Skip to Content

Exclusive: Michael Alan Nelson drops the dime on the spys in BOOM’s new Protocol mini

[[wysiwyg_imageupload:10400:]]

A very action-packed spy saga at BOOM! Studios will be coming in November from an unlikely source: actor Peter Facinelli of Twilight!

To find out about the Protocol miniseries, to be co-written by Michael Alan Nelson (Day Men, Supergirl), Cosmic Book News Managing Editor Byron Brewer exclusively sat down with the scribe to give him the once-over. Brewer filed this report:

Cosmic Book News: So how did the idea come about to do spy stories with Peter Facinelli from Twilight? Is he a co-plotter, co-writer or, as they say these days, “consultant”? (laughs)

Michael Alan Nelson:  Ha!  Actually, it would be more accurate to say that I was the consultant.  Peter had this great story all set and ready to go and the folks at BOOM loved it.  But Peter comes from more of a TV and film background.  And even though the mediums are similar, they all wanted someone familiar with writing comics to help script the series. That’s where I come in.  And don’t for a second think that Peter just had a simple idea written on the back of a napkin and said, “Here you go.  Make it awesome.”  No.  He had a fully fleshed-out world, a great story, and rich complex characters. And he’s been very hands-on in crafting the series.  

CBN: Give us the 411 on Protocol.

Michael Alan Nelson: Protocol follows a group of young men and women known as Orphans who work outside of law enforcement and military organizations to secure the safety of our nation.  Each group is a “family” led by a Dad who receives his orders from an anonymous group of handlers known as Grandparents.  But what makes this group of Orphans unique is the intense, and highly unethical, training that they’ve received during their time at the Playground.  At a very early age, these kids were shaped to be the best examples of human abilities, both physically and mentally.  They are the fastest, strongest, smartest people on the planet.  And fortunately for us, they’re on our side.

CBN: Your protagonists are a young bunch. Can you tell us about some of them and to which parts of the globe might they be “trotting”?

Michael Alan Nelson: Even though each has been broken down and built back up to be the ultimate spy, they still have their own personalities and quirks.  Parish is a bit vain and is quite happy that his “day job” makes him loads of cash.  On the other hand, Lewis is a bit resentful that Parish got the cushy cover identity while he has to sling coffee at a local coffee house.  Even though they’re all business, these little conflicts can come out every once in a while, and usually at the least opportune time.

As for where they will be, it could be anywhere.  It doesn’t matter where trouble is brewing.  Heading to the deepest corner of the world is the same as working in their own back yard.  Wherever they’re needed, that’s where they’ll be.  

CBN: And who is “Dad”?

Michael Alan Nelson: Dad is the man in charge of the family’s daily operations.  He acts as liaison with the Grandparents and keeps the Orphans on task.  But the Dad of this particular family has a black mark on his record.  His first family was killed to a man on a mission that went sideways terribly fast.  He himself barely escaped with his life.  But that failure haunts him.  And it makes his new family nervous. 

CBN: Mike, you’ve written a lot of things, but the spy genre is kind if new, right? How are you approaching it?

Michael Alan Nelson: Well, as I mentioned before, Peter has done most of the heavy lifting.  But story is story, regardless of the genre.  And one of the very first books I ever wrote was a spy thriller so this isn’t completely foreign to me.  I must confess, however, that I did have a chance to scratch my “horror” itch with some of the flashbacks to the training at the Playground.  Those darker scenes were a hell of a lot of fun to write.    

CBN: Do you touch on the backgrounds of these kids much, and is there any bonding factor between the spies?

Michael Alan Nelson: We do get a chance to see what it was like for them when they trained as children. These little flashback vignettes give the reader a sense of who they are as characters and why they are the way they are.  As for bonding, yes and no.  For some Orphans, it makes them feel closer to the other children.  For others, it only isolates them. 

CBN: How much of Protocol is you and how much is Peter?

Michael Alan Nelson: That’s a tough question to answer.  It’s like looking at someone and asking how much is their father and how much is their mother.  They might have their mother’s eyes or their father’s nose, but they are still a fusion of the two.  The concept, story, and characters are all Peter.  I just took all those great ideas and wove them into comic form.  I added a few things here and there, but this is definitely Peter’s story and I’m really happy to be helping tell it.

CBN: Why is Mariano Navarro right for this miniseries? Are you a fan?

Michael Alan Nelson: Absolutely a fan. And Mariano is great not just at capturing the fun of the action and that sense of motion and speed, but he does a fantastic job at conveying the complexities of emotion that the characters are going through.  My favorite scene is Parish’s flashback to a particular event during his training.  It’s a dark and emotionally complex scene and Mariano was able to get all of that complexity across with the character’s expressions.  Just simply fantastic.

CBN: What will readers take away from Protocol?

Michael Alan Nelson: My hope is that they’ll have fun and enjoy reading the series as much as I had helping write it.  And I think they will.  Protocol is a hell of a lot of fun.

CBN: Mike, any projects in the works or ongoing you’d like to talk about?

Michael Alan Nelson: I am also currently writing Day Men for BOOM! Studios as well as Supergirl for DC Comics.  And, as always, I have more projects in development which I hope to be able to unveil soon.  So keep a look-out for more.

Cosmic Book News would like to thank Michael Alan Nelson for talking with us yet again amid, obviously, a very busy schedule. We would also like to thank Brianna Hart of BOOM, who helped make this interview possible.

“Protocol” hits shelves in November!

Read More about Exclusive: Michael Alan Nelson drops the dime on the spys in BOOM’s new Protocol mini

New 52 Cyborg Superman Is Not Hank Henshaw

Cyborg Superman will be featured in Action Comics #23.1 for Villains Month in September for DC Comics and is currently appearing in issues of Supergirl, with #23 on sale today.

In an exclusive interview with Cosmic Book News Managing Editor Byron Brewer, writer Michael Alan Nelson explained that in the New 52, the Cyborg Superman is not Hank Henshaw, but Supergirl’s father, Zor-El!

And the biggest difference in the New-52 character, and one that I hope is common knowledge by the time this comes out, is that Cyborg Superman is no longer Hank Henshaw. He’s actually Zor-El, Kara’s father. Readers will have to wait until they read the Villains Month issue to learn just how he became Cyborg Superman, but that is the single biggest difference between the new and pre-52 character.   

For more from Michael Alan Nelson on the brand new Cyborg Superman and Supergirl, check out out interview.

[[wysiwyg_imageupload:10357:]]

[[wysiwyg_imageupload:10358:]]

Read More about New 52 Cyborg Superman Is Not Hank Henshaw

Exclusive: Nelson Gives Us The Lowdown On The Brand New Cyborg Superman; Plus Some Major Supergirl Info!

[[wysiwyg_imageupload:10352:]]

Villains Month is fast approaching and somewhere, deep in DCU outer space, Cyborg Superman is set to make his reappearance!

Before the leaves could fall and the footballs kicked, Cosmic Book News Managing Editor Byron Brewer exclusively sat down with Michael Alan Nelson who is writing Action Comics #23.1: Cyborg Superman to discuss this character and his return.

[SPOILER ALERT: This interview contains major spoilers for Supergirl #23 which hits shelves today!]

Cosmic Book News: Mike, tell us how you got involved with Villains Month and this particular villain for Action?

Michael Alan Nelson: I had been writing Supergirl for a few months already, so I think DC approached me about writing the Cyborg Superman villain issue because they wanted CSM to be a villain specific to Supergirl. The pre-52 version of the villain was definitely a part of Superman’s rogues gallery, and that was something they wanted to change. Since I was writing Supergirl, it just made sense to bring me on board.

[[wysiwyg_imageupload:10353:]]CBN: For the uninitiated, give us the lowdown on Cyborg Superman. Any differences in the New 52 model?

Michael Alan Nelson: Cyborg Superman is, in a word, unstable.  Though he is what some consider the perfect Kryptonian, he has conflated perfection and strength, seeing the latter as the pinnacle of the former.  And I don’t mean just physical strength.  He’s fond of asking people what they’re willing to do to survive.  In fact, I think that’s the first question he asked Supergirl when they first met.  Do you have the strength necessary to survive?  And in his twisted mind, only those who have the strength to forsake all others to save themselves are “perfect.”  It’s his subconscious trying to justify the mistakes he made before he became Cyborg Superman, even though he has no recollection of the man he was.

And the biggest difference in the New-52 character, and one that I hope is common knowledge by the time this comes out, is that Cyborg Superman is no longer Hank Henshaw. He’s actually Zor-El, Kara’s father. Readers will have to wait until they read the Villains Month issue to learn just how he became Cyborg Superman, but that is the single biggest difference between the new and pre-52 character.   

[[wysiwyg_imageupload:10354:]]CBN: In our last interview, we discussed building Supergirl’s rogues gallery. Is this a first step by bringing this villain to her magazine?

Michael Alan Nelson: Absolutely. At first it may seem that Supergirl is just borrowing another Superman baddie, but because Cyborg Superman is Kara’s father, the two are inextricably linked.    

CBN: Can you tell us the catalyst that brings these two super-beings, Kara and Cyborg Supes, together?

Michael Alan Nelson: Kara felt as if she didn’t belong on Earth.  Every moment there was filled with violence and heartache, so she decided to leave and search for a place where she felt welcome, needed, wanted. However, Cyborg Superman became aware of Supergirl traveling through space so he faked a distress call and led Supergirl to “rescue” a small planetoid called I’noxia. There he tried to offer her everything she wanted.  The I’noxians have the ability to use memories to craft realistic facsimiles of places, even people.  They could recreate Kara’s own little corner of Krypton where she could live with her family and friends.  A place to belong, to feel loved.  Of course, there was a price.  Cyborg Superman needed Kryptonian genetic material to undo his cybernetic transformation, thus returning his own memories of the man he was before becoming Cyborg Superman. In other words, he wanted Kara’s body. 

[[wysiwyg_imageupload:10355:]]CBN: Well, that IS different! Especially being her father. Er uh, back to Villains Month, Mike: What approach did you take in returning Cyborg Superman to the DCU? A lot of research into his past?

Michael Alan Nelson: Actually, no.  Since I knew he was no longer going to be Hank Henshaw, I didn’t want to be unduly influenced by what came before.  He may still be called Cyborg Superman and have many of the same abilities and aspects of personality, but he’s a different character.  I wanted to make sure that I approached him in that way.  I really wanted to focus on what drove Zor-El.  His own personal conflicts, self-doubt, and insecurities that ultimately led to his unfortunate transformation.  

CBN: What do you want readers to take away from the Action Comics: Cyborg Superman one-shot?

Michael Alan Nelson: First and foremost, I would like readers just to enjoy the story and revel in the tragedy of this character.  I hope that by seeing his genesis, watching him struggle with pride and ego and how those struggles keep digging him deeper and deeper, readers will have a small level of sympathy for him.  When it comes down to it, Zor-El tries to do the right thing but is punished for, well, not being very good at it.  And was it his inadequacies or is unwillingness to recognize those inadequacies that led to his downfall?  I don’t have an answer for that, but I hope readers have fun thinking about the question.  

CBN: What about the art of Mike Hawthorne? Why was he right to reintroduce this villain in September?

Michael Alan Nelson: Oh man, his art on this issue is just SICK! Not only is he able to capture the menace of the characters, but he’s able to really bring out the anguish and confusion, fear and surprise so many of the characters go through. He even captures that raw emotion with the non-human characters. It really is something to see. 

[[wysiwyg_imageupload:10356:]]

CBN: Speaking of Cyborg Supes and Hawthorne, I see the villain has a slick new redesign. Did Hawthorne do this work?

Michael Alan Nelson: That I don’t know. The new design has been around since just before the Cyborg Superman arc in Supergirl, so it’s been sitting in the pipeline for a while now.  

CBN: How do you see the cyborg as a villain for Supergirl going forward? Any master plan set for him in Supergirl?

Michael Alan Nelson: Cyborg Superman is the ultimate affront to Supergirl’s sense of all things Kryptonian. He’s a corruption masquerading as “perfect.”  And I have a few ideas about where to take the two characters, I do know that the greatest tragedy of their unbridled hate for one another is that they have no idea about the truth of their relationship. Kara has no idea he is her father and Cyborg Superman has no memory of himself before his transformation. They’re mortal enemies who would move heaven and earth to help one another if they only knew the truth.    

CBN: Mike, any project current or future you would like to discuss?

Michael Alan Nelson: I’m having an incredible time with Supergirl so I highly recommend that title.  I also have a couple titles for BOOM! Studios hitting shelves.  Day Men and Protocol along with a YA novel that I hope to officially announce very soon. 

Cosmic Book News would like to thank Michael Alan Nelson for taking time out of his schedule to answer our questions. We would also like to thank DC’s Alex Nagorski, who helped make this interview possible.

“Action Comics” #23.1: Cyborg Superman hits shelves September 4th and “Supergirl” #23 is in stores now!

Read More about Exclusive: Nelson Gives Us The Lowdown On The Brand New Cyborg Superman; Plus Some Major Supergirl Info!

Exclusive Interview: Michael Alan Nelson Builds A New World For The Girl of Steel in Supergirl

[[wysiwyg_imageupload:7913:]]Superman turns 75, Man of Steel debuts at the box office, comics left and right reflect the importance of this hero among heroes as they bear his familiar logo! So where does that all leave Cousin Kara?

To find out, Cosmic Book News Managing Editor Byron Brewer exclusively chatted with new Supergirl writer Michael Alan Nelson about the state of New 52 Kara’s life, her painfully slim rogues gallery, her differences from former iterations and where her life is headed.

Cosmic Book News: Mike, that was quite a bold move and very un-New 52-ish to feature Kara with her doppelganger from Earth 2, Power Girl, in your first issue. What led to that?

Michael Alan Nelson: I wish I could claim that it was my idea, but that storyline was already set in motion when I started. But it was a lot of fun to take such a great set-up by Mike Johnson and play with it. I’m really happy with how it turned out.

CBN: This girl coming of age storyline reminds me of when Supergirl was first created and kept a secret from the public by Superman until she was formally introduced in a Grand Parade. Is there any material from those early stories that you’re looking to get for the New 52 Supergirl?

Michael Alan Nelson: Most definitely not, no. I really want to come up with as much new material as possible. There will always be a core set of concepts with primary characters, their origins, their place in the universe, etc. But the great thing about the New 52 is that it’s really conducive to new stories, new ideas, new characters and situations. And though it’s nice to be able to mine older stories for ideas and inspiration, I really want to find something new. Supergirl is such a rich character and with so much to her story yet to be told.     

CBN: Were you a fan of the character before taking over the book with issue #20? What is it about Kara that makes you want to tell her story?

Michael Alan Nelson: I love the underdog aspect to her character. She always seems to be defined by her relationship with her cousin, Superman. And I want to explore how she comes into her own, learns to define herself on her own terms. Plus I find her situation simply fascinating. She’s lost everything and desperately wants to find a place to call home, to have a family, to have relationships. But all these epic-level hardships keep getting in the way of that. I think it will be fun to see how she’s able to create a life for herself while dealing with all of these situations. If she can at all. I see Kara twenty years from now, living a well-rounded, healthy life with a great circle of friends and family all while dealing with problems only a person with her strength and intellect can. But right now she’s not even remotely close to being that person. How does she get there? What happens along the way? And that’s what I want to explore. I want to see Kara’s failures and successes she experiences along her journey into womanhood.   

[[wysiwyg_imageupload:7914:]]

CBN: You have said you would like to add more adventure to Supergirl’s stories. How do you keep those fresh and different from those of her male cousin?

Michael Alan Nelson: Keeping her adventures fresh and different is always a struggle. But adventures are usually an extension of the main character’s own internal struggles. Since both have different desires and challenges in life, the nature of their adventures will be different. Some things may overlap, especially if they are dealing with the same villain, but I think their approaches to conflict (and choices of which conflicts to approach) are different enough to keep their adventures from being too similar. At least that’s my hope. 

CBN: Supergirl is in desperate need of her own rogues gallery. What new big-bads might we expect to challenge Kara during your run on the book, Mike?

Michael Alan Nelson: Oh, dear. That is a good question. I’m really looking forward to helping develop villains specific to Supergirl and I think “Sanctuary”is a step in that direction. And it’s already been solicited so it’s safe to mention “Cyborg Superman.” I know many readers are thinking that he isn’t Supergirl’s villain. And they may be right. And they may be wrong. We’ll just have to wait and see. But in addition to all of that, we’re definitely working to build her rogues gallery. It’s going to take some time, but we’re getting there.  

CBN: As we have seen during the myriad talent changes on the Superman family titles, it is not easy to write decent adventures of Kryptonians who are invulnerable and can do almost anything. How do you face this challenge with Supergirl going forward?

Michael Alan Nelson: For me, the key is the word you used: invulnerable. It’s an incomplete description of the “Super Family.” They are physically invulnerable (for the most part, anyway). So how do you create challenges for a person who is, for all intents and purposes, a god? I do it by trying to focus on where they are vulnerable. Their emotions, their intellect. It’s still tough, but if I can find a way to play with Supergirl’s head instead of just beating her up, I think it makes for a bit more interesting situation.    

CBN: This year will be a big one for Superman and his family of books, with new comics revolving around him to the Man of Steel movie debut. How will this affect Supergirl and what role will she play in her cousin’s life?

Michael Alan Nelson: On a story level, it’s more about how much of a role her cousin will play in HER life. The answer to that is probably more than she wishes he would. She’s still working out her relationship with him and isn’t fond of the idea that the world defines her by her relationship with her cousin. But on a meta-level, this is the summer of Superman. So I’m sure there will be some cross-pollination going on. And it’s going to be fun seeing how that affects Supergirl and the challenges she’ll be facing.

CBN: Mike, you have been known for your writing of indie horror titles. Will any of that horror genre slip into the Girl of Steel’s magazine?

Michael Alan Nelson: Yes. Though I’m really focused on bringing a sense of fun and adventure to the title, there are some dark things coming up for Kara. Those who are familiar with my work know that I am always particularly cruel to my protagonists. But the reason I do that is because I believe that when a character is plunged into darkness, it makes their rise into the light that much sweeter. The trick is finding the right balance between fun, humor, and just enough darkness to keep the reader on her toes. I admit that I sometimes lean a little too much one way or the other, but if I do my job well, it will all even out in a way that makes the stories compelling.   

[[wysiwyg_imageupload:7916:]]

CBN: What does artist Mahmud Asrar bring to the book? Why is he right for Supergirl?

Michael Alan Nelson: Mahmud brings awesomeness. Lots and lots of awesomeness. Plain and simple. He does expressions really well and I think that’s key for a title like Supergirl. Kara is dealing with some overwhelming situations and a conflux of powerful emotions that get embroiled together. Mahmud is able to really get that across, even in the middle of action. He really makes this series come alive in a way that makes it just a joy to read.   

CBN: Mike, are there any current or future projects you would like to talk about?

Michael Alan Nelson: I have new series called Day Men coming out for BOOM! Studios that I’m writing with Matt Gagnon with Brian Stelfreeze on art and I’m also working on a young adult novel that I hope to be able to officially announce very soon.

Cosmic Book News would like to thank Michael Alan Nelson for taking time out of his busy schedule to answer our questions. CBN also thanks DC’s own Alex Segura and Alex Nagorski who helped make this interview possible.

“Supergirl” #21 hits shelves June 19th!

Read More about Exclusive Interview: Michael Alan Nelson Builds A New World For The Girl of Steel in Supergirl

Exclusive interview: E-I-C Matt Gagnon & Co-Writer Michael Alan Nelson Talk BOOM!’s New Day Men Ongoing

[[wysiwyg_imageupload:7825:]]Vampires have been portrayed in many ways in modern comics, from vampire detectives to blood-sucking cows. But a new take on vampires and their world is coming in the form of a new monthly ongoing from BOOM! Studios, Day Men, by writers Matt Gagnon (Freelancers) and Michael Alan Nelson (Supergirl, Hexed) with art by industry legend Brian Stelfreeze.

Resident horror aficionado Byron Brewer, Managing Editor of Cosmic Book News, rounded up the writers at a mortuary near the CBN offices and quizzed them exclusively on the secrets behind this world of humans who do the bidding by day of vampire families that rule the world.

Cosmic Book News: Matt, as Editor-in-Chief of such a busy company as BOOM! how do you even have the time to write a monthly ongoing?

Matt Gagnon: I ask myself the same question daily! It’s definitely a challenge, but in the best possible way, and completely worth it. I’ve been sectioning off some time early in the morning to write, before I head to work. Frankly, once I get home at night from the office I don’t have much left in the tank. So the morning is the best time for me to tap into the creative energy. Like anything worthwhile, it takes a bit of sacrifice.

I have to say, I’m incredibly honored to have the opportunity to tell this story. It’s a story I’ve been dying to tell and Ross [Richie, BOOM! CEO & Founder] has been supportive of the idea since day one. I’m proud of what we’ve all built here at BOOM! and it really is a tremendous honor for me to have something published under the BOOM! banner.   

CBN: How will this combo of you and Michael Alan Nelson function? Have you two ever collaborated in the past?

Matt Gagnon: Mike and I have collaborated extensively over the years, but in a different dynamic. I was Mike’s editor for years on titles like Hexed, Dingo, and Fall of Cthulhu. Now, as Editor-in-Chief, I’m involved with all his BOOM! projects on a less day-to-day but more big picture basis. On series like 28 Days Later and Valen the Outcast we had some talented editors working with Mike; I was heavily involved with development, and then was able to hang back and watch the magic.

Obviously, I love Mike’s work. He’s a gifted writer. Mike was the only person that I wanted to work with on this series. Day Men is our first project co-writing together. As such, we’re still freestyling in terms of process. But in general, it goes something like this: Mike and I will talk out the story. I’ll go off and write a detailed plot. Mike takes the first pass at the script. I take the second pass. We tweak and adjust as necessary from there.

You could say I round up the kindling and ignite the fire, Mike gets it raging, and then we both sit around with a bottle of whiskey adding logs and jabbing the embers until it’s just right. How’s that for taking a metaphor past the brink?

[[wysiwyg_imageupload:7810:]]

CBN: Tell us about the “50 Families” and what the titular Day Men are exactly.

Matt Gagnon: The “50 Families” are the (precariously) organized network of vampires that secretly run the world. They’re present on all continents and each family has their own beliefs and way of doing things. Every family has their own allegiances and adversaries born from centuries of conflict.

Our first story primarily follows two North American families: the Virgos and the Ramses. The Virgos are an old and respected family that controls most of the Northeastern seaboard. The Ramses are older still, and control New Yorkand a good deal of the Midwest. They both hate each other. They’ve been at an uneasy peace since the Civil War, but the nature of their relationship changes when the story begins.  

The Day Men are an ancient order of humans that are trained to protect their vampire employers. We all know the sunlight is a weakness to vampires; the Day Men are their daytime fixers, their mortal soldiers.

All 50 Families employ a Day Man. They work within this dangerous network of vampire families, oftentimes a bloody and violent business. Other times, it’s as mundane as making deliveries or cleaning up “feeding accidents.” There’s some duality to the position. Some regard the Day Men as a sacred and honored position, others regard them as base servants, the snarling dogs of vampires. The Day Men go forth at sunrise, alone into the world, doing the bidding of their sleeping benefactors.

CBN: Who is your chief daytime protagonist and what sunlight challenges does he face on behalf of the vampires?

Matt Gagnon: We’re following a guy named David Reid. He’s the Day Man for the Virgo family and he’s relatively new to the job. David is on the younger side for a Day Man and doesn’t have much on-the-job experience. He’s impeccably trained, and is getting the job done reasonably well, but his struggle is in proving to the Virgo higher-ups that he has value and belongs with the family.

When the first issue starts David is thrust into a conflict that’s sort of a worst-case scenario. Trying not to give too much away here, but his effectiveness will be tested, and tested fast.

David is a cool cat. He has a little bit of swagger, and confidence that comes from youth. He’s not arrogant, but he’s put in the hard work over his lifetime of training and feels like he’s prepared. I don’t think he fully understands the gravity of the position just yet. He’s regarded within the family with equal parts cautious optimism and outright skepticism depending on who you talk to.  

He’s a man striving to earn his place in the world.

CBN: Matt, how did you ever get the great Brian Stelfreeze to commit to an ongoing monthly and what does his art bring to the table here?

Matt Gagnon: Brian’s art makes this project an event, plain and simple. He’s a master. One of the best we have in this industry. There have been very few times in his career that he’s committed to a long-form series like this, so it’s a very special circumstance. And believe me, I’d say the exact thing if he was on a different book. Any time this guy steps up to the plate it’s time to pay attention.

When Brian agreed to the project I felt like one of those characters who pull off a heist at the end of a movie. Me and Filip Sablik (BOOM!’s VP of Publishing & Marketing) were driving down to San Diego Comic-Con last year and I was telling him about Day Men. Filip had literally just started at the company; we had known each other for years being in the L.A. comics community, but we were now hanging out as colleagues and buddies. So I was filling him in on a bunch of projects and initiatives and Day Men was one of them.

So Filip says with all sincerity, “You know who would be the perfect artist for Day Men? Brian Stelfreeze.” My response is something like, “Uh…yeah. OF COURSE! Wait, you’re being serious …” Once we started jamming on the practicality of it, and the excitement creatively, we were getting kind of pumped up on the idea. Filip had known Brian from his days as Publisher of Top Cow and reached out. From there, we had a direct line to Brian and began to sell him on the dream. And as it turns out, dreams do come true.

CBN: Mike, what is your take on the function of these Day Men?

Michael Alan Nelson: At its most simple, I would say their main function is simply crises management. They’re the janitors, the errand boys, the handymen, the fix-it guys. Which, at first blush, sounds kind of thankless. But they’ve been let into a world that mortals aren’t allowed to experience except if it’s as food. Day Men have an integral function in protecting and propagating the fortunes of the family they serve. Because the thing to remember is that they walk in both worlds. Vampires can’t really function during the day and they need someone to take care of the “day-to-day” business. Even though vampires are immortal and live and thrive at night, it’s still a human world that moves and meanders in daylight. They need someone who can navigate that world. It may not seem like a very important job, much like a trash collector. But without them, the streets would be filled with stinking piles of filth. Day Men are essential to the world order. Without them greasing the wheels and keeping everything neat and tidy, the world would get very ugly for vampire and human alike very, very quickly.

CBN: Besides the obvious difficulties of vampires as employers, who are some of big-bads these Day Men might face?

Michael Alan Nelson: That’s the crazy thing about being a Day Man. The big-bads they have to face could be anyone from a rogue vampire to a mafia don who doesn’t like the idea of sharing his territory with anyone else. Human or supernatural, it doesn’t matter. A Day Man has to be able to step up no matter what the threat. If the family says you have to jump into a circus ring and wrestle a lion, that’s what you do. That’s why Day Men undergo such thorough training. They have to be able to face whatever comes their way. Sometimes it might be a handful of thugs armed with machine guns or a coked-out vampire armed with fangs and an insatiable thirst. And on those unlucky days, both at the same time.

CBN: These 50 families are rivals seeking power in the world, obviously reflecting the mob. In what form will we see these rivalries and power struggles in Day Men?

Michael Alan Nelson: The hierarchy of the 50 families is pretty rigid the closer to the trunk of the family tree you get. But things are more fluid toward the outer branches. The oldest families go back thousands of years while the youngest only a few hundred. Today, most families understand their place in the world and rarely do anything to upset that hierarchy. But there are rivalries and insults that go back centuries not to mention newer players who want to make their mark. So there are always machinations on how to move a family higher up the ladder. Or take another family down a rung or two. Alliances can shift or solidify, depending on which family supports/opposes another. But the most important thing to remember is that these families are in it for the long game. If one family wants another’s territory, it may take decades, if not centuries to see it come to pass. No one has patience like a vampire.

CBN: What is working with Matt Gagnon like? And artist Brian Stelfreeze?

Michael Alan Nelson: I’ve been working with Matt for years now and it’s always a wonderful experience. He really knows story. It was one of the first things that really stood out about him. And when he pitched me the idea for Day Men I just couldn’t believe what I was hearing. I remember when he was telling me about this idea over the phone, I couldn’t WAIT to get started on it. It was such a brilliant concept. And Matt being Matt, I knew that it was going to be more than just a brilliant concept, but an amazing story as well. The guy just knows storytelling.

As for working with Brian, what can I really say? The man is a master and a legend. You want to talk about a guy who knows storytelling. I mean, let’s put aside his artistic talent for the moment. Brian has an incredibly broad and sharp intellect. He’s able to see ideas and subtext and metaphor within a script and bring it out through his art in a way that is simply awe inspiring. It’s like handing him a roughly hewn slap of marble and he gives you Michelangelo’s “David” in return. Every time I see one of his pages, I’m at a loss for words. He really is just that damn good.

CBN: Mike, do you have any other projects present or future you would like to discuss?

Michael Alan Nelson: Oh dear, I have a lot of things percolating at the moment. I have a couple of other projects with BOOM! that are in the development stage. I’m also writing Supergirl for DC Comics and am working on a couple of young adult novels as well. So, you know, keeping busy.

Cosmic Book News would like to thank Matt Gagnon and Michael Alan Nelson for taking time out of their busy schedules to discuss “Day Men.” We would also like to thank Filip Sablik and Brianna Hart who helped make this interview possible.

“Day Men” #1 hits shelves July 10th!

Read More about Exclusive interview: E-I-C Matt Gagnon & Co-Writer Michael Alan Nelson Talk BOOM!’s New Day Men Ongoing

Review: Malignant Man #2 (of 4)

The first issue of this book was fairly good. I was skeptical when I first heard of it, but Michael Alan Nelson is a very good writer and he overcame my initial suspicion of the book’s theme and premise. This current issue has lost a bit of the intrigue that captured my attention, but has picked up steam in the action department.

Read More about Review: Malignant Man #2 (of 4)

Review: Malignant Man #1 (of 4)

I was skeptical, I freely admit, when I heard about this comic. A guy whose cancer gives him super powers? C’mon. Whatever happened to radioactive spider bites and half-forgotten gods bestowing powers on mere mortals? When I saw the cover, my thoughts changed to something more along the lines of “oh, another character with organic …

Read More about Review: Malignant Man #1 (of 4)