see trailer of the 2000 film below-ES) is one of my favorite movies – the idea is sheer genius. I’m also a huge fan of Salem’s Lot and I am Legend. Those are the two best vampire novels as far as I’m concerned. I read them both at least once a year.
Impaler #1 and the Impaler TPB, collecting the original mini-series with extra material are out now. Impaler #2 is out in late January. You can read a preview of #1 here.