Today we’re talking to Bad Kids Press creator Matt Bessette, the artist and writer behind
Can you explain what Daemone Slayer for Hire is all about?
It’s an action adventure buddy story that’s basically about this guy Daemone who’s traversing this dystopian America that’s been ripped apart from a second civil war. He’s just looking to make money by killing monsters, vampires and bandits. All the while there are these immortal angels and angelic hybrids that have been in a cold war for the breadth of human civilization. Their war spills over and envelopes Daemone and his mentor/business partner Sirus, and it seems as if they have to stop the end of the world.
Your title character seems like he’s cut from the same antihero cloth of badasses like Snake Plissken and Mad Max etc, who are some of your favorite antiheros and did any of them serve as inspiration for Daemone?
You bet! I grew up on those films, but Daemone is more chill I guess, and he surely has a soft spot in his heart for the vulnerable and weak. The Lethal Weapon films and Highlander also were a huge influence on me.
But that being said I wouldn’t describe Daemone as an antihero and I believe antihero is too overused. He’s a reluctant hero, most people don’t want to get involved in stuff that isn’t their business. Daemone is that same way at the beginning of the book. When he sees the character of Maréan weak and vulnerable he takes a protector’s role with her and that role of protector carries him through the story.
I also have a hard time believing anyone would altruistically put on a silly costume and fight crime or evil. That’s why Batman seems to be the only “real” superhero or masked crime-fighter to me. He’s suffering from a PTSD derived mental illness from watching his parents die.
The book is chock full of vampires and monsters, have you always been interested in stories with supernatural elements?
I grew up in the Catholic church, so yeah the omnipresence of the supernatural is a huge part of my life. But now I’m a concrete realist who happens to be an atheist. So on that note whoever said that the elements in the story are supernatural?
Artistically who would you say are your influences?
In a simple statement, the Image founders. I grew up at that time, I was 13 when image was founded and the books were pretty. As I got older I sought out Jack Kirby, Steve Dillon, Frank Miller, Matt Wagner and Tim Sale. As I entered my twenties my style took a decidedly “Eastern Shift.” I started to look at Shirow Masamune (Silent Moebius, Appleseed) and Katsuhiro Otomo (Akira)
What have you been reading lately that’s really blown up your skirt?
Now I like storytellers rather than illustrators and I love anything I can get from Europe. I get anything that Matt Wagner does and I buy a lot of indies when I’m at a show. But I also enjoy the comics of 80‘s toy properties because of the guilty pleasures. Other than that I don’t really read a lot of fiction, if you’re influenced by non-fiction you’re cool, if you’re influenced by fiction it sometimes can be construed as plagiarism.
Can you tell me why you opted for the 6” X 9” size for Daemone as opposed to a more traditional comic book size?
6”x9” is more of a standard size for books, which is what I always wanted the work to be viewed like, as a book. Even though it came out in individual issues I went to great lengths to hide the end and beginning of issues. I never started an issue with a splash page so when the book was collected it would read as one whole work.
What’s next for you? More Daemone? Something else?
What’s next is more Daemone and something else.
I’m continuing Daemone for the next five issues in which he ends up having a run in with the Union, the ultra capitalist government that controls the America northeast.
The something else will be an online comic coming with two pages coming out a week. It differs from Daemone because one, it’s in color, and two, the page by page storytelling format. Plus the characters are just fun to draw.
Who’s your favorite character in the Daemone world? Why?
That’s easy, Sirus. Even though Daemone is the titular character, Sirus is just more fun to write. He’s jaded, he’s mean, and he’s immortal. If anything he’s more the anti-hero.
How does your process work making a typical issue of Daemone from start to finish?
I start with a treatment, usually 3 to 6 pages hand written. Then I use homemade breakdown pages to thumbnail the pages and write in some dialogue or descriptions. Next I draw about 8 pages in pencils, then ink them, start the next eight and repeat the process till I get the 24 pages needed for an issue of Daemone Slayer For Hire. After all that I scan the pages and letter them all in one sweep
Cast the Daemone movie for me, who stars, who’s directing?
Daemone would be Ryan Gosling; Sirus would be Stanley Tucci; Maréan would be Vanessa Hudgens; Lilith, Eva Green; Baehel, Paul Rudd; and Asmodeus, Kevin Nash. Directed by me, ala Frank Miller/ Len Wiseman.