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DF Interview: Will Night fall again in the second season of Night’s Dominion from Ted Naifeh?
By Byron Brewer
Artist/author Ted Naifeh is back with the second season of his Oni Press series, Night’s Dominion.
What’s happened since the end of Season 1? What about the great champion, the Furie, and the lowly barmaid, Emerane, who donned the mantle of the Night? And what of the Cult of Uhlume?
DF wanted answers to these questions and also what to expect from Season 2, so we tracked town creative one-man-band Ted Naifeh and put the queries to him.
Dynamic Forces: Ted, what led you to decide to go into a second season of Night’s Dominion?
Ted Naifeh: I'd always planned to keep it going. This idea infected my brain, and before I knew it, I'd conceived six or seven arcs. I'd found a way to reframe classic superhero tropes that makes them wholly original. No one reading this series would even guess that it's basically a superhero book except for a few obvious flags. So it lets me deconstruct a lot of clichés we usually let pass. I'm just getting started.
DF: Can you catch us up by telling readers what has happened in the saga thus far?
Ted Naifeh: So the story starts off with five desperate crooks meeting in a bar to plan a heist. Of course, this bar is in the ancient city of Umber, and the target is the supposedly endless treasure of a popular death cult. The heist goes catastrophically wrong. It turns out there is no treasure. Instead, they find an army of undead soldiers massing beneath the cult tower. The cult is preparing to take over the city, and impose the rule of their death god on everyone. So these criminals have to pull it together and be the front line against an undead army, to protect the city that drove them to crime in the first place. By the end, they have all reexamined who they are; maybe even consider the possibility that they might be heroes, if there is such a thing.
DF: Will there be anything essential for new readers to know when picking up Season 2?
Ted Naifeh: I make a point of including everything essential to know in every story. There are a few things that might be clearer from the beginning if you've read the first arc. For example, Emerane, the main character, came away from the experiences with a deep, deep emotional wound. If you've read the first book, you know why. If you haven't, it will be revealed slowly. But I don't like to depend on previous stories to give my story meaning. That's lazy.
DF: Tell us about your hero, Emerane the barmaid. Where do we find her in the beginning of Season 2 and what (in a non-spoilery manner) can you tell us about the challenge(s) ahead?
Ted Naifeh: She's emotionally gutted at the beginning of this story. She's about ready to go on a rampage. The trouble is, rampages rarely solve problems. Especially when your opponent is pulling strings behind the scenes. She can smash up all the scenery she wants, but she'll get nowhere.
DF: What other characters should readers be on the lookout for here? Are there any new characters coming in Season 2 that first season readers may need to know about? If so, can you introduce them to us?
Ted Naifeh: Well, I have my Alderman character, who's basically a cross between Commissioner Gordon and Commander Vimes from the Discworld series. He gets a bigger role in this story. And it turns out he has a teenaged daughter, who's been told to give up her silly notion of becoming a city warden, because it's not a job for women. Gosh, I wonder what will happen with that?
Something that often bugs me about superhero stories is that they tend to edge out the ordinary folk. But when you have a story filled with nothing but otherworldly beings with amazing powers, they become routine. It's the contrast between the extraordinary folk and the ordinary ones that makes the fantasy work.
DF: Now that Season 1 of Night’s Dominion is under your belt with Season 2 beginning at Oni Press, do you think this is a universe you can play in a while or is it built, like some, with a shelf-life?
Ted Naifeh: I like stories to end. It won't go on forever. And I even know roughly what will happen to end it. But I plan to take a while to get there. Right now I have this sequel, a flashback story that details the first encounters with some of the principle characters, and then two more 8 issue arcs. After that, I want to keep my options open.
DF: Will your art continue the great mood it set in Season 1, or are we in for some changes here?
Ted Naifeh: The first arc took forever. I want to streamline it a touch, but it will keep the flavor and gritty fantasy mood. I like that style a lot. I don't think it's quite like anything else out there. It's the signature style of the series. Why change it?
Dynamic Forces would like to thank Ted Naifeh for taking time out of his busy schedule to answer our questions. Night’s Dominion S2 #1 from Oni Press is in stores now!
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