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JEREMY LAMBERT
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DF Interview: Jeremy Lambert unleashes a supernatural snow globe world of the unknown in ‘The Night Mother’ OGN

 

By Byron Brewer

 

The moon is stuck like a broken clock in the midnight sky, the sun a distant memory. No one in this quiet seaside town can remember how long this unnatural darkness has lasted. No one, that is, except for the curious girl who lives in the graveyard, caring for the dead: 12-year-old Madeline Tock. In gratitude, the departed whisper their worries to her, sounding just like her overprotective but loving father: beware this endless night and she who causes it.

 

Because there’s someone else who can hear the whispers, too . . . someone whose gown is a map of the cosmos, hair a tangled constellation, eyes like the lights of faraway stars. The Night Mother. Her elemental duty is to gather the souls of the dead in her lantern, then send them to their eternal rest as beautiful moonlight. But when her hunger for power drives her to take souls from the living, Madeline bravely stands up to defend her town and those she loves. Can Madeline help bring back the sun, or will she be lured by the starry promises of this mysterious woman?

 

From Oni Press comes The Night Mother, a graphic novel written by Jeremy Lambert with art by Alexa Sharpe. I caught up to the scribe and we chatted about this beautiful OGN.

 

Byron Brewer: Jeremy, tell readers the inspiration for this beautiful but mysterious graphic novel The Night Mother. It is the first volume in a trio of books, is it not?

 

Jeremy Lambert: It is! This is book 1 of 3. It tells the story of Madeline Tock, a 12-year-old girl who lives next to a graveyard with her father, and a mysterious woman who lives on the moon and collects the souls of the dead at every full moon… but now the full moon is stuck in the night sky and the mysterious woman known only as the Night Mother is collecting more than just the souls of the dead, but the living as well. The inspiration for Madeline’s story was honestly the way that it feels when you’re 12 and a lot of adults pressure you into becoming someone you’re not. Whether it’s your parents wanting you to be a version of them, or otherwise. And that led to me thinking about a young person who can hear the whispers of the dead and the effect that it would have on their life. I was interested in souls being represented by natural light (reflected light, in the moon’s case, but still) and finding a mostly peaceful and engaging way to discuss that with myself and with Alexa. Something I have to mention is that I had always been fascinated with the moon and with space from a very young age due to my mom. My mom works for NASA and I remember when it was Bring Your Kids to Work Day, she would take my brother and I into Goddard Space and Flight Center and that opportunity at such a young age was really what set the wheels in motion for this.

 

Byron: Very cool. … What can you tell us about the unique canvas on which this OGN plays out? What is the mood, the atmosphere, the reality of this world(s) you and artist Alexa Sharpe have built here?

 

Jeremy Lambert: It’s what I like to call a snow globe world. A world similar to ours in enough ways to make it familiar, but entirely its own. A mysterious town in a mysterious time and the young girl who lives in the mysterious chapel next to the graveyard and now the moon, which all of us understand, is stuck. Something is clearly very wrong, and we discover what that something is through Madeline. It begins like a fairy tale, and a very spooky one.

 

Byron: Introduce us to Madeline Tock. Who was she, who is she when we meet her in October, and what challenge(s) does she face? And why does she actually LIVE in a cemetery?

 

Jeremy Lambert: Madeline Tock is a 12-year-old girl who can hear the whispers of the dead. With a very sheltered life living at the edge of town with only her father for company, she’s excited when new coffins arrive at the graveyard for burial. She helps bring the coffins in and bury them, as it’s one of her only ways to socialize. She learns a lot from the dead, and wants more out of life as a result. She gets her wish in a backhanded way when the full moon is stuck in the night sky and the Night Mother arrives in the graveyard.

 

Death is a scary thing. Especially to this town. And Barnabus Tock, Madeline’s father, is a bit… strange. He’s very different from everyone else in the town. As a result, the town offered Barnabus a backhanded offer: take care of the graveyard on an island next to the town and we’ll give you the whole chapel and all the lands there for free. It was a way of getting Barnabus out of their hair and listening to all his strange stories and clock and telescopes and things that people just shouldn’t be curious about.

 

Byron: Who is the mysterious titual Night Mother?

 

Jeremy Lambert: A woman who collects the souls of the dead in her lantern at every full moon, turning them into moonlight to shine on forever for their loved ones. Although now that the moon’s stuck in the night sky, it appears the woman whose gown is a map of the cosmos, whose hair is a tangled constellation, and whose eyes are like the lights of faraway stars is collecting not just the souls of the dead but the souls of the living. It’ll be up to Madeline Tock to stop her. Beyond that, I think that Night Mother must remain a mystery for now and you’ll have to pick up the books to find out more!

 

Byron: What other characters (or entities) should we know about? Can you spotlight some here?

 

Jeremy Lambert: Nura the Lamplighter and Barnabus Tock! Nura is one of the Moonfolk. She lights the lamps on the moon, and beyond that, you’ll have to read on! Barnabus… well, Barnabus makes clocks and telescopes and has a few screws loose. But above all, he’s a recluse. A shut in. Someone who doesn’t leave the house because over time, he grows even more afraid of every unlikely bad thing that could happen out there. Madeline goes into town to get groceries and supplies, because Barnabus doesn’t leave the house anymore. Which plays heavily into what happens in Book 1.

 

Byron: Can you whet readers’ appetites with some hints at Volume 2 (also titled Night Mother, is it?) and when that might be on shelves?

 

Jeremy Lambert: It will indeed be The Night Mother, Volume 2. I’m about to wrap up the script now and we’ll be moving right into art soon. So I don’t have a specific answer other than: as soon as possible!

 

Byron: Talk about the amazing art of Alexa Sharpe.

 

Jeremy Lambert: I have been such a massive fan of Alexa’s art for years. From go, Alexa was this ideal in my head for Night Mother, I was thinking about the story in her style and wondering about all the many things I could never envision that she’d bring to this. She’s downright brilliant and the Night Mother is a dream come true because of her. I’m constantly in awe of her artistry and her ideas, and I can’t wait for folks to see her art here!

 

Byron: Jeremy, what other of your coming projects, inside or outside comics, can you tell readers about?

 

Jeremy Lambert: Well, for writing I have a horror book with co-creator and artist Claire Roe coming out on June 18th of this year: The Hollywood Special, a part of Scott Snyder’s Dark Spaces line at IDW. Golden Age Hollywood Horror about actress Vivian Drake and a monster known only as the Mismatch Man who feeds on pain and regret… two things that Vivian has in spades. All six issues of that will be collected and released in June. And then the latest film that I produced, a short documentary titled The Last Repair Shop is out on Disney+ and Hulu now.

 

 

Dynamic Forces would like to thank Jeremy Lambert for taking time out of his busy schedule to answer our questions. The Night Mother OGN from Oni Press is slated to be on sale October 8! 



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