Cornell, Fialkov, Lemire & Snyder Bring The Monsters of DC

Wed, June 29th, 2011 at 7:58am PDT | Updated: June 29th, 2011 at 8:30am

Comic Books
Kiel Phegley, Staff Writer

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Frankenstein won't be the only monster in the DCU this September

While the first title out of the gate for DC Comics' September relaunch will be the superheroic, all-iconic take on "Justice League," not every series will bolster cape-wearing do-gooders. In fact, some of the leads for DC's series will be downright monstrous.

While CBR News brought details of Peter Milligan and Mikel Janin's team-driven "Justice League Dark" last week, the full breadth of the "DC Dark" corner of the relaunch features a number of books that tap into the monster-themed characters who for years have skirted on the edges of the DCU or for a time left entirely to exist in the realm of Vertigo. These comics include Scott Snyder and Yanick Paquette's "Swamp Thing," Paul Cornell and Diogenes Neves' "Demon Knights," Joshua Fialkov and Andrea Sorrentino's "I, Vampire" and two books written by Jeff Lemire that scratch the horror itch in different ways: "Frankenstein: Agent of S.H.A.D.E." with Alberto Ponticelli and "Animal Man" with Travel Foreman.

For a look at how classic horror comics and true scary thrills impacted these books, how the monsters of DC fit together in the books and in real life and how the DC Dark books will and won't be like their Vertigo predecessors, CBR brought together Cornell, Fialkov, Lemire and Snyder for a massive roundtable interview that's not short on demonic details or fang-filled facts.

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CBR News: Gentlemen, to start I wanted to talk about the September relaunch in general. We've heard from DC that this has been in the planning stages in one form or another for over a year, but what was the origin of the relaunch for you? Where in the process of working on new projects were you made aware of the big plan, and how did that impact what you're doing?

Paul Cornell: Well, I'm terrible at remembering times. It was a few months ago, I think. I was asked initially to come in and do a Demon book, and I said, "Can I make it a Demon team book?" We rolled that back and forth until we got where we are now, and then quite a bit later, they said, "Do you want to do 'Stormwatch' too?" [Laughter]

Joshua Fialkov: I found out at Emerald City Comicon. I sat down with [DC Editor] Matt Idelson and was given very little. As "I, Vampire" got bigger and bigger in terms of its scope, they had to fill me in out of necessity. [Laughs] I forced them to tell me what was happening! I think they played it pretty well. They gave everybody as much as they needed, and when it hit, it was still a surprise.

"Swamp Thing" makes the jump back from Vertigo to the DCU with September's relaunch

Jeff Lemire: It was a pretty organic but kind of weird process. I was writing "Superboy" and got a call one day saying, "We're going to relaunch 'Superboy' with a new #1 in September, so we need to wrap up the storylines you're working on." Before that, DC was keeping things pretty close to the vest. I decided that I had just done a "Superboy" #1 less than a year ago, and I didn't want to do it again. That was my Superboy story, and I felt like I didn't have another fresh restart in me already. So I talked to them about that and said I wouldn't stick around for the relaunch of the book. They pitched me a few ideas that they thought I could do instead, and none of them really got me too excited. But I had already been working on the "Flashpoint" Frankenstein series, and I really loved those characters, and I wanted to do more with that, so I pitched it as an ongoing. And it obviously happened.

There was supposed to be another book I was doing, but then one day [DC Comics Editor in Chief] Bob Harras called me up and said, "What about Animal Man?" It took me about three seconds to say yes to that. [Laughs] Scott and I had been talking about "Swamp Thing" a lot because he already knew he was working on it. I was his sounding board for that book because I'm such a big "Swamp Thing" fan. As soon as Bob brought up "Animal Man" I knew it'd be perfect because it could be a cool sister book. We'd have our own little corner of the DCU. And then it got better when I found guys like Paul, Josh and Pete Milligan would also be doing books that fit into that.

Scott Snyder: Exactly. I lucked out probably even more than Jeff. They approached me about doing "Swamp Thing" a long, long time ago. It was before any talk of any relaunch initiative. It was the same way with "Batman." I approached Mike Marts about a story I wanted to do after my "Detective" story was over, and it was a big, epic story that involved Bruce -- and they knew they wanted to bring him back to Gotham before the initiative was talked about for September -- so they asked me if I wanted to do it in "Batman." I spoke to Tony Daniel and Pete Tomasi about who would go to what book. It was really organic and not like a pitching process like some people were assuming in the press some place. In the Bat U and in the rest of the DCU, it was less about "Pitch for 'Batman' #1!" as it was that I had a story that organically fit with what they were planning on doing with the book. So I talked to Tony, and he wanted to do something darker, so we decided to switch. Then the initiative came along, and it sort of upped the stakes. They were saying, "Guess what... your Batman story is going to be 'Batman' #1." Then I had a couple of sleepless nights. [Laughter]

In terms of "Swamp Thing," it was the same thing. They approached me very early before "Brightest Day" was over because they knew I was a "Swamp Thing" fan, and Geoff [Johns] and I talked about the character all the time too. I had a lot on my plate, but I knew this was a once in a lifetime chance. I'd already been developing a pitch in my mind. I spoke with Geoff about what he was doing in "Brightest Day" and he was very, very gracious. They liked it and let me start developing it a long time ago. I had a long lead time on both books, which I was grateful for, though I know some guys have come on more recently. Still, it seems like everyone is enjoying the books they're on, but I'm spoiled. As exciting as the initiative is for all of us, I think it wasn't something that was a list of books you pitch for and a scramble to figure out who did what. I think it was a lot more fluid and natural depending on what was needed in the DCU.

Cornell: That was the first point of contact, actually. They sent me an e-mail that said, "We'd like you to sign an N.D.A." and I said, "What's it about?" and they said, "We can't tell you." Matt Idelson, when he can't talk to you about something, becomes like a character out of Jane Austin. He's all kinds of mannerful.

Lemire: It was hard to keep a secret because I was so excited about my new books.

Snyder: Jeff and I were both in the first wave. Like I said, I was lucky to get started before the initiative, but Jeff, they approached you really early in the process too, right?

Lemire: It's been a while now.

Snyder: I think we went in knowing more about the general plans earlier on because of circumstance.

Cornell was asked to write a Demon book, but asked if he could do a Demon team book instead

When it came down to getting into the nitty gritty of these Monster-themed series, what was each of your particular connection to the comics in question? Were all of you longtime fans like Scott is of "Swamp Thing" or did some of you come in having to train yourself up on these properties?

Lemire: My experience with Frankenstein all came from the Grant Morrison series. That "Seven Soldiers" stuff when it came out five or six years ago was long before I was working at DC, and as a fan I just loved it -- the whole "Seven" series and especially Frankenstein. I thought it was a shame that DC didn't do an ongoing on that series with someone like Doug Mahnke on it. I thought it would be the best, so as soon as I had a chance to pitch something like that, I went right for it.

And I know we're talking about the monster books, but I feel like "Animal Man" is more in line with the Dark books than "Frankenstein" in a lot of ways. With "Animal Man," I'm writing it like Scott's doing "Swamp Thing" -- more of a horror book where as "Frankenstein" is an action-adventure book. The early days of Vertigo and the first years when Karen [Berger] was editing "Shade" and "Animal Man" and "Swamp Thing" and "Sandman." Those came out during my formative later teen years, and that's really what kept me interested in comics when a lot of the superhero stuff lost my interest. That was formative for me wanting to become a cartoonist too -- the Grant Morrison run and a bunch of the "Animal Man" stuff Jamie Delano wrote after that was great too.

Snyder: I don't know whose soul I sold to the Devil in a past life to wind up on these books, but "Swamp Thing" and "Batman" are pretty much my favorite characters at DC. I've been a huge fan of them since I was a kid. The way I wanted to get in to comics originally was as an illustrator, and as a kid, one of the guys I used to trace constantly was Bernie Wrightson. I used to have this "Creepshow" comic and a lot of "Swamp Thing" and his "Frankenstein" stuff. So I was a fan of Swamp Thing before the Alan Moore stuff, but of course, that was really seminal in the constellation of things that made me want to write.

Fialkov: I grew up as the little kid reading "Creepy" and "Eerie" and "House of Mystery" and "House of Secrets." I grew up reading horror fiction more than I was reading superhero stuff, so when Matt said "I, Vampire" -- well, I hadn't read this stuff in 25 years, but I'd read these comics when I was seven years old. So I did some back issue diving and read through everything to refresh myself. Thr concept is by J.M. DeMatteis, and that guy is awesome. He knows how to create tension and how to create drama for characters. So taking what he did and "updating" it was not that hard because the bones of what he did were so strong.

Cornell: It's wonderful to hear people talking about DeMatteis. It's hugely true, and I think he's a complete genius. I myself read all of the Kirby run of "The Demon" a few years ago, though I haven't kept up with the character over the years. I've always enjoyed him where he pops up, but I've always thought, "Terrible costume!" He's got the worst costume of anybody Kirby ever created. He's basically in some gaudy shorts, though he himself looks great. So one thought we've had is to put him in something different.

Paul and Joshua are each playing with ideas built in the past of the DCU and in the history of storytelling. How do you work to kind of modernize those ideas and keep these monsters accessible?

Cornell: Well, we're in the midst of Medieval Europe, and since there are countries on the modern DC map that don't exist in real life, there are also countries on the Medieval DC map that don't exist in real life. It's been a wonderful opportunity to show how magic and different politics and strangeness affected the landscape before now in that universe. It's also a wonderful tabula rasa. I'm able to create huge swaths of stuff and create a real fantasy universe with maps. We start very small and gradually work our way out and out. There are recognizable characters and brand new characters, but it's all within the framework of real fantasy storytelling. Anybody who's played "Dragon Age" or watched "Game of Thrones" will recognize where they are, but there's a chunk of DC Universe thrown in. I couldn't be happier because it's a chance to do stuff I've wanted to do forever but with superheroes too. Sword and sorcery and superheroes is what we're calling it.

"Animal Man" follows the work Grant Morrison and Jamie Delano did on the character without invalidating it

Fialkov: For me, what I love about "I, Vampire" is that it's about class at the end of the day. If you read "Dracula" as a book, it's about all these different classes and how sexuality and their basest desires either overcome people or are overcome. What I'm trying to do in my run is have the book not just be about Andrew but also about Mary -- traditionally his biggest villain who's his girlfriend from back in the day. The idea has become that she is part of the oppressed masses. Vampires are this great, amazing thing. They have wonderful powers beyond anything you can imagine, but they have to stay out of the public eye because they're monsters. What sets the book in motion is this idea of "Why are we hiding? Why do we have to pretend we're something we're not?" That idea comes from Mary's character, from her being a woman during the Renaissance period where women were servants and subjugated the whole time. Obviously, something like "Buffy The Vampire Slayer" is about feminism, but this is about feminism cloaked in vampirism. I'm trying to use the history more as character motivation than anything. I'm pretty far along, and I'm trying to stay away from any flashback stuff. We're keeping it modern and now and very active. I like using the real history of class relationships and the caste system of the old days with the tropes hidden away in old vampire fiction in a way that's modern while still winking at that stuff.

All of these books have a strong horror element to them, and the real difference between horror in comics versus other media like film is that it's much, much easier to be scary in live media. Films have music cues and quick cuts and screams to heighten that sense of shock, but pulling off those effects in still images is a much different proposition. In writing these books, what has been your answer to that challenge of making your comic scary?

Fialkov: For me, I'm coming off a horror series at Top Cow called "Echoes" -- look at me hyping my own stuff! I'm such a bad person. [Laughter] But I was doing that horror book, and literally every minute I spent doing that was trying to find ways to do exactly what you're saying. I wanted to have a whole page with six scares on that page. Instead of having a page turn, you absorb each moment. Doing that stuff, as a writer, means you have to make the story small so you can keep the reader locked in each tense moment. So the trick with "I, Vampire" has been to expand that. How do I tell a larger story that still has the grotesquery and the larger shock moments without having to limit our point of view down so narrowly? It's a challenge. Most of the time I spend writing is me figuring out how to do that -- how to keep the tone and to keep the book action heavy. My self-proclaimed edict is that the book will be 50% action and 50% gothic horror. You've got to find a way to keep the book moving while at the same time keeping the shock moments and the builds.

Snyder: I think as much as there are easier ways to scare people in movies with visceral shockwaves like music cues and effects like that, one of the things about working in horror in comics that we've learned from "American Vampire" is that the scares come from a more emotional and psychological place. And that's where real nightmares come from. When you get past the basic shock value, your favorite scary stories -- at least for me something like "Pet Cemetery" or "The Shining" -- take you past "There's a zombie in my house" with the former and through to the underlying idea that you want your loved ones to come back from the dead so hard that you're willing to turn them into these monsters.

"Swamp Thing" is a very scary book, especially with the Alan Moore stuff with the raven with the pearl in its mouth flying to the end of the world or the tribe trying to bring that about. There's the vampires under the swamp who bite the kids and drain them when they come to the swimming hole. It's very, very spooky, and it's spooky in a way that's unique to American culture at that time too where everything seemed like it was falling apart and everything was really apocalyptic and frightening. Alan Moore was really brilliant about those things, and he showed this broken, frightening American landscape. So whenever something's genuinely scary whether it's in film and books or in comics, they're scary because you're tapping into things on a deeper level than shock value. That was one of the big appeals to "Swamp Thing" stories going back to Len Wein and on through... when it's good, it's scary on an emotional and psychological level.

Lemire: Not for me. Mine's all gore, and there's music when you turn the pages. [Laughter] It's like those greeting cards when you open them and they play music, but it's on every page.

With "I, Vampire" Fialkov resurrects a concept by J.M. DeMatteis

Cornell: We're not in the business of scaring particularly. We're in the business of rough, bloodthirsty fantasy. Certainly, there's an element of scariness, but we're not a horror book. There are some terrifying moments in recent epic fantasy -- mostly involving horses, pots of melting gold and pick axes -- but that's not what we're about. The Demon has never been portrayed in a horror environment apart from when Neil used him in "The Sandman" briefly. But he's not much of a horror character, oddly.

All of your books work in some way under the banner of "DC Dark," which while it isn't a specific group in terms of crossovers and such, it feels as though there's a shared sensibility at play here and maybe even some shared story points. How much have you guys been discussing this together as a group?

Cornell: People like Scott I talk to anyway, but there are some definite connections in that there are characters in "Demon Knights" that appear elsewhere. Actually, people already know about Madame Xanadu in our book by now, and she's in the Dark JLA with hundreds of years separating the two. And we also have a very solid connection to a book which is not in the Dark group which I won't say anything more about now. But I do think there's a collective sensibility. I'm also always pleased to host earlier versions of and pre-echoes of anything in the Medieval world. And there are so many immortals in the DC Universe that some of these people can continue into the modern universe as well. We don't want to be cut off in our own little bubble so apart from Madame Xanadu, there's one big, solid connection between "Demon Knights" and another book forming this kind of crossbeam in the architecture of the new universe.

Fialkov: I think a lot of this is that we all know each other and we're all buddies. I've known Jeff for probably seven years now. I've known Scott a few years. And I've met Paul multiple times -- I'll say that to be coy.

Cornell: Have we met?

Fialkov: We've done panels at the "Doctor Who" convention before in LA.

Cornell: Oh! Right! Absolutely... I'm so glad!

Fialkov: I'm the really sexy one. If you remember a guy where you thought, "Damn, he's sexy," then that was me.

Cornell: Well, I remember touching you.

Fialkov: Who doesn't? [Laughter] But what's nice is that you get all these guys together doing books that we're all really happy to have each other working on. They couldn't have given "Demon Knights" to a better guy. Paul is the perfect writer for that book, and Scott has wanted to write "Swamp Thing" forever and has a perfect voice for it, and Jeff is catered for his books. It's a bunch of guys who all know what they're doing and who all love the source material and want to make great comics.

Snyder: One of the things that is fun is Swamp Thing is a character I've been thinking about and that Jeff and I had been talking about just for fun in terms of how we'd do it in the present day. One of the things to get across about both our books is that some people, as excited as they are, seem nervous about the idea that with the relaunch everything is going to start over new. With these books in particular, it's important to honor the things that came before in some ways. In "Swamp Thing," we're building on the mythology that came before as well. The idea was that we wanted to come up with a take that would be fresh and new that people could get on board with if you hadn't read "Swamp Thing" but on the other hand would respect and keep intact all the rich history of the character.

After moving on from "Superboy," Lemire set his sights on "Frankenstein"

Lemire: As a big, big Swamp Thing fan of the Alan Moore stuff and everything, I think people are worried that you're erasing continuity and starting fresh, but that's not the case at all. In Scott's case, he's taking the Alan Moore mythology and expanding on it to the next level much in the same way when Moore came on and did his take on Bernie Wrightson. It's the next evolution of the character, but all that stuff still happened. That's also how I'm approaching "Animal Man." The Morrison stuff and the Delano stuff all still happened. It's just a bit condensed timewise into the last couple of years, and now we're moving on to the next stage of these characters.

Snyder: What amazes me too with "Animal Man" is that you're taking these characters and all that stuff that's there and distilled it into something that fits in with your whole body of work. Having read what Jeff is doing in his first couple issues shows that the themes that are prevalent in everything he's written from "Sweet Tooth" to "Superboy" -- a sense of coming home and coming to terms with a sense of place and family, the responsibility of growing up and being the person you used to be -- it's all there in "Animal Man" front and center. It's like you've taken all the stuff that was there and let it stand, but you also made it your own book. With "Swamp Thing" I tried really hard to stay in that same vein.

For me, it's all about how what was really interesting was that Alec Holland was in maybe six or seven pages of comics ever as a human character. He really is an unexplored territory emotionally and psychologically. Why was he chosen to be Swamp Thing? What if it wasn't an accident? Who was he before, and is there something that links him to this mythology beyond the circumstantial? That was what really fascinated me and is something that's thematically in line with what I like to do -- someone coming to terms with their own personal demons and that sense of "Do I face my greatest fears and what haunted me as a kid or find an escape?" It's like that in "Detective" for me, and this book is all about Alec Holland coming to terms with these huge secrets being revealed and these monstrous things coming that signal to him that his becoming Swamp Thing maybe wasn't as big of a coincidence as he thought. There's an enemy on the horizon that will be epic for him, and it'll have a lot in there from characters everyone who likes Swamp Thing wants to see to aspects of the mythology that we're really interested in expanding on. You'll see stuff in terms of The Green and The Green's relationship to The Red and the characters in the Parliament and who they were before -- all that stuff we're really interested in exploring. So I did take a lot of cues from Jeff on "Animal Man," and I enjoy what he's done.

Cornell: What I love about this group is that we've all got this thing in common. There's an aesthetic. These little groupings [at DC] are a good idea, and when we started to talk about this particular grouping, we were all so excited immediately for this aesthetic. I think we all sort of agreed that it's not going to be adolescent Dark. It's going to be some quite interesting Dark.

Speaking of that non-adolescent tone, many of the characters you guys are playing with have at one time or another been a part of the Vertigo line, and I was wondering how you view this assignment differently than working on them over there. Obviously, there are some content lines you can't cross in terms of swearing or nudity, but is there something about working in the DCU that gives these characters a truly different feel than we'd get at Vertigo?

Cornell told CBR News characters in the Medieval "Demon Knights" will have direct ties to the modern DCU

Fialkov: "I, Vampire" is definitely set in the DC Universe. Andrew and the supporting characters definitely interact with the rest of the DCU, and I'm writing the first major foray into the universe with major characters and vampirism and all of it. And look, I'm sick in the head with what I write. I write really, really dark, and I've yet to have them say "Stop." I've yet to have anything censored or edited in terms of content. The first issue of "I, Vampire" is really grotesque. I wrote it thinking, "Let's see if they go for this thing" and they did! I'm really happy with that. And hey, it's really hard for me not to swear every other word, but on the other hand, they never told me I couldn't. I'm just sort of assuming.

Cornell: I get this terrific Medieval swearing, which I think someone will have to translate before they can object to it. [Laughter] But look, we have a continual battle in the book. Our first six issues are basically the nuts and bolts of this one, huge battle. We keep hacking with axes, I think, longer than Vertigo would. There's plenty of axe action. We're connected to the DC Universe largely because there are many characters here who you know and love from their post-Medieval appearances. I think some people will be surprised by who they are.

Lemire: I agree. I don't think that up until very recently when things were going to be announced that Paul's book or Peter Milligan's book would be linked in terms of this overall banner. There was never any editorial direction for the line, but for me I approached it as if I was writing for Vertigo, basically.

Snyder: That's how you write "Superboy" too, which is great.

Lemire: Yeah, well other than not being able to use swear words and stuff, I pretty much just let loosed, and like Josh said, they haven't made me scale back at all. "Frankenstein" has some pretty over the top violence so far, and "Animal Man" I thought some of the stuff in the first issue they'd want us to pull back on, but they loved it. They're letting us go further than regular DC titles in that respect.

Snyder: I think the thing that makes this different than Vertigo is that Vertigo has more of a creator-owned feel now. There isn't a shared universe as much as it is a shared sensibility. Jeff and I knew going into this that one of the things we wanted to do immediately was make a coherent mythology for The Green and The Red and all these other elements. We knew we'd be able to play with this overarching pocket of the DCU. Once we learned that Paul and Josh and Pete Milligan would be playing in it too, it just created a space for all the characters we liked personally because we have a darker sensibility who don't have a regular spotlight in the DCU. It's exciting to know we're working in a shared landscape. I keep thinking that I'll get curbed on "Detective" all the time. This coming issue has mutilation, and no one has ever raised the banner of censorship. It's more that with this it's less of the excitement that you get to do something darker than you would in the normal DCU and more the excitement that you're creating a shared space with friends in the DCU Dark stuff.

Exclusive art from "I, Vampire" #1

Lemire: Yeah. For me, the stuff I'm most excited about in the relaunch are the other books in the DC Dark line. If I was just a reader and not working, I'd still be reading Paul's books and Milligan's... and maybe Scott's. [Laughter]

Ultimately, the point of the relaunch and the gambit of it is that these books are supposed to stand as new entry points for readers and to stand on their own a bit even as they hook up to this larger universe. How do you conceive your task in terms of what you want to get done in your first issue, your first arc and your first year?

Lemire: For me, it's pretty easy. You want a book that someone who's never read a comic before or who's especially never read a comic with your characters before can pick up and it'll be completely accessible to them. In that first issue, they should be able to fully grasp the core of who the characters are and where they're going. At the same time, you want something that's not just the retelling of an origin. That's really boring. You want something that's engaging to old fans as well that honors the people who have been reading these characters, and it's hard, but you have to do both while starting a book in this relaunch universe.

Snyder: Both my books, like I said, were things that started before I knew there was going to be an initiative, and when I learned they'd be #1s, I was lucky in that I felt like it would only be a matter of a few lines here or there to make things more clear. The most important thing is that as a writer you make sure these books are something you're extremely excited for. But there wasn't a lot of change in terms of what my vision would be for "Swamp Thing" or my vision of a "Batman" story because it was a #1. It was really just a couple of tiny tweaks here and there. I give people a little "By the way, Bruce Wayne's parents died like this." [Laughter] Or "By the way, Alec Holland was in this explosion." It was just one or two lines. They've been very good about letting us make an organic vision that isn't beholden to this big #1 so much as it's important that this is something you're really passionate about as a story and as a character-driven drama.

Fialkov: Though like you said, I wanted issue #1 to be one where you'll never have to have read a comic before, and you can walk right into it. All you need to understand is stuff that's pop cultural and iconic about this stuff.

Cornell: We actually start with a new origin for the Demon at Camelot in order to let the readers know that they're going to meet these characters for the first time brand new with us.

Fialkov: And I'd add that each one of us is probably known for our crazy last pages, which is funny when you think about it, but at the same time... if you don't have a crazy last page, what are you coming back for next month?

Cornell: I've got the craziest last page at the end of issue #1 in the history of crazy last pages. What have you got?

Fialkov: I can't tell you. You'll just start crying and going, "I'm going back to TV. Screw this! I can't even compete!" It'll be sad for you that day.

Lemire: I'm really glad they didn't just make us do an origin story again for the first issues, though. That would have been so boring... for the readers and for us.

Exclusive character designs from "Animal Man"

Fialkov: I've spent all ten years of my career in comics screaming about outreach -- that if we as an industry don't reach out to other people not just reading comics but reading other things like novels or even watching serialized television, then we're cutting off our nose to spite our face. It's really important that we get in those people's faces with what we do because frankly, people don't know we exist. Even in the U.S. there are countless people who don't know that there are Batman comics and Superman comics and Spider-Man comics. It's our job as creatives to, I feel, reach out and create something that brings those people in.

With "I, Vampire" there is a huge audience of people... and I've written vampire fiction across the board including the script for a vampire manga not sold in the direct market but through a major bookseller, and it was a New York Times best-seller and probably the biggest thing I've ever done. It's a comic, and it's an action comic with tons of fighting and stuff you get when you do comics that was sold to non-comics readers. That says to me, "Look, we should be doing this." So for me, I look at "I, Vampire" as an opportunity as much as anything. I would love for everybody in the direct market to fall in love with my book and read it. That would be amazing and wonderful, but the reality is that that's not how the market works. They want to read Superman and Batman, BUT people outside comics do want to read this stuff. With Paul's book, you have the "Game of Thrones" audience. With me you have the "Twilight" people and "Vampire Diaries" fans and everything. And these people don't know the comics are out there!

And what DC's doing with the digital stuff and day-and-date and being aggressive by making the launch so big that media has to pay attention -- I think it's great. I think it's a huge opportunity and huge for the four or five of us working on the Dark books which have a much stronger link to outside readers. We want this to be a way to shepherd people inside.

Cornell: Everything he said. I think the Dark titles are in many ways the titles which are an attempt to reach out to a mainstream audience. I've been arguing for day-and-date for years. Although, that's a silly name for it. Just because something is alliterative, we're stuck with it. Obviously, if it's the date, it's the day! [Laughter] I couldn't be more pleased with this move. It's what the industry needed. We've just got to try and make these other genres connect with the people who they're made for. Now all I've got to do is plunk out a link and say, "Here it is. Go buy it," rather than, "What you need to do is find your nearest comic shop... take a long car journey, but they might not have it." The steps are letting the audience know it exists and giving them a place they can find it all at once.

Lemire: Though the digital idea doesn't change our approach.

Snyder: With a lot of this stuff, you just ignore that, or it would drive you crazy. You try to do the best story you can and hope that people reading in any format or medium will be excited by it.

Lemire: You're trying to tell cool stories with these characters, and whatever else will be will be. Definitely there are new opportunities with this digital stuff. That's exciting, but it's not something we have much control over.

Snyder: We get more excited doing crossover stuff with our books.

For more on the DC Dark monster books and all the September relaunch titles, check out CBR's full index of coverage.

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