Dark Horse Comics

David Lapham's got a lot going on at Dark Horse Comics. In fact, he may just be writing and drawing a full DH release every month in 2014 and beyond. The Stray Bullets and Young Liars creator's newest series, Kid McAllister, is set to debut with a 22-page #1 issue in May, while DHP alum Juice Squeezers graduates to a full series with a digital issue collecting its DHP stories on Dark Horse Digital in December and its own brand-new #1 in stores in January. Both series fit in with Lapham's body of work by blending offbeat concepts into character-driven narratives, but while Juice Squeezers follows seemingly normal small town kids in an underground battle against giant bugs, Kid McAllister will see a not-so-normal preteen cowboy doing his best to deal with what could be a secret alien invasion. Just in time for New York Comic Con 2013, CA got in touch with Lapham for the scoop on his big year of Dark Horse launches. You can read our full interview after the cut.

ComicsAlliance: Kid McAllister seems like it's going to mash up some cool, offbeat concepts. What were some of your inspirations for the story?

David Lapham: I wanted to do something fun and science fiction -- or fun science fiction and I just came up with the title. Kid McAlister Electric Cowboy. It just kinda oozed off my brain and there you go. That sparked this notion of a hero with electrical powers who was really old but a side effect of his powers was they kept him from going through puberty. Which made me think he's had to be a wanderer and a mechanical bull rider and is being chased by aliens, and he has a horse friend. Then I thought up an old sea captain who runs a mechanical bull bar in the desert, and away we go. All pretty logical, right? Basically, it's a story about a guy searching for somewhere to belong... and aliens.


Juice Squeezers #1 Cover


CA: The new Juice Squeezers issue contains a standalone story that doesn't demand reading the initial Dark Horse Presents material. Did you find yourself refining where you wanted to go with the characters much between establishing the basic JS world in DHP and starting work on the new stuff? Or have you been pretty rock solid on everything from the start?

DL: The fun of writing any project is being open to let it evolve. I had a pretty good idea of what I wanted to do with Juice, but when the writing starts and the drawing and the characters come alive all sorts of things happen. The first mini series flips the script a bit as a new kid arrives and makes everyone question the status quo. Is there more to this than just an endless war between the squeezers and the bugs? Every member of the cast has become very unique and distinct. I really hope to get to write many more stories about these guys. Overall though, I've had a good idea about this series ever since I got scared out of my skin after seeing my first potato bug in my backyard years ago. Horrifying.


David Lapham


CA: Both Juice Squeezers and Kid McAllister skew a little closer to all-ages than some of your more intense comics. Do you like having that kind of tonal balance in your workload

DL: It's the nature of those projects. They both have all the stuff that I want to bring to them as they are. Increasing the level of violence or language wouldn't add anything of value to them. Kid McAlister skews a bit more mature. To simplify, if Juice is PG then Kid is PG-13. As a creator who is very familiar with hard edge content, trust me, both these books kick butt.

CA: As an artist, do you find yourself writing stories that are at least partially centered around things you like to draw? Does your mentality change at all when writing for others vs. when you're drawing stories yourself?

DL: Unfortunately for me, no. If I see it in the story then I have to draw it that way. Fortunately, if I write it, it most likely means I'm excited by the story so if it's a pain in the neck to draw at least I think it's worth it. At least that's what I tell myself when I get to that panel where a billion bugs are attacking the farm...



CA: What are your aspirations for Juice Squeezers and Kid McAllister? How far would you like to take these stories in comics or multimedia?

DL: Both have a lot more potential than their initial series. So, while both minis are complete stories there's clearly a lot of places to go for more stories. I'm just finishing up the Juice mini now so the next one Juice Squeezers: the Legend of Tommy Millbrooke is burning a hole through my brain... There's really nothing in the world like writing and drawing your own stuff.


You can check out 8 pages from Juice Squeezers Part 2 from Dark Horse Presents #27 for a taste of the bug juice to come.