Another twisted tale from the mind of Dan Fogler (Brooklyn Gladiator) is hitting the shelves today, and this time he’s being aided and abetted by the equally twisted Ben Templesmith (30 Days of Night), along with co-writer L. Blum and editor Justin Mohlman.
Fishkill is the story of Det. Bart Fishkill, a NYC policeman who goes from a boring post on the Brooklyn Bridge to a world of utter weirdness that only these two could produce. Fishkill is published by Heavy Metal and available wherever you shop for fine graphic novels. We asked Dan and Ben a few questions to accompany this preview (and yes, I may have had just a teeny bit to do with their team-up. Call me the proud midwife.)
THE BEAT: How did you two maniacs start working together?
Ben: Unless Dan remembers differently, pretty sure I met him at a dinner during a SDCC, and we threatened to do several things together over a few years, which should still happen, dammit, but finally FISHKILL was the one that stuck. And it was just crazy enough that I had to say yes, and thus he was stuck putting up with me.
Dan: Yup. That’s basically how we met. Pretty sure Heidi and Ben McCool had something to do with it as well. I’ve been wanting to work with Ben Templesmith since I picked up 30 Days of Night. I wanted Ben initially for Moon Lake, then later for Brooklyn Gladiator, which McCool was helping me with. So when Ben Templesmith was available, I immediately put him on Fishkill, which is the prequel to Brooklyn Gladiator. In my humble opinion, I think the alchemy succeeded delightfully.
THE BEAT: Fishkill is set in a New York City that seems like an alternate history but is also scarily close to our own world. Ben, you are a former New Yorker, and Dan, you’re an on and off Brooklynite — how did your time in the city affect your work on Fishkill?
Ben: This is quite possibly the first time I’ve ever been called a former New Yorker, which is nice! Yup, I spent around 2 years in the far north of Manhattan. I guess it just gave me more of a feel for the place and the spirit of it. It certainly didn’t improve my ability to draw architecture, but then I’m mostly about atmosphere. And Dan takes the story to some places I’ve never been, like the true bowels of the subway.
Dan: Well the closest I’ve been to the NYC underbelly is the R Train. The sewers like in many tales represents the underworld, the subconscious, the Unknown. Fishkill literally goes down the conspiracy rabbit hole to escape false persecution. I grew up in Brooklyn. I’ve been back and forth across the Brooklyn Bridge a billion times for exercise, for inspiration, to go to Forbidden Planet for new comic day. I was very near to 9/11 when it happened. And when I read The Boys and saw that the 9/11 in that alternate universe was diverted to the Bridge it struck me to the core. We have a big homage to that timeline in Fishkill. The book is a close premonition of our current time. It was practically remote viewed by myself and L. Blum, my cowriter and also a native New Yorker. You’ll read it and wonder if we wrote it as 2020 was unfolding. NY is definitely a huge character in Fishkill and also obviously Brooklyn Gladiator, which takes place in 2033.
THE BEAT: Likewise, this story is heavy into conspiracy theories that may be too wild even for social media, as out hero Bart Fishkill goes down a rabbit hole of truth. What inspired the story as a whole?
Dan: If you’ve walked across the Brooklyn Bridge like I have many times, you’ll notice there’s a poor cop stuck in a motionless meter maid car halfway across. These officers always have the look of a broken zoo animal in their eyes. It’s like they’ve been benched for life. Forced to watch the oblivious masses swarm by living their best lives. Like a Stone in a stream. If something scary happens, 10 times out of 10 they’re there to call in a more able-bodied police person who comes riding up briskly on a bike or something. Now imagine if the shit house went up in flames and it was up to the Stone to save us. The seeds for the story were born on that bridge. And as I was writing Brooklyn Gladiator and realized holy shit, we’re already living the dystopian nightmare. I thought I’d better write about how we ended up here. That’s where Fishkill came from.
THE BEAT: This first volume ends on a bit of a cliffhanger…will we be seeing more Fishkill? And where and when!
Dan: There’s plenty more stories to come. Volume 2 of Fishkill will be ready in 2022 if the Zombie apocalypse hasn’t happened yet.
You can buy Fishkill at bookstores or on Amazon (affiliate link). Catch Dan Fogler on screen in the Fantastic Beasts series or The Walking Dead and on Instagram. And you can find Ben Templesmith on Patreon and comic shop shelves everywhere.