Comic writer Steve Niles lets us know about utilizing Kickstarter, staying fresh, writing DC and Marvel characters, and merging Criminal Macabre and 30 Days of Night for Criminal Macabre: The Final Night — The 30 Days of Night Crossover.
Your Kickstarter with Ben Templesmith and menton3 for Lust was recently funded. What was the impetus that drove you to funding through Kickstarter? How do you think that funding like this will change – or, maybe, has already started changing – the nature of comics or comics publishing?
Steve Niles: There were a lot of reasons to try Kickstarter. As indie creators we don’t have many publishing options and the weirder the project the harder it is to find a home for.
We knew coming out of the gate that we wanted Lust to be something different, a bit of an experiment. That right there put us at risk in the eyes of most publishers. The other is, also as an indie creator, we have trouble getting our books to fans so Kickstarter offered us a way to go directly to fans. The biggest reason though was a great chance to work with Templesmith and Menton again. I love those guys and I’m hoping this is the first of many “weird” projects.
MORE AFTER THE BREAK
You have a big crossover coming up in December – not just a crossover between Criminal Macabre and 30 Days of Night, but also between Dark Horse and IDW. How are you bringing those things together and can you discuss some of the challenges that you faced?
SN: I’m really excited about the crossover. Like you said not only a series crossover but a huge company crossover. It came about because I realized I had things happening in the separate comic series that could easily be steered towards one another.
In 30 Days the vampires wanted to start a war with humans and in Criminal Macabre, Cal is hearing rumors of a monster war. I like crossovers that advance both characters/series so this made it perfect. I was very lucky. I mentioned it to Ted and Chris at IDW and Mike and Scott at Dark Horse and within a day it was approved.
Everybody saw the potential. The challenge came in the story. I had a lot of characters to track and some to say goodbye to. It’s always tough killing off characters. Plus with this series, either 30 Days of Night or Criminal Macabre will go away as a result of what happens in the crossover.
Both of these titles are established yet still recognizable, still relevant – they’re not just groundbreaking, but also cutting edge. How have you stayed fresh – despite a huge influx and lots of newcomers to the genre? How have you seen the genre itself change with a larger, mainstream interest?
SN: Well, I’m glad to hear you think they’re still fresh. That’s good to hear. I don’t really have a plan. I try to write the best books I can the way I always have. It’s definitely a challenge. There are a lot more books out there and with the popularity of horror, specifically zombies and vampires it’s been extra tough.
Everybody is out there trying to tell stories and we’re all riffing off the same basic stuff. You have to work hard to be original. One thing with horror, not just comics, is it goes up and down. One week it’s cool, the next it isn’t. I have learned to not pay much attention to the mainstream. Usually by the time something reaches the masses, it’s a watered down version of something much better we’ve already seen.
You’ve done some great work with DC on Batman. Are there any other DC or Marvel characters that you’d like to take a whack at?
SN: No plans right now but there are tons of characters I’d love to play with. I’ve mostly been given one-shots and minis to work with. I’m love to do a run on something someday. Right now I’m very happy and inspired in my creator-owned and indie world.
How did Aurora Rise come onto your radar and what do you think of the powerful response from the comic community toward that charity and other efforts to help the Aurora victims and what that says about this community?
SN: I believe I was connected with those fine folks by Sarah Delaine at Image. She knew I had a history with some fundraising so she thought I’d want to help. I did. It was amazing to see the comic community step up. Everybody and I mean everybody pitched in with comic, toys and all sorts of donations. Sometimes, due to the highly competitive nature of the industry, I can get pretty down on comics, but I’ve now seen on several occasions everybody drop the crap to help out one of their own. It’s exhilarating to see and gives me hope for comics and humans in general.
30 Days of Night/Criminal Macabre Crossover #1 comes out on December 12th.