Comic Book Yeti contributor Lauren Smith welcomed Joe Corallo into the Yeti Cave to discuss his and Rachel Pollack's Comixology Original Series The Never-Ending Party. Issue #4 is out September 6th and you can get it (along with issues #1-#3) by clicking here.
Rachel Pollack was recently admitted to the ICU and a GoFundme has been started to raise money for the 24-hour care she will need when she returns home. For anyone not familiar with Rachel Pollack's work, she is an amazing writer and trans activist who introduced Coagula, the first trans woman superhero, when she was writing Doom Patrol for DC Comics.
COMIC BOOK YETI: Thank you for taking the time to speak with me, Joe! How have you been enjoying the release of The Never-Ending Party?
JOE CORALLO: Of course! Thank you for wanting to talk to me about this project. I’ve been happy with the release of The Never-Ending Party. The whole team worked hard on this comic for quite a while and it’s wonderful to finally have the series coming out and seeing people experience it.
CBY: For those that don’t know: What is The Never Ending Party? Where did the story of The Never-Ending Party come from?
JC: It’s the story of Mindy Morrow, an aged club kid who in her youth was involved in a ritual to summon Dionysus and bring forth the never-ending party. The ritual doesn’t go as planned and results in rippling effects impacting the friends that were there going years into the future.
The story started from an idea I had come up with to get Rachel Pollack back into comics. I thought a comic that we could co-write would be a good idea, and Rachel liked it. She added Dionysus, tarot, and other elements and then we continued to flesh it out together into something that leaned into individual strengths we have in storytelling to create something that was beyond the scope of what either of us would do on our own.
CBY: Was there a specific reason you chose to set the story in the '90s and in
JC: The way I viewed The Never-Ending Party from its onset was as a celebration of Rachel’s comics work. To express that through the comic, I wanted to have the story take place both in the present as well as back to when Rachel was getting work at DC in the '90s to symbolize
CBY: I love the balance between adopting mythology and adding modern twists to it. What genre(s) would you say this falls under? I definitely felt like fans of shows like Charmed or even the webseries Carmilla might enjoy this story!
JC: Oh that’s an interesting point! I personally hadn’t thought of the Charmed connection, but I agree. For me, the story is a bit of a hybrid of horror, romance, and mythology. I think Rachel has done a number of prose novels that fall into this category including her Arthur C. Clarke award-winning novel, Unquenchable Fire, and its sequel, Temporary Agency. And not to make a direct comparison, but I think The Sandman falls under a similar kind of hybrid of genres.
CBY: That said, this story is very women-centric and very queer. Was it important to you and co-writer Rachel Pollack for The Never-Ending Party to be filled with women and queerness, even if it’s centered around the mythology of Dionysus? If so, why?
JC: Absolutely! Our identities as members of the queer community certainly factor into our work, whether it's done so overtly or not. For this story, I really wanted to make it a point to have all of the important players be queer in some form or fashion. We don't necessarily spell it out with every character, but all of the original crew from The Arcane in the '90s identify somewhere within the queer spectrum.
CBY: One of my favorite elements of The Never-Ending Party is that the art lends itself to a style seen through YA comics, but this book is for adults. What went into choosing an artist for this book and finding the style you and Rachel wanted? Were there any specific inspirations you had originally?
JC: Thank you so much! I always liked those sorts of things where on the surface something is presented a certain way, but under more careful inspection it’s not what it seems. In music, for example, I always liked how Belle & Sebastian would be able to pull that off in songs like “Get Me Away From Here I’m Dying”. There are other comics that do this sort of thing like James Schleisman’s Black Key Incubus on WebToon, Tapas, and has been made available in print as well. I’ve got my copy!
The important thing for both Rachel and myself was getting an artist we could trust that would get what we were going for. I was familiar with Eva Cabrera’s work from getting to edit the third volume of Kim & Kim so I knew Eva could provide great work in a timely fashion. And having been familiar with her other work, I knew she could also lean into darker material than we got to see in Kim & Kim. Not that that comic is all fun and games all the time, but you get what I mean.
CBY: Which issue in this series are you the most proud of?
JC: That’s a tough one for me! If I have to pick one, I’ll go with issue 3. I think we ramp things up in a way that I look back on and can’t imagine doing it any other way. I’m very happy with how it came out.
CBY: Likewise, which issue in the series do you think will surprise fans the most?
JC: Despite what I said to answer the previous question, I would think issue 4 is the most surprising.
We really get the story to a point where it gets so chaotic that I would think it has the potential to be shocking to the reader. I also think we have some little shocking moments sprinkled through the issue too! As well as a quick reference to the Mike Sekowsky Wonder Woman run. I know there are a lot of people out there that pan it, but I think it’s a truly gorgeous run and has some of my favorite Wonder Woman stories in it.
CBY: There are already 3 issues of The Never-Ending Party out. How many more can we expect? Can we hope to see more of this world in the future, or is this a one-series story?
JC: This series will wrap up after issue 5. Rachel and I have ideas of where we can take this if we ever wanted to revisit this particular world. I think if we did, we’d focus more on Dionysus in different eras or maybe even expanding out into different members of the Greek pantheon. If enough people demand more after issue 5, I’d be more than happy to figure out how to make that happen!
CBY: I’m very excited to see where this series continues to go. Thank you again for taking the time to speak with me! Where can people find you and keep up with your work?
JC: Thank you so much for being interested in speaking with me! I really do appreciate it. People can find me on Twitter @joecorallo and Instagram @corallojoe. I mostly post work-related stuff on Twitter and let people tag me on things on Instagram. And most of my other work like She Said Destroy and Becstar are available through the Amazon Kindle store and through ComiXology as well. Plus, my debut Archie publication, a 5-page story in Jinx Grim Fairy Tales, just came out the other week as well so if people want to check that out your LCS might still have a copy!