Strange Days for Dan Wickline in "Strange Cases"

What happens when you take the brainchild of Steve Niles and entrust it to writer Dan Wickline and artist David Hartman? You get "Strange Cases," a multi-media monster-hunter mash-up that will not only be released as four-issue miniseries by Image Comics, but also be made available electronically in conjunction with the "Strange Cases" video game by D2C Games. CBR News sat down with Dan Wickline to get all the details on this multi-headed monster.

"It's good old-fashioned monster-mash fun," Wickline told CBR News. "If you could buy a story with Kolchak, Van Helsing, Buffy, Mulder and Ash, don't you think it would be a blast to read?" Wickline likened "Strange Cases" to the era of the Universal monster films, when it was commonplace for their franchises to overlap. "We're playing on the icons of the monster-hunter genre and putting them together like 'The Avengers' combines Marvel's heroes."

"Strange Cases" came about when Scott Orr's D2C games approached Steve Niles about creating a video game property. "I've been a friend and collaborator of Steve Niles for a while now," Wickline said. "In one of our conversations he was telling me about the concept for 'Strange Cases,' which just sounded like a lot of fun to me. So then he asked if I wanted to write the scripts and I couldn't say yes fast enough." And after a fruitful meeting with Image's Eric Stephenson shortly thereafter at Comic-Con, "Strange Cases" was off and running. "From there it was all a matter of putting the pieces into place."

In addition to the "Strange Cases" video game, D2C games is branching into providing other content for the Sony platforms. "So they're taking 'Strange Cases' and a couple other comics, and putting them into a format for the Sony PSP and possibly the Playstation 3," Wickline said. "The beauty of this is it produces the physical book for the comic fan and creates a digital format for a market that prefers to read things electronically."

To hear Wickline tell it, landing David Hartman for "Strange Cases" was no easy task. "Well, there was a divination spell, sacrificing of six virgin inkers and the blood of a nerd who doesn't fantasize about Princess Leia in the slave girl outfit," Wickline quipped. "Once the containment circle was made, we summoned him and got him started on pages. Oh, and we had to send Rob Zombie a puppy.

"David is amazing to work with," Wickline continued, in all seriousness. "It's rare that you can just start working with an artist and have them get everything immediately. David gets everything on the page I ask for and about 200% more. And he keeps dropping hints of things he wants to draw and I find that they improve the story immensely. So I am really enjoying working with him."

Wickline explained Steve Niles' involvement in the project with the following metaphor: "If David, Jason and I are the ones rowing the boat, Steve is the guy banging the drum. Just kidding. Steve came up with the concept for the video game and the basic direction for the comic. He also goes over the scripts and makes suggestions, etc. He was crucial in getting David (he found the virgin inkers) and is the reason this series exists. It's his world, I just write the stories that take place in it."

"Strange Cases" is a four-issue mini in the Image slim-line format pioneered by Warren Ellis in "Fell." "So each issue will contain 16 pages of story and will be self-contained," Wickline said. Wickline certainly has more stories to tell in this world, so if the first four issues are well received, he's poised to extend the series indefinitely.

In addition to "Strange Cases," Wickline just finished a "30 Days of Night" sourcebook to be release concurrently with the release of the film this October. "I also have a short story coming out in Moonstone's 'The Phantom Chronicles' that should be out shortly, which will be my first officially published prose work," Wickline said.

The first issue of Image's "Strange Cases" hits comic shops later this month.

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