Comics Anonymous


Dave Elliott

With Dave Elliott’s latest release The Weirding Willows Volume 1 (reviewed here) due for release at the beginning of July I had a chance to ask him a few questions on the release and how it all came about.

Dave Elliott has more than 25 years of experience working in the comic book industry. He created Sharky and Maximum Force and has worked on diverse titles such as Deadline, 2000 AD, Justice League of America, Transformers and GI Joe.  In 2006, he co-founded Radical Studios and played an integral role in the development and launch of Radical’s premiere comic book titles, several of which have now begun development as film properties – including Hercules, Shrapnel, Caliber, Hotwire, The Last Days of American Crime and Oblivion, which hit cinemas in April 2013, and stars Tom Cruise and Morgan Freeman.

Titan Comics announced that they would be offering new original creator-owned series back at the beginning of 2013 and part of that was a new co-publishing venture with A1 publisher, Dave Elliott.  The new publishing venture between Titan Comics and Dave Elliott launched in June 2013 and saw the release of brand-new comics and stunning new and classic graphic novels.  The first wave hit with two new series: A1, a monthly revival of the famously experimental anthology and the new music-festival adventure, Tomorrowland.  The first collection arrived in September 2013, with releases including the League of Extraordinary Gentleman-style Weirding Willows, supernatural anthology Monster Massacre and the adventures of the teenage god Sharky. The first volume of the new A1 annual and the collection of Tomorrowland were released later in the year.

Weirding Willows - The Gang by deevelliott
CA – What inspired The Weirding Willows?
DE: It was a chain of events and ideas starting with research into the timing of the publishing of three books I wanted to sew together. Those books were Dracula, Sherlocks Holmes and Phantom of the Opera and the story involved Sherlock Holmes getting involved with the Phantom in Paris on his way back to England after his supposed death at the Reichenbach Falls. Turns out it wasn’t just the Phantom causing trouble in the Opera house, Dracula was there as well.  That led to me compiling a list of book from that time and I noticed how many great and inspirational books were written about that time. I was also reading that H P Lovecraft and Robert E Howard wrote books in an unofficial shared universe inspired by Edgar Allan Poe. It was that thinking that set me on the path that would lead to Willow Weir.
CA – Given how well the stories are tied together did you read and re-read the original material to make sure that happened?
DE: I’m not trying to be slavish faithful to the original books but I also find great ideas come when you do pose certain limitations on yourself. In rereading some of the books I found some minor characters that were never used again that I thought I could make great use of later.
CA – Do you have a favourite character in the book?
DE: Not a favorite character as such but when I decided at the last minute to add Peter Rabbit and Benjamin Bunny and have the White Rabbit be dating Peter’s sister Maisy, they nearly stole the show. I want to write a separate series where they are the central characters of the book.
CA – Can we expect more of the same world appearing in future releases?
DE: There are 9 main worlds or universes that are accessible from Willow Weir. All will get play eventually but some more than others. One of those worlds will die.
CA – The book seems to happen in modern times in my head when I read it but is that when it takes place?
DE: I want the series to be accessible as possible so while I will use the odd phrase or word from that period, I’m writing them as contemporary characters so they’re be easier to relate to.
CA – Are there any other BIG literary characters or themes you would like to add or will add in future releases?
DE: HELL YES!! Volume 2 starts off by introducing several of the other worlds before they leave for their first BIG adventure while staying in the same place. “Huh?” I hear you say…
CA – You work with a fairly big art team on this and you did some of that art work yourself too but was this a bigger challenge because of the size of team?
DE: I have to say it was very easy working with the crew on this. STELLAR Labs are a group of the nicest, professional, talented people you could ever hope to meet. Working with Barnaby (Bagenda) and Sami (Basri) has been just the best experience I could hope for.  I think all comics would be better across the board if every artist was hired because they were the best for a project rather than being hired because they were well known.  My contributions were minor. I drew one of the pin-ups and inked some others along with the title pages. It was fun to do some drawing again. Hadn’t done anything for years.
CA – Given there’s a mix of styles and themes in The Weirding Willows was it harder to tie all the mythologies of each character and world together?
DE: Once I figured out what was the cause of the portals and doorways between the worlds everything else fell into place. The thing creating the portals between the universes is also responsible for allowing the animals to walk and talk.
CA – You manage to maintain the core ideas of the character while adding your own unique tweaks to their psyche – how easy or hard was that to achieve?
DE: It wasn’t easy or hard but just fun! You’ll find out in volume 2 why Moreau became so driven that he ignored his daughter for most of her life and will end up on an island, miserable and alone. that doesn’t sound much fun, but it was to write. Many of these old books had fairly simple characters and motivations so it has been quite easy to expand on them.
CA – Did this story take you longer to write given the multiple layers and intricate connections between the characters?
DE: Only in that every time I thought of another character to add they would change the story so I went through several iterations of the story before settling here. Fortunately none of those other ideas will be lost. Everything will be rolled into the series eventually.
Death of a dinosaur
CA – What are the future plans with the Atomeka line under Titan Comics?
DE: More Weirding Willows. Hopefully more Odyssey with Garrie Gastonny. I’m plotting a Maximum Force series that I’d like to do sometime. I’m also hoping that A1 and Monster Massacre can keep going.
Dave Elliott has more than 25 years of experience working in every aspect of the comic book industry from writer and artist to editor and publisher. He has worked on diverse titles such as A1, Deadline, Viz, Heavy Metal, Penthouse Comix, 2000 AD, Justice League of America, Transformers, GI Joe and Doctor Who. He recently worked the band Fall Out Boy, and with NASCAR/MMI to create and brand new intellectual properties which he sites as examples of new media integration for a more immersive entertainment experience.

In 2006, Dave co-founded Radical Studios with Barry Levine. As both the co-publisher and Editor-In-Chief, Dave was integral to the development and launch of Radical’s premiere comic book titles several of which have now begun development as film properties including Hercules (Universal Pictures), Freedom Formula (New Regency), SchrapnelCaliber and Last Days of American Crime (with Sam Worthington to star and co-produce).

You can always check out what Dave’s up to at either his website or the Atomeka Press Facebook page
You can catch The Weirding Willows over at the Titan Comics website along with some other great reads.


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