Ashley-Jayne Nicolaus interview

Ashley-Jayne Nicolaus makes her comic writing debuting this month with JLA/Haven: Arrival. Ashley-Jayne, co-writer Matthew P. Schuster, and artist Ariel Olivetti tell the tale of an alien city that crashes to earth, bringing new citizens and a new location to the DC Universe. Worlds of Westfield Content Editor Roger Ash recently contacted Ashley-Jayne about JLA/Haven: Arrival and the follow-up maxi-series, Haven: The Broken City

Westfield: JLA/Haven: Arrival is your first comics work. What have you done previously?

Ashley-Jayne Nicolaus: Before I began work for DC Comics on the Haven project, I have never had anything published. Up until then I've spent most of my time writing, painting and school. However, being that I can't really answer that question, I can tell you that I've been busy with a few other side projects. I recently had a short story published in a book called Bento (published by Allen Spegel Fine Arts. 2001) with Neil Gaiman, Kent Williams, Barron Storey and lots of other unbelievable writers and artists. The other projects... well they're still in the works, hence top secret - and I would hate to have to kill you. (smile) This has been an amazing year; it has all been very exciting for me. I am very lucky that [editor] Mike Carlin gave us kids a chance.

Westfield: JLA/Haven: Arrival and the upcoming maxi-series, Haven: The Broken City, will have a big impact on the DC Universe. Was it daunting to debut with such a high profile series?

Nicolaus: While I was writing Haven I never really allowed myself to think like that. To be honest, I didn't realize it would grow into such a 'high profile series.' If I allowed myself to think on such a grand scale I might scare myself into stagnation. Then I would never get any work done! (another smile) I just had an idea that I thought people would want to read, as well as developing a piece of work that went beyond what Matt and I created. I wanted other writers and artists to play in this world, helping shape it, and taking it where it needs to go.

Westfield: How do you and co-writer Matthew Schuster work together? Who does what on the book?

Nicolaus: Matt and I work half and half. We come up with the page breakdowns together, then thumbnails are created. From that point, I write the first half, he does the second half. We switch halves to make sure that the issue works and flows as a whole. In the end, we go back through the issue and make our tweaks and review the final work. I find that we are our own best editors, that is, before Carlin gets a hold of it and puts us in our place. (grin)

Westfield: What can you tell us about the story of JLA/Haven: Arrival and Haven: The Broken City?

Nicolaus: Hmmm... well, I can't give too much away here. Haven crash lands on earth and mayhem ensues. No really... I want it to be a surprise.

Westfield: Who are some of the new characters the book will introduce?

Nicolaus: The Haven maxi-series will focus on a group called "The Alliance" which consists of a main group of heroes that protect Haven as well as Earth's cities. We have Katalia, a psychic; Siv who lives for his nanite-machines; Valadin, an old war hero with unspeakable energy powers; and Nia who is cursed with powers made from Haven's ultimate enemy, Anathema. We also have a slew of side characters like my favorite, Hank Velveeda, who has the ability to "just know things" and is an information gatherer. Hank has already picked out a suitable new earth name. In essence, apart from the main group of characters, we are adding a city filled with the possibility of 10 million new superheroes to the DCU for everyone to come and play in.

Westfield: Any closing comments?

Nicolaus: I just want to say thanks to the whole DC crew for giving me a shot at writing and for their help and support.