Steve Niles Creates As He Destroys: A Look At Final Night
I want to say that Steve Niles is the Michael Jackson of horror comics. The Madonna of supernatural graphic literature. The Walter White of comic book writers because he is the one who knocks! But I’m not going to say any of that because Steve Niles has just become the man to end all comparisons. When issue #1 of his new comic book series Final Night released on December 12th, Steve Niles set up the dynamite. And when the series ends later next year that dynamite will blow up the comic book model, blow up a beloved comic book series, and blow up your fraking mind.
Final Night is not just a crossover between two of Niles’ most successful, fan favorite, ghoultastic, horror-filled comic series Criminal Macabre and 30 Days of Night... it’s also a crossover between two comic publishing giants: Dark Horse and IDW.
Light the dynamite.
...and Niles has promised to kill off one of these two series when the run of Final Night ends.
Light another stick.
It’s comic empire against comic kingdom. Publisher against publisher. Only one will survive. Only one will… frankly, keep making money.
Light the last stick.
Alright, Steve, what inspired you to merge these two series? And consequently, why did you feel you needed to destroy one of them? That's a huge commitment, laying to rest a series you've been emotionally involved with for years.
It was a happy accident. In both books I had wars escalating. In Cal's world there is the ever-rising threat of a monster war and in 30 Days, Eben has decided to wage war against humans. When I saw this I called Dark Horse and IDW, ran the idea by them and they both loved it. We had a nice, natural doorway into a crossover by having the wars in both series collide. As far as the ending of one of the series, yeah, it's been hard. They each have a place in my heart but the series came to a logical end and I think I can live with it.
What is it like working with a publisher crossover? Did you feel it was a positive experience? Unique? Uncomfortable? Difficult?
I'd love to say it was a great deal of work, but all the major players for this-- Ted Adams and Chris Ryall for IDW, and Mike Richardson and Scott Allie for Dark Horse-- all saw the potential right away. It's been very smooth. There have been other publisher crossovers, DC/Marvel most famously for the Spiderman Vs. Superman Treasury Edition. What I guess makes this unique is it's two different publishers, two different series and one creator, but something tells me this isn't the first time.
Did you find it difficult merging the worlds of these two series, tone/feel wise? Did you keep the distinct feel of each series or meld them into a new, unique Final Night tone?
They came together pretty well. Criminal Macabre has a lot more humor then 30 Days of Night so I had to be careful, but the horror and the Noir blend so well that introducing the 30 Days of Night vampires in the Criminal Macabre world was pretty smooth I think. It helped HUGELY that the same artist, Chris Mitten has been doing the art on both series making the visual transition much easier.
In my opinion, Cal is the essential antihero; Eben-- who once was a hero-- is now an essential villain. With the clash of these two characters, do their psychological roles change?
Bringing those two together was interesting because I immediately saw all these things they had in common. Cal and Eben both come from law enforcement. They both had their lives torn apart by monsters and they both became monsters. I think under different circumstances, if their paths had crossed earlier, they would have been friends. I always have things like this in the back of my mind when I write and I hope it comes through.
Will we see a lot of Mo'Lock [from Criminal Macabre]? Will Final Night feature some of Mo'Lock’s classic dry wit?
Mo'Lock plays a major roll. Sometime Cal wanders off by himself, but with his dying and becoming a ghoul, Mo'Lock is ever-present. A big part of the fighting going on in the series is between vampires and ghouls and as you know, Mo'Lock has a lot of sway in the ghoul world. He was very much needed in this series for a variety of reasons.
You are quoted saying, "Only one franchise is going to survive this series, and I give you my word on that. It's not like one of the 'Batman Dies' things---one of these series is going to be destroyed." What kind of emotional effect did you suffer while writing this, and more importantly, completing it?
Immediate doubt! That's the best way I can put it. It's one thing to say it; it's another to do it. But really, I'm comfortable with walking away from one for a variety of reasons. I really feel like one has run its course for right now and I'm excited to shift my focus to only one. I've always juggled a lot of stuff and I'm making a very deliberate shift to doing less so I can focus. We'll see how that works out.
Did you know which franchise you were going to destroy before writing it, or did you play it by ear?
I had a hunch. There's an argument to end or keep going on both series. I think I made the right choice. And more to the point, I think what happens serves the story the best. In the end, that's the most important thing.
Are you worried about any fanatic backlash after killing off a series? Because I won’t be held responsible for what I do if you kill off Criminal Macabre.
I'm sure there will be a few who don't like the choice but really, I think most will agree. More like, I'm hoping.
Niles is a genius of ridiculous proportions. He has, is currently, and will continue to turn the industry of horror comics on its head. Issue #1 of Final Night (Dark Horse/IDW, $3.99, 32 full color pages) released December 12th and you can preorder issue #2, out January 30th, here.
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