Frankee White talks about 20 FISTS

First Comics News: This is such a wonderfully wild concept. What’s the inspiration behind it?

Frankee White: It starts with my love of THE WARRIORS. It’s one of my favorite movies and I’ve been watching it since I was a kid. I’ve always wanted to do something in homage to that, but make it my own. Originally it was going to be crossed with a Western and I think part of that still comes through in the opening segment, but once I saw Kat’s character designs for Chel & Billie my mind immediately shifted out of Western and into Romance.

1st: Have you ever been in an all-out brawl like we see in 20 fists?

Frankee: No, nothing in the scope of 20 FISTS. I’d probably get my ass kicked if I went up against The No Names and The Big Jackets. When I was a kid I used to scrap with my cousin, but that was the extent of it.

1st: Found family seems to be a big theme in this book. Can you speak on that?

Frankee: I’m a firm believer that the family you make yourself has the strongest bond because you choose who gets to be in it. And that choice to be with someone can have a powerful effect on yourself and the person you’re choosing to be with whether that’s fraternal or romantic. So this chord is struck repeatedly throughout 20 FISTS: who are you with and why are you with them?

1st: How have Kat Bauman, Gab Contreras, and DC Hopkins influenced the story you’re telling with their art?

Frankee: Kat has been my co-author in telling this story since day one. When I sent Kat the script for the first section (back when I was thinking it’d be part Western), the script didn’t have names for any of the characters or descriptions. I asked Kat to draw who she saw in her head as she was reading the chapter. So right from the start, Kat was extremely involved in helping shape who the characters were and who they would come to be. Plus, in a story that has no interior monologue so much was reliant on body language and facial expressions. Kat really did a lot of the heavy lifting. There’s a reason I put her name first in the credits.

1st: Gab came onto the project much later. We originally made this as a black and white comic, but Gab’s colors breathed new life into our story. We both have a mutual love for purple so you’ll see a lot of it throughout the story.

Frankee: DC Hopkins, our letterer, also added a ton to the story. His lettering is a perfect match for Kat’s art and just like any good fighter knew when to pull his punches and when to go for the KO.

1st: What do you hope readers take away from 20 fists?

Frankee: I hope that they see Chel’s midnight struggle to take control of her life and take it to heart. You are in control of your own destiny, you make your own choices, and you will have to live with them. Don’t let others try to walk over you or tell you who you are. Love fiercely, but take no shit.

1st: Do you see a possibility of continuing the story after these first three issues?

Frankee: Originally, I didn’t. I was happy with how these three issues went and thought I could lay this story to rest, but recently I’ve been thinking there’s still a lot left to explore with Chel and the world of 20 FISTS. Hopefully, I’ll be able to do that.

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