The following is an interview with writer Chris Roberson and artist Leila del Duca regarding the recent release of their new murder mystery comic book series, The House of Lost Horizons, from Dark Horse Comics. In this interview, Fanbase Press Editor-in-Chief Barbra Dillon chats with Roberson and del Duca about the shared creative process of working with co-creator Mike Mignola, how the series fits into the world of Hellboy, future projects that are in the works, and more!
Barbra Dillon, Fanbase Press Editor-in-Chief: Congratulations on the recent release of your new series! As a continuing thread of the larger Hellboy universe, what can you share with us about the premise of the new series and characters Sarah Jewell and Marie-Thérèse LaFleur?
Chris Roberson: The House of Lost Horizons is a standalone story that takes place in the world of Hellboy. It features Sarah Jewell and Marie-Thérèse LaFleur, a pair of supernatural detectives who travel all over the world in search of adventure, and who invariably encounter some variety of occult menace. The characters have previously been featured in stories like Rise of the Black Flame and Witchfinder: The Reign of Darkness, but this locked-room murder mystery is the first series to feature them as headliners.
BD: How would you describe your creative process in crafting this murder mystery? It’s always thrilling to follow mystery stories as the reader, but I would imagine that crafting the narrative and staying 3 steps ahead of your reader is quite the challenge!
CR: I’m a huge fan of period piece mysteries, from the novels of Agatha Christie to more recent television series like Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries and The Frankie Drake Mysteries. As a writer I tend to approach my stories as mysteries from a structural standpoint, regardless of what genre I’m working in. For this story, I had the underlying mystery in mind from the beginning. Then, it was a question of working backward from the end, figuring out the most interesting way to navigate through the clues, and coming up with an interesting cast of suspects and potential victims.
BD: Leila, as a long-time fan of the Hellboy universe, what can you tell us about your experience in lending your artistic voice to the series and your collaboration with Chris and Mike?
Leila del Duca: I was so excited to be one of the artists who got to draw a Hellboyverse book, and I definitely wanted to do the world justice! Chris and Mike created some amazing characters that were fun to design and illustrate. I like how diverse the cast of characters were, with lots of strong personalities that often clashed with one another. Learning how the mystery unraveled with each issue was a treat, too.
BD: Do you feel that The House of Lost Horizons serves as a solid jumping-on point for those who may be new to the Hellboy universe?
CR: I try to structure all of the series that we do in the Hellboy universe as potential jumping-on points, but I think that The House of Lost Horizons works particularly well as an entry point because it doesn’t require any previous familiarity with the world or the concepts at all. We’re meeting these characters as if for the first time, and learning everything that we need to know about the world as they make their way through it.
BD: Are there any upcoming projects on which you are currently working that you would like to share with our readers?
CR: I’m working on a few unannounced projects set in the world of Hellboy, but, unfortunately, I can’t go into too many details just yet. Suffice it to say that there are still a lot more stories left to be told in that world, and I can’t wait to share them with readers!
LdD: I have an ongoing vlog project on my YouTube channel, as well as interviews and tutorials that I’ve been posting on the HelioscopePDX channel. Other than video work, I’m mostly working on personal projects and preparing for a Kickstarter campaign for the sequel to Afar, my graphic novel with Kit Seaton.
BD: Lastly, what is the best way for our readers to find more information about The House of Lost Horizons and your other work?
CR: I occasionally poke my head up on Twitter (@chris_roberson), and I update my personal website (www.chrisroberson.net) about once or twice a year on average. But honestly, it’s probably best just to keep an eye on the social media accounts for Dark Horse Comics, whose PR team does a much better job of getting the word out about upcoming projects than I ever manage to do!