This week sees the release of the first two issues of The All-Nighter, the new Comixology Originals series from writer Chip Zdarsky, artist Jason Loo, colorist Paris Alleyne, and letterer Aditya Bidikar. The five-issue series follows a group of vampires who live and work at an all-night diner, and what happens after two of them start venturing out to protect humankind as superheroes.
The All-Nighter is the latest collaboration between Zdarsky and Loo, who previously teamed for the Comixology Originals series Afterlift, which won an Eisner Award for Best Digital Comic in 2020. The Beat chatted with Loo about the development of The All-Nighter, the pressure of past success, designing a slew of new superheroes, and more.
Joe Grunenwald: Was The All-Nighter an idea Chip came to you with, or did you two develop it together?
Jason Loo: Chip and I were pitching ideas to each other after we wrapped up on Afterlift. I actually told him “let’s not involve any superheroes” in our next project because I liked how Afterlift has this universal theme that any reader can relate to. So when Chip asked what story I feel like drawing, I pitched an all-night diner run by a family of vampires from different backgrounds who are trying to survive the working world without killing anyone for blood. Then Chip ran with it and came back to add…SUPERHEROES! As well as other monsters. So now these vampires have a superhero identity on top of their secret identity of being vampires. Chip added another layer to these characters which makes this title a lot more interesting.
Grunenwald: This is your second project with Chip after the Eisner-winning Afterlift. Did the success of the previous book add any extra pressure for you as you worked on The All-Nighter?
Loo: Kind of. This is actually the first comic I worked on digitally so it took me some time to get used to it. Plus, I was drawing these pages during the start of the pandemic when everything felt uncertain. So there was all sorts of pressure. But I got more and more comfortable working digitally with each issue as the events in the story escalates.
Grunenwald: What’s your experience like working with a writer who is also an artist? Does it make it easier or more challenging for you?
Loo: Chip definitely knows how much detail and action can be written in each panel on a script. He also trusts me if I were to take things in a different direction as long as it fits the story. And when I do get his editing notes, he describes them very clearly for a visual person like myself.
Grunenwald: You’ve designed a number of new superheroes for this book, some of whom are ‘in the real world’ of the book and some who are ‘fictional’ in movies and comics. What makes for a good superhero design in your mind? Did you approach designing the ‘real’ heroes differently than the ‘fictional’ ones?
Loo: When I was drawing the costumes for our heroes Alex and Joy, I had to guess how creative and inventive they would be with their superhero identities and costumes. Alex is so super into the superhero stuff so of course his costume will look more like an amazing cosplay you’d find at a comic convention. Joy is halfway into it, so she’s diving into her closet and seeing what she can repurpose, like her vintage track jacket and activewear leggings. The fictional ones in the comic were definitely inspired by the Marvel and DC films spanning from the last ten years.
Grunenwald: Who’s your favorite character in the book to draw, and why?
Loo: Early on, it has been Alex and Joy in their Nightshock and Nightkick costumes. They’re just so fun to draw in action. Dammit, I didn’t know I’d find myself enjoy drawing superheroes again. Thanks, Chip!
Grunenwald: What are you excited for readers to see when they check out The All-Nighter?
Loo: Well, Halloween is coming up and we got a lot of awesome surprises throughout the series and it starts with issue one! I think anyone who’s into horror or monsters will appreciate our take on some of these characters.
Grunenwald: Finally, I know you dabble in action figure customizing. Have you made any figures for the characters in The All-Nighter yet? They’d be right at home in the Super Powers Collection.
Loo: Not yet. But since our comic series will be adapted into a TV series by Amazon Studios, I would love to see The All-Nighter characters in the Super 7 ReAction figure line so they can mingle with the other horror figures.
The first two issues of The All-Nighter are available to purchase digitally via Comixology now, and to read at no charge for Amazon Prime and Comixology Unlimited subscribers. A print collection of the full five-issue series will arrive from Dark Horse Comics in February 2022.