Once there was a blogger who had a dead-end day job at a coffee shop, using it to fund a hopeful career as a journalist. Then came along a ghost who possessed her roommate, transforming him into a paranormal investigator.
No, this isn’t auto-biographical (I wish!) but instead it’s the premise of the indie-comic series Tales of the Night Watchman. Created by writer David Kelly and artist Lara Antal, the series debuted earlier this year online and at various Northeast comic conventions. The blogger in this case is named Nora, and her roommate is Charlie, and together they are baristas by day and heroes by night once they come into possession (literally!) of this spectral detective called the Night Watchman.
The first issue unveiled this startling tale with the introduction of the Night Watchman as well as the appearance of his arch-nemesis Merrick. At the Small Press Expo this weekend in Bethesda, Maryland, Kelly and Antal will debut the series’ second issue as well as a spinoff one-shot with artist Molly Ostertag subtitled The Night Collector.
The creators have provided ROBOT 6 with a sample of the first two issues of the main series as well as The Night Collector.
I walked into MoCCA Arts Fest a few minutes after it opened, with my friend Erica Friedman, and we noticed the difference right away: The last two shows have had an improvised, “Let’s have a comics show! We can use my father’s barn!” kind of feeling. They weren’t disorganized, exactly, and the talent has always been top-notch, but the show floor felt crowded, cluttered, and confusing.
This was the first year that the Society of Illustrators was running the event. Organizers had a lot to prove, and they proved it. The show felt professional. The aisles were wider. A very simple addition — a bright red backdrop that ran behind the tables — made a huge difference, giving visitors more focus and eliminating the distraction of looking out across that cavernous space. The red curtains also set off a small gallery at the back of the armory that featured original comics art from the Society’s collection, a gentle reminder that they have been welcoming comics creators for more than 100 years. Visitors could buy a slick, nicely produced catalog for $5, and there was a modest cafe downstairs, a pleasant addition that allowed friends who met at the show to sit down and have a bite and a chat without disrupting the experience too much.