THE RED HOOK x DEAN HASPIEL is the third installment in the Dean Haspiel Deep Cut Universe. A 24 page, black-and-white, limited-edition comic book.

New Brooklyn bartender Sam Brosia, aka The Red Hook, faces an existential crisis when he wonders whether he’s wearing the superhero mask or is the superhero mask wearing him? Who is Unmarked Bill, and how does Dean Haspiel fit into his own award-winning comix series?

With Covid Cop, I took two taboo subjects and merged them into a pandemic-inspired 21st Century antihero to root for.

Billy Dogma and Jane Legit featured erotic noir about two love titans attracted to conflict and is the most adult-oriented comic I’ve ever done.

The Red Hook X Dean Haspiel is where I merge the two genres I’m best known for, superhero and memoir, and have been producing separately for the last 30+ years… until now.

And with the introduction of cartoonist Dean Haspiel into the New Brooklyn Universe, is THE RED HOOK evolving into a speculative memoir?

In 1961, Marvel changed comic books forever. What used to be basic good guy-vs-bad guy fare suddenly became much more complex. Heroes and villains were complicated and flawed. Spider-man scuffles with Doctor Octopus while cracking jokes and trying to get medicine to his Aunt May before she has another heart attack. And these Marvel stories took place in real places like Queens, the East Village and the Brooklyn Bridge.

But, instead of Peter Parker becoming Spider-man, what if Spider-man became Peter Parker? Or, more accurately, Peter Parker became Harvey Pekar. A teenager from Queens transformed by the bite of a radioactive spider into a middle-aged man working as a desk clerk in Cleveland, Ohio. The Amazing Spider-man nee American Splendor.

Peter Pekar?

I’ve been wanting to take a bombastic superhero concept that slowly becomes a slice-of-life series with occasional surrealist aspects for years.

What partially inspired me is that scene in AMERICAN SPLENDOR the movie where actor Paul Giamatti’s portrayal of Harvey Pekar crosses over with the real Harvey Pekar. Suddenly, there’s this bizarre moment, a hybrid between reality and semi-autobiographical fiction, illustrating how many artists of several mediums have conveyed iterations of Harvey Pekar. Including Harvey himself.

And what happens when you personally insert yourself into your own fantasy? In “The Red Hook x Dean Haspiel,” I introduce MYSELF into New Brooklyn.

I’ve produced comix that feature avatars and iterations of me including “Jack Flashback” in early tales of my perennial BILLY DOGMA series. Harvey Pekar and other cartoonists and writers have portrayed me in their stories (and I even drew some of them, too). I produced a semi-autobiographical webcomic series called STREET CODE for DC/Zuda comics that I later collected into a book called BEEF WITH TOMATO (Alternative Comics). But I never directly immersed myself into a fictional story as I have with this new project.

An excerpt from an issue of American Splendor written by Harvey Pekar and illustrated by me (published by DC/Vertigo).

The comic book also serves as a primer for what has come before and where the story is going next. A perfect hopping-on point for fans of New Brooklyn and new readers.

The Red Hook is the tale of a super-thief who is bequeathed the Omni-Fist of Altruism and transformed into a hero against his will a year after a sentient Brooklyn’s heart is broken and physically secedes from America. Dean Haspiel is a native New Yorker whose dreams of being a cartoonist and playwright came true, despite the challenges of a freelance life in the real world and in “New Brooklyn.”

Like how Jerry Seinfeld played an alternative version of himself in SEINFELD, I get to convey true stories and draw myself in situations I’ve yet to encounter. If ever.

Sneak-peek of RHxDH page 1 (unlettered)

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