A Gangster Tale With A Twist
Old Haunts is a new supernatural gangster series by Rob Williams, Ollie Masters and Laurence Campbell, out in June and here’s Tripwire’s editor-in-chief talking to its artist Laurence Campbell for our third chat on the series…
TW: How did you come on board this as artist?
LC: I was coming to the end of my 6 year run on BPRD and Rob and Ollie spoke to me about Old Haunts. At the same time Axel Alonso was talking to me about doing something for AWA. The idea of doing a crime/ horror book and the opportunity to work with Axel and Rob again along with my friend Ollie was something take really appealed to me.
TW: You have worked with Rob Williams but not with Ollie Masters before. How was it to work with someone new?
LC: Although I hadn’t worked with Ollie I did know him well. I first met Ollie at a Punisher Max signing, he mentioned he was interested in writing and I had just moved to the area. We met up a few times following that, talking about writing and comics. The next thing I know he’s written a mini series for Vertigo and had a film out, based on the book he’d written. To me, Ollie brings a sense of confidence and he’s also younger then me and Rob so I like some of the fresh views he brings. In terms writing Old Haunts, I can’t really tell who has written what. The way the Ollie and Rob work together, they pass the work back and forth so it becomes its own thing.
TW: This is the first time you have worked with fairly new company AWA, after working at companies like Dark Horse, Marvel and Rebellion. How different was it working with them?
LC: I’ve been very lucky with all the editors I’ve worked with. Each time I’ve felt part of a small team with everyone looking to do their best for the book. AWA have been great to work for, certainly a sense of enthusiasm and scope comes across.
TW: Also this was a co-written story so what is it like to collaborate with two rather than one writer?
LC: For me, by the time I received the script it was as if it was written by one person. I couldn’t tell who wrote what. This is what you want realiy, it would be jarring if it was split down the middle.
TW: How closely did you work with the two writers?
LC: Very closely, I’d send them layouts for the issues and covers. They would also see the pencils and inks. If I had any ideas on page layouts, I’d get in touch and we would work something out.
TW: Old Haunts is a US based gangster tale and yet all three of the creators are British. What do you think this brings to the tale?
LC: I think it would have been a very different story if I had drawn this in the UK. The look and feel is really important to Old Haunts which is why we chose Los Angeles. We wanted a sprawling but isolated city, pretty built up in places but also space outside the area.
TW: How differently did you approach the visual look of the series when compared with something like your long run on BPRD?
LC: While working for BPRD, I had got into a mindset of destroyed buildings and huge monsters (which are always fun to draw). I had some ideas for Old Haunts when first reading the scripts. I wanted to draw the book in wide screen like I did in Punisher Max. Speaking to Rob and Ollie we agreed it was the type of look we wanted for the book but it also gave us the opportunity for when things go a little weird in the book when I can explore more experimental layouts. Most of the story is set at night around the city and this is something I wanted to explore when drawing these scenes. Lee Loughridge is the colourist on Old Haunts and he has done an amazing job of setting the scene in the book. The haunting glow of the city comes across really well.
TW: The coronavirus caused the book to be delayed. How much momentum do you think the series lost through its delay?
LC: The Coronavirus has been a surprise for everyone and no-one know the end effects of it. People are doing really well trying to get things back to a new normal. The book is all drawn so I’m really pleased it is finally coming out.
TW: Old Haunts begins as what seems to just be a gangster story but the supernatural elements are introduced quite quickly. What were the challenges for you as an artist to draw what is a cross genre series?
LC: I’d drawn both genres with BPRD and Punisher Max and I can see the connections between the two. For me it was important that the supernatural elements felt as real and as believable as the crime parts.
TW: In terms of influencing Old Haunts, what would you say is your favourite gangster story either on film or TV?
LC: A number of films come to mind which I believe have influenced Old Haunts – Goodfellas, True Detective, Collateral, Lost Highway and Drive.
Old Haunts comes out from AWA on 10 June