Writer Paul Cornell (Wolverine, Dr. Who) and award-winning artist Rachael Smith (Nap Comix) are working on a brand-new whodunnit/comedy graphic novel — Who Killed Nessie? — and recently launched a crowdfunding campaign for the title.

The comic follows Lindsey Grockle, who the creative team describes as: “a [skeptical], rational young woman, agreed to be the manager of an isolated hotel in the Great Lakes to get over a terrible break-up that left her with zero self-confidence.  Her partner was romantic, whimsical, a believer.  And she kept telling him there were no such things as fairies.  She arrives to find the former manager on his way out of the door, as if he’d been freed from a terrible burden.  The rest of the staff have all elected to go on leave this weekend.  Because this weekend is … the convention. … Every year, the cryptids gather here for their annual convention. But never has there been a murder. Suddenly, the cryptos can’t trust each other. They’ve locked the doors and prevented all external communication. The only person they can agree on to solve the mystery of the Murder of the Loch Ness Monster is Lindsay.”

The Beat caught up with Cornell over email to talk about how the project came to be and more.


Diego Higuera: Who Killed Nessie? blends comedy and mystery with cryptid lore. What inspired this unique combination?

Paul Cornell: I was talking with some creator friends and just suddenly came out with this title and the idea for a cover. It’s one of those things that was just sitting there out in the ether waiting to happen. I’ve been reading about cryptids (largely under the bedclothes, the reading not the cryptids) since I was a kid, and sometimes Rachael’s amazing cartooning just connects with an idea I have in my head and I can see how her characters would look doing this stuff. Hence: this!

Higuera: Lindsay Grockle seems like a refreshingly unconventional detective. What motivated her character’s creation?

Cornell: I love characters who are just plunged into the middle of something completely outside their skill set and have to make it up as they go along. Maybe I relate to that? She’s still trying to deal with the idea that cryptids are real and she’s looking after a hotel full of them, never mind having to play detective!

Higuera: The story unfolds at a cryptid convention. How did you approach incorporating various cryptids into the narrative while maintaining the central mystery?

Cornell: The personalities and interactions of the cryptids are kind of what makes it. I feel the various hairy beasties would all hang together, and the lake monsters need to be in the lake, and the fairies (who are kind of in your face) of course would gather at the bottom of the garden. We know who did it, and there’ll be a game of cat and mouse, except with human and (redacted), played out between detective and killer.

Higuera: Can readers expect nods to classic whodunnits or comedic elements reminiscent of your previous works?

Cornell: Comedic elements, hopefully! I mean, sure, no pressure! Absolutely there will be hilarious comedy from moment one. And mild peril. Unless you’re a Scottish lake monster, then there’ll be strong bloody violence from the outset.

Higuera: What do you want readers to take away from this story, what do you want them to be the most excited for?

Cornell: I want them to go away feeling charmed by Rachael’s incredibly cute and expressive art, and learn that cryptid-on-cryptid violence is a serious issue.

To find out more about Who Killed Nessie? check out the crowdfunding page here.