Tales Of The Night Watchman Have you ever header the expression 'how to squeeze the buffalo off the nickel' before? Its a very common phrase down our way. We use it every time we go to church to say our prayers. Heck, my coffee swigging pal, David Kelly, said it to me just the other day, whilst we were talking about his newly published comic book, 'Tales of the Night Watchman'. Here, check out our tête-à-tête, or else a buffalo might ask for his nickel back. 

Tales Of The Night Watchman

1) What are your own origins, David? And when did you know that you wanted to become a writer?    Oh, man! That's a pretty loaded question. My origins are a little complicated, but I consider myself a Kansan at heart who prefers to remain exiled in Brooklyn. I grew up in Topeka, KS, but haven't looked back since I left over a decade ago.

This is going to sound awfully conceited, but I've always been a writer. There was no deciding involved. I spent more time writing and drawing my own stuff in school than actually learning what was I supposed to. I'm from the first generation of "cable babies" that had a wealth of killer cartoon shows to watch every day after school and on Saturday mornings. Watching stuff like G.I. Joe, Transformers, The Real Ghostbusters, and Batman: The Animated Series made me want to write stories that involved good guys kicking the crap out of bad guys. That hasn't changed much, and I still watch those shows.

2) What are your own artistic and personal aspirations? Plus what inspired you to create the comic ‘Tales of the Night Watchman’?    Well, to figure out how to make an honest living writing comic books. I worked as an assistant to a couple awesome film producers who showed me how to squeeze the buffalo off the nickel. A lot of what I learned in film I apply to comics. But unlike film, I've got a physical product in stores that people can thumb through instantly. Movies take a lot of time, money, and manpower to get into someone's hands. Even then, it's hard to really "see" a film based on its poster or DVD packaging. A comic you can just open up - and there it is!

I was inspired by Lara. I never thought seriously about producing a comic book until I met her. We were friends first, comic creators second, and now we're...um...more than friends.

Tales Of The Night Watchman
3) In your own words how would you describe this comic book?    It's about a young woman named Nora who's stuck working a dead-end job in coffee and her roommate, Charlie, who happens to be possessed in the nicest way possible by a spectral detective called The Night Watchman. He's come back from the dead and now resides with Nora in her apartment in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, among all the hipsters. Despite being a fish out of water, there's also trouble a brewin' - something from his past is coming to get him.

4) Who would you cast in a ‘Night Watchman’ movie if one was devised?    Yikes, that's tough. I had to consult Lara on this. We'd like to see Joseph Gordon-Levitt as Charlie/The Night Watchman, Mary Elizabeth Winstead as Nora, and Dakota Fanning as Serena.

5) What song would you say best represents your comic book and why?    "Night" by Zola Jesus. I can't comment on what the song is really about, but the music is dark and epic and the lyrics are very romantic. I've listened to it hundreds of times and I still get goosebumps. I don't know, anyone reading this should probably just go listen to it, but it's definitely a song that I listen to repeatedly for inspiration. I think I wrote an entire issue of TotNWM with it on repeat - and that's about forty pages of material, ha!

6) The artist on your book, Lara Antal, is a really great artist. To me her style comes across a lot like Jill Thompson’s work on Vertigo. How did you come to meet Lara? And what made you choose her to illustrate your story?    She'll be very flattered to hear that. In fact, it was The Sandman that brought us together. Not Thompson's work specifically, but Lara did this cool sketch of Morpheus that alerted me to the fact she was a talented artist. Her influences are Craig Thompson, Helen Jo, and Fabio Moon & Gabriel Ba. She doesn't read mainstream comics, but she has gotten into The Spirit as of late if you consider that "mainstream". It's been a huge influence on our book.

Batman and The PhantomI met Lara at the 'Think Coffee' Christmas Party a couple years ago. They are legendary events to those who've worked there. Something crazy always happens and, one year, I met Lara.

7) What was the first comic book you have ever read? And do you still read mainstream comics?    Batman and The Phantom. They're still my top two favorite superheroes. I started reading newspaper strips with my mother, and my father would buy me Batman comics at the newsstand. I do still read mainstream comics, but I spend most of my time reading old stuff. Currently, I really like The New 52 Swamp Thing and Animal Man, and the new Daredevil. I juggle those with Mike Grell's run on Green Arrow and Dennis O'Neil & Denys Cowan's The Question which are two of my all-time favorite comic series.

8) If you could assign a smell to ‘Night Watchman’, what odour would it be and why?    The stale scent of coffee grounds on a sweaty t-shirt. Anyone who's ever worked at a coffee shop knows what I mean. Lara and I pull a lot from our experience working at 'Think Coffee' in New York City. The story takes place there because we couldn't bear to fudge it with a bogus name. Even though it's paranormal fiction with a good dose of superheroics, we wanted to remain as grounded as possible to our own experiences.

Coffee Shop
9) During your time as a writer, what is the one thing that has kept you in good stead?    The fact that the future is unwritten, haha. Everyone has a shot in comics. When you go to a festival, you're in the same row as creators both big and small. It's wonderfully democratic in that sense. You're all on the same page, trying to reach new people with your work.

In film, everything is at odds with your ultimate goal. There were so many factors that would try to stop you from making your film. "You don't have enough money" and "it just isn't marketable enough" are two common prohibitions. I've seen producers wait years to produce one film and then it takes millions of dollars and hundreds of people. All I need is Lara. And the cost of printing is chump change compared to a film's budget.

Wow! Thanks for time David, you and Lara are stars in the making that's for sure. So what are you waiting for dear reader? Have a stab at www.talesofthenightwatchman.com today! Plus don't forget to do the facebook thing too. It's good to click.

TALES OF THE NIGHT WATCHMAN TALES OF THE NIGHT WATCHMAN Reviewed by David Andrews on July 20, 2012 Rating: 5
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