This week see the return to the Baltimore universe with the long-awaited release of Lady Baltimore: The Witch Queens from Dark Horse comics. The series is co-written by Mike Mignola and Christopher Golden, with art by Bridgit Connell, colours by Michelle Madsen, and covers by Hugo Award-winning illustrator Abigail Larson. We got a chance to sit down with the author Christopher Golden to talk about Baltimore. Christopher Golden has written a wide range of novels and comics, some of these include Angel, Baltimore, Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Hellboy just to name a few.
Hi Christopher we are so excited to have you here with us today, we have been fans of your work for a very long time. We are so delighted that you are here to talk with us.
CG: Thanks so much!
You have been part of the Baltimore universe right from the beginning, how does it feel to be still creating in the Baltimore universe?
CG: It’s fantastic. When Mike and I created Baltimore in the novel Baltimore, or, The Steadfast Tin Soldier and the Vampire, we had some thoughts about there being a sequel at some point. But we never dreamed that it would grow to be this enormous mythology that goes back to the beginning of time, and the idea that it would become its own comic book universe never occurred to us. But then Joe Golem happened, and over time it grew organically into this much larger thing. Ideas and characters kept presenting themselves, and now it’s something I spend so much time thinking about, and I just want to keep exploring. And who could be anything but thrilled with the artists we’ve collaborated with while creating the Outerverse? Ben Stenbeck, Patric Reynolds, Peter Bergting, and Bridgit Connell. What a rogues’ gallery that is!
You have been working with Mike Mignola for quite a long time, what’s it like working with Mike Mignola?
CG: As of this year, Mike and I have been working together for a quarter century, which is insane. We started way back when I persuaded him to let me write the first Hellboy novel, The Lost Army, which came out in 1997. I’d like to think we’ve been positive influences on one another. We share a certain frame of reference and a lot of similar interests, but our approaches have always been very different. My mind is always searching for explanations for things, trying to force order onto a story, and Mike’s much more about the weirdness and the beauty and not so much about explanation. Working with him has always inspired me by giving me the freedom to NOT explain something, to let the weird and beautiful just be weird and beautiful.
What can you tell us about the first issue of Lady Baltimore: The Witch Queens?
CG: Thirteen years ago, Sofia Baltimore took part in a battle that decided the fate of the world. Her husband—her closest friend, Lord Baltimore—died during that battle. The great evil of the Red King was destroyed, but that didn’t drive all evil from the world. There are still monsters, there’s still darkness. It took time to begin to gather but now, as World War II begins and the Nazis ally themselves with a congregation of witches called the Hexenkorps, Lady Baltimore has gathered a small group of her own allies to combat the insidious evil and the monsters popping up around Europe. In the first issue, she encounters an old ally, Judge Rigo, who tells her that stories abound about Baltimore’s ghost appearing in various places. He needs her help in his own work against the Nazis, and if she’ll help him, he’ll help her get to the bottom of the stories of Baltimore’s wandering ghost. Of course, that’s just the first step in a dark, epic story of war, evil, love, and resurrection—but not the way you might think.
When you and Mike Mignola are writing together how does that work? Do you write the plot together? Do you write the script together?
CG: It really differs from project to project. Most of our work together is done on the phone. Sometimes Mike has a lot of plot elements in his head and we talk them out, or he’ll write down ideas. Sometimes I’ve dreamt up most of a story already. Either way, we hash it out, and then I’ll put flesh on the bones and run it all by him for his take on it all. The best part is that many of these characters and stories are big, sometimes epic, and Mike always has the ability to pull out the essence of a thing, to carve off the fat, whether in the plot or in the dialogue. When I started as a comics writer, I would overexplain everything, and Mike has done his best to cure me of that.
The Lady Baltimore: The Witch Queens comic includes the talent of Bridgit Connell, Michelle Madsen and Abigail Larson. How did they join the Lady Baltimore comic and what has it been like working with them?
CG: Michelle has been the colorist on most of the previous Outerverse comics, and she’s fantastic. I wouldn’t want it any other way. With Bridgit—Katii and I had a long, ongoing email chain and various phone calls as we built a list of potential artists for this book, searching for someone who could bring the right combination of action and movement, who could do the kinds of backgrounds and visual world-building these stories need, and who could give life to the characters’ faces the way we wanted. We winnowed that list down to two or three people and then presented them to Mike. Katii and I had Bridgit as our first choice, but I don’t think we told Mike that. He had met Bridgit before, and loved her work. What I’ve found, working with Mike, is that he has a great eye for artists who are already really good but who have it in them to really level up, and he saw that in Bridgit…and boy, was he right. With Abigail, that was a Katii and Mike decision, but I’m so glad they made it. Abigail’s covers give Lady Baltimore a gorgeous, distinctive style that sets the series apart.
Some of our readers maybe not be familiar with the Baltimore novel and the comic series, is Lady Baltimore: The Witch Queens #1 new reader-friendly?
CG: Absolutely. My hope is that new readers will pick up Lady Baltimore #1 and, though they shouldn’t need to read Baltimore to understand it, they’ll be intrigued enough to go back to the beginning. Fortunately, the whole Baltimore story is available in two gorgeous, affordable omnibuses—check ’em out!
Any message for the ComicBuzz readers?
CG: Just a thanks in advance to readers who are willing to give Lady Baltimore: The Witch Queens #1 a shot. It’s a wild ride with a new hero I hope you’ll love as much as we do. Sofia is her own woman, with her own mission, and I can’t wait for people to see where it takes her!
We would like to say a big thank you to Christopher for taking the time to talk with us, Lady Baltimore: The Witch Queens #1 is out this week from Dark Horse comics.