Situation Paranormal: John Arcudi Talks Abe Sapien

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John Arcudi has had a long working relationship with Dark Horse Comics, with the publisher being behind his hit series The Mask, and Arcudi regularly writing in the Dark Horse-published Hellboy universe. In October, Arcudi will turn the spotlight on a major member of Hellboy's supporting cast, the fish-man known as Abe Sapien. Broken Frontier spoke with Arcudi about the upcoming one-shot, and his involvement in the Hellboy universe.

BROKEN FRONTIER: This isn't your first foray into Mike Mignola's Hellboy universe; most notably you've worked on numerous B.P.R.D. miniseries, which have also featured Abe Sapien. What keeps drawing you back to this world?

JOHN ARCUDI: The short answer is I'm still having fun. The long answer is that I don't really write as well for other people's characters (or pre-existing characters) as I do for my own. After spending so long with Mike's characters (and some of my own, like Daimio) I've come to feel they're really mine, you know? If you count up the pages, I've probably written Abe more than Mike has, and while he really is still Mike's character, I have a sense of ownership. Real or imagined, that feeling helps me write the character better than I did at the beginning... I hope.

BF: How does your collaboration with Mike work on projects like these?

JA: It varies from series to series. Sometimes Mike is fairly well involved, other times Mike just backs away and lets me go. No real formula, which also keeps the dynamic of our creative relationship going.

BF: For those unfamiliar, can you describe B.P.R.D. and what their mission is?

JA: To kick ass! At least it is now. When Mike started, they investigated paranormal events and confronted paranormal threats. Of late, it's been a lot more about the Defense part of the Bureau for Paranormal Research and Defense as they fight off the Frog War, and the Black Flame, and Memnan Saa.

BF: This is a rare solo outing for Abe; what does this particular story focus on?

JA: Abe is heading out to investigate a haunting that follows a tragic accident in a small New England town. It's a bit more like Old School B.P.R.D. action than what I'm doing now. Quieter, and more personal. Spookier, too.

BF: How do you see Abe as a character?

JA: He's a confused fella, is what he is, but he's got a good heart. He's not really sure who he is, but he's beyond that now. He's possessed of a strong sense of justice, but he's not too flashy about it.


BF: Given that this has been said to be one of Abe's earliest adventures, what's the historical setting for this story? Will the era play a major role in the story itself?

JA: It's set in the early 80s, and the era only plays a role insofar as the Abe we see in this story is the pre-identity crisis Abe, but he's also the Abe that's still early in a shaky, not altogether successful career. As a result, he's both more self-assured, and less so, if that makes any sense.

BF: Does this tie-in particularly with any of the previous B.P.R.D. or Hellboy stories?

JA: Not really. I mean, there will be some oblique references to other stories, but it should stand well on its own.

BF: Can we expect any major revelations about Abe?

JA: Uhhhhh, well, he has a really nice scarf. Does that count?

BF: Sure, why not. So what do you think of Patric Reynolds' art on this?

JA: Patric is great. Very expressive art where all the characters have real, human (and non-human) faces. They "act" well, and that's the kind of this story this is, so it's great to have Patric aboard.


BF: Finally, what other projects do you have coming up?

JA: Quite a few, as it turns out. BPRD King of Fear is all wrapped up (script wise) and Guy's working away on that while I put together the plot of the first BPRD series in the next cycle. Right now we're calling it Hell on Earth. I'm also working on a Lobster Johnson series for Guy Davis, and an Edward Grey series that the amazing, legendary John Severin is doing the art for. We're finishing off the War on Frogs series with a great, great book illustrated by Peter Snejbjerg, whose work I love. When I think about it, working with Guy Davis, Peter Snejbjerg, Patric Reynolds, and John Freakin' Severin, it's almost too good to believe.

ABE SAPIEN arrives in stores October 28th.


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  • Eric Lindberg

    Eric Lindberg Oct 16, 2009 at 3:45pm

    The Hellboy/BPRD books are amazing. Looking forward to these projects. More Lobster, more Edward Grey, and Peter Snejbjerg on a BPRD story? Awesome!

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