INTERVIEW: Jason Loo on the Art of ‘The All-Nighter’

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Jason Loo - Artist - The All-Nighter #1 - But Why Tho

The All-Nighter is a ComiXology Original written by Chip Zdarsky with art by Jason Loo, colored by Paris Alleyne, and lettered by Aditya Bidikar. In a world not so different from ours, there’s a diner that only ever opens at nighttime. In this diner work four folks, Alex, Joy, Cynthia, and Ian. They may seem just like you or me, but don’t let their looks deceive you. These fine folks are a crew of vampires hiding from some type of authority who would prefer they not be intermingling with humans. 

Artist Jason Loo shared with But Why Tho? his experience illustrating The All-Nighter, the emotions and intentions behind the characters and their costumes, and what type of experience we can expect from future issues.

BUT WHY THO?: How would you describe the art style in The All-Nighter, and why was this approach you decided to take?

JASON LOO: That’s an interesting question since I was not only figuring that out but also getting used to drawing digitally on an iPad for the first time. I knew it all had to look dark, so I channeled David Mazzucchelli’s work on Batman: Year One, which also looks grounded to go with our reimagining of the monsters in our story.

BUT WHY THO?: The All-Nighter takes place in a world that, aside from the vampires in it, could just as well be our own. Why design costumes for its heroes that stand out rather than blending into the world around them?

JASON: In The All-Nighter world, superheroes are also fictional in the comics and films. The main hero, Alex, is a huge fan of superheroes, so he’s just wearing his geek card by cosplaying as something he idolizes and aspires to be. It’s also a loophole to do vampire things in disguise while fighting bad guys without being noticed by “The Takers.”

BUT WHY THO?: Were there particular influences or considerations that went into designing  Alex and Joy’s superhero costumes?

JASON: I was going for the Batman: Year One look for Alex’s costume, but more dorky-looking with bigger eye holes in his mask and tights that reveal his very lean body. Alex is living his superhero fantasy in that costume, whereas Joy is only half into it, so parts of her costume are things she found in her closet, like her vintage track jacket and training leggings. Things she wore when she was alive.

BUT WHY THO?: Alex’s costume looks perhaps more “professional” compared to Joy’s, with her seems and clear streetwear influence. What is the significance behind giving them such distinct styles while retaining a singular thematic design?

JASON: Joy’s costume is somewhat inspired by Alex’s Nightshock costume since he’s been moonlighting as a vigilante until Joy started to figure it out herself, so her design is somewhat piggybacking off Nightshock. It’s funny, even though her costume looks brighter—to be the Robin to Alex’s Batman—Joy is a much more grim character than he is.

BUT WHY THO?: A major theme the series has demonstrated so far is the difficulty but essentiality of finding joy in dismal situations. How do you balance illustrating moments of emotional difficulty against the desire to let the characters be joyful too?
Jason: There are just layers and expressions and acting I gotta convey through the characters, especially during those intense scenes when our family of vampires is arguing about doing the right thing or continuing hiding in the shadows. When they’re masquerading behind Ian’s (Vampire Dad) back, Alex and Joy feel more liberated when they’re in costume, so their movements have that release of joy to them.

BUT WHY THO?: The first two issues begin to display some more graphic, horror-influenced imagery. What can we expect in terms of the creepy or grotesque from character design and action sequences as the series continues?

JASON: Things will get darker, both metaphorically and literally, in the later issues. But that doesn’t mean it’ll lose its fun! More monsters will come out to play in our sandbox.

BUT WHY THO?: What feelings do you think the visuals will elicit in readers throughout the series?

JASON: Not only will the series feel both dark and outrageously fun, but my art also gets better in each issue while I become more comfortable drawing digitally, so the characters will look more and more fully realized as we get deeper in the story.

The All-Nighter #1 is available now on ComiXology and Kindle.

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