NYCC Interview: Rob Williams and Will Conrad talk new AWA Studios graphic novel ‘Out’

The cover of Out
The release of the first issue of Out was timed to the 2021 New York Comic-Con. Pic credit: AWA Studios

“A vampire and lots of Nazis” is how illustrator Will Conrad (Secret Avengers, X-32) would describe his new graphic novel Out, created in collaboration with writer Rob Williams (The Amazing Spider-Man, Suicide Squad). The first issue of this series was published by AWA Studios on October 6, 2021, timed to the 2021 New York Comic-Con. Another issue follows on November 10.

Out takes place towards the culmination of World War II. Stressed by the success of the Allies, a Nazi “unearths an ancient force of evil that he hopes will turn the tide of battle: a vampire.” As one would expect, this leads to total chaos and blood unleashed on every page through violent graphics. At the forefront of this story is the Native American character Nocona who works to communicate with the vampire to find out its true intentions.

Both creators, Williams and Conrad, expressed that Nocona is their favorite character from the series. Williams shared, “Nocona is a Comanche Code-Talker, so he’s a pretty unique protagonist, but he’s kind of a savant with languages. That’s what gets him up close to both his Nazi captors and the vampire. He’s a good soul.”

“All being a translator, he’s sort of the opposite of what causes war. There’s a line in there I like that “war is the opposite of communication.” But also, Nocona is gay, and that’s not something that he could admit to people in a POW camp in 1944. I think he’s a really distinctive character in a story that is essentially a battle against fascism. It’s his journey, really,” Williams continued.

Conrad added, “Not only is Nocona Native American, but during the series, he shows a strength of character and moral compass that made me a fan.”

Monsters & Critics had the opportunity to chat with Rob Williams and Will Conrad about Out, talking about the story’s creation and how it develops. As a bonus, AWA Studios shared a few pages of the comic book and the variant cover for the first issue.

Variant cover of Out
The variant cover of Out #1. Pic credit: AWA Studios

Monsters & Critics: Out features a storyline that plays with vampires, Nazis, and World World II. Sounds like an absolute nightmare — just in time for Halloween. Tell me a bit about the creative process.

Rob Williams: It was an idea I had noodling around for a while. What if you were stuck in a Prisoner of War camp, where there was no escape, and one of the prisoners in there with you turned out to be a vampire. Picking people off one-by-one. Suddenly you absolutely had to escape, or you’re next. It’s a premise that’s born out of loving movies like Alien and John Carpenter’s The Thing. Make the readers love a bunch of characters, and then kill them off.

Will Conrad: I received the idea and proposal for Out and immediately loved it. First, the chance to work with Rob Williams again, and second, two things I have a huge interest in — WWII and Vampires. At first, I tried to come up with the visual idea for the main characters, and obviously the vampire itself, that I didn’t want to fall into the most common we see out there. And after that, gathering as many references as I could for the scenery.

How would you sell the series in seven words? 

Williams: The Great Escape with a vampire in the camp. Oops, that’s eight.

Conrad: Easy. Don’t need that much: A Vampire and Lots of Nazis.

What should fans expect from Out as the story develops? 

Williams: Well, extraordinary art from a start. Will Conrad and Marco Lesko have done wonders bringing this world and this cast to life. And from then on, extreme tension, creeping dread, moral deals – both good and bad – and a lot of blood and tragedy and horror. All that juicy stuff!

Conrad: Lots of fun twists, chills, and a lot of action.

Check out a few pages from Out.

Page 13 of Out
A page from the Out comic book. Pic credit: AWA Studios
Page 14 of Out
A page from the Out comic book. Pic credit: AWA Studios

Out #1 is currently available for purchase.

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