After the ‘Bound by Blood’ story arc kicked off last week in Nailbiter #21, we were left gasping for breath and searching for answers. Writer Josh Williamson and artist Mike Henderson were unable to help with the lack of oxygen, but they were willing to sit down with AiPT! and shed some light on the craziness that Nailbiter has coming our way:

AiPT!: So that opening shot of Alice…holy crap. Will we be getting back to that point in time next issue, or we still have a ways to go?

Josh Williamson: RIGHT?! Mike, Adam and John did a crazy great job with that two pager. All of the Bound by Blood arc takes place in one night… so we’ll for sure get to that scene again in this arc. It’s a crazy one, but you’ll have to wait to see what causes that scene.

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AiPT!: Of all the revelations we got in ‘Devil Went Down to Georgia,’ the one about Alice being Crane and Warren’s daughter was probably the biggest. How is Edward Warren handling the news that he’s a daddy–or has he always known?

Williamson: Warren doesn’t know. But he’s going to find out very soon…. And he won’t handle it very well.

AiPT!: I’m guessing from the cover to issue #21 that Alice’s newly discovered heritage is going to be the engine behind everything that happens.

Williamson: It’s a major part of it. But so is the idea that OTHERS find out that the Nailbiter is her father. That’s a HUGE piece of the next story arc.

And actually, all of issues 21-25 takes place in about 24 hours. It’s fast paced — what happened in 21 sets off a crazy chain of events that ignites the town.

AiPT!: Is Alice recovered from the injuries inflicted upon her by the Butcher?

Williamson: Physically… yes. Mentally… we’ll see.

AiPT!: Let’s move on to Agent Barker. Is her mind completely gone, or is the smart badass agent who helped Finch solve the Devil Killer case still in there somewhere?

Williamson: Barker’s locked up in a federal mental ward, we’ll only get some small updates on her over the next few issues, but when she comes back, she comes back in a very big way. It’s one of my favorite scenes from this arc. Mike did a killer job on it.

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AiPT!: Speaking of Finch, how does watching one partner get slaughtered by another affect him? I imagine the guy doesn’t have much faith left in humanity.

Williamson: Oh he’s for sure broken… but mostly tired. Tired of this case. Tired of all the death. Tired of dealing with Warren and the killers. He wants to give up. But he always has built this friendship with Crane and wants to help her. And he feels like he owes it to Carroll to finish the case. But his anger is turning into defeat.

AiPT!: Are we ever going to see the legal fallout from the person he killed during his last official interrogation?

Williamson: We’ll get there. It’s going to be a smaller subplot eventually, mostly because I don’t want to turn the book into a courtroom drama. But we will get there.

AiPT!: I know Crane she had some of Carroll’s notes, but is the bulk of what he learned about Buckaroo lost for good since Barker went all stabby on him?

Williamson: NOPE.

AiPT!: Moving on to Sheriff Crane…is she actually going to work with Fairgold?

Williamson: Yes. But it’s mostly going to be about sharing information. But she’s going to very quickly learn that she needs him.

AiPT!: Will Crane and Finch be teaming up again now that they’ve reunited? If so, I can’t imagine Finch and Fairgold ever getting along.

Williamson: Ha. There is a scene that is all about that coming up really soon. It’s funny, Mike and I work so far ahead that I have to be careful to make sure I don’t spoil things that are issues down the line.

AiPT!: Is the Butcher of Buckaroo going to be making a return appearance soon?

Williamson: He’s always lurking in the shadows…

AiPT!: How did you come up with the awesome design for the Butcher of Buckaroo?

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…and why hasn’t it been made into a premium format action figure yet?

Mike Henderson: As I recall, the look of the Butcher was invented to give me something really wild to draw as I was going a bit crazy at the time. So this idea of the Terminator via Middle Earth came into my head and it didn’t take much tinkering after that.

AiPT!: What about our favorite serial killer, Edward Warren/The Nailbiter? It still seems like he’s on the anti-hero path right now. Will we ever get to see his monstrous side reemerge?

Williamson: Like I said before I don’t want to spoil anything….

It’s always interesting to me when people come to us and say they find Warren charming. Or that he could be a hero. Because I know he’s a monster. Maybe it’s because Mike and I know him better than anyone. But we know his dark side and we know what he’s capable of…

There is a part coming up in this arc where the real Warren will finally start to show himself.

AiPT!: Are we headed toward a meeting between the Nailbiter and The Blonde?

Williamson: We’re building to that, yes. That’s not going to be a big part of this arc, but will play an important role in the next one. She’s an awesome character and I’m glad we finally got to get her back in Buckaroo.

AiPT!: Crane kind of seemed in awe of The Blonde when she met her. Will we get to see them interacting more as ‘Bound by Blood’ continues?

Williamson: Issue 22 has a scene with them talking in it. Crane feels like the Blonde can be another avenue for answers about the town’s mysteries. But again…we’ll really get into that in the next arc.

AiPT!: Will we be seeing any other past Buckaroo serial killers return to town in this arc?

Williamson: Maybe??? Or did one already return and we just never noticed?

AiPT!: Are we going to get to see any elaborate death traps like what we saw in issue #19?

Henderson: We discussed at least one more but I don’t know if and when we’d find a place to use it. Which would be a shame, that sequence was great fun to draw. I wouldn’t mind trying to one up ourselves.

AiPT!: Is the source/cause of the Buckaroo Curse something you plan on keeping a mystery for a long time, or are we closing in on a definitive answer?

Williamson: Some secrets will be revealed as we go. Little bits and pieces. Some people will think they’ll know the answer to the mystery. Warren might even tell them. But is he lying?

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But we won’t reveal the whole picture until the end.

AiPT!: Thanks for the (maddening and provocative) answers, fellas! And before we go, a little spoiler for the rest of you. I got a chance to read a proof of the next issue. I can confidently say that Nailbiter #22 is all types of awesome—maybe one of the best issues of the series.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to go call the police on Alexis Simonetta for breaking into my house and stealing it. Make sure you buy it before she nabs your copy, too.