Growing up is a part of life; if you haven’t done it yet, you will someday – no matter if you’re 13 or 30. And in the recently launched Image miniseries All Nighter, a 20 year old art student experiences her own brand of growing pains.
Centered around an all-night diner that acts as the social center for a group of college-age adults, All Nighter follows young Kit Bradley as she tried to shake loose her on-again-off-again boyfriend while running into old flames and new mysteries. Consider it a modern-day Breakfast Club, and you’re getting warm – just make sure you tip your waitress when you spend the entire night in a booth with your friends.
With the first issue on shelves now and four more to go, All Nighter is a welcome return to creator-owned comics for cartoonist Hahn. Hahn got his started with the creator-owned series Private Beach, but has spent the past few years on titles like Bite Club, Fables, Spider-Man Loves Mary Jane and a variety of licensed titles for DC and IDW. All Nighter was originally scheduled to come out through DC’s Minx imprint, but after that fell through Hahn found a home at creator-owned bastion Image Comics.Newsarama: David, how would you describe the story of All Nighter?
David Hahn: It's the story of a delinquent young woman who's forcing herself to accept the responsibilities of adulthood.
Nrama: This reminds me of a term Ed Brubaker coined awhile back – slacker noir. Where did the idea for the story and the style of All Nighter come from?
Hahn: The original editor on the book, Shelly Bond, wanted me to pitch something to her that had story elements that involved either a teen runaway or a young woman who is abducted. A girl I went to high school with was murdered a couple years after graduation, and I never was able to find out the details of her situation and demise, so her fate was always this cloudy mystery to me, especially considering the last time I saw that girl. Another girl who was the friend of a close friend was abducted and never seen again, and I girl I knew briefly, who was the daughter of a well-known author, was murdered. All this happened in the same year, so I used parts of all those real life events in creating certain aspects of All Nighter. I guess it IS a slacker noir story. The art style came out of the need to draw quickly and small. The original format for the book digest size, so I had to use an iconic look that was easy to read and suited the story.
Nrama: The main character in this, Kit Bradley, seems pretty thought-out and not just a storyboard piece. How did she develop for you over time?
Hahn: I think I just write what makes the most sense to me. When I was growing up, my dad was very strict and I didn't have a lot of the freedoms that most kids seem to have, so I always liked stories, as silly as it may sound, of kids/teens who could come and go as they please. Stories of kids who could sneak out of their bedroom window, or whose fathers were always passed out on the couch and didn't care how late their kids were out. Kit's voice comes from what I imagine those "cool" kids to have been like. Of course, I fully understand that having an alcoholic parent who doesn't care what you do does not automatically make one cool.
Nrama: What’s Kit up against in All Nighter?Hahn: Kit is basically wrestling with the dark side of her past, which basically consists of her responsibility in the death of her mother, and trying not to succumb yet again to the petty larceny lifestyle she is trying to abandon.
Nrama: The book takes its name from the fact that it’s centered mainly in an all night diner. Is this an idea you came up with, or do you have some experience sitting in these types of places?
Hahn: I love the notion of a place a person where a person can live, without actually sleeping there. We didn't have actual diners where I grew up, mostly what we would call 'vinyl establishments' which could be any number of 24 hour coffee shops. Its there (Village Inn, in this case) that my wife and I first met. At one point in her life, she would frequent one of these places so often that she would actually have mail delivered there.
Nrama: As you inferred earlier, All Nighter was originally scheduled to come out of DC’s Minx imprint and was almost done when the line was shuttered. Did the shake-up change the way the book has finally turned out for you?
Hahn: No, it really didn't. I always saw All Nighter as being a step different from the other Minx titles, and not really a Young Audience book so much as a book a Young Audience would happen to like. With the exception of adding a couple pages, the book has not changed from its original version.
Nrama: What led you to add a couple pages once it wasn’t coming out from Minx?
Hahn: The extra pages were actually added to get correct pagination so that double page spreads and turn-page reveals still worked. Breaking the graphic novel up into five separate issues required some minor fixes like that.Nrama: With this in the can, what are you working on now?
Hahn: Right now I am finishing up a commercial storyboard job and I have a page from Murderland (Image Comics) and from another creator-owned project called Power Chords.
Nrama: Working on All Nighter is a return for you back to writing and drawing your own work as you did in your early career on Private Beach – what brought it on, and more importantly, what took so long?
Hahn: Ha, thank you. I have always wanted to write more than I draw (meaning a lot of writing and some drawing), but drawing takes a lot of time to do, so there is little time left to develop stories to pitch. I have been fortunate enough that most every editor I've worked with has taken me seriously as a writer and always listened to story pitches I might have. They all don't always get greenly, but it's nice when, based solely on my work on Private Beach, an editor gives me credit in advance for being able to write a story.