Recently, Chilling Adventures of Sabrina artist Robert Hack joined writer Dwayne Swierczynski to craft a chapter of The Black Hood for Dark Circle.
The issue serves as a buffer to give the regular art team a break between big stories, and to give Hack a chance to dip his toe into Archie's dark, demented and fun superhero universe.
Hack spoke with us briefly about drawing the issue -- which you can buy digitally here.
Obviously you're best known around these here parts for Sabrina. And while that's not exactly for kids, it's definitely a lot less dark than Black Hood.
Yeah, different kinds of dark, to be sure. But even so, it was a really smooth transition.
The creative team on this book has been impressive so far. When you have a kind of one-shot stop over, is that a nice breather for you, or do you feel pressure to vault the bar?
With how quickly this fill-in came about, there was hardly any time to feel the pressure. (and yet, I was able to multitask and have a freak-out or two). Yeah, I was aware of just how great those first 7 issues are and I was consciously trying to, at the very least, not drop the ball.
How did you come to be involved with this issue? Obviously everyone's eagerly awaiting more Archie horror!
I was talking to Archie's Mike Pellerito and Alex Segura at NYCC 2015, and mentioned that it might fun to do a fill-in issue somewhere during the downtime between Sabrina issues. I was suggesting it for some point down the road, but Alex had the Black Hood in mind immediately. And as long as it wasn't going to conflict with Sabrina, I was all for it. And in the end there actually was some overlap, where I was working on both comics at once. So, I traded sleep for the chance to draw two phenomenal comics. Totally worth it. And Sabrina #5 is finished and ready to go, too. I've seen the Sabrina schedule for 2016 and fans will be happy to know that it looks like more issues, more often.
The world of Sabrina is a huge part of its appeal; you are great at setting tone. Is the kind of noir energy of this comic a great fit for you?
Oh, thanks! I think so, it certainly felt right. There wasn't much of a learning curve, I knew that world pretty well. I'm a massive pulp and noir fan. I think that comes through in a lot of my stuff and slipping into the Black Hood's world felt pretty natural.
Are there any artists who you're using as an inspiration for this book?
Michael Gaydos, first and foremost, because I wanted to stay true to his character designs Doing an issue in the middle of story, I wanted that shift in artist to be less jarring, while still being myself.
But I was keenly aware of the creative legacy of The Black Hood before I'd even started. Coming after the amazing Michael Gaydos was certainly intimidating, but one of my favorite artists, Howard Chaykin had filled-in just before me. And I had been a fan of this character going back even further. I'd loved the 1990's Impact series by Mark Wheatley & Rick Burchett and the 1983 Red Circle Comics with art by Gray Morrow, Dan Spiegle, and covers by (my favorite artist ever) Alex Toth. I kept a stack of all of these comics next to me while drawing the issue. Hopefully, some of that osmosis-sed it's way into my brain and onto the page.