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KOLCHAK is back, courtesy of JAMES AQUILONE

James Aquilone returns to speak with Comic Book Yeti about the latest Kolchak release - a graphic novelization of the original story that started it all! Interviews Editor, Andrew Irvin, gets the rundown before the Kickstarter campaign winds up on July 12, 2024.

 

COMIC BOOK YETI: James, it’s an honor to have you join us in the Yeti Cave again today. It’s not your first time here, but it’s the first time we’ve had a chance to chat, so welcome back! When you last stopped by for an interview to discuss Kolchak, you were promoting the 50th Anniversary anthology, published in 2022 through Moonstone Books, which handled the renewed publication of The Kolchak Papers novel in 2007 and development and release of new material since. Can you share some of the journey towards the Monstrous Books acquisition of the rights for Kolchak?



JA: I put together the Kolchak 50th anniversary graphic novel in 2022 and it was very successful. I loved working on Kolchak, so when the opportunity presented itself, I jumped on it.



CBY: A hard opportunity to ignore, I'm sure! So an illustrated edition of Jeff Rice’s novel is now being prepared to launch, with supplemental essays by David Dastmalchian, Rodney Barnes, and Mark Dawidziak, who have all contributed in meaningful ways to the American horror landscape across comics and other media. How’d you get everyone involved, and what sort of new insights should Kolchak fans look forward to, beyond the new illustrated format?



JA: David, Rodney, and Mark are huge Kolchak fans and amazing writers, so it was only natural to include them in this project.


Fans will get to read The Night Stalker in its original form as Jeff Rice intended. The previous reprint deleted a lot of material, which we restored. We also fixed the many typos and errors in previous editions.



CBY: I'm sure our audience will be happy to read this publication will present an unabridged edition of the original story. To put the illustration back in the spotlight, the cover and interiors are being drawn by Russ Braun - a talented industry veteran of decades. Can you share a bit of his history with Kolchak and what his commitment to the project entailed?



JA: I discovered that Russ was a big fan of Kolchak when Nancy A. Collins, who wrote a story in the 50th anniversary graphic novel, told me that she and Russ slipped Kolchak into an issue of Swamp Thing back in the day. I love Russ’s work so he was at the top of my list to do art for this project. 


Russ was very committed to the project. He read the novel before starting work and he knocked it out of the park with his cover and interior illustrations.



CBY: Finding someone with comparable commitment to the source material must instill a lot of confidence in knowing it will get handled appropriately. So this first outing for Monstrous with the Kolchak IP returns to the source material that started it all. Do you have an idea for how you’d like to further develop the character with subsequent original stories, and what sort of provisions do you have in mind for potential reprints of the other material that has been developed under Moonstone’s time with Kolchak



JA: We’ll be sticking to the original Kolchak timeline with Carl being born in 1922. Original stories will take place in different eras, with Kolchak being aged appropriately, though most will probably take place in the 1970s. We’re going to stay true to the character—no reboot, no update— though there will be some surprises.



CBY: It will be exciting to see how the character is explored within the period, for certain, and I'd never really thought about the opportunities for young, WWII-era Kolchak running around before. You’ve spoken previously about the seminal influence of Kolchak as a genre-busting horror/crime/noir vehicle, who has received renditions from the likes of Richard Matheson and Robert Zemeckis. He’s a reporter, not a detective, which limits both his authority and demands greater creativity in how he deals with an unreal array of foes. With over 50 years of unique tales chalked up, and various other imitators and homages joining the fray, what goes into keeping Carl Kolchak fresh as new generations of readers discover him?  



JA: As we know from real life, there are always new monsters to slay and there are always ways to make old horrors relevant to current events. That’s something the horror genre is great at.



CBY: You’ve also chatted with the Comic Book Yeti team over Shakespeare Unleashed, so it’s not all Kolchak, all the time. With the illustrated novel forthcoming, is there any other recent or forthcoming work from Monstrous Books you’d like to share from your oeuvre?



JA: We’re already working on the next Kolchak project, which will launch later this year. I’m also working on finishing up my comic book series with Zac Atkinson, The Omega Eleven #1, and my comic book magazine, Monstrous #2.



CBY: James, while our readers await the launch of the new illustrated edition of the Kolchak novel, what unrelated comics and other media would you recommend they make sure they don’t miss out upon?



JA: David Dastmalchian’s Count Crowley and Rodney Barnes’ Blacula and Killadelphia are fantastic comics. David’s Late Night With the Devil is also a great horror flick. My wife and I have watched it several times.



CBY: James, thank you for the recommendations and for joining us today! We’ve got the campaign link, but if there’s other material from the world of Kolchak, your prior publications, or your social media you’d like our readers to check 


JA: You can pick up copies of the 50th anniversary graphic novel and one-shot and other Kolchak merchandise at MonstrousBooks.com

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You were advertising the 50th geometry dash Anniversary anthology, which will be released in 2022 via Moonstone Books. Moonstone Books was responsible for the relaunched publishing of The Kolchak Papers book in 2007, as well as the production and distribution of new material since then. When you last dropped by for an interview to discuss Kolchak, you were doing so.

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