The following is an interview with David Rubin, artist for the comic book series, Sherlock Frankenstein & the Legion of Evil, to be released this Wednesday, October 18, from Dark Horse Comics. In this interview, Fanbase Press Editor-in-Chief Barbra Dillon chats with Rubin about the inspiration for the series – given its expansion from the Black Hammer comic book series, the creative process of working with writer Jeff Lemire, what the team has planned for the continuation of the Black Hammer story, and more!
Barbra Dillon, Fanbase Press Editor-in-Chief: Congratulations on the upcoming release of Sherlock Frankenstein & the Legion of Evil this October through Dark Horse Comics! What initially intrigued you about the Black Hammer comic book universe and the opportunity to create a spinoff series?
David Rubin: I was lucky because before Black Hammer‘s first issue came out, my Dark Horse editor, Daniel Chabon, asked me to do a pinup for the series.
Thanks to that, I was able to read the first three or four issues before anyone else and fell in love with those characters and the wonderful work that Jeff and Dean were doing in Black Hammer. It is undoubtedly my favorite series of all titles being published right now.
That little pinup also served as my first contact with Jeff and, because of that, we started to write emails to each other.
When I was finishing the first arc of my creator series at Dark Horse, Ether, Daniel asked me if I wanted to draw a couple of Black Hammer fill ins and, of course, I said yes.
And that was the seed of my participation in Sherlock Frankenstein & the Legion of Evil.
BD: While Jeff Lemire and Dean Ormston’s Black Hammer series focused on the superheroes of Spiral City, Sherlock Frankenstein (and returning character Lucy Weber) will turn its attention to the supervillains of the world. How do you feel that Sherlock Frankenstein both fits within and sets itself apart from the Black Hammer series?
DR: Sherlock Frankenstein works as part of an expanding universe of Black Hammer, but, at the same time, is its own thing, which gives me plenty of room play around, so that I can bring my vision to the universe that Jeff and Dean created, and make it grow.
It is a rich universe rich that allows more creative freedom and different styles.
It’s a liberating feeling similar to when I worked on Paul Pope’s Battling Boy universe with the two Aurora West‘s graphic novels.
BD: How would you describe your creative process in working with writer Jeff Lemire?
DR: Working with Jeff is very easy and enriching.
It was one of the first times in my professional experience that before I started to draw anything, all the scripts were already finished.
That is very useful, because it gives me a complete idea about where the story is going: the characters, their evolution, the different atmospheres and actions that I will have to draw on the page. It gives me a totally clear view of how to approach it before even drawing the first page.
Additionally, Jeff is an excellent artist, and—like Matt Kindt–he cares about giving you creative and artistic freedom; he doesn’t impose rigid storytelling.
His scripts are very visual and clear, focusing on the actions and relationships of the characters, in the environment, rather than describing how each panel should look, or impose a specific storytelling. He gives me lots of flexibility.
After I read Jeff’s scripts, I then start working on the thumbnails, focusing only on the storytelling, not aesthetics. Then, in two or three days, I have that thumbnails finished and I give it to Jeff and Daniel; we talk about the proposal for the art and, if there are any notes, I make the changes quickly, and, if there are not, I start to draw the line art, focusing on the purely graphic and aesthetic parts of the art.
BD: Do you feel that Sherlock Frankenstein provides a solid jumping-on point for readers unfamiliar with the original series, while also providing additional mysteries and adventures for seasoned readers?
DR: This miniseries is a great starting point. It can serve as its own story and be enjoyed without having to read the previous Black Hammer series.
BD: Are there any other projects on which you are currently working that you are able to share with our readers?
DR: I’m working at that moment on the second arc of my creator-owned series with Matt Kindt called Ether which arrives at stores in 2018, and also on Rumble with John Arcudi.
I do wish to work again with Jeff Lemire in a near future. The six issues we made in the Black Hammer Universe are one of the best experiences that I have had in the years since I was began working in comics.
BD: Lastly, what would you like to tell fans who want to learn more about Sherlock Frankenstein and your body of work?
DR: Jeff and I had built a brand-new story full of surprises, excitement, and emotional moments, full of new characters and situations that expand Black Hammer’s universe. It’s a very crazy mix of genres: the superhero comic meets detective/noir with a lot of experimental storytelling.
It’s a story about supervillains different to any you’ve read before, I promise!
Really, hope the readers enjoyed the miniseries as much as Jeff and I enjoyed creating it!