A ComicsAlliance favorite for his sexily violent art for Bite Club
and the silly but superbly illustrated Suicide Girls
, David Hahn's
most prodigious work was actually completed several years ago but has never seen the light of day -- until now. All Nighter
is an approximately 145-page graphic novel about punk rocker and petty thief Kit Bradley, whose transition from revolting youth to mature adult is complicated by the reemergence of a former lover and the disappearance of a girlfriend. Tackling issues of relationships, ethics and the complex themes associated with the American media's "missing white woman syndrome
," All Nighter
was created for DC Comics' dearly departed Minx imprint
, but will live on as a five-issue miniseries
from Image Comics
that begins in June.
ComicsAlliance spoke with writer/artist David Hahn about the ambitious All Nighter
and its journey from Minx to Image, as well as his approach to the book's predictably excellent artwork and visual storytelling. Additionally, we have the entire first issue
of All Nighter
for you to read for free
ComicsAlliance: All Nighter is a story about a character and themes that seem very well developed in your mind, David. It seems obvious from the first couple of pages that Kit is having tremendous difficulty with her lifestyle, but what more can you tell us about her?
David Hahn: Let's see, Kit's a 19-year-old hot-headed tomboy who's forced out of her "angry punk rock girl" phase and into the next stage in early adulthood: the stage where you realize you've got to start taking responsibility for your actions because the world isn't going to play by your rules, no matter how hard you try. When she's not burglarizing homes with her perpetual ex-boyfriend, she can be found with her friends at the All Night Diner.
Throughout the series, Kit and her friends will deal with typical problems such as backstabbing, being broke, and romantic entanglements. But they'll also be faced with other, very socially relevant 21st century issues that have become a part of our culture. In particular the mysterious disappearance of an acquaintance of Kit's and how she and her friends deal with it. In the age of "famous for 15 seconds," specifically for attractive missing girls (such as Elizabeth Smart in 2004 and Natalee Holloway in Aruba six years ago), the series will explore the fictitious ramifications of such a missing-persons case. This media blitz and subsequent investigation will be a part of what Kit goes through.
CA: The ComicsAlliance readership includes many artists, both aspiring and professional. As one of the members of Portland's Periscope Studio, you're someone with a lot of admirers. What kind of techniques and styles were you employing to create All Nighter? Kit reminds me of a Kevin Nowlan drawing, for example.
DH: Oh, yes, Kevin Nowlan, one of my favorites. My biggest comic artist influences tend to be the really design-y guys, like Nowlan, Mignola, Toth, Jaime Hernandez, Risso, Jamie Hewlett, people like that.
I drew All Nighter as just pencils on boards, then inks on blue line printouts of those pencils. Later in the story, I utilized the 3D program Sketchup to save a lot of drawing time. I eventually built the entire interior set of the diner in Sketchup. In future issues of the miniseries I will have pages dedicated to behind the scenes stuff.
CA: All Nighter was created for Minx, DC Comics and editor Shelly Bond's imprint for graphic novels created primarily for teenage girls, which was to be aggressively distributed and marketed to bookstores. When I interviewed you and other Minx creators about the imprint's unfortunate cancelation all the way back in 2008, you said that aside from some lettering and grey tones, All Nighter was completed after 2.5 years of work. Tell us what happened next, what's the story of this book's journey from Minx to Image?
Well, after getting that heartbreaking call from Shelly Bond back in August of 2008 (heartbreaking for both of us, needless to say), I didn't know what I was going to do or what my options were. Within days (maybe hours) of the news breaking about the termination of the Minx line, [Image Comics Publisher] Eric Stephenson sent me an email stating that Image would be happy to publish All Nighter
. This was great news, especially since I had wanted to get a project going with Eric at Image for years. DC had the license to All Nighter
, so it was up to them what would be done with the property. There was talk of doing it as a Zuda thing, a Vertigo book, I even thought maybe a WildStorm publication. In the end it wasn't a seen as a good fit for any of those.
The Minx books were aimed at teen girl readers, but I never wrote All Nighter
to be as such. I am positive female teens will like it, but the book isn't made for
them. I was pretty sure it would have a broader appeal, so that was another reason I was so disappointed to not have the distribution that DC was putting into place with the Minx stuff. It might actually do better as its own book and not connected to any preconceived ideas of what the Minx line was trying to do, who knows? I do believe, though, the whole Minx line could have really taken off if it had a little more time to mature.
So, after having All Nighter
in limbo for almost two years, arrangements were eventually made to allow me to publish it through Image. I wish it could have stayed at home at DC, I like those folks, but DC just didn't seem to have a place for it outside of Minx.
CA: Has the material changed at all since you completed it back in 2008? Image offers a lot more editorial freedom than Minx/DC. Is All Nighter still a young adult story?
My previous answer covers some of this, but, even though I could do whatever I wanted editorially at Image, I have found myself changing almost nothing in the story or art. I think that is a testament to the great editorial input I had from Shelly Bond at DC. I always felt that All Nighter was the Minx book that wasn't really a Minx book, so I didn't feel the need to go back in and make it less-teen-girly or anything like that. I also had to take a six-chapter book and break it into a five-issue miniseries. I ended up adding a page or two in the end.
CA: You've taken an ambitious marketing step by releasing the entire first issue of All Nighter for free. We're happy to have it, of course, but what was your thinking behind making the first issue available to everyone as a PDF?
DH: All Nighter
is an indie, black and white, non-superhero book, and the only way a little book like this has a fighting chance of getting noticed and reaching its audience in this market is word of mouth. So please tell anyone you think might even be remotely interested to order or go out and buy All Nighter
. I am very confident that people will like this book, so I have the entire first issue available as a free PDF download at my website
All Nighter #1 and #2 can be pre-ordered at your local comic book shop (simply ask your retailer to get you a copy) or online from Things From Another World. The book goes on sale June 22 from Image Comics. For more David Hahn, be sure to visit his website.