For readers who discovered his creator-owned work in the recently released American Flagg! collection from Dynamitc Forces and Image, or re-discovered him with that volume, there’s a lot more of Howard Chaykin to come.
Over the course of the next few years, Dynamite will publish the bulk of Chaykin’s creator-owned library of work, beginning with a trade paperback collection of Power & Glory, originally published under Malibu’s Bravura imprint in 1994.
We spoke with Chaykin and Dynamite Publisher Nick Barrucci about the upcoming collections.
Newsarama: Howard, you have a considerable library of work that would be a feather in the cap of any publisher, but in your words, why and how is this ending up at Dynamite?
Howard Chaykin: Not to be obvious or simplistic, but Nick asked me first, and made me an offer I was comfortable with.
NRAMA: Can you run down what materials this all entails? From Speaking with Dynamite, it starts with Power and Glory and continues American Flagg! and also hits Black Kiss! and Midnight Men. Does that cover it?
HC: As far as I can tell, it sounds like you've got it all. We're also talking about new material for a number of these titles.
NRAMA: Now did you have all the original film for this, or will this be restored from existing finished artwork? We understand Flagg! was recreated, but what about the rest?
HC: The answer to this is on a case by case basis. I've got all the original art from Power & Glory, but the rest of the material will have to be reconstructed.
American Flagg! volume 2NRAMA: What needs to be done to the art? Are we looking at Flagg-style recoloring, or something different?
HC: I'd say the process is likely to be similar to what was done with Flagg! - but I'll do what I can to not allow things to turn into the time wasting epic that delayed the first volume for so long.
NRAMA: What does this mean - all of your work being collected at one publisher under a larger plan mean for you as an creator - writer and artist?
HC: It should be noted that we're talking about my creator owned material. There are a number of other creator owned properties not included in this mix for various reasons. I'm delighted to see Dynamite publishing my catalogue.
NRAMA: Among the work that's coming up, is there any one that stands out as something you're anxious to either see again in a freshly published form or seeing a new audience react to it?
HC: Not really. Despite what some may think about my ego, I don't spend a lot of time thinking about myself or my work. I hope the material finds a perspective.
NRAMA: We've spoken before about American Flagg! was ahead of its time and still fits with a modern audience. Do you feel the rest of your work stands up in a similar fashion?
HC: That's hardly for me to judge.
NRAMA: Fair enough. We can't talk about the good without a mention of the bad – as you mentioned, Flagg saw possibly one of the longest delays in comics.
HC: No kidding. Published just in time for the collapse of the economy.
NRAMA: Are there steps being taken to make sure that doesn't happen this time? Nick has stated that the second collection will be colored before offered. Are you happy with setup?
I certainly don't want to have to make excuses for any delays. And as for such steps, you'll have to ask Nick.
And Newsarama did: Barrucci said: “We're reconstructing each series or chapter before we solicit. It's the best way to do it. There were mistakes made in the first collection, and the only thing that I can do is learn from those mistakes and not repeat them. This is why we will reconstruct each series and then solicit. Power and Glory is going through our pass internally to go to Howard and Harris (Miller, Chaykin’s agent) to review next.
“In my opinion, Howard is a god amongst creators. He truly, truly is. His body of work is incredible. I grew up on it, and it's inspired many creators who grew up on it as well. I don't think Howard realizes just how influential he is, which I believe is a great trait. This means that he never gives up trying to do his best. That's nice. The amazing thing is Howard believes in doing the work, and on time, and from what I've seen, many creators find it amazing to work with him.”
Barrucci also gave us a feeling for the rollout of Chaykin’s material:
“We won't solicit the material before it's ready. For those who choose to believe us, we've learned from that mistake. As we construct/reconstruct the material, and rebuild the audience, the new series/chapters will come out. In a perfect world, we will have Power and Glory come out this year, and either Black Kiss or a new chapter of American Flagg! hit the first half of next year, and then the other the second half. Then either the end of next year or year after, Midnight Men and the final two Chaykin chapters of Flagg! There may be more to be discussed, but I want to take this in bite sized chunks. Not just for our sake, but for Howard, the retailers and for fans sake. We want to be fair to all.”
The Power & Glory trade which collects the four issues of the original miniseries is due in stores in September and will run over 120 pages with a $19.99 cover price.