You may have noticed the interview chain Dynamite have sent spiralling around the internet these last few weeks, in which they ask several of their writers to interview each other about the various titles that are coming out. Previous editions of the interview series have been seen on here, on ComicVine, on Bleeding Cool and several other websites – and a new round have just been released.
In this first interview, Vampirella writer Brandon Jerwa talks to Victor Gischler – whose new series Noir started last week.
Brandon Jerwa: The NOIR series looks like it brings together some of Dynamite’s ultra-popular pulp characters for another big event. What can you tell us about the book?
Victor Gischler: NOIR came about from a very casual conversation I had with Joe about tossing two crazy tough ladies — The Black Sparrow and Miss Fury — together into a book to see what would happen. Add The Shadow as a guest star and what could go wrong? (Answer: Nothing. It’s awesome!) The book is an Indiana Jones style action adventure, but with a very gritty noir tone.
Brandon: The first issue is noted as being a “Prelude to Miss Fury” – does that apply to the entire series, or just the first story?
Victor: Just the first story. Miss Fury is a major player in the bilk of the arc. In the first issue we don’t see her until later, and that gives us more room to show off the Shadow and is alter-ego Cranston.
Brandon: As successful as the books have been, there may still be a few fans who don’t fully understand the concepts of “pulp” and “noir.” How would you explain the two for someone who is brand new to those ideas?
Victor: “Noir” is a way we describe desperate characters in a dark, unfriendly world. In a normal world we might have good guys and bad guys. In a Noir world we have bad guys and slightly less bad guys. I’m being a tad glib, but you get what I mean. These are characters trying to navigate a world in which law & order doesn’t always get the job done.
In the classic sense, “pulp” refers to literature that is mass produced very quickly. Pulp was often considered cheap and disposable. Imagine a frazzled writer hunched over a typewriter with a cigar in his mouth writing like mad to pay the rent. But from this frenzied creative alchemy came some great creations — like THE SHADOW for example. I don’t think many of those old pulp writers realized the staying power that some of their creations would have.
Brandon: Do you find it challenging to tell stories set in a specific time period? How much research do you put into it, and what aspects of the period do you tend to focus on?
Victor: I love it. I honestly do. I spend a LOT of time (too much my wife would say) Googling period clothing and guns and motorcycles and cars and ships and architecture and blimps and … a whole world really. For Noir, I researched some things about the Newport Tower, and for my REVOLUTION arc of The Shadow, I researched the Spanish Civil War which led me to George Orwell. I mean A LOT of stuff happened during this time period, things that changed the world forever. I can’t imagine a more exciting backdrop for some good pulp stories. Also, with period stories like this, you just have to change the way your character acts on a daily basis in little ways. For example, no cell phones. No internet. Just so many possibilities. I hope I have more opportunities to write pulp era comics. Just so much fun.
Brandon: The Dynamite pulp heroes are being put together more often lately. Is there any sort of hierarchy forming within their ranks?
Victor: Hmmmm. How would we score that? Sales numbers. Not sure about a hierarchy although some characters obviously have more name recognition than others. But I do believe these characters have a loyal following which is growing and every reader has his/her own favorite. Putting these characters together just seems like a natural way to jazz things up.
Brandon: Is there anything The Shadow doesn’t know?
Victor: He doesn’t know what lurks in the heart of The Black Sparrow. As established in the REVOLUTION arc of The Shadow, she is one of those rare people who is immune to the Shadow’s “clouding” power. This means Shadow is forced to interact with her in the usual ways men and women interact … so all the more perilous!