Welcome to the first installment of Creator’s Commentary, where we talk with comic creators about their work, digging into their books, sometimes page-by-page to learn more about their process—think of it as director’s commentary, but you know, for books.
Daomu is one of the biggest things you’ve probably never heard of--well, yet. Created by author Lei “Kennedy” Xu, the Daomu Notes (Dao mu bi ji) series of novels are bestsellers in China, earning the writer the mantle of “the Chinese Stephen King.” The Daomu books (up to volume 6 now) have over 20 million copies in circulation, feeding a frenzy for the burgeoning “tomb raider” genre—think a gorier Indiana Jones—that has swept the 1 billion strong nation.
This week, Image Comics released the comic adaptation of Daomu, adapted on the stories of Mr. Xu and written by Colin Johnson with art by Ken Chou (Creative Director of Concept Art House). The story follows its lead, Sean, who emigrated from China 10 years earlier to Detroit, only to be drawn back home by the murder of his estranged father by a seemingly unstoppable creature.
Mr. Johnson was kind enough to walk us through some of the key moments of the issue, giving us greater insight into how the book was made and dropping a little knowledge about the tomb raiding genre. Special thanks goes to Concept Art House Executive Producer James Zhang for making this interview possible.
So if you picked up a copy of the book this week, read along!
***From here there be spoilers!****
Geek: Sean was a kid when he left China. What kind of connection does he have with the country at this point? Any roots?
CJ: None whatsoever. He’s been completely shielded from his heritage. Over time, he’s even grown resentful of his home country – since he can’t get any answers about his upbringing.
Geek: Why was Detroit chosen as the place for Sean and his mom to settle down?
CJ: We wanted to sum up Sean’s situation as quickly as possible. Nothing against Detroit, but when you hear it’s name you tend to associate it with strife and misfortune, especially as of late. His Mother broke away from his Father completely, and she came to America with nothing. It’s symbolic of his agitated state of mind.
Geek: What kind of notes were given to artist Ken Chou to get across the drama in this scene? There’s a lot of tension in the body language of both Sean and his dad.
CJ: That art was mostly completed before I came on board. It was actually the art on those specific pages that got me excited to work on the project. Read More...