When it comes to the expansive world of Mike Mignola’s “Mignolaverse,” it is an honor for a creator to get the call to participate. Thus, when talented artist Jesse Lonergan was offered the opportunity to collaborate with the man himself, he readily accepted. But his good fortune was amplified by the opportunity to work on a new character. Who wouldn’t jump at such a chance?
So, coming May 17th, the comic world will get to see the results of that partnership: Issue 1 of Dark Horse Comics Miss Truesdale and the Fall of Hyperborea. Recently, we sat down with the talented artist to discuss his beginnings and his collaboration with the iconic Mignola. So, let’s welcome Jesse Lonergan to GVN Talking Comics.
GVN: Thank you so much for sharing a bit of your time with us Jesse. Since this is the first time, we have had an opportunity to chat, let us start with a bit of your art history. When did you first take an interest in art and comic art specifically, and whose work lit that fuse that inspired you to pursue it?
JL: Comic books weren’t really a part of my childhood, but I loved drawing, and I loved Calvin and Hobbes and I had an Asterix book that I read until the cover fell off. I don’t think I really got serious about comics until I saw an issue of Spawn in high school. That was the comic that got me into the comic book shop, and it’s kind of been a constant thing since then.
How his life’s Journey’s affected his Art
GVN: You definitely had me with Bill Watterson’s Calvin and Hobbes. Still my absolute favorite comic strip. You have traveled a bit in your early life, going from California to Saudi Arabia to Vermont and even working in the Peace Corp. How would you say those experiences affected your art and maybe how you see it?
JL: I’ve been asked this a number of times and I don’t really have a good answer for it. It kind of feels like, “Why are you who you are?” You could get a totally different answer depending on the day you asked me. Today, I think being the kid in rural Vermont who grew up in Saudi Arabia, or the guy in Chicago who’s from Vermont, or the American in Turkmenistan, has mainly made me feel comfortable being a bit of an outsider and thinking a little bit differently. Maybe that comes through in my comics.
Traditional or Digital
GVN: As far as your artwork goes, do you work traditionally or digitally? And, depending on your response, why do you prefer that method over the other?
JL: I do the line art traditionally and then color and do small edits digitally. I’d like to be better at doing things digitally, but there’s just a comfort with the physical that has been built up over the years, so I don’t think it will ever quite feel the same with digital.
Miss Truesdale and the Fall of Hyperborea
GVN: So, starting May 17th, the first issue of Dark Horse Comics MISS TRUESDALE AND THE FALL OF HYPERBOREA hits stands. Your collaboration with the iconic Mike Mignola. How did that project come about and were you at all intimidated in working with Mike? If so, you wouldn’t be the first artist to feel that way.
JL: He wrote me a Facebook message asking if I was interested in doing something in the Hellboy Universe and it went from there. In a way, it’s very intimidating because he’s an artist I’ve admired for years. One whose pages I’ve taken the time to study. He’s also about as successful as a person in comics can be. There’s all that, which is intimidating, but then in interacting with him, he’s been nothing but encouraging and supportive.
Creating a New Character
GVN: It is special when an artist gets to introduce a new character in the Mignolaverse. How much input did Mike give you for how he saw Miss Truesdale or did he defer to your interpretation of the character?
JL: With Truesdale, visually, it was mainly her face and hair which needed to be figured out and everything else was defined by the time and place (Victorian England). I did that design on my own. With her Hyperborean counterpart, Anum Yassa, there was a bit more back and forth. Mike had some definite ideas for things he wanted included from the beginning, and it felt like there were more possibilities for how the character could look, so we sent sketches and came to something we both liked.
Coloring in the Stewart Mode
GVN: For this project, you are not only doing the art but also the colors (and a brilliant job you have done…judging from what I have seen). Of course, anytime a Mike Mignola book is thought of, the name of Colorist Dave Stewart immediately comes to mind. When it comes to coloring, were there any guidelines that you were given as far as making it consistent to what audiences tend to expect or did Mike allow you to be you?
JL: I was a little surprised Mike wanted me to color the book because I do think of Dave Stewart as being such a defining part of the Hellboy Universe aesthetic. I wasn’t given any guidelines are anything, but personally, I wanted it to look like it fit in with the rest of the comics. That mainly had to do with the palette choices, no neon pink and blue combinations, more earth tones, etc.
GVN: Thank you so much for spending some time with us. Before I let you go, I want to give you an opportunity to share any other projects and where fans can follow you on either social media or the web.
JL: I have sci-fi space adventure graphic novel, ARCA, coming out from IDW in July. That’s written by Van Jensen with colors by Patricio Delpeche. I’m also working on a more experimental comic, DROME, on Patreon, https://www.patreon.com/jesselonergan, that I’m hoping will see an official release next year. It’s currently in the editing phase right. There’s also a tarot deck I’m putting together that I think will also be released next year from Liminal 11. And I’m on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook, I think I’m the first Jesse Lonergan that comes up generally. If it’s an Australian rules footballer, it’s not me.
Dark Horse Comics Miss Truesdale and the Fall of Hyperborea, Issue 1 by Mike Mignola and Jesse Lonergan hits stands on May 17.
Senior Writer at GeekVibesNation – I am a 50 something child of the 70’s who admits to being a Star Trek/Star Wars/Comic Book junkie who once dove head first over a cliff (Ok, it was a small hill) to try to rescue his Fantastic Four comic from a watery grave. I am married to a lovely woman who is as crazy as I am and the proud parent of a 18 year old boy with autism. My wife and son are my real heroes.