Next month a new Abe Sapien flashback one-shot will hit shelves. We’ve had a few of these already, but this one is rather unique for several reasons. Most notably, this flashback deals not with Abe Sapien, but of his previous life as the American scientist Langdon Everett Caul. To discuss this issue and show off an exclusive preview, here’s the artist of Abe Sapien #27, Alise Gluškova.
Last January, Multiversity Comics featured a short comic, The Calm Before the Storm. This was your Mignolaverse debut, though it wasn’t the first time you’d drawn Langdon Caul for the site. Back in 2013, you were one of the finalists in our “Evolution of Abe Sapien” art competition. In fact, The Calm Before the Storm originated as a fan work too. Can you tell us how that happened?
Alise Gluškova: At first I drew only the first page of the The Calm Before the Storm. When I finished the first page I tweeted it to Scott Allie. He really liked it and wanted to see more pages from me. So I decided to draw four more to make in total five pages which are the norm for a portfolio, so I could show them in future comic conventions. It was fun to do those pages and I didn’t even imagine what would come next. When I finished the pages, I sent them to Scott Allie personally, not even posting anywhere publicly. I wanted to know what he thought of my pages. His response was unexpected as he proposed to make it as part of the Mignolaverse, because it tied in with upcoming story in Abe Sapien so well, which was an absolute surprise for me. I had rough dialog, but he polished and completed it to make it feel like a part of the book and Clem Robins provided the lettering.
He wasn’t satisfied with just five pages though. Now you’re doing an entire issue.
AG: I met Mike Mignola at the Emerald City Comic Convention this year, which was an honor and exciting for me.
After the convention, Mike Mignola and Scott Allie pushed some ideas while at dinner, and the thought of creating a story for me came to be. Quite magical.
It’s not just any story either. Icthyo Sapien, the one-shot you’re working on, is a Langdon Caul story, exploring a period of Abe’s life we’ve only glimpsed in the comic before.
I have to admit, this is very exciting for me. I may have told Scott Allie a few times that I’d love to see a Caul one-shot… And you’re certainly the right artist for the job; You’re quite a fan of the character yourself. Tell me, what is it about the character you like so much? What excites you about drawing Caul and the 1800s Hellboy Universe?
AG: I always was interested in Abe Sapien, but ever since Plague of Frogs I got really intrigued by the character and always wanted to know more, especially about his past.
I really like 1800s, especially Victorian England and Europe in that whole time period. So it’s pleasure for me to do a comic about something I really love and enjoy.
Did you have to do much research for this story?
Quite a bit research on 1830s fashion, hair and facial hair styles.
The 1830s were a period of big change for Caul. His curiosity had been awoken by the drunken ramblings of his Captain… talk of a Polarian civilization and a pre-human race that lived there. Caul spent some time in London after that where was introduced to the Oannes Society… It’s all very life-changing stuff. In fact, it was the beginning of a journey that led to him becoming Abe Sapien. It’s an interesting time period.
AG: Yes. Yes, indeed.
Knowing that you’re a Langdon Caul fan, was there anything in this story you’ve been waiting to see for a long time? Something you have wanted to read, but now you have the opportunity to draw it instead.Continued below
AG: I mean, I always just wanted to know more about Caul as a character because of how sketchy he was. And doing an issue about him is everything I wanted to see and read, though I never imagined in my wildest dreams that I would be the one doing it.
I bet you never imagined in your wildest dreams that one of your comics would have a Mike Mignola cover either.
AG: No, I couldn’t imagine. I was completely surprised that Mike himself wanted to do a cover for Abe Sapien #27. I tried to compel my inner fangirl from excitement and joy.
So, let’s talk about your process a bit. You work all digital, don’t you?
AG: Yes. I work with Photoshop and PaintTool SAI and my trusty Wacom Intuos 4.
And you’re going to be coloring this issue too, which is rare for a Mignola book. Usually Dave Stewart handles the colors for Mignola’s titles.
AG: Yes. It’s very unusual for artists to do their own colors for a book, but big part of my art and art style is my coloring, so the decision for me to do colors was made without much thought.
The other other rather unique element of your issue is that unlike the previous flashbacks we’ve seen in the Abe Sapien ongoing series, this story involves the modern Abe, a character that’s so far been only really been drawn by the Fiumara brothers. What’s it been like drawing him?
AG: Very challenging. The Fiumaras have created and established such a great design for Abe, it’s tricky to recreate. I have drawn Abe several times before, so I had some practice.
From what I hear, getting his expressions right can be particularly difficult.
AG: It is. He lacks many facial features, but still he has very expensive face, even more than before.
Well, I can’t wait to see what you do with Icthyo Sapien. And I’ll be interested to see what you do next. Your short comics on Tumblr certainly have my attention.
AG: I’m very interested myself, what I will do next. I’ve been tackling ideas on my own projects and especially pushing some thoughts on the Reinmund storyline. But at the moment only time can tell if there’s gonna be more.
Abe Sapien #27: Icthyo Sapien comes out October 14. Check out the preview below…
Written by Mike Mignola and Scott Allie
Art by Alise Gluškova
Cover by Mike Mignola with Dave Stewart
Abe’s memories of his life as a man in the nineteenth century come to the surface as secret societies fight over an object that could prove the true origins of the human race!