A couple years ago now, I had the pleasure of chatting with Steven T. Seagle, a member of the endlessly creative Man of Action Entertainment team, about his new comic creation Camp Midnight. The year before that, the new title about a summer camp stay gone wrong debuted on Free Comic Book Day, but the tale has gone on to even bigger and better things since then. Camp Midnight, Vol 2: Camp Midnight vs. Camp Daybright, an original 248-page, full-color graphic novel, debuts in comic book stores this week on October 9th and the book market on October 15th. I had a chance to follow up with Seagle to talk about the new tome that is sure to be this year’s perfect pre-Halloween read. We also have some early looks at the pages of Vol. 2 to tease the story; check them out with our interview below!
In Camp Midnight vs. Camp Daybright, frequent Eisner Award-nominee and Man of Action Entertainment creator/writer/producer Seagle and New Yorker Cartoonist and artist/creator Katzenstein pick up the story the summer after Skye’s transformative stay at Camp Midnight. Skye is eager to return – until she learns that instead of reuniting with her gang of misfit monsters, she’ll be “banished” to Camp Daybright – where she was supposed to go the previous summer. Because Skye’s dad has once again remarried, Skye is also being anchored with new relative-kid, Leaf. Skye finds fault with everything about her new camp, especially her frenemy/bunkmate, Gia. Skye longs for her old friends, even her old enemies — and they were all monsters! But when her old and new crews go to battle, will Skye betray her new friend, Leaf, or her old friend-boy, Griffin? And what monsters are just beyond the no-trespassing fences around Camp Daybright? Sometimes things that look exactly alike are anything but, and Skye will have to learn to accept that things change … but for the better.
Check out our interview with Seagle below, from our previous chat with him for his new animated series Power Players, along with exclusive pages from the new graphic novel:
First of all, how would you describe the Camp Midnight title for new readers?
Steven T. Seagle: Thanks for asking! Camp Midnight is very near and dear to my heart. I had a lot of parents who were fans of things MAN OF ACTION had created – particularly Ben 10 and BIG HERO 6 – asking me which of my comic books their kids could read to follow up. And since most of my books have been for older readers – much older readers – I always had to say, “None of them!” And so, Camp Midnight was born! It’s about Skye, a firecracker of a girl who winds up the only human kid at a camp for monster kids. It’s a story about being your true self, fitting in, and finding out what you like about a situation you might hate.
How was the original graphic novel received when it premiered back in 2016?
Seagle: Really well! We were the Image Comics Gold Free Comic Book Day book and I was told that the numbers made it like their 2nd or 3rd highest FCBD book ever, so that was awesome, and my hat goes off to the retailers who made that happen. Scholastic also ordered a bunch of copies for their book fairs, and kids who read it keep coming up at cons and telling Jason and me how much they liked it. Very gratifying.
When did you know you had more story in the tank for Camp Midnight?
Seagle: I actually didn’t have more. I had started on a very different project with Jason – not a follow up so much as a complete left turn. We got a full issue of that series done and I just had this feeling that we should stop and switch over to a second Camp Midnight book. We agreed that Skye would appreciate a sequel about how much sequels suck! So, in Camp Midnight vs. Camp Daybright Skye winds up going to the camp she was supposed to go to last summer and suddenly finds that she misses the camp she hated and hates the camp she thought she would like! She’s got new friends, new frenemies, and whole long list of suggestions to turn Daybright into Midnight.
What did you and Jason learn from making the first story that changed how you approached this follow-up?
Seagle: We actually took great care to work in the exact same way we worked on the first volume so that the series would have a strong continuity. That said, both Jason and I felt that we really knew who these characters were this time around and it was almost effortless to tell this story both in the writing and the visuals… except for all the effort it took to make a book this long!
At nearly 250 full color pages, this is a massive tome. Why opt for a one-time release rather than an episodic run?
Seagle: The first book was done as a single volume because we really dug what Raina Telgemeier was doing with her books Smile and Drama and wanted to try working in that format.
What can you tease about the future of Camp Midnight?
Seagle: While we didn’t at first know what the 2nd book would be, the minute we started on the 2nd book we knew what the 3rd book would have to be if the world demands another (and we hope the world does). We’ve also been developing an animated version of the Camp Midnight world and we are shopping that around presently.
What’s up next for you and Man of Action?
Seagle: Man Of Action has some very big news for fans of our new and old shows alike. My non-disclosure agreements keep me from saying any more about the details than that – but there are some big clues in what I just said! We also have been doing a lot of development work in prime-time TV and feature films that we hope we can share big news about shortly. But for the moment – watch Power Players on Cartoon Network and get Camp Midnight vs. Camp Daybright from Image Comics on October 9th!