Filed under: Interviews | Tags: Dave Elliott, Edgar Allan Poe, H.P. Lovecraft, Robert E Howard, Titan Comics, Weirding Willows
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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…
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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), Schrapnel, Caliber and Last Days of American Crime (with Sam Worthington to star and co-produce).
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