Barbra Dillon, Fanbase Press Editor-in-Chief: This month will see the release of your new series, Lady Baltimore: The Witch Queens, alongside longtime collaborator Mike Mignola and publisher Dark Horse Comics. As part of the Outerverse, where will the new comic book series carry on after the events of the previous Baltimore series?
Christopher Golden: It’s sort of impossible to talk about this without spoiling the end of Baltimore, so I’m diving right in. Spoilers for that story to set up this one. The final act of Baltimore saw him killing the Red King at the cost of his own life, which was fine with Baltimore. It was the outcome he had always wished for. Knowing he intended to die but hoping his comrades would survive, he married Sofia, leaving her to inherit his title and lands. Theirs was a platonic love, a trust and friendship and intimacy he was unable to have with anyone else after Haigus murdered his wife and family, but Baltimore and Sofia grew close. At the end of Baltimore, the Red King is dead, and that meant the great evil threatening the world had been defeated. But the darkness never stays at bay for very long, and though the Red King is gone, there are still monsters and horrors in the world—including a human evil that is growing in Germany and spreading out into other parts of Europe. As Lady Baltimore, Sofia has taken up the fight against evil and recruited her own team to continue it. When we meet her again in these pages, it’s 1938, and the Second World War is just beginning. The Nazis have teamed up with the Hexenkorps, an alliance of various types and covens of witches, and Sofia is going to need a hell of a lot more help to stand against them.
BD: What can you tell us about your shared creative process in working with artist Bridgit Connell and colorist Michelle Madsen?
CG: For years working at Dark Horse, I didn’t have a lot of contact with the artist. But working with editor Katii O’Brien and associate editor Jenny Blenk has become a really organic experience and that’s led to an environment with a lot more open collaboration. Mike and Katii and I all together chose Bridgit for this book, and it was the best decision we’ve made. Bridgit’s incredibly talented, and her enthusiasm matches that talent. She’s deeply thoughtful about the work we’re doing, and that’s come through in her design work, particularly with the witches. Her designs and suggestions have both contributed to the world-building, but also forced me to think things through more thoroughly than I might otherwise have. We’ve made a richer mythology through having her on board. As for Michelle, I’ve only dealt with her directly a couple of times, but Mike and I see her colors before anything is printed and every time, I’m grateful to her. Michelle knows instinctively how to set the tone for these stories. She finds the nuances and pulls them forward in just the right way, like the perfect soundtrack in a film.
BD: With each new installment within the Outerverse, do you find that it becomes second nature to give voice to these characters and their respective journeys?
CG: Absolutely. This world has grown so organically that it’s constantly exciting to ask ourselves “what if?” I think we’re just starting to understand them and the dynamics of our champions and the evil in the world, what it all means. Once we knew this was a cohesive universe, that Baltimore and Joe Golem existed in the same world, we had to follow all the threads we’d introduced back to the origin of this world and see how it all started. Inventing a pre-human history is maybe the most fun we’ve had, and now it informs everything we do in these stories.
BD: Do you feel that this new series would serve as a solid jumping-on point for new readers, or would you encourage them to start with Baltimore to follow grasp the characters and events?
CG: You definitely do not have to read Baltimore before reading Lady Baltimore. You can jump right in. On the other hand, I do think if you jump in fresh to this, you’re probably going to want to go back and read Baltimore anyway, afterward. So, it’s pretty handy that the entire Baltimore series is collected in two omnibus hardcovers from Dark Horse!
BD: Are there any additional projects on which you are working that you are able to share with our readers?
CG: So many, but unfortunately I literally am not allowed to discuss any of them at the moment. I can say that Mike and I have a lot of plans for the next few years. And on the book side, my novel, Red Hands, is out now!
BD: Lastly, what would you like to tell fans who want to learn more about Lady Baltimore: The Witch Queens #1?
CG: Just that I love this series so much. New readers should absolutely jump on board here. What excites me the most is that this is the playing field where we bring all of the major characters and concepts of the Outerverse into the same time period, into a cohesive universe. I can’t wait for readers to discover what we’ve been building. And, since I’m a romantic at heart, I can’t wait for readers to embrace the love that grows in the midst of all this horror.