Jason Alexander: Bringing the Creepy to Dead Irons

Jason Alexander on Dead Irons

Dead Irons covers and Jae Lee Sketches
Dead Irons covers and Jae Lee Sketches
Dead Irons #1, Alexander Cover

As we’ve been reporting, Dynamite Entertainment is launching an original miniseries in February - Dead Irons. Written by James Kuhoric, with art by Jason Alexander, and art directed by Jae Lee, the miniseries is a supernatural Western, telling the story of a family with a dark secret.

Or as Dynamite describes the series:

Three bounty hunter siblings blaze a path of death and destruction across the Old West. Traveling by moonlight, they rip criminals screaming for mercy from their hiding places... but none is ever given. Each bounty is torn, broken, and bled dry before being delivered dead and payment collected in gold - no silver.

The Irons are the most feared bounty hunting killers in the west, but that fear isn't based on them being the fastest with a pistol or rifle. It's because they're the walking dead.

A lone tortured soul tracks them with vengeance and salvation driving him to end the curse upon his family. Those who he rescues call him savior, but those who look upon his twisted and scarred face call him monster.

Silas Irons is the only hope his brothers and sister have of salvation from the abominations they've become. But even the purity of his heart can't stop the unnatural rage and bloodlust building in his diseased soul.

A black curse turned these siblings into monsters but deep rooted and twisted family history made them into the worst kind of horrors.

We’ve spoken with Kuhoric about the story, and today, it’s time to talk to Alexander.

Newsarama: Jason - how did you get hooked up with Dynamite on this series? Last time we looked, you were working at Dark Horse, in Hellboy's world...

Jason Alexander: Well, things sort of came to a head with the Hellboy stuff and I wanted to stretch my legs with something else. Nick [Barrucci, Dynamite Publisher] and Jae [Lee] had approached a long time ago about Dead Irons and it just so happened he asked again at that time. The timing was perfect but the story was even better. After reading the first script I was set on working on Dead Irons.

NRAMA: What was the attraction to this project? Were you looking to scratch a particular supernatural horror itch that you had, or was it more of a match with the story's tone and feel?

Dead Irons #1, page 7

JA: I really wanted to work on something darker, grittier. Dead Irons was subject matter I've never done before. Drawing these dark desert towns and these Western outlaws, it's amazing. And really, werewolves have always been my favorite monster, since I was a kid. It's about time I got a script with them in it.

NRAMA: Why is it a such a good fit for your style?

JA: I don't think there's anything not fit for a particular style. I love seeing artists take on stories they wouldn't be typically type cast for. This one, however, has me written all over it.

NRAMA: Jae Lee is art directing this miniseries, so what's your working relationship like? Are you just working off of his designs, or are you working out things before you get into them?

JA: I'm working off of his designs. There's a mutual respect with Jae and I. We both really enjoy each others’ work. I asked him, early on, if I could play with the designs. Not to remake characters, but just to fit with my style. Creators tend to get a little twitchy about that. He basically told me to take it and run.

NRAMA: This looks like a project that needs to look "disturbing." But how do you do that? After all, you're talking to an audience that's seen every form of "disturbing" on the screen and in other comics...how do you approach this in order to give it a creepy factor?

JA: I'm approaching this as cinematic, and realistic, as mature as possible. It's one thing to see something gross or disturbing. There is typically a disconnect when you see the sort of thing. My goal is to try as much as possible, to get the reader involved so the gore or the scares or more personal. Resonate deeper. I spend just as much time making sure the pedestrian scenes are just as involved as the action. I think this has a genuine Sergio Leone feel to it. That makes it grittier, more realistic... and hopefully more disturbing.

NRAMA: So far, who's your favorite character to draw?

Dead Irons #1, page 20

JA: Cole. Again...werewolves.

NRAMA: Flip side of that - who's holding themselves out from you, that is, who are the characters that you're having trouble getting a hold of, creatively?

JA: The father. I'm figuring him out. I like what I've done, but I think by issue #3 I'll have a solid lock on him.

NRAMA: So far in the series, what've you hit that you were able to step back from and say, "Yeah - I nailed that"?

JA: Ha! I don't think I ever say that. I'm more the self deprecating kind of "well, that doesn't suck" kind of artist. After I draw something my very next thought is how to make the next book, the next page, the next panel, better.

NRAMA: Clearly, Dead Irons is something that Dynamite and James are looking to continue and expand upon. Are you in for the long run of Dead Irons?

JA: I'm signed on to do another series with Dynamite after this one. I'm not a monthly artist. I love mini-series and graphic novels. I'm into comics for the long haul and I'm really liking the guys at Dynamite. I'm in for seeing what's around the corner.

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