Interview: Wes Craig on The Gravediggers Union, and Deadly Class.

Wes Craig is a comic creator best known for his distinctive artwork on Deadly Class. But in 2017 Craig released his own comic The Gravediggers Union which he would write with art by Toby Cypress. Between Deadly Class being created as a TV show for SYFY and the release of his own comic. Its easy see that 2017 was a big year for Wes Craig, and he was nice enough to look back on the year, and give us a glimpse of whats to come.

Jonathan Aravich: Thanks for taking the time out of your day to answer a few questions! First off congrats on having Deadly Class get picked up by SYFY. How has the experience of witnessing characters you have drawn and created be portrayed for television been?

Wes Craig: At first I didn’t really want to get my hopes up because you never know if these things will go in to production. Lots of comic book properties fizzle out in Hollywood before they get anywhere. And even if it does get produced, will it be any good? But as I saw the team start to assemble for the show I started to get a feeling it was on the right track. And when filming finally started for the pilot episode I thought “wow, i think this is actually gonna be really great.” Having Rick there, being involved in the day to day is a big part of that.

Aravich: You had a new comic The Grave Diggers Union released by image in November. Now two issues in its become one of my favorite books. For those who haven’t checked the series out yet what can you tell them about The Grave Diggers Union?

Craig: Thanks a lot. I really appreciate it. The Gravediggers are a brotherhood. They’re real working class guys, and Cole is their gruff old leader. Him and two other Gravediggers, Ortiz and Haley, are on the trail of an apocalyptic cult that are trying to raise up these Lovecraftian Dark Gods who will destroy mankind (but also save the planet from what we’re doing to it). At the center of this cult is (drum roll please), Cole’s estranged daughter! So things get pretty awkward as the two sides clash in the coming issues.

Aravich:  What made you decide to have another artist work on the book, and how did you decide on the immensely talented Toby Cypress?

Craig: I was too busy with Deadly Class to do it myself (although I draw a few pages of weird flashback stuff in each issue that will eventually make sense, I promise). So I had a few artists in mind that I love and thought would be perfect for the story. I didn’t think Toby would do it though since I’m kind of unproven as a writer. But shockingly he said yes. Toby’s one of my favorite artists in comics. His work is so dynamic, expressive
and free. And I think what Niko Guardia and Jared Fletcher are doing makes it one of the most interesting comics out there. I’ve had other writers tell me how addictive it is to get pages in from your artist and I can definitely see what they mean. It’s a buzz.

Aravich:  Being an artist yourself, do your scripts tend to be very specific, or do you tend to leave room for interpretation?

Craig: The world I create tends to be pretty specific, and I had a lot of sketches for Toby when we started to give him an idea of what I was going for.  But my scripts are pretty open. Not a lot of direction, just being clear on the emotions of the characters. Rick does the same for me on Deadly Class and I think if you’re too controlling it’ll suck the life out of it for the artist. They’re the one’s who spend all month drawing each issue so you better keep them motivated, y’know?

Aravich: The first two issues have set up a very interesting world with lots of opportunity for exploration. What can readers expect from Grave Digger union in terms of length and overall exploration of the world you have created?

Craig: This one’s very “get in and get out.” I want it to be a quick and dirty little story and I have a very specific ending in mind. We’re not sure of the exact length but it’ll add up to two collections.

Aravich: If The Grave Digger Union was to be made into a feature film, who would you choose to direct and star in the film?

Craig: I have no idea who would direct it. Hmm. Maybe Jeremy Saulnier? The intensity and humor in Green Room is great. or Gareth Edwards? The tone of Monsters or his take on Godzilla fit pretty well. And watching Rob Morgan in Mudbound and Ron Cephas Jones in This Is Us made me think of Cole. And Emilio Rivera in Sons Of Anarchy is kind of my inspiration for Ortiz. Aside from that, no idea.

Aravich: What other new stuff should we be looking out for?

Craig: Currently I’m working on a few ideas for other comics I’m hoping to get going in late 2018 as a writer. One supernatural, one that takes place in Hell. And long term I’m building a fantasy series I’d like to write and draw after me and Rick wrap up Deadly Class in a few years.

Make sure to pick up the 3rd issue of The Gravediggers union today!