Interview w/ comic creator David Doub
David Doub is the creator, writer, and publisher of the comic book Dusk. Telling the story of an everyday woman who found herself wrapped up in the complicated world of vampires, the two volumes of Dusk are comprised by several short tales exploring many different characters and aspects of the larger Dusk world. I tossed some random questions at David who was kind enough to take the time to answer them.
A.C. Hall: Talk a little about your experience and background.
David Doub: Well I’ve always loved comics, so it was only natural for me to want to tell stories in that medium over any other. I dabbled in writing comics for a bit but it wasn’t a major life change happened that I decided to fully devote my time to comics.
How I got into publishing as well as writing was that after going through various publishers (two separate publishers I was signed with folded, neither my fault ), I learned a lot of tricks of the trade and figured I could it myself. So of course I had a lot to learn, but I’m up to the level now where I’m working on publishing other people’s work besides my own.
A.C.: How did you come up with the idea for Dusk?
David: Dusk comes basically from roleplaying. I was making so many different characters and stories for a roleplaying game that I figured why not
do a full story out of a lot of the bits and pieces I had made for the game. And I was playing a vampire rpg because well I’ve always enjoyed the vampire mythos in it’s various forms.
A.C.: The vampire/romance genre has really exploded in recent years thanks to the success of the Twilight novels. Can you talk a little about the genre’s popularity and why it has become so popular?
David: I’ve been told it’s all called Supernatural Romance now because it covers more than Vampires now. From my perspective it’s the Romance genre that has seemed to have gotten a raise in popularity by adding vampires and other supernatural creatures to the mix. Of course I could be wrong because I really don’t keep tabs on the Romance genre.
But to put it simply, I think it’s the old cliche that people really like the “Bad Boy/Bad Girl” and what’s more bad than a Vampire. That vicarious thrill of reading about a romancing such a dangerous creature probably gets a few hearts a pounding.
And that’s why I think it’s vampires that are spicing up the Romance genre, because it seems that the stories are more romantic and the vampire is more of a plot device to help darken up the story. I could be biased though because I am coming from the Vampire fandom looking at the outside of this new addition of Romance. Sure Vampires have been sexy and sensual, but that’s a bit different that romantic.
A.C.: You work with many different artists in the Dusk books. Why did you decide to go that direction?
David: It started out with the simple fact that the original artist for Dusk was no longer doing comic art, so I had to find another artist to replace him. Then I thought I’d be clever and if multiple artists worked on different stories, then the work would be done faster, but such was not the case.
But as volume 1 came to completion, I really liked the effect of having different artists for different feels and styles for the different stories, so by volume 2 I was really writing toward the non-linear format that Dusk has become.
A.C.: Talk a little about your creative process. Do you outline the comics before scripting them? How long does the writing process take?
David: I totally outline the stories first in my head. I have this theory that if the story element is strong enough, it will stick in my memory long enough for me to get it out. Also when it comes to writing I can easily scavenge from my other outlines if I find an idea works better in the current story.
Then when I write the script, I write it out fairly detailed so the artist can get same mental image that I’m getting. I write scripts with a panel by panel breakdown, but the artist isn’t totally beholden to framework. I just make sure they have the full image I have and if their artistic vision can see a better way to show that on the page.
A.C.: You’ve recently released Dusk Volume 2. Are there plans to do more with this series?
A.C.: Creating comic books independently can be very difficult. Will you take us through the process of bringing something like Dusk from idea to finished book?
David: Well first there is the scripting. Then you give out the various scripts to various artists and try to subtly hound them to turn it in. During that step, you’ll take some of the pencils and get them inked. So you’re currently juggling art production at two different stages and you add lettering as the various finished inks come in.
After you get all the finish pages finally in, you do the layout and credit pages. I have to send that to a Layout Editor so they can format it in a way that printer will accept and it will look good in the printed form.
Also during all this is the cover art being done, which adds the coloring to the mix. This also has to be formatted so it will work for the printer and look good as an actual physical product.
A.C.: What advice would you give to writers out there who want to create their own comic book series and have it published?
David: Honestly it’s less work if you just get signed on with an existing publisher. I don’t regret getting into publishing and I fully enjoy getting other peoples’ work out, but if my goal was just to be a writer, I have taken on more that I need to. But self/indy publishing is always an alternative if you have issues with publisher like I did, or if you like more control over your book.
If you do go to a publisher with your story there’s two very import things to know. First is know what the publisher currently publishes so you know if you’re story would fit in. If you show a publisher your gore horror story and they typically do kids comics, then they’re probably going to pass on you regardless of how good the story is.
Second is have a finished book, or some finished pages to show the publisher. A lot of publishers currently only have enough art staff to do their own in house stories so they can’t get you an art team for your story. So you’ll find that you’ll have to put together your own art team, so you’re going to be doing some of your own production work even if you do have a publisher.
A.C.: One thing I love about Dusk is the rich back story that you’ve created. Even though we don’t get to see all of it, it’s masterfully established and always present. Talk a little about creating such a large and well thought out backstory and the importance it plays, even in the stories where it isn’t featured.
David: Well I treat it just like you are watching someone at home or at work. Sure you’d get a gist of what is going on by what people say and do, but you don’t fully know everything. So I try to make Dusk realistic in that aspect that of course the backstory is always present, but they’re not going to necessary talk about it.
In real life people don’t stand around narrating or explaining what they’re doing because they’re already know why and what they’re doing. I like to think this adds a bit of voyeurism to the reading experience.
I like to think this adds to reading experience in other ways. It keeps the mystery about the story and world for the reader because nothing is really outwardly explained to them. Also since there is mystery about the world, it allows for the readers let their imagination wander around in Dusk and add their own bits to it.
A.C.: Are you working on any projects right now?
David: I have one superhero book that is currently on hold until I get all the trademark legal issues resolved (totally all my fault). Also have a Malaysian manga we’ll be releasing soon. There’s a couple of other things in the pipeline but it’s too soon to say anything yet.
If you’re interested in learning more about Dusk or want to read the first volume for free, head over to www.duskcomics.com