You mentioned how the more mainstream publishers have been ill-equipped and slow to respond to the need of maintaining readerships as readers age, but could it not be argued that properties like Heavy Metal, and DRAVN today, exist purposefully for the adult readers of sequential arts? And if such is the case, might it be construed that if adult fans of fantasy fiction require an escape from these illustrious times, that such a comic as DRAVN exists to not insult their intelligence?
First off I think it was a conscious decision for some publishers to move away from the all-ages fare they were producing to the more mature material they're publishing now. There was a thriving older reader with more disposable income who could afford a pricier publication by going to glossier stock and better binding.
As far as Heavy Metal is concerned, it was created for those who loved the comic medium and wanted something a little more mature than the Marvel and DC Comics offered in the 70s. I don't think of Heavy Metal as 'Adult' but mature in the same sense that Harry Potter isn't for young kids. It gets labelled as Adult because prose can get away with talking about things that can be for a young adult audience but when you start adding imagery to that it suddenly becomes more mature or adult.
Now DRAVN is an example of that. I would put DRAVN right next to Harry Potter or Hunger Games in terms of audience. I would be comfortable giving a well read 12-14 year old this copy of Heavy Metal to read and the series itself could be a readership from 12 to 80. When you find yourself asking "how can I write this for a 12/16/21/35/42/65 year old?" you're in danger of insulting your reader's intelligence. But let's also not forget that many an author have done very well out of insulting their readers intelligence.
Excellent. And what, in closing, do you think will surprise readers the most about DRAVN?
If I told you it wouldn't be a surprise.
I will say that the blend of genres and ideas, pulling from folklore and religion gives it a rich grounding. Buy this issue of Heavy Metal and you'll get a taste of what is to come. Like all creators, our work lays ourselves bare. We are at your mercy.