Our three-part interview with Return of the Dapper Men's Jim McCann and Janet Lee concludes today, with the creators telling us of their hopes for a Dapper Men film and whether the Dapper Men will return again.You’ve heard it before: “This book isn’t like anything else out there.”
Well, this time it’s true.
Archaia’s Return of the Dapper Men, which comes out this week, is one of the year’s most unique graphic novels – something that doesn’t look or read like any other comic you’ve seen this year…or maybe ever. This “steampunk fairy tale,” set in a world of frozen time and extraordinary characters, has already earned such buzz as “a modern classic” from reviews, and even gotten fashion icon Tim Gunn from Project Runway to pen the introduction.
So who are the Dapper Men? To find out, we talked to writer Jim McCann (Hawkeye and Mockingbird) and artist Janet Lee (http://www.j-k-lee.com/), for a three-part interview that takes you deep into the world of the Dapper Men and their friends. McCann and Lee’s enthusiasm for their work is infectious – and they were more than happy to talk about the origins of the story, Lee’s incredibly elaborate art style, and much, much more...Click here for Part One Click here for Part Two Newsarama: Jim, I understand there was a recent exhibition of the pages…
Jim McCann: We had one at Alice's Tea Cup in New York to kick off NYCC and the turnout was amazing. People wanted to be a part of the launching of this book!
Nrama: Janet, do you see yourself doing more comics in the future?
Janet Lee: Oh yeah, I’ve been bitten by the bug now. And it’s challenging in some ways, because honestly, to come from no experience and knowledge of comics to having completed a graphic novel…I love it and I love doing it, I’m excited to take on the next challenge. And we’ll be doing a story in one of the upcoming Mouse Guard: Legends of the Guard anthologies.
McCann: And some future returns of the Dapper Men.
McCann: I’m not done with them.
Nrama: “The Re-Return of the Dapper Men?”
McCann: Oh yeah.
Nrama: Do you have any other creator-owned stuff coming up?
McCann: I have ideas, but this was my first time doing this, and I’ve come to realize just how much work goes into a creator-owned project! Once this is out, I want to work on my other ideas, and I hope I’ll be able to do them.Now that I’m writing full-time, I’ve sat down and starting another script, and it’s come out in more of a theatrical form, like a play. And all these other old ideas are going, “Jim! Jim! Pay attention to me!” We’ll see what happens.
Nrama: Any interest from Hollywood?
McCann: I will say it’s been shown around a lot since New York, where a lot of people like Publisher's Weekly and USA Today's Pop Candy called it the "Buzz Book of the show" so a lot of people want to see the finished book.
As for what kind of buzz there is at the moment…that’s Stephen Christy at Archaia’s job, and he’s been amazing at making sure it gets out there and in front of people.
Lee: We want to tell you when it’s a done deal, and not before!
Nrama: Well, who would you like to do it as a film?
McCann: We love Tim Burton, especially his original things. Brian Froud and the Henson Company…Guillermo Del Toro…
Lee: I’m a huge fan of his work. He has such a great sense of world-building and imagination that it’d be fascinating to see what he’d do.
McCann: And I certainly wouldn’t say no to Pixar! A boy and a girl can dream, and we dreamed of this and it happened…and what the guys at DreamWorks did on How to Train Your Dragon was just amazing, so we’d love to talk with them.
At one point, we were talking about this as animation, and at another, we thought it should absolutely be live-action. And another thing is we have an awesome art gallery in the back of the book where different comic artists have done their interpretations of it. There are so many ways this could go or be interpreted, and that’s a testament to the work Janet’s done in the design and characters.
How many iterations have people done of Alice in Wonderland or Peter Pan? It’d be fun to live long enough to see live-action and animated versions of this. Or a video game! (laugh) Honestly, I’d be so happy to see toys, like statues and action figures. I’d buy 314 Dapper Men. (laughs). We’re gonna go as big as we can on this!
Nrama: Okay, but let’s get people to buy the book first! And with that: Give our readers the hardest sell you can on Return of the Dapper Men.
McCann: It’s unlike any book that I’ve ever seen. It’s very difficult to me to compare it to anything, which is scary and exciting at the same time. This is a book that with every page, there’s a new surprise. It’s something that can be enjoyed by anybody – regardless of what type of genre book you enjoy, you can pick it up and get something out of this.You’ll want to read this, and want to go back and read it again once you get to the in. It takes multiple readings to get all the layers of the artwork and story. And you’ll say, “I haven’t seen a story like this before, art like this before – this is unique.” And it’s very exciting to be part of something like that.
Lee: It’s got action, it’s got adventure, it’s got mystery, it’s got romance, it’s got beauty, it’s got sadness, it’s got stagnation and growth…it’s got everything. That’s the hardest sell I can think of! (laughs)
Nrama: Anything else you’d like to talk about that we haven’t discussed yet?
McCann: I want to thank everybody in the comic book industry for taking an interest in a book that is rather different. We’ve thought all along, “Is this going to be a kids’ book? An adults’ book?” It’s such a difficult book to classify that we think it’s really created some interest. For a year and a half, it’s been our major focus, and we’re grateful that people want to read it.
Lee: I honestly thought my stuff was too weird or different for comics, and it’s so gratifying to have people take an interest. Words can’t describe how it feels. Thanks so much for all this support – it helps us feel like this crazy little idea might be something that people want to read! So thanks so much!