Warwick Johnson-Cadwell has a new book, Our Encounters with Evil: Adventures of Professor J.T. Meinhardt and His Assistant Mr. Knox, out in bookstores this week.
The story is a sequel, essentially, to Mr. Higgins Comes Home. It involves the same characters and the same pursuit of mythical creates of the night, with one key difference — whereas last time Johnson-Cadwell collaborated with Mike Mignola, the second entry in the series sees him taking on both the writing and art duties. The Beat recently had a chance to send Johnson-Cadwell some questions about the book, his new responsibilities, and more.
You can find our full interview with Warwick Johnson-Cadwell after the preview text below. The book is on sale in both bookstores and comic shops now:
Our Encounters with Evil: Adventures of Professor J.T. Meinhardt and His Assistant Mr. Knox HC
Mike Mignola (W, cover), Warwick Johnson-Cadwell (W, A, C), Clem Robins (letters)
OSD: Diamond: 11/13/19 (BM: 11/26/19)
Mr. Higgins was just the beginning!
Follow Professor J.T. Meinhardt and Mr. Knox as they continue their pursuit of ne’er-do-well creatures of the night! Backed by the dauntless vampire hunter Ms. Mary Van Sloan, the heroes of Mr. Higgins Comes Home pursue vampires, werewolves, and other horrors that even they are hard-put to name or explain. The only thing that’s for certain is that the strange truths these adventurers uncover are seldom what they seem.
From the horror-genius minds of Mike Mignola and Warwick Johnson-Cadwell comes the next installment of endearingly terrifying tales from Meinhardt, Knox, and Van Sloan. Set against the detailed and stylized background of Johnson-Cadwell’s art, these stories are a striking continuation of daring occult adventure! Grab some garlic and silver bullets, and settle in for a thrilling read!
THE BEAT: What, if anything, has changed for you during the creative process now that you’re working on a second story set in the world with the characters, especially now that you’re also writing?
Warwick Johnson-Cadwell: Mr. Higgins Comes Home introduced these characters, the titular Mr. Higgins and the vampire hunters Professor Meinhardt and Mr. Knox. The latter two are keen to help the former confront a terrible evil he met in a castle full of vampires. In this book, Mr. Higgins is absent and our focus is on the vampire hunters themselves and their day and nighttime pursuit of supernatural evil.
And there are changes here in terms of process too, most notably due to the fact that I’m writing this one. It is a struggle to ignore the opportunity to change things as I draw the pages. Additional ideas may seem interesting but there is a stage in the thick of the drawing where I get lost in the process, and I rely on the idea that I was making the right choices at the writing stage.
THE BEAT: What were some of the specific folktales, mythologies, or other inspirations for this story?
Johnson-Cadwell: As with Mr. Higgins Comes Home, our previous book, I think we drew inspiration from recognized folktales, but we also enjoyed digging deep into the extensive and varied world of gothic horror cinema where the rules and mythologies changed from sequel to sequel, becoming far, far more elaborate or budget-sensitive along the way. In fact spending a bit of time looking into world of vampire mythology, there is enormous variety there too.
THE BEAT: How was the reaction to the first book within this world, and has that at all influenced the stories in this second volume?
Johnson-Cadwell: I was pleased that the reaction to the first book has been so positive (I loved Mike Mignola’s writing on it). I’m not sure how much it has influenced this volume, though I was thinking so much about the lives and activities of these characters while drawing Mr. Higgins. I did have to work to get that balance of darkness and humor into the stories that Mike seems to do so well.
THE BEAT: Speaking of the stories this second volume, how was telling a series of shorts different in practice from working on one long tale with these characters? Was there anything gained in the format change?
Johnson-Cadwell: This is the longest book that I have written, and was a challenge in that regard, but that isn’t why I opted for this form this time. I felt that the characters are so brimming with possibility that I wanted to present our heroes as a great window into a larger supernatural environment. There are stories to tell that would want a whole volume, but there are a multitude of others which would suit a short story form.
THE BEAT: What comes next? Are there plans to do more stories with these characters?
Johnson-Cadwell: I hope so, there are still ideas percolating from the first volume Mr. Higgins Comes Home, and now more to add after Our Encounters With Evil. So, fingers crossed!