We recently talked to Image Comics Horror/Comedy series Vinyl writer Doug Wagner. During our interview, we touched on the new 5 issue series and his great collaboration with artist Daniel Hillyard. Well obviously, we need to give Daniel equal time. So let’s welcome artist Daniel Hillyard to GVN’s Talking Comics, Interview.
DH: Hi, nice to meet you.
DH: [Laughs] I see what you did there. I always loved drawing for as long as I can remember. Then, I picked up a big box of Alien and Predator comics from a car boot sale as a child. I was really into those films (I know I should not have been watching them at my age, but I loved them), and when I read those books, it just blew me away. After, I borrowed the “How To Draw Comics The Marvel Way” from a friend, I was hooked.
You know, I really like manga too! When I was in school, it was popular to draw in the manga style. I looked up to people like Otomo and Toriyama whilst copying Byrne and Kubert. Then it just spiraled from there. Brian Stelfreeze, Cully Hamner, Frank Quitely, Cory Walker, Ryan Ottley, Greg Capullo. The list could go on forever. So many artists just blow me away. I look at something that someone is doing with, spot blacks for example, and just think, “That is insane! How can I incorporate something like that into my own work?”
Working with Doug
DH: This is an easy answer. For me, it was Doug. He is such a gent. We just clicked. Everything about working together was just great! We gelled really well and have become really good friends.
DH: We are so blessed with all the love out there for Plastic! If I remember correctly, Doug and I had just finished or were coming to the end of another book and wanted to start work on something new. Doug had a list of potential ideas that he had brewing and asked me to have a read through them. (See what I mean by such a gent.) Plastic was tucked away at the bottom of the list. A retired serial killer in love with a blow-up sex doll. I just knew when reading those words, that was the one.
Turns out, that was the one that Doug really wanted to do as well. I guess neither of us knew how crazy each of us was then [laughs]. When we first started pitching the book there was some initial trepidation. But we really believed in it and were willing to do anything to make it. Doug and Keven at 12-Gauge Comics pitched the book in a meeting with Eric Stephenson for Image Comics and the rest is history.
The Groundwork for Vinyl
DH: Pretty much as soon as we finished Plastic. We had a few other projects that we needed to finish up. So, it took some time and then Covid delayed the release of Vinyl, but we knew as soon as we finished Plastic, that we had found our speed. The horror and comedy elements were something that we both had so much fun with, we just knew that we could keep playing there forever.
DH: DNA is a brilliant way to put it. We knew we’d found our gear with Plastic and wanted some of those same flavours for Vinyl. With each story, Doug and I are trying to work with contrasting themes. In Plastic we played around with Love and Horror a lot, trying to intersect them in unusual ways to create something unsettling. With Vinyl, beauty and horror are the themes at play.
DH: We talk about real life and fictional serial killers quite a bit. For example, the cult elements of the story came from a talk about Manson’s cult of flower-girls singing outside the courthouse during his trial.
How Collaboration Works
DH: Doug has this brilliant ability to just absorb and work elements into the story that I would never have thought of. It might be something we’ve talked about the night before or something in a character design that I wouldn’t have thought of as a focal point. But he sees it and builds it into the story and creates a whole other depth that I would have never imagined. We tend to work our way through a book together, going scene by scene, reviewing everything as we go. That way if ideas come up along the road it’s easier to incorporate them into the story naturally, and in a way that would be impossible if we didn’t work as close.
DH: That’s very kind of you to say, but honestly, there isn’t a line when it comes to the gore [laughs].
A Possible Third in the Works
DH: There is a third part in there. From the beginning, we had thought of doing a trilogy of sorts in this universe, but other than that, I’m not sure how much I can say without getting my head chopped off [laughs].
DH: I can’t really say much (always seems to be the way), but Doug and I are cooking something up as we speak. Thank you so much for taking the time to chat. It’s been a blast!
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.