Nathan Edmondson knows that dreams have meaning. The “Where is Jake Ellis?” writer is moving from the world of supernatural espionage to fantastical dreamscapes in the pages of “The Dream Merchant,” a six-issue miniseries beginning in June from Image Comics. Drawn by newcomer Konstantin Novosadov, “The Dream Merchant” follows the exploits of young Winslow, a boy whose nightmarish dreams not only ruined his life, but now threaten to ruin the lives of everyone on Earth.
These aren’t just normal dreams, however. Through mysterious methods, Winslow actually taps into a reality that the real world has been made to forget about. These creatures and monsters have no intention of staying forgotten for long, though. Luckily for Winslow, he’s got a mysterious benefactor in the form of an unnamed traveler who shows up to protect him.
CBR News spoke with Edmondson about the world of “The Dream Merchant,” how his own dreams have influenced his stories and how yours can become part of the comic.
CBR News: Nathan, tell us a little bit about the world of “The Dream Merchant.” Are there overt mystical or supernatural elements to everyday life or are Winslow’s experiences a look behind the curtain?
Nathan Edmondson: “The Dream Merchant” most certainly is a story woven with “overt mystical” and “supernatural elements.” But the book begins in the real world, it begins somewhere very common and close to home. You follow Winslow as he “wakes up” to the supernatural reality around him.
Would asking what Winslow dreams about be giving too much away?
All I can say about that is he dreams about a place he’s never been, a place that seems strange and fantastic.
What are some of the larger implications of Winslow’s dreams and their invasion of the real world?
You’ll have to read to find out. The very question of where the “reality” of one’s dreams begin is what Winslow must grapple with.
Let’s talk about Winslow: How old is he? What’s his living situation? What kind of person is he and how do these dreams start changing him?
Winslow failed out of high school due to his dreams being so powerful that they distracted him even when he was awake; he’s never fit in, not even at home. He’s miserable, and when we first meet him he’s living in a mental hospital.
Can you say a little something about Winslow’s protector, the old traveler? Does he share Winslow’s dreams or does he have his own unique abilities?
All I can say about him is that he’s very old, and he knows much more about Winslow than Winslow knows about himself.
Winslow’s dreams are about what the world has been made to forget — who made the world forget and for what reasons?
The more important question is: how? How is it that someone could remember a place they’ve never been, or dream about things they’ve never seen?
Is there one major threat or villain that Winslow finds himself facing off against? Do the people from the other world want to invade ours?
Winslow will find himself up against something bigger than even fit into his dreams. But he can dream bigger, too, in order to confront the threat…
Once Winslow is thrown into this new status quo, does he have a particular mission beyond survival?
Yes, if he’s willing to accept it.
How did you discover and decide to work with Konstantin Novosadov?
I found Konstantin’s work when surfing art one time; I can’t remember what led me to the link but the first thing of his that I saw was some art he’d done for a CD cover. A Russian artist, “The Dream Merchant” will be his first major comics credit and he’s a humbling talent to work with. He’s going to blow people away — his name may not be all that familiar to the comics industry now, but soon, it will be.
What has the process been like designing some of the creatures and entities with Konstantin? Do you put a lot of detail in the script about how they look?
It’s been a true collaboration in that sense, which is all the more cool due to the fact that we’re working with a language barrier.Â I offer some descriptions and Kon brings his vision to the page. Sometimes I simply say “draw a variety of these kinds of things” and I let him run with it. He’s got an imagination big enough to encompass the world of the this story.
Without sounding like one of the hackier interview questions around, do you get any of your story ideas from dreams?
As a matter of fact, I have, yes. Oftentimes it’s not so much the full story — although I’ve had a few dreams that really hit all the beats of a full story with arcs and everything — but sometimes it’s more a sense of, “I want to communicate the fear or wonder I felt in that dream to a reader.”
What went into the decision to make this first issue a whopping 52 pages? That’s a lot of comic for $3.50.
We’re just a generous couple of creators, I guess! We had issues 1 and 2 completed and after stepping back we realized the reader would be best served by reading them at one time, making issue 3 the second installment. It’s a big story and before it takes off into the wild blue skies it rolls down a long runway; we want readers to be able to get into the air with as much expediency as possible.
Over on your Tumblr page Dreams Have Meaning, you’ve asked readers to write about their dreams and nightmares. How did that idea come to mind? Will any of the stories make their way into the book?
It was [Image Comics PR & Marketing Director] Jennifer de Guzman’s idea to do the tumblr page, and yes I think we will print the stories…
Nathan Edmondson’s “The Dream Merchant,” drawn by Konstantin Novosadov, debuts May 22 from Image Comics.