Terrier Comics already impressed with their Tales of Mystery and Imagination but they stepped that up with the first issue of Ailsa Dark and with a funding campaign prepped to start for the second issue it seemed like just the right time to catch-up with creator & founder William Hazle.
Where did the inspiration come from for Ailsa Dark?
Initially I just set about creating a Scottish heroine with a strong supporting cast, not quite sure what I’d end up with, but adamant about its feel and points of reference. I wanted it to feel like a 70s comic, specifically the black & white magazine-sized horror comics, but still seem modern. I imagined a core group of weird and disparate characters, much like the original trio of characters in the Warren era Vampirella, or any number of Steve Gerber titles at Marvel. I wanted to imbue the title with these sensibilities, but keep it grounded in a very real-world setting. And, on top of that I wanted to homage old b-movies, not in a glib postmodern way, but to actually celebrate them and make them integral to the core DNA of the title. There’s a reason I reference Ed Wood films in issue 1, and that becomes apparent as the story progresses in issue two.
It’s a title you’ve been developing for a while are you glad to start releasing it?
Yes. I’ve been working hard to get both the tone and execution just right, and that has been a long road. I’m still tweaking it and taking on feedback from readers and reviews, like your own, to make sure that each issue ups the ante. I’m discovering the characters as I write and moulding the story around them.
What can we expect from the initial run?
The initial arc is called Werewolves & Bampots and it sets up the world and characters over four issues. You will be introduced to the two main protagonists. Ailsa Dark, late night horror hostess and protector of our world from the dangers of the Otherworld, another dimension where all the creatures of the night dwell. Ailsa is aided by Umair Nawaz, a very conservatively minded Glasgow cop, haunted by the death of his partner and thrown into the weird world that Ailsa inhabits.
Ailsa lives in the shadows and embraces them, her world is one of grey areas and things are seldom seen in terms of black and white. Umair has great difficulty in manoeuvring Ailsa’s world, and all he sees are monsters and darkness. Both of these characters act as narrators, along with a third as yet unnamed voice. The story will unravel through three different perspectives. And then there’s the Bampots. The Anderson brothers, two flesh eating ghouls who just happen to be the comic relief, albeit very dark comic relief.
How has it been juggling writing & art duties?
Murder. I initially forgot that I was also my own editor, so that’s really the hardest role to get right and the most important. For issue 1, I ended up drawing pages that weren’t used and writing characters and subplots that I eventually binned. It wasn’t until I wrote out the three narrators voices separately that I began to feel comfortable with the narrative.
For the second issue, I’ve formulated a method of working that is going well. I roughed out all the scenes from the issue as thumbnails, then fully scripted the scenes. I’m now in the process of fully lettering the pages over my thumbnails. I’ll have the entire issue in a form that will allow me to hand it to my trusted test-readers for feedback before I even render one panel.
You’ve went with the A4 format, is that something you’re trying to make full use of?
Originally, I wanted the initial print run to be consistent with the format of Tales of Mystery and Imagination, but I did experiment with smaller formats. Ultimately, the A4 format lets me fully homage the stylistic quirks of 70s comics, both in the writing and art.
What can we expect from the IndieGoGo campaign?
A chance to get issues 1 and 2, that’s 72 pages of weird and twisted comics. There will also be a few stretch goals that will see the Tattybogle Man’s origin remastered from Tales of Mystery #2, and offered as a mini-comic, and as a further homage to b-moves it’ll be in 3D. There will be giclee prints and I’ll be offering some original art. It’s going to be a pretty good haul for backers at all tiers.
Do you have more adventures planned for Ailsa beyond the first arc?
Yes. I have the next few adventures roughly plotted. I’m working on the second arc and teasing it in Werewolves & Bampots. It’s titled Bride of the Monster, which Ed Wood fans should appreciate and it will lead directly into the third arc, The Origin of Ailsa Dark.
What else can we expect from Terrier Comics?
There is going to be more Tales of Mystery and Imagination in the future, there are a few stories complete and sitting in inventory. The Tattybogle Man haunts my dreams and has been demanding a showcase of some sort, so that’ll happen, whatever it ends up being. And finally, there’s a medieval Scottish adventure that I’ve written and I’ve got an artist in mind for it. However, Ailsa Dark will be the focus for the time being. If that takes off, don’t be surprised if you see Tales of Mystery pop up on Indiegogo too.
You can keep updated with the progress of AIlsa Dark over on Facebook, Twitter & Instagram and you can sign up to hear more about the funding campaign for issue two (as well as getting some damn fine discounts) through the link below:
You can also catch-up with William at this weekends Glasgow Comic Con (29th June)