Lucifer is coming back. The character that made his first appearance in the pages of Neil Gaiman's SANDMAN has his own series again. He's had a long-running series and a TV show is headed our way as well. With the new series written by Holly Black and illustrated by Lee Garbett at Vertigo, we wanted to find out what it was about and what we could expect.
COMIC VINE: What’s the main focus of this series?
HOLLY BLACK: God is dead and Lucifer has to figure out who killed Him. I was inspired by Lucifer’s piano bar in Los Angeles, a noir setting if there ever was one, to tell this story about coming back to the place where you began.
I think all stories about the angels and devils are family stories — Heaven and Hell populated by one enormous and enormously dysfunctional family. It’s also a dynastic story, about kings and princes, rebellions and thrones. But imposing a noir structure — starring the most disillusioned detective possible and in the most corrupt setting — allowed me to approach it in a new way.
CV: Is there a connection to the previous LUCIFER series? If so, how much time has passed since we last saw him?
BLACK: Yes, this follows directly from Mike Carey’s series, so it’s been almost ten years.
CV: Lee, how are you approaching drawing the character and settings? Are you using your normal style or making any changes?
LEE GARBETT: My approach changed a little bit towards the end of my previous book, LOKI: AGENT OF ASGARD, so I've carried that through here and tried to expand upon it. Tonally, the book is darker and more 'adult’ than work I’ve done before, so I've pitched the whole thing with a slightly more mature skew - but it's nothing too deliberate, you just try and cater to the mood of the script.
I'm a huge horror fan, especially supernatural and occult horror, and this is the first time I've worked on anything that's fully immersed in that world, so I’m just having immense fun with it all.
We have scenes that go from the mundane to the insane in 5 panels and there’s a lot of humor in amongst the darkness, so that’s always something I love to draw.
Lucifer himself still has his constant air of elegance and haughtiness but no matter how stoic, he’s always fascinating and I like to try and use the odd line, here and there, to give glimpses of vulnerability or uncertainty etc. Despite his best efforts to appear completely in control, there’s a lot going on, under the surface. That’s the stuff I really enjoy drawing.
That and demons. And cat-ladies. And demon cat-ladies.
CV: How will the tone of this series compare to the previous?
BLACK: I guess the core differences are that if Mike Carey’s Lucifer was about growing up and moving away from home and parental authority, then this Lucifer is about coming back home and being drawn into old conflicts (and repeating old patterns) no matter how much you swore you never would. And, if Mike Carey was interested in puzzling through the paradox of free will, I am interested in looking at the paradox of evil.
GARBETT: If the last series was about cutting ties/gaining freedom then so far this is about making a conscious decision to go back and reopen old wounds.
It's a dangerous line for Lucifer to walk as he fought hard to get where he is now. He was happy and suddenly he’s dragged into his old life and soon discovers things have changed quite a bit since he's been gone.
CV: Will Lucifer spend a lot of time at his nightclub or will trying to solve the murder take him all over the place?
BLACK: He’s going to have to visit a lot of places and speak to a lot of old enemies and allies to piece this thing together. It’s nice to have his nightclub back, though, and the City of Angels is always an appropriate backdrop for a story of reinvention.
GARBETT: Essentially, it's a detective noir tale but instead of hitting the local speakeasy or pool hall for answers, Lucifer goes to places like Hell and The Dreaming.
As a big Vertigo fan from the get-go, it was amazing to be reading the script and seeing I'd be drawing these iconic places... and characters!
Classic characters are coming!!!
CV: Did you get to design the nightclub yourself? What can you tell us about it?
GARBETT: I did but a lot of it came from reference Holly sent me for a bar in NY, so that was the main template. We've not seen a whole lot of it yet, as the story kicks off at a fast pace and with lots of locales but I'm looking forward to building on it as we go. Not to mention the patrons of Ex Lux. It's like a snazzy Mos Eisley for the chic demon-about-town.
CV: Can we expect cameos or guest appearances from other classic Vertigo characters?
BLACK: We’re going to Hell, the Dreaming, the Silver City and the House of Windowless Rooms, just to name a few places. And as you can imagine, we’re going to see a lot of familiar faces.
CV: What are you most excited about with this series?
BLACK: I love Neil Gaiman’s Lucifer and Mike Carey’s Lucifer, I love the Miltonian devil, folkloric devil stories and angel mythology. Writing about the devil was something I’d thought about doing before, but never got a chance to do — until now. I’m having a lot of fun.
GARBETT: There are a few things, really. Launching a book with Vertigo, a line that has had a huge influence on me. The chance to bring back an iconic character and pickup where a classic series left off.
Being able to stretch my supernatural horror muscles and, thanks to Holly's excellent script, push the boundaries of all taste and decency.
I guess the most exciting thing for me is how Lucifer just feels like a natural fit. Sometimes taking on a well loved title can be daunting but from the minute Ellie [Pyle] and Shelly [Bond] first offered it, I immediately had ideas on how I wanted it to look, how I wanted to portray Lucifer and the worlds he inhabits. The whole thing just felt right - and that’s a very nice, positive vibe to be starting a project with.
LUCIFER #1 is on sale December 16. Check out the preview pages below.