Sunday, September 18, 2011

All Pulp Interviews: Moonstone’s Return of the Monsters - Eric Johns

Cover: Dan Brereton
This Halloween, Moonstone heads back to their monstrous roots with the Return of the Monsters Event. Return of the Monsters features four stand-alone tales of pulp’s mightiest heroes facing off against some classic monsters. One of those titles is The Black Bat vs. Dracula by Mike Bullock and Eric Johns. All Pulp sat down with the artist to talk about this upcoming book.

All Pulp: Tell us a little about yourself and your pulp interests.

Eric Johns: I'm just a regular guy, who spent far too much time studying the way the world works and the best way to record it. After unlocking some esoteric doors, I found my path as a Comic book artist. There are no limits to this format, all stories are possible, no production restraints, no boundaries like other mediums have.

Art: Eric Johns
Having owned a comic book store, I've read all kinds of Pulp: John Carter, The Shadow, Tarzan, Conan, and Doc Savage to name a few off the top of my head. These guys trailblazed the way for the comic book heroes we know today. Pulps, directly or indirectly, influence nearly all creators in the comic field.

AP: You’re providing pencils and inks for the Return of the Monsters Halloween event book, The Black Bat vs. Dracula. What can we expect from this titanic throw down?

EJ: Expect a captivating thrill ride, with a harrowing glimpse into Death Angel's soul, as penned by the masterful Mike Bullock.

AP: The Black Bat vs. Dracula has a pulp hero battling a classic monster, a combination that even though done in some regards hasn't ever really been done the way Moonstone is doing it with the Return of the Monster event. What do these genres have in common and how do they differ in ways that complement each other?

Art: Eric Johns
EJ: Well both deal with the dark side. They both wield weird, often powerful abilities that make brawls and action sequences far above the realm of knuckles and the 40 inch vertical leap of mere humans.
The Heroes of Pulp fit nicely in opposition to the evil Monsters, completing the chess pieces necessary for battle. A battle between beings that can actually go toe to toe, or claw in some cases.

AP: The Return of the Monsters Halloween event brings back several classic monster archetypes to Moonstone’s lineup. How does this version of Dracula compare and contrast to previous versions of the character?

Return of the Monsters Cover Art: Dan Brereton
EJ: Well he compares in power and weaknesses, and is shadowed comfortably in the darkness, like previous incarnations. Mike Bullock's version deviates only slightly from the classic, he hides in plain sight at the beginning. Oh, maybe I shouldn't have said that. (laughs.) He has long hair, but otherwise it's our beloved Drac.

Art: Eric Johns
AP: What appeals to you about pulp heroes battling classic monsters? What was it that excited you about visually pitting the Black Bat against the lord of the vampires?

EJ: Are you kidding me? Anytime you get to draw one of the classic monsters, it's an opportunity not to be wasted.

AP: What, if any, existing pulp, monster, or comic book characters would you like to try your hand at drawing?

EJ: The Shadow, any of the Monsters, and Daredevil or Batman. My art style is probably better suited to Superman or Captain America, however, and I love both of those characters as well.

Art: Eric Johns
AP: What does Eric Johns do when he’s not drawing?

EJ: I'm a strange mixture of nerd and athlete. Athnerd or dorklete. I play basketball and Magic the Gathering, and love my comics.

AP: Where can readers find learn more about you and your work?

EJ: For those willing to ask, I'm pretty accessible:

AP: Any upcoming projects you would like to mention?

EJ: I'm illustrating "SGT. Janus: Spirit Breaker," it's prose style Pulp fiction. I could give accolades to this book and it's writer, Gentleman Jim Beard, but it's better to just relate what I told Jim. There is a fairy tale that he created, pure Jim Beard, but it resonated with me and my mind kept telling me, "I remember that story," as I read it for the first time. That is profound writing!

AP: Thanks, Eric.

The Black Bat vs. Dracula is solicited in August Previews for an October in store release.