The following is an interview with Warwick Johnson-Cadwell regarding the recent release of the graphic novel, Falconspeare, through Dark Horse Comics. In this interview, Fanbase Press Editor-in-Chief Barbra Dillon chats with Johnson-Cadwell about the shared creative process of working with Clem Robins and Dave Stewart, balancing the writing and illustrative duties while crafting a solid mystery, and more!
Barbra Dillon, Fanbase Press Editor-in-Chief: This month sees the release of your new graphic novel, Falconspeare, featuring the return of characters Professor J.T. Meinhardt, Mr. Knox, and Ms. Mary Van Sloan brought to life by you and Mike Mignola. For returning readers, where will this graphic novel find the characters in their adventures?
Warwick Johnson-Cadwell: Returning readers will find the Professor, Mr. Knox, and Ms. Van Sloan in their youth. We see them in action during their formative vampire-hunting years with their fourth companion, James Falconspeare. What has happened to him since those early days is the subject of the book.
BD: Do you find that there is an ease to the creative process in reuniting with prior collaborators Clem Robins (letterer) and Dave Stewart (cover artist)?
WJC: Completely. It’s the whole team: Clem Robins’s letters, Dave Stewart coloring Mike Mignola’s art on the cover, and Katii O’Brien and Jenny Blenk editing. It’s such a strong team to be a part of, and that inspires and encourages me to work as well as I can and also to take that step and try something new, too.
BD: As you are both writing and illustrating the story, how would you describe your creative process in crafting this 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!
WJC: It is a challenge indeed. Crafting the intricacies of the plot or even making simple storytelling decisions is a highly enjoyable exercise. The trick with a mystery is trying to connect the end to the beginning without showing your hand. I think one of the best literary whodunnits with the wildest twist is Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, but it feels like the end is so famously spoiled that we can’t think of it as a mystery.
BD: What continues to make Dark Horse Comics the perfect home for this world and its characters?
WJC: This is certainly down to Mike Mignola, the Hellboy universe and the Outerverse (with Christopher Golden). I’m a massive fan of the Hellboy stories, but also the areas Mike shows interest in. Horror stories, also science fiction and adventure stories. These are what I like, so are what I like to create, and Dark Horse speaks to this audience better than other publishers.
BD: Are there any additional projects on which you are working that you are able to share with our readers?
WJC: There are other projects, but as often is the case, I can’t share too much about them. There’s some TV and movie work that we may see in 2022, which I’m very excited to be able to share, and a new comic series from a brand-new imprint. No vampires in that, as yet.
BD: Lastly, what would you like to tell fans who want to learn more about Falconspeare and your other work?
WJC: Falconspeare is available to buy this week! Mr. Higgins Comes Home and Our Encounters With Evil are already available. It’s good-humored gruesome fun with its heart set back in the classic days of horror cinema.