David Dastmalchian opens the (comic) book on Count Crowley, James Gunn and The Batman
You have cartoon friends in the business. Among them, you and James Gunn are comic book kindred spirits. Did you by any chance pick up ideas from James or anyone in the business who loves comics when you were writing “Amateur Midnight Monster Hunter”?
Me, very early in the process, when I was choosing my monsters, I was one day sitting at James’ old house in Malibu for a barbecue. We were talking about our favorite monsters. I was looking for his brains on werewolves, and we had this long conversation about what’s been problematic with werewolves in literature and movies etc, and why there’s still so much room for development and growth when considering werewolf mythology. What he encouraged me to do is to really push the boundaries and stretch my imagination, and try to go far beyond the tropes and traditions that have been established. He really inspired me to want to reinvent and reinvest in the mythology of not just werewolves, but also vampires, zombies, witches, gorgons, all the creatures you’re going to see in Count Crowley’s world.
As you know, if you’ve read the book, one of the first things we did was flip all the rules around monsters. We now know that silver bullets no longer kill a werewolf and a wooden stake will not stop a vampire. This is just the beginning. The other thing James encouraged me to do, and it was inadvertently, because he had nothing to say to me directly. Being in his presence and seeing how James fearlessly takes the greatest risks necessary to bring his imagination into the story he’s trying to tell really inspired me to not hold back at all and throw myself as much as possible in “Earl Crowley.”
I was nervous when I sent him the first issue of “Count Crowley,” because his opinion means a lot to me, and I think he’s a genius. When he told me he really liked comics, it was really important. I was so grateful. I was so moved by so many amazing people who responded to the comic. If you look at the graphic novel, there are some amazing quotes we were able to get from people I really respect who responded to the book. James is a harsh critic, and he’s not going to hold back because he’s your friend. He’s not going to push you around. He’s not going to smoke your ass out. I was deeply touched and moved when he told me that he thought it was really cool.