Dark Horse Comics is very good at producing good horror. In fact, they may be the best. That’s partly because of the publisher’s huge success with the Hellboy universe, but there are plenty of series that aren’t part of that universe that are just as scary.
Take, for instance, last week’s Jenny Finn which I loved and gave a 10 out of 10 score. The comic was excellent for a variety of reasons–Troy Nixey’s art being a big one. He also co-wrote the comic with Mike Mignola, and together, they’ve produced quite a good first issue. We recently spoke with Nixey about this splendid issue, what it’s like working with Mignola, how he approaches his work, and more!
AiPT!: Thanks for taking the time to answer a few questions, Troy. Having had the chance to read Jenny Finn #1, I was captivated by the scene setting, which is only detailed by a caption box that reads “The City.” When and where does Jenny Finn take place?
Troy Nixey: Victorian London is definitely the blueprint but I never feel beholden to remain 100 percent accurate to a setting or time.
AiPT!: I was interested instantly by the variety of characters and the briskness of cutting between scenes–it’s very cinematic! When you’re pacing your comic, is there a way you gauge how quickly the story should move, when big reveals should drop, stuff like that?
Nixey: There’s definitely an approach to when reveals should happen and how to slow down or speed up the reading experience but really, I follow my gut and try and tell the most clear and dynamic story I can.
AiPT!: From whom did you draw influence when you first started in comics? Are these the same sources of inspiration you use today?
Nixey: I tend to draw inspiration from everywhere, it can be something as innocuous as a cool-looking lamp. Growing up, it was lots of cartoons, Mad Magazine and the books I read as a kid, Dr. Seuss for example. I never replace my inspirations but continue to add to them. I actively seek out things/moments/feelings that will get the creative juices flowing.
AiPT!: This comic made my skin crawl. The tentacles and flippers coming off body parts are really unnerving. It made me wonder, what scares you and where do you find inspiration to write and draw such scary imagery?
Nixey: Creepy horror imagery doesn’t scare me, not sure why. The gory stuff I don’t bother with. As to where the creepy ideas comes from, I never ask myself… I might not like the answer. Hahaha.
AiPT!: You’re working with Mike Mignola on this project. What is the creative process like working with him?
Nixey: It was very collaborative. Lots of sharing of ideas back and forth, then Mike would write the plot. I’d work from that, the script came last. It was a very organic experience and a wonderful experience.
AiPT!: I was reminded a bit of Jean-Pierre Jeunet’s The Lost City of Children when reading this work, in part because of the macabre atmosphere, but also the hulking lead and his desire to protect the little girl. What inspired this dynamic for this story?
Nixey: I love City of Lost Children!! I’m sure some of that entered in to my designs, but wasn’t the major influence. Mike and I settled on the Victorian London setting early and the rest was built up from that. Lots of conversations and Mike working in my fascination with drawing weird fish and tentacles.
AiPT!: What is your favorite method of procrastination?
Nixey: Honestly, I don’t have one. If I’m working, I’m working, if I’m not, I’m not. I love creating and it’s better if I don’t go long periods without drawing, I tend to get grumpy if I don’t. haha.