In 2007, DC Comics launched an imprint called Minx. The purpose of this new venture was to attract teenage girls to the world of comics by offering Manga-sized graphic novels, many of which starred female characters. By 2008, the imprint was shuttered, leaving many in-progress projects without a home. One such book was “All Nighter” written and drawn by David Hahn. Not content to let his story about high school grad Kit Bradley fade away, Hahn kept hope alive and eventually found a home for “All Nighter” at Image Comics, now as a five-issue miniseries instead of an original graphic novel. After several years of work, the first issue arrives in June. To celebrate the achievement, CBR News spoke with Hahn about the process of creating “All Nighter,” how it wound up at Image and how he avoids sounding dated when writing dialogue for younger characters.
“It is that weird time when young adults feel like it is a time to have a last hurrah,” Hahn said of the time after high school ends. “There is that voice inside that tells you, ‘This is it, with all this new freedom you will have, you will also lose certain freedoms.'”
“All Nighter” finds its heroine, Kit, trying to figure out what to do with her life as the summer following her high school graduation comes to an end and she’s still hanging out at the usual places with the usual people. As the story kicks off, however, Kit finds herself meeting some new and old faces that bring new adventure into her life.
“It’s the end of the summer after Kit’s high school graduation and she is preparing to start art school at the local junior arts college in a week,” Hahn told CBR News. “She is living with her best friend Sally-O and another housemate named Donna Swift. She gets a new housemate named Martha Roeder, who is quite enigmatic. Mousy and reclusive, her past causes Kit to seriously reflect on her own.”
Part of Kit’s transition from kid to adulthood involves putting an end to her days as a petty criminal as well as her relationship with her boyfriend. Many of these changes are made or acted out at the diner hang out the story takes its name from.
“Referred to by its patrons as simply the ‘All Nighter,’ this greasy spoon has been co-opted by the local scene of punk rock and goth art school students,” Hahn explained. “It’s constantly buzzing with activity, virtually its own social microcosm. The teens spend so much time in the diner that some of them actually receive mail there. The diner is also not a traditional train car style diner, but more of a standard coffee shop layout, and the kids are always giving the owner, Ramone, a hard time about calling it a diner.”
While originally conceived as an all-in-one graphic novel, Hahn wrote the series in a somewhat traditional format by turning in chapters in place of issues. From there he would move on to laying the issues out and penciling.
“When I originally conceived ‘All Nighter,’ it was a project developed for DC Comics and it had Shelly Bond at Vertigo editing it,” Hahn said. “I wrote out a script for each chapter and submitted it. As I was drawing each chapter, I would also be writing the next one. So, because there was an editor involved, I would write, do thumbnails, then draw.”
With so much work and time already invested in the project, Hahn forged onward in an effort to get the story in the hands of readers. He briefly explained the process of switching companies and converting the story into a miniseries.
“The Minx line was terminated in August of 2008, so for a few years the property was in limbo until arrangements were put in place to allow me to publish it through Image Comics,” Hahn said. “The only thing I had to solve was how to make a graphic novel consisting of 6 chapters fit appropriately in 5 comic issues. Other than that [the process was] not difficult at all.”
Known for previous works like “Private Beach” and drawing “Spider-Man Loves Mary Jane,” “Bite Club” and “Suicide Girls,” Hahn is no stranger to the world of drama between young characters. When asked if he ever worried about sounding authentic when writing for younger characters, he explained that he stuck to a few personal guidelines.
“It is never difficult for me,” Hahn said. “The only hard part is to not try and use contemporary slang. I like to either use timeless slang — ‘cool’ ‘right on’ — or make up my own slang that can be chocked up to area-specific colloquialisms. I never want slang to date my characters’ dialog.”