Lucifer’s back! No, we’re not talking about the Prince of Darkness; rather, the devilish star of Michael Alan Nelson’s “Hexed.” Also known as Luci Jennifer Inacio Das Neves, this Lucifer is a master thief, navigating a world of supernatural threats, curses and demons while in the employ of Val Brisendine, a dealer of mystical items that might not be, strictly speaking, legal.
Nelson debuted the character and her world in BOOM! Studios’ 2008 miniseries, “Hexed.” The four issue series featured the first U.S. comic work by Emma Rios. This time around, Nelson has teamed with relative newcomer Dan Mora to create the new four-issue series, also titled “Hexed,” which debuts Aug. 13 and features covers by Rios.
In the new volume, Lucifer finds herself dealing with a malevolent force she accidentally releases in Val’s gallery. Forced to work with this revenge-seeking entity, Lucifer is thrust not only into a set of circumstances that have nothing to do with her, but a relationship she wasn’t looking for.
CBR News spoke with Nelson about recruiting a new artist for his continuing tale, returning to the character after a five-year break and how things have changed between Lucifer and Val, her boss and mother figure, since we last saw them.
CBR News: Lucifer’s past got her boss, Val, into some sticky situations in the first volume of “Hexed.” How are things between them these days?
Michael Alan Nelson: Lucifer and Val have definitely settled into their lives with one another, though their relationship is a complicated one. Lucifer certainly sees Val as a mentor and the closest thing she’ll ever have to a mother. And though Val may not seem like the most matronly person in the world, she certainly cares for Lucifer the way a parent cares for a child. But Lucifer is still her employee. Albeit an incredibly capable employee whom she gives a great amount of agency. But like all mother/daughter relationships, there are times when tensions run high. Usually because Lucifer has been reckless and ends up creating more problems than she solves.
Speaking of creating problems, what can you tell us about the threat Lucifer accidentally unleashes from one of Val’s paintings?Â
This is a perfect example of Lucifer creating a bigger problem than the one she’s trying to solve. The person Lucifer frees is inextricably linked to the greatest powers in the mystical underworld, and he has one hell of a grievance. Lucifer ends up in the middle of this man’s desire to right the wrongs perpetrated against him. And when heavyweights like that start throwing down, the last place you want to be is underfoot. Which is exactly where Lucifer finds herself.
Lucifer could be described as morally ambiguous at times. What makes her decide to stop this person?
Lucifer is devoted to helping people. She may have some unorthodox, and often illegal, methods in doing so, but her heart is always in the right place. So when she inadvertently sets this monster loose, she feels obligated to eliminate the threat. There are few people that can do what she does so she believes she has a responsibility to step up and help when no one else can. Plus, she kind of has fun when she’s in the thick of it, though she’d probably never admit it.
At the end of the first volume we met Madame Cymbaline. Will she show up in this new series?
Yes. Oh, yes. Of all the great powers in the mystical underworld, there is none greater than Madame Cymbaline. So when Lucifer finds herself caught in between a rock and a hard place, Cymbaline is the rock. But now that Lucifer is showing up on Cymbaline’s radar more and more, she is seen as a potential threat. And that will prove to be — problematic — for Lucifer.
Are there different aspects of Lucifer’s character or history you’re looking to dig into with this new volume?
Lucifer has a long and arduous road ahead of her. But she won’t be traveling alone, which is something she is simply not used to. She’s never really had friends, and as the series progresses, we’ll learn why that is and how that history affects her current relationships.
Was this follow-up something you had in mind when the first volume was published or did it develop in the meantime?
A little of both. I’ve always had a general idea of what the end-game would be, but since “Hexed” was last published, I was able to really flesh out some of those ideas and see how they all weave together. It was always something I wanted to continue. “Hexed” has such a rich universe and Lucifer is such a rich character that it’s hard not to develop further stories. Lucifer has been sitting in the back of my mind, telling me all her wonderful and tragic secrets, daring me to tell more of her story. How could I resist?
Did getting back to “Hexed” get the juices flowing for more Lucifer adventures? If so, what stage are you at with them?
Oh yeah. That’s really one of the most exciting things about playing in a universe of your own making. The more you play, the more that universe develops, the more the characters flesh themselves out, and the more stories you want to tell. And in the time I spent away, I was always taking notes, writing little scenes here and there, always tinkering with ideas. So when it finally came time to come back, it wasn’t hard at all to get back into the feel of the “Hexed” universe. Lucifer is one of those characters I could write forever if they’d let me. That said,Â there’s a definite story I want to tell, but for Lucifer, this is just the beginning.
How did you pair up with Dan Mora? Was it at all difficult adjusting to a new person behind the pencils on “Hexed?”
My editors, Eric Harburn and Chris Rosa, deserve all the credit for bringing Dan aboard. I really don’t know what their process is for finding the right artists for a project, but I know they wanted an artist that could bring that same sensibility to the series that Emma Rios did in the original series. Not a clone or a mimic of her work, but someone who could capture that same feel of beautiful horror. And they found that in Dan. When they showed me his sample art, I did a little dance.Â It looks that good.
What’s your process like for developing the creatures in “Hexed?” Do you have detailed descriptions or do they come for working with the artist?
It all depends. There are times when I have a specific idea in mind, but unless there’s a particular design I’m looking for, I’ll try and keep my descriptions a bit nebulous to give Dan a chance to really have fun with the design. Nine times out of ten, he’s going to be able to come up with something so much better than I could have ever imagined, so I try and let him have that freedom to run with the designs if I can. And he’s been knocking it out of the park.
From your perspective how has the comic landscape changed in the six years since the first volume of “Hexed” was released? Do you think it’s easier these days to get people to check out a creator-owned book like this?
Publishing in general has changed quite a bit in that time. Both Amazon and Apple now have their own ways of helping people publish their own work and there are resources, like Kickstarter and Indiegogo, which have really come into their own in the last few years. Each has its pros and cons, but if you don’t want to go the traditional route and find a publisher for your project, there are ways to get your book out there that didn’t exist five years ago. It’s just a matter of finding the way that works best for you and your project. Â
The second volume of “Hexed” from Michael Alan Nelson, Dan Mora and BOOM! Studios kicks off on Aug. 13.