Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Q&A with Brian Joines on Krampus!

KRAMPUS. The demonic looking holiday creature sent to punish wicked children during the Christmas season has his own comic book. Did you know that? Last year Image released a mini series about the horned beasts release from captivity (by a collection of Santas) for a very special mission - to retrieve the Santa's power source. Krampus' popularity as of late can be noted among shared facebook meme's from your metal band loving friends. He's also been talked much about to this authors nausea, by Kevin Smith. Who kinda killed the whole Krampus phenomena for me until I got to read this little gem written by Brian Joines. I got to talk to him about the trade paper release, which was sadly delayed in hitting the shelves due to some greedy shippers I'm told, picked the perfect time to strike- Christmas. (Joking about the whole greedy part, I suspect they have very good reason to strike, like the bag boys strike of 2001 in The Simpsons episode "whose ineptness and greed were the inspiration for the episode".)

Moving on, here's my conversation with Brian on the book and a little about what he's got in the works for the future!

TFQ: Why Krampus?!

Brian:Years ago, during a particularly aggravating holiday season, a friend of mine told me about the legend of the Krampus. The idea of a demonic creature that went around punishing naughty kids was too good to let go. I knew I wanted to do something with it someday, but it was a matter of finding the right idea.

TFQ: The whole story is such a humorous take on a grim character, how did you develop it? 

Brian: I grew up with a lot of strong comedy influences and, as a result, I’ve always been attracted to darker comedy and those who can mine a situation for humor where it might not otherwise exist. I was actually developing another story idea but it wasn’t coming together, then I remembered the Krampus legend in my back pocket and, once I married the two, it started to write itself. I filled in the spaces with folks from various holiday lore or the odd original character, but the spine of the story was already in place the second I realized my story idea was perfect for the Krampus.

TFQ: How did this book get of the ground and how did you come to work with the artists?

Brian: I pitched the idea of the story to Image in late 2012 and they liked it. Then Jay Faerber, with whom I’m co-writing the upcoming SECRET IDENTITIES, sent me a link to Dean Kotz’s DeviantArt page. What I saw there was perfect for the look I had in mind for the story…the ability to go dark but punctuate that with some lightness. I contacted Dean, explained the story, and he liked it. Then I contacted Ron Riley for colors and Charles Pritchett for letters, and it all just came together.

TFQ: What can you tell me about Secret Identities? (Out this February from Image Comics)

Brian: SECRET IDENTITIES is about a team of superheroes who admit a new member onto their team, not realizing he’s a mole working for an enemy of the team looking to learn their secrets and rip them apart. And the team has a LOT of secrets to expose.

TFQ: What's it like creating a holiday oriented comic book? What are some of the challenges you encountered?

Brian: It was a lot of fun because, given the nature of this story, I got to delve into a lot more holiday lore than just your basic “Santa/elves/reindeer” set-up and learn a lot about various characters/customs from other cultures. There is still a LOT of stuff I didn’t use that I would love to put into a sequel someday, if we wind up doing one…one holiday figure in particular is so ludicrous that I wish I’d thought to use him in this series, but I didn’t really stumble onto him until the perfect scene was already written and drawn. And that’s one of the challenges, for certain…having to pare down all of these legends and stories and figure out what to keep and what to cut to streamline the story. I will say that, given a chance, I could do another three or four Krampus series, easy, based on various things I learned and connections I started to form between various legends.

The other challenge, honestly, was doing a holiday-themed book that ran past the holiday. We started in December, then still had a Christmas-centric book going on well into April. I think people just got “over” Christmas once it passed and I think the book suffered a bit because of that. If we ever do another one, we’ll probably do it as a one-shot or leading into and out of the holiday, so we’re not four months out from December and still doing a book with Santa figures in it.

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