Zuda Goes Superhero With I Rule the Night

Kevin Colden on I Rule the Night

Last month witnessed the debut of a new webcomic at Zuda entitled I Rule The Night, venturing into the superhero genre parent company DC is well-known for but mixing in the dark and the macabre. I Rule The Night focuses on the orphaned sidekick of a deceased crime-fighter who's trying to find a way to bring his mentor back. His name is Shadowboy – his mentor was Night Devil. The first screens shown evoke some strong violence and some disturbing promises for what's to come – while leaving room for some black humor. I Rule The Night is done by webcomics veteran Kevin Colden, and was December's "Instant Winner" for Zuda Comics.

Newsarama: So tell us Kevin, what can we expect from I Rule The Night?

Kevin Colden: Expect anything but the expected. I Rule The Night is a deconstructionist take on vigilante superheroes, with a heavy dose of dark humor. Think Watchmen or the Dark Knight Returns if they were funny. The idea of people running around in tights fighting crime is really absurd, but we in the comics biz accept them as part of our language. I'm trying to pull myself outside of the box and write a superhero story how I think it would be written by someone who's never read a superhero comic in their life. In a lot of ways, it's not really a superhero story at all.

NRAMA: The inaugural eight pages give us quite an interesting start; A sidekick who survived the death their mentor. Shadowboy seems a bit off.. am I reading this wrong?

KC: Actually, you couldn't be more right. Our protagonist's mentor Night Devil has been dead for seven years at the start of the story, after working for seven years with Shadowboy. Their butler Carmine shared an intimate relationship with Crane Carlson, who was the Night Devil. But Shadowboy has flipped out in the time since Crane's death, blinded Carmine and taken to garroting people while trying to raise Crane from the dead. We find out a pretty big secret about our weird little antihero in the first 8 pages, but it's by no means the last. The pieces of the complicated relationship between these three characters will slowly be revealed in coming installments.

NRAMA: Let's get a vantage point on what this world is -- how super it is. Are there superpowers, or just vigilantes aka Batman, normal humans doing superheroic things?

KC: Our world is contemporary Williamsburg, Brooklyn, and the only heroic costumed adventurers in the world as far as we know are Night Devil and Shadowboy. We do, however, have some villains such as the Jazzmeister, the Renderer, and the nefarious dancing duo of Dr. Legs and The Torso. But no one has superpowers.

NRAMA: Correct me if I'm wrong, but this is your first foray into the superhero genre. Why'd you decide to do superheroes with I Rule The Night?

KC: This is indeed my first superhero story. I've always read superhero comics, but I didn't really think I would have anything interesting to say with a superhero - which is why it's not about a hero, it's about his sidekick. In my opinion, superheroes work best as a metaphor for something else, like Greek and Roman myth. Superman is our Hercules and Batman is our Perseus. So I guess see this as my modern version of a Greek myth.

NRAMA: You're practically a webcomics vet. You've done works at the Chemistry Set, Act-I-Vate and now Zuda Comics. How has webcomics helped your cartooning career?

KC: Webcomics have been the bulk of my comics career. It's so easy and immediate to reach people through the web, and people will read and respond to the work. I've said many times before that webcomics are the last nail in the coffin of the independent floppy comic, and I believe that even more now that I've personally seen it work with my book Fishtown. For a long time, the accessibility of webcomics, coupled with the fact they are largely free and anyone can make them, unjustly stigmatized their content in many people's minds (the "if it's free and on the web, it CAN'T be good" mentality), but the webcomic delivery format is finally being widely accepted and respected. I plan on sticking around until we move on to beaming comics directly into people's brains.

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