Interview: Comic Book Legend Dan Brereton

Nocturnals1

Legendary comic book artist Dan Brereton is best known for his creator owned series, The Nocturnals, among a career filled with other amazing works. He is currently running a Kickstarter campaign to fund the newest book in the series, and we had a chance to talk with him about the project. Check out and support the Kickstarter here: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/120326342/dan-breretons-new-nocturnals-graphic-novel

Q: First off, for those readers who are unfamiliar with it, tell us a little bit about The Nocturnals. 

A: It’s been described as the product of HP Lovecraft and Raymond Chandler, a monster noir. A movie producer once referred to it as Sleepy Hollow crossed with X-Men or as my very talented friend,  Ted Naifeh, calls it “spooky superheroes.”
Evening is a young girl with clairvoyant abilities – she  lives with the lost ghosts who inhabit her toys and dolls. Her father, a notorious underworld and occult figure, Doc Horror, leads a crew of night creatures who combat the things in the dark preying on mankind while we sleep. To Eve, this crew of monsters are family.
Nocturnals2Q: When does this graphic novel take place? Do readers need to have read other Nocturnals books to follow it?

A: It’s set in its own little alternate Earth – one that’s fairly contemporary, but lacking in the technology of our era.  It has a very pulp-noir feel, but it isn’t at all a pastiche of the pulp yarns of the 30’s, more like the bastard child of pulp mags and Marvel Comics.  It doesn’t hurt to have read past stories or graphic novels in the Nocturnals saga, but this is a stand alone story. We are also re-printing the first graphic novel, Black Planet, this spring/summer, so newcomers can get acquainted. (Image still has the hardcover collection available, NOCTURNALS; The Dark Forever & Other Tales )

Q: What can readers expect to see in this latest story?

A: The Sinister Path deals with themes of revenge,  conquering — or giving way to — fear. It’s a bit gothic in its portrayal of a fallen dynasty long in decay and corruption, as the Nocturnals uncover a secret history of monster children thought to be long dead. I’ve never written a story like this before – except that it’s packed with action, creatures, criminals and a lot of interesting revelations which will fuel a planned trilogy of graphic novels as its first volume .

Nocturnals3Q: Tell us about the book itself, if you will. 

A: We began at 64 pages of story, but funding has gone really well so we are now approaching a stretch goal that will enable us to do a 72 page story, and I couldn’t be more excited about that!

We are offering softcover and hardcover editions – as well as a sketch cover trade paperback.  The books themselves will be anywhere from 88 to 96 pages.
Q: Why did you choose to go the Kickstarter route for this one?
Kickstarter seemed the way to go to fund a creator-owned, fully painted book that hasn’t had a new story since 2008.  Steven Morger (Big Wow! Art publisher) and I launched a campaign for my last art book, Enchantress, over the summer, which was successful and opened our eyes to the possibilities of crowdsourcing projects.  Comics are not as reader-friendly as they were in the ’90s, so publishers are super careful and they want a lot more control and participation than in the past. I don’t think that any of those things are unreasonable, I just didn’t want to have to deal with them because they were getting anywhere in the last 7 years since I conceived this story.
Nocturnals4Q: What kinds of rewards can people pledge for?

A: We have many! Lots of options: sketch plate versions, watercolor plate versions, art rewards of differing tiers, and a lot more. It’s really important for backers of your project to have fun with it and have that anticipation of the cool things that are going to come out of it on top of the work itself. I used to dread the idea of doing a kickstarter video, before I had help,  but this video is so much fun and has such cool imagery, I invite people to see it just for the sake of seeing live-action versions of the characters appear in it!

Q: You’ve done all kinds of work in your career. Aside from The Nocturnals, how do you choose your projects these days?

A: As a freelancer you’re creating your own projects and pitching and selling them, hopefully —  or you’re being offered stuff. I hadn’t worked for DC Comics in close to eight years, and was just about to the point where I figured I never would again, when I was offered the opportunity to pitch a Batman story for DC Digital First.  I’m currently finishing a 40 page story for Legends of the Dark Knight that I wrote, which will hopefully come out sometime this year. When not fortunate enough to have a prime gig land in my lap, I’m hustling. Pitching, networking and having a very positive attitude – I don’t think you can be a freelancer for a quarter of a century without one. Otherwise it would just be too nerve-wracking.

Nocturnals5Q: What comic books are you enjoying these days?

A: I’m currently reading all the volumes of LOCK AND KEY, an excellent series. I tend to read fiction and non-fiction, rather than many comics — it’s important when you’re writing and concepting new stuff to fill your head with stuff from outside of comics. You can bring fresh ideas and imagery to the medium.

Q: What would you like fans to know about your Kickstarter project?

A: How thrilled I am we are funded and this is going to happen! I’m still in a bit of a daze. It will be a labor of love and intensity of craft. I’m very touched and humbled by the generous support of readers out there who want this book as much as I do. At this point we want to get as many books into the hands of readers looking for a unique experience in comics. I promise NOCTURNALS:THE SINISTER PATH to be this and more.

Nocturnals6Q: Aside from The Nocturnals: The Sinister Path, what else do you have coming out that fans can look forward to?

A: There is the Batman story — a four part digital comic, fully painted, called SIX FINGERS. Not really ready to talk too much about it, its release is a little too far off,  but it’s creepy, it’s a fish out of water, it’s a mystery, it has fun rogues gallery cameos,  and I think people are really going to dig it. Batman remains fertile ground for storytelling.

DC Digital is also soon to be releasing Batman and Batgirl: THRILLKILLER, my classic Elseworlds miniseries with Howard Chaykin. It’s been out of print for close to a decade, and really hard to find. So I’m excited for a new generation of readers to discover it.
Q: Thanks for your time!!

A: You bet!