Thrilled about Thrilling Comics. A conversation with comic creator David Furr

First Comics News: When did you first get interested in comics?

David Furr: As a kid, I started reading Marvel right when Secret Wars II came out. A friend of mine had read the first series and said I should check it out, so since II was hitting selves I started there and picked up the original series. Since both stories were designed to pull readers into the greater Marvel universe, I was hooked.

1st: Who are some of your influences in comics?

David: Peter David is a big one. He has a way of making any character interesting and keeping a script entertaining with a mix of light heartened storytelling and intense action. He’s written characters I could care less about and still managed to pull me into their story. I also admire Frank Miller’s earlier works when it comes to creating a sense of dramatic tension.

1st: Are you a writer, artist, or both?

David: Just a writer (and a letterer). I tried for many years to develop artistic skill, but could never bring myself up to a professional level, so I stuck with writing.

1st: If you could hang out with any comic creator, who would it be?

David: Chuck Dixon. We’ve been corresponding over email for a while now, but I would love an opportunity to meet him and hang out in person. He’s one of the friendliest comic pros you could meet, and one of the best writers in the industry.

1st: One of your published works is Frontier Graveyard, what can you tell your fans about that project?

David: We first came up with the idea around 2011-2012. We wanted to do a period piece zombie series, and at that time no one had done a western zombie story (though before we were able to complete Frontier Graveyard, admittedly a few creators beat us to the punch). It wasn’t going to be another zombie story. It was going to be our first part of a world building project in which we ask the question, what if monsters had existed throughout history, but over the centuries someone has been covering up the truth. We did carry the story into a different era of history in Mobster Graveyard, in which a Chicago police detective in the late ’20s discovers Al Capone is using monsters to help carry out crimes while still continuing to produce Frontier Graveyard chapters. I had the idea of doing a Frontier Graveyard vampire story to follow up with the original graphic novel, but the team opted to continue the zombie plot into a second volume.

1st: How would a fan get one or many copies if interested?

David: They could reach out to Shannon Smith on Facebook, or catch us at conventions. There is also a copy or two on eBay for a reasonable price last I checked.

1st: David, you have other projects published by Antarctic Press, Exciting Comics, Mobster Grave Yard to name a few. What can you share to your readers about those projects?

David: Mobster Graveyard is a standalone sequel to Frontier Graveyard, meaning you can read it without any prior knowledge of the Frontier story. Thematically, it’s basically a 1920’s X-Files type story focusing on monsters instead of aliens. Exciting Comics is a project I helped Ben Dunn put together. He wanted to recreate a classic golden age style superhero anthology. The idea was we would include reboots of the classic public domain characters as well as introduce new heroes. I was already working on a project for him called Public Domain, so I helped him edit Exciting and I also contributed my own story called Crimson Scorpion. Later we also decided to turn the project titled Public Domain into the Exciting Comics 100 page extravaganza. The extravaganza is a murder mystery set in the 1970s where two detectives stumble across the secret existence of superheroes. It features public domain classics such as Black Terror, Airboy, and Rocket Man.

1st: How would a fan get one or many copies if interested?

David: Antarctic Press should still have copies of all these through their website. The first issue of Mobster Graveyard has sold out, so if readers want a physical copy of that, they can reach out to me and I can probably help them. eBay does have copies, but I wouldn’t pay the$12 plus dollars it usually sales for theirs. There are also digital copies of most on Comixology

1st: Congratulations, Mobsters graveyard is a big hit, I believe there are 5 issues available. How does it feel to have a hit comic?

David: Lol! ‘Hit’ is a relative term. Issue one sold out and became a huge speculation comic. Unfortunately, it was just a speculators reaction. Pre-orders for the book remained low. Even so, it was pretty cool to see people get into bidding wars on eBay for the first issue, especially since that was the first comic I ever had carried in Diamond. I even had to pay $50 off eBay to get a graded copy for my own collection.

1st: How would a fan get one or many copies if interested?

David: The first issue of Mobster Graveyard has sold out, so if readers want a physical copy of that they can reach out to me and I can probably help them. eBay does have copies, but I wouldn’t pay the$12 plus dollars it usually sales for theirs.

1st: What advice can you give to anyone interested in getting into comics?

David: Writers: Get feedback on your scripts and accept that the criticism you are getting may be valid. It doesn’t mean the criticism is right and that you have to rewrite your story every time. It means you need to be open to the possibility it is and not defensive about your vision.

The next thing to do is suck it up and pay a good artist, and pay him fairly. Yes, it’s not cheap, but the artist is spending a lot of their time to make your dream a reality, so compensate them fairly. If they volunteer to work off commission, accept their offer, but don’t try and convince them to work off commission if they are asking for a page rate.

Artist: Whether you’re working on your own project or someone else’s, finish the project quickly. I don’t mean rush it. I just mean finish it in a timely manner. It’s going to suck, it’s going to be hard, and you’re going to want to quit more than once, but I would say if you do find yourself quitting you might rethink whether sequential storytelling is really something you want to do. If you only want to do covers, just be honest with yourself and everyone else and just do covers.

1st: David, you are working on a project with comics legend Chuck Dixon called Thrilling Comics, How thrilling is it to be part of that project?

David: It’s both thrilling and exciting! Har!

1st: I am excited about Thrilling Comics. What can you share with the readers about the project?

David: Thrilling Comics is a relaunch of the golden age title by the same name. It includes three full-length stories (each 24 pages). The first is the Black Terror, which I am writing and Preston Avesedo is drawing. This story takes a new twist on the Black Terror legacy. The second story is Cat in Black by Chuck Dixon. Cat in Black is an original character, but she was inspired as a mash-up between the public domain Black Cat and the Woman in Red. In fact, in future stories, we will see a connection with the Woman in Red. Art for this story is by Joseph Olesco (the Exciting Comic’s Crimson Scorpion artist). The last of the three stories is Silver Streak by Clint Stoker (check out his YouTube channel; Sweetcast) with art by Preston Avesedo. It is a reboot of a golden age character by the same name. Clint keeps the story closely in-line with the original but adds a few of his own twists. It’s an excellent mash-up of golden age and modern era storytelling.

If we reach the $20K stretch goal, we will include a forth story written by Shannon Smith (Co-creator of Mobster Graveyard) and drawn by Dell Barras (formally a bronze age Marvel artist). It will tell the story of what happened to the golden age monster known as the Heap. It features the original (golden age) Black Terror and a retired Airboy.

1st: I have seen some of the previews for Thrilling Comics, I have to say it looks amazing! The comic is live now on Indegogo. What can you tell your fans about the campaign?

David: That it is amazing and you should pledge right now! Lol!!! But seriously, in addition to what I said above, I can also tell you about the perks. We have three covers; a retro cover, a painted cover, and a sketch variant of the pained cover. The first two will be printed to demand, but the last of the three has a cap set on the print run. We will print enough to fulfill orders plus a few extras. The print run will not exceed 300 copies regardless of how well the campaign does. Despite this cover being limited, we are selling it for the same price as the painted variant. We will also have an exclusive print drawn by artist Ben Dunn available only in our highest two tiers, also at a very limited run (max of 100 will be made).

1st: Is there anything you want to mention to your fans that we have not covered in this interview? Any links you want to share?

David: Yes, I get a lot of questions as to whether this campaign has any ties to Antarctic Press or the Jungle Comics IndieGoGo. The answer is no, it does not. Many of the creators on Thrilling have worked with AP before, but we are doing this project independently. Also, none of us had anything to do with the Jungle Comics campaign. Chuck did the script, but he did it as a work-to-hire. That campaign was handled by Ben Dunn. I did not work on it at all.

1st: Is there any shout outs you would like to make?

David: Yes. I’d like to give a shout out to Leeroy Jenkins who has inspired me to toss caution to the wind and rush blindly into every situation. But seriously, actually, I’d like to thank everyone who is working on this campaign with me: Chuck, Clint, Shannon, Joseph, and Preston.

1st: David, are there any upcoming projects you would like to share with the readers?

David: My next project will be to reprint the chapters of Crimson Scorpion from Exciting Comics into a single volume, included with new content. This will be great for readers who missed an issue or two of Exciting or who haven’t picked up the series at all yet. Crimson Scorpion will get his own book with AP early next year, and while it will read just fine for anyone who hasn’t read the Exciting chapters, this trade will enhance the story for new readers as an ideal jumping-on point. We’ve also completed the pencil and inks for the second volume of Frontier Graveyard. The only hold up there is that our colorists are tied up on other projects. Once their schedule frees up we’ll get this out. (We don’t want to launch the campaign until colors are mostly done.)

1st: Thanks so much David Furr, you are an amazing creator and it is a pleasure to interview you! Thank you so much for this interview. Keep on creating!

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