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Joshua Williamson & Mike Henderson INTERVIEW

Interview conducted by James Ferguson



Nailbiter, my #1 comic of 2014 will be entering its third arc with issue #11, due out on April 1st. It's a very new reader-friendly issue that gives a good background to the story so far. I sat down with writer Joshua Williamson and artist Mike Henderson to catch up on all things Nailbiter and get an idea of what the pair has in store for the town of Bucakroo, Oregon.


James Ferguson: There's been a lot of build up to a confrontation between Finch and Warren over the course of the series. The cover for issue #11 shows Finch in the familiar and bloody nailbiting shot as seen in issue #1. What can fans expect heading into the next arc?


Joshua Williamson: The first arc is us setting up the mystery and the world. The second arc is about the town and how it drives people mad. The third arc is back to the bigger mystery. Finch is fed up and wants answers. So we're going to cut loose on a dark ride to find those answers. It's going to be crazy.


We're going to really dig into the history of Buckaroo. Warren is going to take Finch deeper into the heart of darkness that is that small town and its secrets.


JF: Although it's the 11th issue of the series, this serves as a great jumping on point for new readers. Did you approach the script for this issue with that in mind?


JW: For sure. We have two trades out now and I wanted us to have a clear point where people who have missed the series or were just getting the trades could jump into the single issues. So I made sure to restate the goals and themes of the title.


It was something Mike Henderson and I talked about from the start; how this issue would be and the build up to it. It's crazy that we're finally here. A lot of the big beats have been planned or teased from the start and it's rad that we're getting to them.


JF: The impatient part of me desperately wants to find out what really happened to Agent Carroll. Please tell me that reveal is coming soon.


JW: We'll get there. There will be more with Agent Carroll as we go. It's far from over with his past and his interactions with Warren and the rest of the serial killers of Buckaroo.


He's in the coma NOW... but he could wake up and reveal what happened to him and what he found out...


JF: We saw some pretty weird stuff beneath the surface of the lake in issue #10. What's going on down there?


JW: That is also part of the next arc. It's not at all what you'd expect. I hope not at least. [Laughs]


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JF: You probably receive a lot of crazy ideas regarding the identity of the latest Buckaroo Butcher or what's creating all these serial killers. What is the strangest theory you've seen so far?


JW: Hm. I'm not sure. Mostly people feel very sure that it's the bees. Or that there is no "THING."


People just want to make sure the end is not some kind of cop out. Some people want it to all be super natural, while some hope that it isn't. And some are worried we have no plan or end in mind. But we do. Oh boy do we have a plan.


JF: You have a definite talent for cliffhanger endings, which is especially true in Nailbiter with some breathtaking scenes. Do you write with these endings in mind? Or do they surprise even you in the process?


JW: Both? Sometimes they come to me as I'm writing. I've changed a few things here and there because I felt I had a better scene, ending, or cliffhanger. There are some nutty ones coming up.


I want readers to come back for more every month. That's one of the points of doing a monthly book. Also... personally I love cliffhangers. One of my favorite things of comics. I love when I read a good cliffhanger. So I try to pay that forward.


JF: Mike has created some amazing covers for Nailbiter. Do you work with him to create these shots?


JW: We text each other a bit back and forth; general ideas, themes of that issue. And that Mike just cuts loose.


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JF: Mike, Can you describe how you approach them?


Mike Henderson: Josh generally has an idea in mind before I even know what the script will be about, so that does guide it a bit. Generally the thought process is centered on the idea of how much can we make people squirm. That always generates a few ideas that we kick around for a while but we generally settle on an idea together pretty quickly.


JF: Do you have a favorite cover so far?


MH: I have a soft spot for #1 of course, but #8 is my favorite. Both in how it turned out and how much fun it was to paint. A bit labor intensive, but very fun.


JF: There's an impressive two-page spread in Nailbiter #11 that contains a whopping 40 panels. How was it tackling this layout?


MH: Time consuming! Not so much in the drawing of it, but the logistics of making all the pieces fit together. It's one of my favorite spreads we've put together. Not that Josh should take that as any indication I want to do it every issue.


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JF: How did Mike react to that layout?


JW: Ha, well I was worried at first. But Mike was more annoyed with how many pages were of just Warren and Finch talking in a kitchen. I'm going to try to avoid scenes in kitchens in the future.


JF: On a scale of 1 to the way Tom Hanks looked in The Polar Express, how creepy is Warren?


JW: Not as creepy as Polar Express but pretty creepy. The eyes, man. The eyes...


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JF: Do you have a favorite Buckaroo Butcher?


JW: Warren. The Nailbiter. Followed by The Blonde. There are a few interesting ones that are pretty messed up, but Warren will always be my favorite. It's why he is the star.


HorrorTalk would like to thank Joshua Williamson and Mike Henderson for taking the time to chat with us. The first two Nailbiter trade paperbacks, collecting issues #1 - #10, are available now. Issue #11 is set for release on April 1st, 2015.


Nailbiter Volume 1 Cover
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Nailbiter 11 Cover
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About The Author
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James has a 2nd grade reading level and, as a result, only reads books with pictures. Horror is his 5th favorite genre right after romantic comedy and just before silent films. No one knows why he's here, but he won't leave.
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