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DF Interview: Graham Nolan scares up horror, adventure in Joe Frankenstein
By Byron Brewer
Young Joe Pratt discovers, upon meeting the monster of his ancestor, that he is the heir to the Frankenstein name. A legacy that may get him killed if the creatures of the night have their way…
The creators of Batman’s Bane, Graham Nolan and Chuck Dixon, put together a miniseries for IDW that encompasses everything from the expected horror to breathtaking action and adventure. Dynamic Forces caught up with Graham Nolan to get the scary ghost tale.
Dynamic Forces: Graham, tell us about the origins of this new series and how it came to be an IDW publication.
Graham Nolan: It started off as a pulp/monster/Doc Savage homage 8 years ago that I wanted to call it Doc Frankenstein but I learned the Wachowski Bros. already copyrighted that name. I really needed that name to make the series work. One day I was talking to Chuck about my dilemma and he suggested changing the name anyway. I replied “Well, I can’t just call him ‘Joe Frankenstein’”. After a dramatic pause, he said, “Why not? That’s a great name”. We had been looking for something to do together so I invited Chuck to come on board. We went back and forth with various concepts and tossed out some of the older ones and eventually fleshed out the story to its current incarnation.
As far as IDW goes, we wanted to own our creation and we wanted a publisher with connections to other media. It was a perfect fit.
DF: How does it feel to be re-teaming with your old partner, Chuck Dixon? Together, you guys created one of the greatest villains in comic book history, namely Bane of the Batman rogues gallery.
Graham Nolan: Chuck and I have worked together for 30 years and there is nobody I enjoy working with more. We see eye to eye on many things and yet each of us brings a different perspective to any project we are working on. It’s a great synergy.
DF: Who is Joe Pratt?
Graham Nolan: Joe Pratt is a teenager whose parents were killed in a plane crash (or so he was told). He’s been in and out of foster homes most of his life. He’s getting by delivering pizzas with no direction in his life. That is until he is saved from a coven of vampires by the Frankenstein monster! It is then that he learns of his true heritage, that he is the last heir to the Frankenstein line. His blood contains the codex to unlocking the secret of eternal life, something The Monster’s Bride desperately wants…and will do anything to get!
DF: Aside from the titular obvious, is there any other impetus or inspiration for this series?
Graham Nolan: Before I ever got into comics, I was into monsters. I particularly love the classic Universal Monster movies. We wanted to do an original take on the Frankenstein universe and yet tie it in with all the other versions. For example, Joe Pratt gets his name from actor William Henry Pratt who is known the world over as…BORIS KARLOFF!
DF: Graham, you are both writer and artist on this book, but you share writing duties with Chuck. Can you explain the process?
Graham Nolan: Basically we talk on the phone and work out the plots, where it’s going and the various story beats. Chuck will type it up, tweaking and adding things, including some dialogue suggestions. Once I get it, I break the story down into 27 pages also tweaking and adding things. When the art is done I send it on with dialogue notations to Chuck. He makes any changes he wants at that stage then it comes back to me for the final run through.
DF: Where does Joe Frankenstein go from here?
Graham Nolan: Our plan is to do more miniseries. Each one would be self-contained but adding to the tapestry.
Dynamic Forces would like to thank Graham Nolan for taking time from his busy schedule to answer our questions. Joe Frankenstein #2 (of 4) hits stores March 25th!
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