“The Artist Does More Than 50% Of The Writing In Comics…” – Howard Chaykin Talks The Shadow

Howard Chaykin’s run The Shadow: Midnight In Moscow continues for Dynamite and Byron Brewer had the chance to chat with the writer/artist about the new series.

ShadowMoscow02-Cov-ChaykinBYRON BREWER: Howard, how did it feel to return to such a tried-and-true character as the Shadow after almost three decades?

HOWARD CHAYKIN: Very familiar, and yet odd. I’m well researched, so I know my way around, but there was still some nervousness about it.

BB: What precipitated this new six-issue mini-series? Was it something you pitched to Dynamite or did the company bring you into it?

HC: Nick convinced me to do it—but it took a while for me to find the story.

BB: Were you a fan of the character before becoming involved with his adventures?

HC: Not really. My pulp interests were always ERB and REH, not the crime stuff.

ShadowMoscow03-Cov-Chaykin-COLBB: What can you tell us about the plot so far, as issue #2 of The Shadow: Midnight in Moscow comes to comic shops this week?

HC: Not a damned thing. Buy the book.

BB: So Lamont Cranston wants to retire, even though the world is on the verge of nuclear holocaust. How do the rest of his agents view this?

HC: Cranston is his own man, and by the time we see him here, he’s been at it for an awfully long time. I can’t imagine he gives a damn what anybody, his agents included, think about anything.

BB: The Shadow, like Sherlock Holmes and Doc Savage, has as a character operated in a number of time periods and ages. What period does Midnight in Moscow take place and how might we see that period reflected?

HC: The story takes place in 1950—and I believe in serious deep research. That should more than answer your question.

ShadowMoscow01-Cov-ChaykinBB: If Writer Howard Chaykin had a criticism or suggestion to Artist Howard Chaykin after two issues have passed by, what would it be?

HC: I’m on record elsewhere as saying that the artist does more than 50% of the writing in comics, a reality of which most enthusiasts remain completely unaware, and most writers don’t want the enthusiasts to know, as it would compromise their inexplicable position as alphas in comics today.

That said, the minute the writer Howard Chaykin tried to tell the illustrator Howard Chaykin how to do his job, I’d suggest fucking myself.

BB: I have always liked Margo Laine. How do you view the character?

HC: As a very capable woman who lives in a state of constant disappointment.

Moscow04CovChaykinBB: What makes the Shadow such a fascinating character to you as a writer (or as an artist)? How is your take on the character different (if so)?

HC: You assume I’m fascinated. Not especially. Since I haven’t read any take on the character in nearly 30 years, I couldn’t say how different what I’m doing is or isn’t.

BB: After this mini-series, what is next for Howard the Writer and/or Howard the Artist?

HC: I’ll be finishing the last six issues of SATELLITE SAM with Matt Fraction for IMAGE, writing and drawing a miniseries about a spiritual quest entitled MIDNIGHT OF THE SOUL, also for IMAGE.

BLACK KISS III will be along sometime in 2015, and I’m hoping to collaborate with Nathan Edmundson early next year.

For more information on The Shadow: Midnight In Moscow, click here.

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