Comic Burst recently had a chance to interview celebrated writer/creator Richard Douek, whose Wailing Blade is coming off of a very successful Kickstarter campaign. With Gutter Magic, TMNT, and of course Wailing Blade, Rich is a fan favorite with well deserved praise for his distinct, brilliant style of storytelling.
So sit back, relax and check out our newest edition of Five Questions and a Creator!
This interview has been edited for clarity and length.
Comic Burst: Your newest series Wailing Blade, published by Comix Tribe, will be out and in the hands of fans very soon. What inspired this incredibly unique and well written story? What excites you the most about seeing this series published?
Richard Douek: Wailing Blade comes out of my love for classic sword and sorcery, and weird, pulpy science fiction. Stories like Michael Moorcock’s Elric series, and Fritz Leiber’s Lankhmar. But the biggest inspiration is probably Jack Vance’s Dying Earth books. He passed away a few years ago, which inspired me to pick them up and reread them. I realized I had never seen anything quite like them in comics, and started wondering what a story in that kind of setting might look like. Add in some more influences from my childhood, like Masters of the Universe, and Thundarr the Barbarian to name a couple, and pretty soon it started taking shape.
As for what excites me about it – to be honest, everything. One piece of advice I often see is to make the comics you want to see, and I can truly say Wailing Blade embodies everything I love about comics. High adventure, brutal action, and, if I’m not tooting my own horn too much, great characters and story.
CB: This is your first original series, since your critically acclaimed Gutter Magic. Will we be seeing Wailing Blade as your mainstay for a while, or do you have other projects you will be pursuing as well?
RD: I do have a few other projects in the works. Gutter Magic will be coming back soon, for one, and I recently announced a new horror series, Road of Bones, that I will be putting out with IDW. That being said, Wailing Blade is an epic that can and will live far beyond this first series. Joe and I are already talking about where we can take the story, what new characters we want to introduce, and how we can continue. It may not happen immediately after the last issue of this arc drops, but we have enough material to tell many, many stories in this world, and it’s something we both want to pursue going forward.
CB: With such an amazing style of storytelling and a history of successful pieces like Gutter Magic, and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Universe from IDW Publishing, who would you say is your biggest influence?
RD: There are a lot of amazing creators that inspire and influence me, but if I had to pick one I would say Warren Ellis. At a time when I wasn’t really reading comics anymore, I wandered into Forbidden Planet in NYC, and picked up an issue of Transmetropolitan off the shelf – and all of a sudden, I was hooked on comics again. Warren’s writing in Transmet is electrifying--not to mention Darick Robertson’s art--and it really opened me up to the possibilities of what comics could be, beyond just superhero stories, which I had always associated them with in the past. It inspired me to really look at how I could tell the stories I wanted to tell, and take advantage of all that the comics medium has to offer.
CB: What do you enjoy about comic conventions, and can we expect to see you at any this season?
RD: I’ll definitely be at NYCC this year, because I live in the area. I’m also going to try and do more local shows in NY and NJ. I do have a day job, and young kids, which makes traveling on the con circuit challenging for me, but I try to get out to at least one out of town convention every year. I’m just not sure which one I can do in 2019 yet.
My favorite thing about cons is how many amazing friends [I have made] attending them over the years, and I cherish seeing those people every single time, even if its only once a year. But, as great as cons are, they’re expensive and time-consuming, and you need to find a way to make them work with your life. You have to do the best you can to not let the feeling that you’re missing out on them get you down on yourself and your career when you can’t make the trip. We’re all gonna find our path – for some of us, it’s making connections on the road, and for others it’s sending lots and lots (and lots) of emails.
CB: If there was one thing you really wanted fans to know about the upcoming Wailing Blade series, what would it be??
RD: I want them to know that Joe Mulvey and I poured our hearts into it. And when we brought on Jules Rivera and Chris Sotomayor for colors, and Taylor Esposito for letters, they all brought their best game, even though it’s just one among many projects for them.
There’s passion in this book. Fire. Love. Power. It’s consumed us for the past couple of years, and now we want to share all of that. Just making the book has made everyone involved with it really happy – and if reading it can impart some of that happiness on to anyone else, then we’ll consider all the work we did to be well worth the trouble.
I think it’s important for fans to know that – that it’s important to us. Not because we think “Oh, this is the best story ever, it’s going to change the world”, but because making it literally changed us. It made us better friends, better collaborators, better creators. And we hope some of that spirit makes it through to our readers. That they’ll feel as excited reading it as we were making it. That would be something.