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Exclusive: Steve Niles Talks 'Frankenstein Alive, Alive' and His Next Projects

Never one to take a vacation from comic book writing, Steve Niles looks to have an especially busy year ahead of him, with his Frankenstein sequel, Frankenstein, Alive, Alive -- illustrated by Bernie Wrightson -- his new anthology Creator Owned Heroes, Chin Music, Crime and Terror, and more. After the jump, find out what Niles had to tell me yesterday at WonderCon about all these titles.

"The biggest thing that's happening is," says Steve Niles of his latest projects, "because of some recent events – I did some charity work for the Ghost Rider creator – let's just say I'm devoting myself one-hundred percent to creator-owned. So I've got three projects set up at Image now. I'm doing Creator Owned Heroes, with Jimmy Palmiotti and Justin Gray. It's sort of an old Tales of Suspense kind of thing. Eleven pages from each of us per month, with constantly changing rotating teams. We're going to do that for about a year, and hopefully get other creators involved. But at the same time it's not an anthology. You get two creators, two art teams every issue. And interviews and all this kind of stuff. Then I'm doing Chin Music with Tony Harris. That's the one for which we're making our official announcement at Emerald City [Con], but basically it's a supernatural story that takes place during the end of Prohibition, and revolves around the arrest of Al Capone and Elliot Ness's career and all that. But it's a total supernatural story. I'm just leaning away from telling too much... Then the third is the thing I've been working on with Scott Morse – Crime and Terror. Which is me and Scott just doing hundreds and hundreds of horror stories and all kinds of different things. Then at IDW the biggest is probably Frankenstein [Alive, Alive] with Bernie Wrightson. The first issue hits in May. It's unbelievably beautiful. He's doing such amazing work. Then I'm doing the 30 Days of Night ongoing, that's going. At Dark Horse, Criminal Macabre is going. And we've just announced Nosferatu Wars that I'm doing with [artist] Menton3. We're having a great time. But if there's a big announcement, it's that I'm just doing creator-owned now. And this weekend, I have to wait to talk to my partner, but I'm announcing a new venture that includes publishing and distribution outside the comics industry, for comics."

Regarding his Frankenstein sequel, Niles remarkes, "We're basically doing Frankenstein in a four-panel grid [page], so it never gets really crowded. We're keeping it very open; but it's still very much a comic book. It sort of bridges between the two [media of prose and comics]. I'm not going to attempt to write like Shelley. It's narrated by the monster; it's the monster's voice. It's definitely a comic book, but with lots of spreads, lots of splashes, because Bernie's just knocking it out of the park. It's black-and-white, but, because of the tones, we're shooting it in full color because it's the only way to capture the tones. It's a direct sequel. Where the novel ends, this one picks up."

As for whether we could see a second sequel to Mary Shelley's novel from Niles and Wrightson once their current project concludes, Niles addes, "This one is twelve issues, but we know what year it gets us up to, and it really doesn't get us up to the modern age. It's just slightly post World War II. But the main thing is this is the story of the monster. This isn't him grabbing a gun and becoming a superhero. We're trying to follow the logical path that we think it would have taken. I am co-writing this with Bernie, so there's lot of his input."