Collector’s Corner: Nightweebies by Andrew Aguilar
Over the past year I’m been noticing that there are a lot of talented people over at the Occupy Midian Facebook page. Some fans are working on their own alternate fan-edits of the Cabal Cut, while others have created their own custom toys. Everyone here at the Podcast has been overly impressed with the hard work and passion that goes into these creations. Keep up it up everyone!
Which brings me to the latest Collector’s Corner where I was fortunate enough to have a chat with Andrew Aguilar of Dope Fiends Comics, who recently shared pictures of his personal collection of Nightweebies on the Occupy Midian fan page. I was highly impressed and felt the work deserved more exposure. So luckily Andrew was down for an interview and was gracious to give the podcast some exclusive material that no one else has seen before. It’s pretty obvious that Andrew is a huge Nightbreed fan and has so much passion for the lore and history of the characters that I think would make Clive Barker very happy.
CBP: Tell us a bit about what you do at the Dope Fiends Comics?
Andrew: The Dope Fiends Comics are original, amigurumi-based photo comics. What all that nomenclature means is that instead of drawing our characters over and over again in hundreds of different poses like traditional comic books, I crochet them as puppets and then photograph them hundreds of times in different poses. It ensures consistency of interesting art from one comic to the next for someone like me who doesn’t draw very well, but has tons of unique ideas for stories.
Currently, we have twelve issues in print, available from www.thedopefiends.com as well as seventeen issues in queue to print from Artistexpress.net print on demand (whom I highly recommend to anyone interested in self-publishing comics.) We feature a YouTube channel with a stop-motion blog and music videos as well as a whole host of growing social media interaction hubs. Since 2005, we’ve been making appearances at comic conventions, art and trade shows, and comic book store signings to increase awareness of our brand, and the titles we provide.
As a long time Clive Barker and Nightbreed fan, I felt the same passion making these NightWeebies as I feel making my own characters and telling my own stories. I fell in love with the Nightbreed all over again and eventually stopped at twenty-eight NightWeebies, when my fingers told me to take a break. (Although I still have some other characters that I eventually intend to add to my collection, such as the Thrall.)
I hope that sharing these NightWeebies with other Nightbreed fans will open my own work to a sympathetic audience of like-minded individuals. I actually had a pen-pal for many years that I made, when a letter of mine that was published in the Nightbreed Comics letter section. I found him years later on Facebook and he is still a cool guy. It’s the kind of experience that makes me feel comfortable sharing my work with the community of fans that hold the same passion for Clive Barker’s Nightbreed as I do.
CBP: What is the art of amigurumi?
Andrew: The Japanese art of amigurumi is the knitting or crocheting of dolls or plush figures. I have adapted this art in the Dope Fiends comics to incorporate stop motion armature and create the puppets I use in my comics.
CPB: What inspired you to make these NightWeebies?
Andrew: There were a few moments of inspiration that led to my work on this amigurumi NightWeebie project. The first, obviously, was Clive Barker’s Nightbreed. I have always been attracted to stories and ideas that feature diversity and tolerance. The idea that all types of different monsters were accepted into Midian and coexisted peacefully always struck a powerful chord in me. In fact, peaceful monsters, has always been an idea that resonated with me, as I’ve explained on the NightWeebies page of my website. It was a major part of the inspiration for the presentation of my work. I highly value the ethereal and magical aspects of the Nightbreed mythology over the fright factor.
There came a time a couple months ago when I came across Jamie Braswell’s custom Nightbreed action figures on the Occupy Midian and Clive Barker’s Nightbreed Facebook groups, and realized when I was reading the comments that he was going through a very similar experience as I was. There were a lot of people asking him if he was selling his art, and he was telling people that he was just doing it for himself.
In my own work, I encounter that attitude that people have when they realize you’re talented and want you to apply it to their own interests, cause everyone loves what you do. Something about being on the other side of this familiar conversation while Jamie was having it made me realize that as bad as I wanted him to be selling his art (so I could buy some – they’re awesome!) I also had developed the skills I needed to do the work I wanted him to do. I could make my own Nightbreed!
CBP: Explain to us the process of how you created them?
Andrew: Creating NightWeebie is actually a pretty simple process for me, with the exception that each Nightbreed is different, so each Weebie posed a unique challenge and needed their own special techniques. For instance, I used school glue to soak and then harden the yarn that I made Shuna Sassi’s quills out of. This made for a rigid appearance that could contrast with the loose appearance of the same stitching technique when applied to all of their hair.
Each Weebie starts off as a “big-head” (which is actually my definition of the made up word Weebie,) and then has elongated arms and stubby little body and legs. The crochet pattern is pretty repetitious from character to character. It gets fun when I start to incorporate the individual features like Ohnaka’s tattoos or Peloquin’s dreadlocks.
The last thing I make is the clothing, also crocheted, and any props that I feel like that character particularly needs such as Narcisse’s thumbhooks (tin foil) or Molly, Ohnaka’s dog.
All character crochet and photography included, it is an on-going process that according to my time management app Harvest, has claimed 361 hours of my life to date.
CPB:Which Weebie was the most difficult to make?
Andrew: When it came to applying my talent to the Nightbreed, there were a few challenges that I don’t usually encounter. My characters fill out a pretty vivid range of color and texture but have very similar proportions (or crochet patterns) across the general board.
A lot of the Nightbreed are almost passable as human, until you begin to notice the subtle distortion or mutation of a single aspect of their anatomy, such as the extra eyes on Lylesburg. I found it difficult to mimic the skin texture of some Breed in crochet, and to account for the misshapen and asymmetrical shapes.
It was a draw I think, between Otis and Clay who have a conjoined face; and Frick whose face was elongated down onto his torso, that was most difficult to crochet. I generally avoided crocheting mouths and noses on my Weebies in order to better conform to the Japanese ‘chibi’ (cute big-head) style of amigurumi. Both of these characters however were made interesting by what was happening to their mouths and noses and it was difficult for me to make them recognizable, but still cute.
CBP: Who is your favorite Nightbreed character, and why?
Andrew: This has to be every Nightbreed fan’s dream question. There are several answers I could make, but I will limit myself to two. On one hand, my favorite character would have to be Peloquin. He’s a consistently written character throughout the entire story line, from the novel to the film to the comics. I feel like a lot of people identify with him because of his attitude, and to be honest, in his shoes, I’d probably choose to act the same way, “Fuck the law, I want meat!”
Personally however, Peloquin interests me because of the one line that everyone seems to dismiss due to his super-cool shape changing ability and the whole ‘bite that mocks death’ ability. Peloquin professes that he is able to smell innocence. I have always thought that was by far one of the most profound and mystical abilities I’ve encountered anywhere in fantasy, horror of sci-fi literature. As I stated on the Peloquin profile I made for my website, that’s an ability I think Superman or Batman would value, but with Peloquin, it’s so much more an interesting concept to explore because Peloquin isn’t concerned with issues of morality, in complete contrast to his being the perfect judge of it.
Now, if this question were about which of my NightWeebies is my favorite, it would be the almost completely unknown couple Giblin and Veale. They are featured in NightBreed Chronicles although I still haven’t ascertained where, in the film’s background, they appear! I just really liked the character description about how they became Nightbreed and thought it was an amazing character design. My interpretation of them came out just too darn cute!
CBP: Finally, what did you think of the Nightbreed Director’s cut?
Andrew: I remember watching the Director’s Cut on Netflix for the first time and practically peeing myself with enjoyment. First of all, that my favorite movie ever had some deleted scenes I’d never known about before was thrilling. It was like extended Star Wars all over again! How can I be so lucky?! The additional footage of Midian was excellent and I loved the extra backstory into Boone and Lori’s relationship. There were two things about the Director’s Cut which stood out as exemplary to me however, and they both connect with the old, 25 issue run of Nightbreed Comics from Epic Comics (of which I was a HUGE fan.)
After seeing the Director’s Cut I really liked how well it matched the story adaptation that the comic presented. In the original comic, Lori sings her “Jhonny get Angry” song, but it was never in the original cut of the film so I never understood why it was in the comic. Later on in the Blasphemer’s storyline of the comic, it is revealed that Lori’s balm abilities revolve around her musical talent. Which as a musician, I LOVED. I was glad to see this aspect of Lori being musical had been built into the “canon” the whole time.
The other thing I liked was that the Director’s Cut had the original Narcisse ending which fit in with both the comic and the novel. I find it particularly interesting that Clive Barker filmed both a version where Narcisse loses his head and one where he doesn’t. Personally I have a theory I discuss on the Narcisse page on my website that indicated my belief that both scenes are actually part of the same story line and that Narcisse was intended to lose his head, and then get it back.
I would like to comment on one more aspect of the Director’s Cut, I don’t see any credits for the additional scene where Lori is singing at her gig. I’d love to know if that is ADR or if it was really Anne Bobby singing live, and who wrote that music. The lyrics to that song are so wonderfully terrible that despite how much I love the scene being there, I have to laugh at the song every time.
I’d like to thank Andrew once again for doing this interview. These are one of kind and hopefully he’ll create his own Nightbreed comics in the future. Also, make sure to check out his official Nigthweebie site here:
I’ll end this interview with an exclusive clip that Andrew shared with the Podcast. Thank you so much!