The following is an interview with Antwone Barnes regarding the release of the graphic novel, Darkest Rout. In this interview, Fanbase Press Editor-in-Chief Barbra Dillon chats with Barnes about the shared creative process of working with artist Kip Henderson to bring the story and characters to life, why the story may connect with readers, and more!
Barbra Dillon, Fanbase Press Editor-in-Chief: Congratulations on the recent release of Darkest Rout! For those who may be unfamiliar, how would you describe the story’s premise?
Antwone Barnes: Thanks! The story is a fantasy thriller about a grief-stricken young man who happens across an ancient relic connected to a secret society of demon hunters. He finds himself partnering with a fallen angel and an occultist to unravel a mysterious threat of demons in the region.
BD: What can you tell us about your shared creative process in working with artist Kip Henderson to bring this story to life and characters to life on the page?
AB: I initially took this story on as a screenplay. After some time spent expounding on the various story elements, it became apparent to me that this story needed some breadth, and that sort of storytelling would best be suited for the comic book medium. When I decided to serialize the story, Kip and I had already grown to become friends through our shared church community. He generously offered his talents to the project without much persuasion from me. He’s a good friend. We decided early on that we wanted the art style to give the balance of a welcoming adventure story with some spooky supernatural elements at play. The style we finalized felt just like that to us. It’s spooky enough to whet your horror-whistle, but not too scary that it might deter people wanting to dip their toe into the thriller/horror world. As far as the characters, they were built from archetypes of characters in stories I had loved growing up. Kip shared a love for nerd fandom, as well, and was able to see and bring these characters to life on the page.
BD: If given the opportunity, would you like to expand the story to subsequent story arcs or even other mediums of storytelling?
AB: The goal is to one day make this into a TV series or film! But long before that becomes a reality, my goal is to make the best possible series of stories from the comic medium as I possibly can. I want to complete this specific arc in about 4-issues and from there move onto more arcs and volumes. I got a lot of ideas for this world. A lot.
BD: Are there any upcoming projects on which you are currently working that you would like to share with our readers?
AB: I’ve started working on #2 for Darkest Rout already! Stay tuned for that. If you’ll be there, we can talk more about it at LA Comic Con in December 2023!
BD: Lastly, what is the best way for our readers to find more information about Darkest Rout and your other work?
AB: Find more information at darkestrout.com and on Instagram at @darkestrout and @antwone_b ! Thanks!