Pablo Raimondi and Klaus Janson carved out names for themselves with DC and Marvel's top characters and titles, but the former inker/assistant duo are reuniting for themselves in the new creator-owned title Sacred Creatures at Image Comics.
Scheduled to launch July 5, Sacred Creatures follows an expectant father named Josh who finds himself pulled into a supernatural battle between good and evil. While Raimondi doesn't want to spoil who or what the "Sacred Creatures" of the title are yet, he did talk about his and Janson's approach to the book, how they're splitting the writing and art duties, and how they first met.
Newsarama: Pablo, what’s the story of Sacred Creatures?
Pablo Raimondi: Sacred Creatures is a new, ongoing series coming out this summer published by Image that Klaus Janson and I created and are writing together. It’s a supernatural, urban-horror book with an extensive mythology that we spent several years working on. The first arc is six issues, and every issue is over-sized- except for the first issue which at 66 pages of artwork, so I would say it's actually monster-sized.
I’m handling the artwork for the first three, and starting on issue #4 Klaus and I will be splitting art duties - I’ll continue illustrating the contemporary threads of the story, while Klaus will draw the flashback threads exploring the vaster history of the characters. Once we are done with the first arc, the plan is to take a break to catch up and get most of the second arc done before we solicit again.
Nrama: So, who are the 'creatures' here, and why are they 'sacred’?
Raimondi: The identity of who the title actually refers to is a bit of a mystery that we're playing with at the very beginning of the series. I don’t want to spoil it, but I can tell you that you’ll find those answers on issue #2.
Nrama: Josh, an expectant father who enters some dark times. Do you have children - are you pulling from any real-life experiences here?
Raimondi: I don’t have children, but sure, there are aspects of what the character is going through that in a general way could be said are pulled from life experiences, particularly for someone in his/her early 20’s (sadly, I’ve been done with that decade for some time now). Struggling to make ends meet, finding the right balance in your life, figuring out what you are doing with your life in general… those are all themes that I think every one of us has to deal with at some time or another.
Nrama: This is both your first creator-owned book, and your first time working with Klaus. Can you describe how you two met, and came to agree on this enterprise together?
Raimondi: Klaus and I met through a mutual friend almost twenty years ago. At the time, I had only been in the United States for a couple of years, I was working as an in-house designer at ToyBiz (this was right during the time ToyBiz ended up buying Marvel) and I was still trying to break into the business - I had already gotten a handful of penciling gigs doing pin-ups and one-shots here and there, but there were no big breaks coming my way and I was growing increasingly frustrated. Another of the designers at the office knew Klaus, and he offered to put me in touch with him so he could review my portfolio and hopefully tell me what the hell I was doing wrong.
When we met, not only was Klaus incredibly encouraging of my work and generous with his time, but he also offered me a job as his assistant, which I took him up on right on the spot. The job was only filling in blacks and cleaning-up pages, but it was a lot of fun and I got to work with him in his studio, which was quite a learning experience. This was late 90’s, I think - I remember working on the beginning of his The Mighty Thor run with John Romita, Jr, amongst other things.
Nrama: So how long did that last, and any particular moments stand out?
Raimondi: My career as an assistant lasted for about six to seven months, and it reached its peak on the day that, during my lunch break at ToyBiz, I stopped by Klaus’s studio to pick up some pages (I would sometimes work on them at home), and then when I got back to ToyBiz I realized I had left my portfolio behind in the subway… including all 15 freshly-inked pages that Klaus’s had just given me to clean up. Of course, the pages were never to be seen again. It was a beautiful Green Lantern job by Mike Zeck for Legends of the DC Universe. Klaus had to ink all the pages again over blue line, and he neither killed me nor fired me, which speaks to his character. That was the last time I ever took any pages home with me, though!
In any case, eventually my career picked up and I was able to make a living working full-time as a freelancer. We remained close friends ever since, and many years later we decided to jump into the creator-owned bandwagon and do a book together.
Nrama: Correct me if I'm wrong, but I believe this is your first creator-owned work of your own. What led you to do Sacred Creatures and do it at Image?
Raimondi: There was one other attempt on my part a few years ago with Oxido, but for several reasons the book never saw the light of day, so yes, Sacred Creatures will be the first one to actually be published. I’ve had the idea for the characters in my mind for a while, and once Klaus and I decided to come up with a book together, I figured I would put it on the table as one of our options and see if he liked it. He did, and we’ve been working on it ever since. As for Image, it was always at the very top of the short list of viable publishers. We couldn’t be happier to be doing this with them.
Nrama: Big picture, what are your goals for Sacred Creatures?
Raimondi: We are hoping to create an addictive, immersive story that readers feel invested in and are eager to come back to and read every month. It’s the kind of serialized, long-form storytelling that the two of us have always been fascinated by, and we couldn’t be more excited to finally be sharing it with everyone else.