A talk with Dave Kelly about Tales of the Night Watchman, which will be hitting digital outlets soon.
Dave Kelly is the writer of Tales of the Night Watchman, a small press comic previously featured on the site during the Outhouse's coverage of S.P.A.C.E. Tales of the Night Watchman is now being made available digitally, so we figured it was a good time to reintroduce Kelly and his book.
The Outhouse: Tell us about Tales of the Night Watchman.
Dave Kelly: It's the story of a young woman named Nora who's stuck working a dead-end job in coffee and her roommate, Charlie, who happens to be possessed in the nicest way possible by a spectral detective called The Night Watchman. He's come back from the dead and now resides with Nora in her Williamsburg apartment, which is in Brooklyn among all the hipsters. Despite being a fish out of water, there's trouble brewin' - something from his past is coming to get him.
OH: What was your inspiration for Tales of the Night Watchman?
DK: I'm inspired by a lot of stuff, mostly cartoon shows from my childhood. Comics, by and large, are a secondary inspiration. I think I read more comics now than I ever have. They've always been important to me, but I tend to think back to other things when I sit down to write. My primary inspiration for Tales of the Night Watchman is probably three fold: The Shadow radio show, especially the Orson Welles / Agnes Moorehead era, Sam Kieth's The Maxx, and Kolchak: The Night Stalker, the TV series.
OH: Have you worked on any comics before? If so, where can our readers check them out?
No, this is actually my first comic book. Until I met Lara, I worked solely in film production. Issue One is currently on the shelves at six stores: Desert Island, Bergen St. Comics, and Jim Hanley's in NYC; Quimby's and Chicago Comics in Chicago; and Astrokitty Comics in Lawrence, KS. You can also buy it online through our Etsy store, and we've got a digital release coming up via Lush Comics.
We also do a series called Walking Into Traffic which stars Serena, one of the three main characters from ...Night Watchman. They're little comic strips that can be viewed on our website, http://www.talesofthenightwatchman.com/. You can also buy them from us directly online or at festivals. It's an extension of the other series in a sense, but it's also an opportunity to break out of our usual routine and experiment.
OH: What about the penciller, Lara Antal? What has she done in the past?
DK: This is Lara's first comic as well. We initially bonded over Tales from the Crypt. She loves horror movies and, by association, comic books. The first time we hung out, we watched the infamous Christmas episode directed by Robert Zemeckis. It's one of my all-time favorite stories, be it in its original comic book form, the segment of the 1972 film with Joan Collins (which is my favorite-favorite), or the TV series. We then bonded over The Sandman because Lara had a sketchbook full of comics-related material. She had a lot of cool sequential stuff, but it was a sketch of Morpheus that really caught my attention. The wheels starting turning at that point, and here we are.
OH: You're about to release a digital copy of Tales of the Night Watchman. Why go digital? What sort of process does a small press creator go through to set their book up through a digital publisher?
DK: I think my film producer side will take charge of this answer: It's because we want to exploit any and all avenues that would allow people to experience our comic book. "Exploit" sounds like the filthiest word imaginable to an artist, but it's really not. There's a positive definition there as well; it simply means doing your due diligence to get people to discover your work. I'm pretty old school and do not read comics digitally unless it's the only way to do so, but who's to say I should limit my potential audience based on personal preference? At the end of the day, I just want it to be out there. Everywhere.
The process was very simple actually, and I think that's because Justin Mound at Lush Comics made it so easy for us. He's done all the dirty work to get his app up and running, and all we had to do was follow his specs. It took a little time to reformat the files and get them to look sharp at the right resolution, but we figured it out. We're pleased with the results.
OH: What's your five year plan as a comic book creator? What would you ultimately like to do as a comic book creator?
DK: In five years we hope to have published ten issues of Tales of the Night Watchman. We plan to do two 40-page books a year, and we've got twelve stories worked out. But just in case chaos strikes, the first story arc is only four issues. We have some fun ideas for Walking Into Traffic as well. Personally, I hope to make the jump from self-publishing to prefix-free publishing, and Lara wants to tackle some autobiographical work. But, most importantly, we hope this comic lands us bigger challenges and opportunities with established publishers. We hope that five years from now, we aren't just doing what we're doing today.
Be sure to stop back for a review of Tales of the Night Watchman in the next few days.