“Radar” is an occasional spotlight on interesting and entertaining comics and creators that are fairly new to the business or may have escaped your notice.
Today brings the release of Dracula World Order, the self-published comic by Ian Brill, Tonci Zonjic, Rahsan Ekedal, Declan Shalvey and Gabriel Hardman. It's broken into four chapters, each drawn by a different artist, with a cover by Shalvey and colorist Jordie Bellaire. The story revolves around Dracula’s son Alexandru leading a rebellion against his father and the one-percent “vampire elite.”
It's available on a limited basis from a handful of retailers, as well as online from Things From Another World if you want a physical copy, and comiXology if you want a digital one. I caught up with Brill to talk about the comic, his publishing plan and more.
Robot 6: Let's start with the basics: What is Dracula World Order?
Ian Brill: Count Dracula takes advantage of a world in crisis, a world brought to brink because of greed. Who knows better about greed than a vampire, especially the vampire? Dracula sees that he only has to turn the top 1% of the world into vampires, so thus the rest of humanity will become slave labor (before they then become food). Dracula’s son/right hand man Alexandru has a “road to Damascus” moment and decides to battle his father and free the world. He employs Vincent, the last vampire hunter, and Mai, a woman who was transformed into a snake woman during one of the experiments humans are now subjected to. Now all they have to do is change the world.
I worry all the time about where the world is heading, and to take my mind off such matter I watch movies like Monster Squad and Lifeforce. After enough of that, this book appears.
How did you go about recruiting the artists you're working with? And how will the one-shot be broken down -- is each artist drawing a different story, or parts of the same story?
The book is made up four six-page stories that illustrate both this new world and our main characters in it. I had work with all four of these huge talents as an editor at BOOM! Studios. They are four of the best artists I know, both as talents and as people. I knew I wanted to work with people who are not only good but would inspire me to do my best, to be worthy of their talent. I was elated when all four said yes, and that elation was quickly followed by the intensity of the challenge before me. But I made a vow to myself when I became a creative professional: jump into the fear. Having the gall to hand even one of these guys an original idea to illustrate make ones heart skip. I made myself do it four times over. I wouldn’t be comfortable continuing as a writer if I didn’t push myself do things that made me nervous.
Why did you decide to go the self-publishing route versus working with a publisher?
It’s the idea of “jump into the fear” turned up to 11. I wanted to create something under difficult circumstances so I could truly test my talents. I wanted to do a book with no safety net.
I saw what my friend Sam Humphries did with Our Love Is Real and was inspired. I saw that if I self-published I would create circumstances for myself that would propel me to tell the best story I could tell. If I alone have to work with printers, sell to retailers, keep track of finances, as well as attend to every other aspect of a comic book’s “lifespan” it has to be in service of a story I truly believe in. My business-self was pressuring my creative-self to be the best it could be. No excuses, with everything on the line.
I suppose it’s the same reason this is a horror book, born of my own anxieties of where economic inequality in this world can bring us. It’s the same reason I gathered four artists whose combined brilliance is nothing short of intimidating: jump into the fear.
Where can people find the comic?
The book will be available in both print and digital on June 13. I am very lucky that amazing retailers all over North America have taken a chance on me. The full list can be found at this link.
The book will also be available day-and-date on comiXology, on their site and on the many devices their app can be used with.
You've worked on the journalist side of comics, then as an editor and writer at BOOM! Where do you see the next phase of your career going? Or, as my college counselor used to say, "Where would you like to be in five years"?
Storytelling means a lot to me. I do see it as a calling. Even if I denied it and took a safer route in life, ideas like Dracula World Order would still tug at me. It’s important for me to pursue these ideas and make them real, make them something people can read and share. In the particular case of Dracula World Order, it’s designed to be a fluid idea that can cover many different aspects of time and geography, where stories short, long, and everything in-between can be told. I have many ideas, and I will work tirelessly to make them a reality, but certainly Dracula World Order is something I plan to keep going, in whatever form it may take.