Review Fix Exclusive: Q & A With Dark Horse Comics’ Dan Braun
Review Fix chats with Dark Horse comics Dan Braun, who talks about his revitalized “Creepy” series and how he mixes a love for punk music with comic book writing.
Review Fix: It’s been a long, hard fight to get the Creepy series going again. How does it feel now that you’re at issue eight?
Dan Braun: It’s extremely rewarding to look at all eight issues together and have physical evidence that there is a real body of work that have been created.
If the series has only gone four issues it would have been perceived as a mini series. Getting to issue eight, no matter what happens in the future it will be regarded as a real series. Of course I would love to be asked the same question when we get to issue 20, then 50 and 100 but we’ll take it a step at a time. We are trying to build a loyal audience and create a forum for creators to be able to tell short, intense stories of the highest quality. When we say “The finest in illustrated horror” we mean it. It’s an ideal to live up to.
Review Fix: What have you learned through these eight issues?
Dan Braun: I’ve learned that we have to keep trying new things while still maintaining the quality. And I’ve learned that Gene Colan was not immortal. I wish he was and that he was drawing for us with every issue. My point of view is completely informed and influenced by the classic comic book artists who are still my favorites and I’m always thinking, story wise with visuals what would Colan do, what would Neal Adams do? But what’s exciting is finding new artists or using older artists for more modern stories and you get exciting results.
Review Fix: Already, through the first few issues, you’ve worked with Eric Powell and several other super talented artists and writers. How does it feel to have them associated with this product?
Dan Braun: Giddy. Hyper ventilation. Sweaty palms. Double Vision, Tremors, pressure in the occipital region. Elevated heart rate. … what can I say. The combination of Dark Horse and the brand of Creepy is something that talented writers and artists want to contribute to. But it still comes down to the editors and Mike Richardson has some very talented editors who have strong relationships with creative talent. I’m working with two of them now, Brendan Wright and Sierra Hahn who have introduced me to some great up and coming creators.
Review Fix: What are your goals for the series?
Dan Braun: To reinvigorate the brand of Creepy and give it meaning to a younger generation that isn’t just related to nostalgia. The original Creepy and Eerie Magazines were premium products. When comics were 12¢, Creepy was 35¢ and kids were willing to pay the premium. Our hardcover archive series are $49.95, which is a higher price than most. But the presentation and the content is high quality and people have been willing to pay because they perceive it as a premium product, which it is. That says something about the brand. I want to keep the perception of Creepy as a premium product in all formats. And not through clever marketing but by delivering the highest quality product we can.
Review Fix: You’re a noted punk musician. How does music play a part in your creative process?
Dan Braun: Sometimes music plays a direct part in the creative process. It always plays a background role in inspiring me when I’m writing. Right now I’m listening to Gershwin playing Gershwin when I write, so it’s certainly not punk. But I love all different kinds of music. My story that ran in the new Creepy Comic #1, called Hell Hound Blues was about greedy record collectors searching for a holy grail record. The reality: I am a greedy record collector so I know those characters inside out.
Review Fix: How would you “pitch” this series to a potential customer?
Dan Braun: Buy Creepy, you’ll never regret it… I’ll give you two for one, try it now or the issue will go out of print and will cost you more as a collector’s item.
Creepy is best edited, best drawn, best written horror anthology on the market, period…settle for no cheap imitations. That’s the PT Barnum version. I was in the ad industry for many years. But If I was being a bit more subtle I would say… pretty much the same thing.
Review Fix: How important do you think horror comics are to the industry?
Dan Braun: This is a hard question to answer. I have always enjoyed horror comics and they have a rich history that has influenced the direction of the entire comic publishing industry with what happened with Seduction of the Innocent and Wertham. But they are not a large part of the economic backbone of the industry. Super Hero comics are what keeps the industry alive. I think horror comics are as important as any other genre of comic books besides superhero comics only so that there is diversity in what is offered in the market. I would love to see another wave like what happened in the late forties where horror, crime, war and romance comics had a surge of popularity. I think it would reflect the times we’re living in now with reality formats still dominating some forms of entertainment.
Review Fix: What can we expect from the series in the future?
Dan Braun: Excellence.
Patrick Hickey Jr.
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