We recently spoke to writer Josh Williamson about Captain Midnight, and during that conversation, I learned that his creator owned, all-ages book with Vicente Navarrete, Dear Dracula, has been adapted into an animated special for Cartoon Network. Plus, Henry Hill himself will be voicing the vampire, if that wasn’t enough. I asked Josh a couple more questions about this really cool opportunity.
You can see Dear Dracula on Cartoon Network at 7PM on October 16th.
iFanboy: Dear Dracula was a book you did quite a while ago. Was this adaptation a long time in the running?
Josh Williamson: We started talking with Kickstart, the producers, before the book even came out. They swung by our booth at San Diego Comic Con back in 2008 where we were promoting Dear Dracula’s fall release. It took some time but within a year we were all signed up and ready to go. They had made the awesome Amazing Screw on Head cartoon special. Vinny and I are both big Mignola fans, so we were pretty excited.
JW: In the beginning we worked a lot of the story outline and the scripts. Trying to figure out how to translate the story to a different medium, and narrow it down to something that worked. The book itself is pretty short and is a really simple story, so we wanted to add a few elements to flesh it out. Once it was decided that it was going to be an hour long show it short of went of on its own and we were just giving notes on the script.
We were less involved in the design of the cartoon than we would have liked, but the design is true to the spirit of the book. The only thing is that I wish Sam and Drac looked like they did in the book but the angular style was hard to pull off with the rounded life of CGI. I’m happy with the rest. It’s fun stuff.
One thing that’s rad is that they are still using the font we created for the logo. It’s really just Vinny’s handwriting, so it’s been fun to see that in the movie.
iF: How different is the process of putting up an animated special and all the people involved, compared to a comic that you’re just doing with a good friend?
JW: Almost too much to grasp. With the original book it was just Vinny and I in my tiny condo in San Diego back in 2007. I would sit over his shoulder and talk about the colors, and he would give me a hard time on the balloon placement. That whole book is just Vinny and I. We did the design and production of every page. I was even on the phone with the printer in China into the late hours of the night. The only other people involved were Jim Valentino and Image/Shadowline.
But then with the movie the production of this was all over the world. People we’ve never met were working long hours to make this happen. It’s pretty crazy to think that this small idea that Vinny and I eventually had so many people working on it. It’s flattering and also terrifying in a way.
iF: Ray Liotta?! Can you get him to sign my face?
JW: Sure! It’s funny. The whole movie he is just doing his best Bela Lugosi impersonation.
When they first told me that we got him I was like “HUNH?! ” It’s pretty awesome… and surreal.
iF: Is the Dear Dracula book still in print, or available in digital?
JW: Well that’s the trick. The book is almost out of print. Like super close, and we don’t plan to reprint it for a bit. So go to Amazon go to your local comic shop and get your copy quick, because they are about to become hard to find. Dear Dracula is up on ComiXology at a discounted rate.
iF: Do you have more adventures of a kid friendly Dracula in the files?
JW: We’d love to get back to that Dear Dracula universe but nothing has worked out yet. There was talk of a sequel, but… that’s still being talked about.
But in the meantime Vinny and I have Sketch Monsters with ONI Press. Volume One came out last October and Volume two is due out this February.
My goal is to have another Halloween themed book out next year. I’d love to do more all ages horror comics! There is a market out there for it. Kids love monsters and horror movies, just have to find a way to make them fun for all ages!