No matter how old he gets or how far he travels, the monsters will never stop looking for Frederick Allan. With his youth gone, can an old man still hold up for one last round with the beasts? From IDW Publishing, “October Faction” follows an ex-monster hunter struggling to bond with his family together while keeping his own demons at bay.
“30 Days of Night” creator Steve Niles spoke to me about how the concept came about, working with artist Damien Worm, and writing a new monthly ongoing series.
Bloody-Disgusting: Tell me how the concept came about.
Steve Niles: It’s something I’ve been working on for a little while. Basically, I’ve been trying to come up with an all-purpose horror story. So Instead of writing a bunch of four-issue miniseries like Monster & Madman, Breath of Bones, like these things I tend to do, I wanted to incorporate those right into the stories.
So in October Faction, the lead character is a retired monster-hunter. Just the fact he has that 30 year history of fighting monsters before we meet him gives me a lot of opportunities to delve some stories into it. It really is, I just wanted to do an ongoing horror title and not a high concept. I just wanted it to be Halloween every day.
BD: Tell me what interests you about the protagonist, Frederick Allan.
SN: He’s an ex hunter. He has everything I need. He has 30 years of enemies that I’m looking for. He’s hiding. He’s trying to have a normal life. He’s trying to raise a family. He’s teaching at a school. He’s trying to live a normal life while trying to hide the fact that he’s probably killed hundreds of monsters in his life. That’s what interests me in him. It’s his history.
BD: Tell me about the relationship between Frederick Allan and his children.
SN: Well I can’t! [Laughs] I can only tell you that other than when we meet them, the kids are already 18 years old. They already have a little bit strained relationship with their father. Basically, they know what the father used to do. They want him to do that full-time again because they’re kinda little creepy kids. And it starts out light in the first issue. They’re beginning to question whether or not they’re really his kids.
BD: Freaks of the Heartland is about the bond between brothers. Breath of Bones is about the bond between a young boy and his grandfather. Tell me about the themes of family that interests you.
SN: It’s everything, isn’t it? That’s what makes us. That’s what defines us. That’s what can destroy us, you know, our families. It’s a very important thing. It’s a great way to explore relationships. So I’m really looking forward to it.
BD: Tell me about working with artist Damien Worm.
SN: Well, I found him on Facebook actually. He was promoting his art. I wrote him. I said, “I wanna work with you.” I basically want to keep him busy for the rest of his life, if at all possible. Now, “Monster & Madman” #2 hits the stands. After that, we launch right into October Faction. We’re also working on a couple of other projects together.
He was a real find. He is a great guy. He’s fast, easy to work with. I can’t enough say enough good things about him.
BD: The ’70s are portrayed as psychedelic or as a “pivot of change.” Have you and Damien thought about the look of the ’70s?
SN: Well, I was raised in the ’70s. That’s my time period. Yeah, we thought about it. There will be flashbacks to the ’70s. That’s the thing. It will not only be stories tracking the Allan family in modern times and what’s going on. We will frequently flashback to the ’70s when Frederick and his partner were sort of mass monster hunters/heroes. That will be a big part of “October Faction,” those flashbacks.
BD: Tell me about the short tale, “When The Rain Comes,” you and Damien Worm worked on for In The Dark anthology.
SN: I wrote the story. He illustrated it. And it was very fun. I haven’t really seen the anthology yet. Someone called and asked for that. It was just fun to do it, a straight horror story. I wasn’t really going for a big hulk on that story. I was just going for creepy. That was really fun because Damien can really get creepy across. He’s a very good horror artist that way.
BD: What other projects are you working on now?
SN: I’m finishing Chin Music with Tony Harris. I’m on the last issue of Frankenstein Alive, Alive with Bernie Wrightson. And then Army of Darkness #5 came out. Monster & Madman also came out. I still write Criminal Macabre for Dark Horse with Chris Mitten. The big thing and my focus will be October Faction. Except for Simon Dark, I have never done a monthly comic. So October Faction is going to be my main focus for awhile I hope.
Interview by – Jorge Solis
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