Interview With George Michail, Writer of Cover of Darkness
Q: How and why did you start writing comics?
A: I’ve always loved comics, ever since I was a little boy. If you would have asked ten-year-old George what he wanted to do when he grew up, he would have told you “Comic Book Artist!”. I was pretty good at drawing, when I was little, but as I got older, I didn’t keep my skills up. After high school, I didn’t know how to go about becoming a comic book creator, and I was very nervous about putting myself out there creatively, so I didn’t. I was terrified of rejection, so I got busy working, travelling, getting married, and starting a family.
A few years ago, I was in a massive car accident. I fractured my spine and realized that life is short and that I should try and do what I’m passionate about. “Am I going to be afraid my whole life?” I asked myself. I set about making my first comic book. I spent six months writing my script and it was good, but when I tried to draw it myself… I realized I needed professional help. So, I settled for being a comic book writer and I’m thrilled to finally be a creative professional working in the medium I love, comics.
Q: What’s the pitch for Cover of Darkness?
A: How far would you go to find your family? Five heroes will travel unfathomable distances, make unlikely allies, and encounter horrific, villainous creatures they never knew existed, all in a desperate attempt to reunite with each other.
Cover of Darkness is a six-issue miniseries out in stores January 19th. However, this is just beginning! We have two sequel series planned and a few one-shots. It’s the start of a cool new comic book world. Set in medieval Romania, when a family is separated from each other, they encounter monsters and creatures they never knew existed. An epic journey where gorillas fight Viking werewolves and a steampunk, Atlantean Frankenstein topples cities.
What Chris Cam (my co-writer) and I have tried to do is to tell a story that, with each issue, has both a self-contained monster origin story and an ongoing adventure, where our family is on a collision course with those villains. If you love horror and/or fantasy, then this series is for you. If you like to read comics where something monumental and awesome happens every issue then this series is for you. If you want a sprawling epic with high fantasy concepts and endearing characters, Cover of Darkness is for you.
Q: How did you connect with the other creators?
A: Chris Cam and I are cousins. Every summer, when we were growing up, she would come and visit for a solid two months. We would hang out every day and have a great time together. She’s a few years older than me, and I would throw nerf balls at her on Saturday mornings, until she would get out of bed and come and watch X-Men and Batman: The Animated Series with me.
She loves books and to write, and she has managed book stores for the better part of the last 25 years. When I was getting into making comic books, I knew there was no one else I would rather take this adventure with, and I’m so glad she agreed to make Cover of Darkness with me.
MJ Hiblen is our series artist. He is from the United Kingdom, and I found him on Instagram. (You probably follow him too, he has a quarter of a million followers.) He handles all the line art and colors digitally on his tablet. MJ doesn’t use a pencil or a stylus, he just uses his finger. Crazy, right! I can barely sign my name on a screen. MJ’s work has a gritty look with a real kinetic energy to it, which fits Cover of Darkness perfectly.
We also have legendary Batman and Nightwing artist Scott McDaniel on variant covers. The covers that Scott did are very collectible, in that they feature a similar layout for all six issues. A big, angry monster head and a full body view of one of our protagonists, in the foreground. Scott’s covers are all beautifully colored by Sanju Nivangune. Honestly, I just cold-called artists that I was a fan of. They liked our scripts and agreed to join the team.
Q: Do you have advice to other creators, particularly those who haven’t been in the field long? Lessons learned?
A: I’d suggest starting off small. Making comics is a lot of work. Collaborating with people can be challenging and expensive, especially for writers. Create some short stories. Figure out what works and what doesn’t. Maybe start your own or join an anthology? Testing out a relationship with a new artist on a small project is a good idea, before jumping into an ongoing. Also, I have a YouTube channel, called Inside Comics, that is full of great tips, definitely subscribe to that.
Q: What is your goal? Do you want to make comics your primary career?
A: I love telling stories, and my goal is to have them be enjoyed by as many people as possible. I’d love to have a big, hit comic. I’d be over the moon to see my work translated into other forms of media, too. I’d like to play in DC and Marvel’s sandboxes one day, but if that never happens, it’s really, totally fine. I’m having so much fun just making my own stuff. Comics are my main gig, right now. I quit my day job. I’ve taken on some freelance writing projects and have two creator-owned series released by publishers. I am travelling North America tabling at some of the biggest comic cons. I’m living the dream!
Q: How did NYCC go for you?
A: Great! I love New York Comic Con and the city of New York, especially. Every time I’m in NYC, I feel like I’m in the movies. Everything is so recognizable there, almost like a memory from another life. The convention is great, because so many people from the industry go. It was nice to catch up with friends, and I was shopping around one of my new projects to different publishers, too. The attendees at the convention are cool, as well. They know their comics, they were smart and polite, but also direct and to the point. They know what they like and what they don’t.
Q: Do you get a lot of “George Michael” jokes?
A: I have a friend, John Delaney, who calls me “Careless Whisper”, and whenever I’m leaving early for another convention my wife insists that I wake her up, before I go-go.
Q: Where can people find out more about your work?
A: If people want to know more about me, follow me on Instagram…
There’s my website, too, https://georgemichail.com/comics…
But my biggest hope is that people will read this article and ask their local comic book store to bring in Cover of Darkness, from Source Point Press, for them. Order code is NOV21 1702.