EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW: David Hahn Brings ALL NIGHTER To Light With Image Comics
Published: August 31, 2011 - 4:04pm
Eisner Award nominee David Hahn has illustrated Marvel Adventures: The Fantastic Four, Vertigo's Fables, and The Batman Handbook. His most current creator owned work carries a much more subtle tone. Read as the comic writer/artist discusses writing female characters and writing a relatable story.
DB: All Nighter is counter to a lot of tropes found within the American mainstream comic medium. Primarily, it's a pretty subtle (which is a good thing in my opinion) piece. Also, the protagonist along with most of the principal cast of characters are female and there's a pretty big focus on relationships. Did you set out to write something against the grain or are these qualities a coincidental part of the story you had in your mind at the beginning?
Hahn: I didn't intentionally set out to go against the grain. I just like to write what seems natural, but not obvious. I have always liked writing female characters, usually because I like to draw them, but also because women in general are not physically confrontational. It makes me make the character smarter, because brute force wouldn't be an acceptable or realistic way for a female character to solve a problem or deal with an enemy. One thing that helps me in this is when I see what not to do, usually when I watch movies or TV. I hate seeing writing done on auto pilot, where a writer is making a character speak or act in a way that is congruent with how the writer has seen other similar characters act, and not thinking about how this particular character would behave.
DB: Speaking on behavior, your visuals have a lot of life to them with background characters seeming to have individual stories or goals of their own as they engage in their various own endeavors (especially in the All Night Diner). It's all very "in the moment" and I believe makes a metaphysical statement of Kit's as one story of many. With the last and upcoming issues, you've touched upon some of those philosophical lines such as morality. How important is your art in bringing forth the big ideas of this piece and in telling the story in general?
Hahn: I am not sure how what moral issues I am bringing forward as a writer. Because everyone has a degree of flexibility with what we label as morals, I see morals as simply situation-appropriate behavior. I am just letting the characters tell their stories themselves. As happens in most stories, the reader brings their own baggage to help impose meaning, which is good. Of course I am, obviously, directing the characters and have them set on courses to learn something/grow by the series's end. To me the story-telling here is having the reader along for the ride as these characters traverse this particular nexus in their lives. To answer your question, I think I am more concerned with telling the story of these characters' lives than I am bring forth any big ideas. With All Nighter, I am going for *touching* rather than *deep*.
DB: I think that when intending the former, you achieve the latter. A big part of that are characters to which readers can relate. I'm sure most people have met others like Kit and the rest of the All Nighter gang at some point. Because of how palpable they all are, are they pulled from somewhere in reality, like from your life? If they are purely fictional, where do draw inspiration from for this series?
Hahn: The All Nighter characters are mostly made-up, though the character of Martha is an important composite of a couple different people I've known. Maybe mash-up is a better description. The characters don't necessarily behave like people I know, but share some of their stories/history.
DB: All Nighter will be ending in two more issues. With so much of a focus on ongoing series in the industry, what benefit does being self-contained have on your narrative process and storytelling in general? Also, what do you want your readers to take away from the final/full product?
Hahn: Most of the stories I have come up with have endings where the character's journing, as far as the reader is concerned, is done. I usually leave room to have characters have the option of continued tales, but with my own creations, I don't really want to keep juggling balls in the air with B, C, and D rotating story lines. It takes quite a bit of effort for me to constantly breath life into the same characters, so I often do better to move on to new stories and create new ones. As far a what the reader takes away from All Nighter, I want it to be a story that lingers in their thoughts fro a while. I don't necessarily want the reader wanting more. That's cool if they do, but I am not designing the story to keep people coming back for more answers, no “The End?” ending.
Before the series ends, readers can learn more about David Hahn's work and check out the first issue of All Nighter FOR FREE at his official website!
Still not convinced? Check out the 4.5 Blam! review of All Nighter #3 currently on comic store shelves! The next issue hits September 21, 2011 from Image Comics.