If you hit comic shops this week, you may have seen Nocturnals: The Sinister Path on the shelf. And if you didn't, you need to have a discussion with your retailer. Creator Dan Brereton could've sat back and taken a break, but nope… he jumped right into his commission list and now he has a new project… an artbook, and I got to talk to him about both this week.
DAN WICKLINE: Hey Dan. I see you have started up a new Kickstarter program. But before I ask you about that, let's talk about your last project: Nocturnals: Sinister Path. The book shipped this week. How does it feel to have the story in fans hands after close to a decade? How has the overall reaction been from retailers and readers?
DAN BRERETON: It feels great! The reaction has been overwhelmingly positive. Many of our Kickstarter backers who received their books by mail this week posted and shared pictures of the book and how jazzed they are to finally have the graphic novel in hand. As happy as I am to see the book printed and looking super in terms of the quality of printing, I'm gratified to see reader's positive reactions. The reaction I tend to get the most is, "I want more!" This mirrors my own feeling- I want to get back in the saddle and produce the next installment!
DW: The new project is an art book called 'In the Night Studio' and if I understand correctly, it collects the private commissions you've done while you were working on the Nocturnals. What can you tell me about the book and what can fans expect to find in it?
DB: Actually, most of the new illustrations and pictures in the book were completed this year, after I'd finished the interior art and script for Sinister Path. After the book was off to the letterer in December it was very relaxing to tackle a long list of commissions and characters. The subjects and themes cover horror, sci-fi, fantasy, superhero, pulp heroes, monsters and – more importantly- monster gals. There is a section featuring Nocturnals pictures as well. I tackled a variety of characters, some I'd never depicted. All those pieces will find their way into this volume.
DW: There are two versions of the book, a direct market and a deluxe publishers edition. What is the difference between the two editions and can you describe the tweak you did to the cover to make them stand apart?
DB: The cover concept for 'In the Night Studio' is the Frankenstein Monster painting his muse, the Bride, in a large studio under a huge full moon. Once I had this concept in mind, I got very anxious to get rolling on the book. Having a theme always helps inspire these art books we do. The Direct Market Edition is hardcover, 88 pages. We hope to extend this to 96 pages once the next Stretch Goal has been met. ) The Deluxe Publishers Edition will have 16 extra pages, a nice dust jacket, fancy illustrated endsheets and a cover free of text or titles- just the artwork, which we refer to as the "unwrapped" version, because the Monster's Model lacks the gauze wrappings seen on the Direct Edition. Kickstarter gives us the freedom to do fun touches things like this which might not fly on a comic book store shelf. I'm thrilled because I love doing covers which feature the art alone.
DW: I see in the samples listed on the Kickstarter pages that you've done commissions featuring the Nocturnals and an image of Walter Simonson's Thor from 'Ragnarok'? Who else will fans find in the pages of the new art book?
DB: There are some great surprises in store, for sure. A few images include my variant cover for Remender and Tocchini's LOW, several pulp-fiction heroes, femme fatales and horror queens, monsters, my cover for an upcoming volume of The Black Flame Archives, and a few other cover paintings. I also recently discovered some earlier art I have yet to include in any art book. Part of the fun of the book is leaving folks to discover it once they have their copy in hand.
DW: Two questions I always like to ask artists who do commissions are: What has been your favorite commission that anyone has asked you to do? And has there been a commission that was so far out there that you had to turn it down? If so, what was the commission?
DB: Oh, that first question is tough! One of my favorite commissions in this book is the tribute I did to Bernie Wrightson and Frank Frazetta. The concept was suggested by a patron, and the picture idea popped into my head fairly quickly. It was very personal for me. The most out-there commission idea I've had in a while, well, lets just say I didn't turn it down- it's in the book!
DW: I've got one more question before letting you get back to your work. With Nocturnals: Sinister Path now in stores and In the Night Studio coming up, what is next on your schedule?
DB: Mainly, the next big project I'll be focused on is writing the next chapter in the Nocturnals saga. This new book sets up the next two installments, and I've actually begun already, and at some point soon will move to the artwork phase. Sinister Path is the first of a trilogy, so I should be busy for the next couple of years.
DW: Are you sticking with creator owned project for a while?
DB: I'm happy to tell stories with my own characters for as long as I can. It's nice to have a break now and then to play in another sandbox, so I won't rule it out, but I have years worth of Nocturnals stories to tell!
DW: What should fans be keeping an eye out for?
DB: Ill have a piece in the upcoming Godzilla gallery show, 'Strange Beasts V; Shin Beasts' (Guzu Gallery, Austin, TX) in later July. Two painted covers on the stands in September, for LOW ( Image) and THE BLACK FLAME ARCHIVES ( IDW). I did the Creeping Flesh; Monster Girls wax wrapper trading card set on Kickstarter (SideKick Labs) last spring, and we plan to do another one in the not-too-distant future, with a Nocturnals gals theme, no less. No rest in the night studio!
For more on the In The Night Studio, check out the Kickstarter project.