BCP Interview – Riley Rossmo


Cover for issue #1.
Click to enlarge.

A couple of weeks ago we announced that Drumhellar, a new Image-Shadowline project by Riley Rossmo and Alex Link, the creative team behind the disturbingly brilliant Rebel Blood (, was set for a November 6th release.

To bring you up to speed, here’s the blurb from Image’s November solicits.

“DRUMHELLAR tells the story of a paranormal detective who receives shock-induced visions that drive him to a small town in South Dakota filled with werewolves, demons and his ex-girlfriend. The first issue features a cover by Riley Rossmo and an alternate cover by Roc Upchurch, artist of RAT QUEENS.”

Now, being such a huge fan of their previous work, I really wanted to know more about this project. And where better to go for information than from the ‘horse’s mouth’, as it were? Well, I was lucky enough to be able to have a chat with series co-creator and (amazing) artist Riley Rossmo about just what we can expect from Drumhellar.

Here’s what was said;

Big Comic Page: First off Riley, thanks one again for taking the time to chat with us. We really appreciate it. Now, before we get into talking about Drumhellar, I wanted to touch a little on Dia De Los Muertos, your recent ‘homage’ to Mexico’s Day of the Dead. I finally managed to pick the series up over here, and I have to say, I was absolutely blown away. What was it like working with so many different writers on the project, and did you try to tailor your distinctive style to each individual story?

Riley Rossmo: It was so much fun. I tried to do something different with every story. I like giving myself different rules when I start a new project. On Dia I tried a bunch of techniques I’d spent time on in my sketch book over the past year.

BCP: The book was certainly an interesting twist on the usual ‘anthology’ dynamic. Usually we see one writer working with a variety of different artists, but this time it was the other way round. Was that something you pushed for yourself?

RR: It was Jim Valentino’s idea, I knew I wanted to do something around the ‘day of the dead’ but I didn’t quite know how to make it happen. Jim helped me put it all together, and I’m super grateful to everyone who contributed.

BCP: Any plans to give the same treatment to any other holidays or festivals? I’m sure a ‘Riley Rossmo does Valentine’s Day’ book would fly off the shelves ;)

RR: I love Halloween, so maybe something around that.

BCP: Okay, let’s move on to the matter at hand. Drumhellar is a title you’ve described yourself as “Hellblazer meets Doctor Strange set in small town America”. How did the idea for the idea for the book come about?

RR: A friend and I were talking about ideas for different horror mini series’. At any given time I usually have a few ideas for horror minis I’d like to do, but the problem I feel in comics is that it’s hard to get emotionally involved with characters in 2-4 issues. Or if I come up with a character I enjoy, I end up having to leave them after 4 issues. So I looked at the ideas I had kicking around and started to think about how I could tie them together. I love visiting small towns, my wife is from Montana I think there’s something really interesting about small towns and rural settings, plus I love drawing prairies, trucks, and cows.

BCP: Now obviously you’ll be handling the artistic duties on the book, doing pencils, inks and colours. But how involved were you in the storyline direction of the title? Was that something you and Alex Link came up with between yourselves?

RR: Pretty intensely. Alex and I have a weird process. I regurgitate all the ideas I’ve been thinking about with some notes about possible scenes or story points before sending the mess to Alex. Alex processes it and weaves the elements together and sends it back with his additional thoughts. We do this a couple times then Alex sends me a fairly loose script. I draw it and note the changes if I make any and Alex adjusts the dialogue.

BCP: Drumhellar was originally advertised (in Dia De Los Muertos, actually) as being four-issue mini-series, but apparently that’s not the case anymore?

RR: As of right now we have content for up to issue 9 or 10 at least. We have a ending in mind but aren’t sure how many issues it will take to get there.

BCP: I know that you’re not going to want to give much away, but can you give our readers a little taster of what to expect?

RR: Well in the first 5 issues, there’s a bog monster, three different ghosts, toilet wine, golfing, drugged French fries, some psychedelics and at least three or four murders.

BCP: Ha! Well, definitely sounds like a lot to be going on with for now. Is Drumhellar going to be taking up the bulk of your time moving forwards, or can we still expect to see the occasional variant cover, etc. from you in the future? I have to say, we really enjoyed your recent variant cover for “Burn the Orphanage”, a personal favourite of ours here at BCP.

RR: Drumhellar’s pretty time intensive with the co-plotting, drawing and coloring, but I’m still working on covers for Valiant, IDW, and some smaller press stuff too.

BCP: Well, we definitely can’t wait to see the finished article. Thanks for taking time to talk to us Riley, and we’ll hopefully get chance to do it again in the future.

Drumhellar will be released November 6th, and you can bet your bottom dollar we’ll have a review for you here on soon after.

You can keep up to date with Riley’s work through his website, Facebook, Twitter or on DeviantArt.

Oh, and if you have a minute, check out my previous interview with Riley here –

The writer of this piece was: 576682_510764502303144_947146289_nCraig Neilson (aka Ceej)
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