The Opening Page

A fascinating project, ‘My 22 Always Works’ comes from writer Russell Hillman, author of ‘Dark Of The Forest’, ‘Deadly Burlesque’ and the three part Roller Derby comic ‘Fast & Frightening’, which I thoroughly recommend. Described (accurately) as ‘A noir tinged tribute to Wally Wood’s 22 Panels That Always Work’ (for more on that: the comic is 22 full page panels.

the story concerns Peggy and Stevie, a troubles couple from Chicago in 1956. Infidelity plays a big part, but rather than keep the story a straight gangster noir, Hillman takes a couple of unconventional twusts along the way, making this a very satisfying read. Baf Gallart’s black and white art has some very nice detail and suits the story perfectly, and the whole thing leaves a nice taste in your brain.

At time of writing the Kickstarter campaign is £400 short of it’s £1000 target, with the comic priced at a reasonable £3.00 for a physical copy or £2.00 digital. Go and take a look, and tell ’em Comicscene sent ya.

We also managed to have a char with Russell, to get a few details behind the creation of the comic:

Comicscene: Tell me about the reason behind doing a comic of full page panels

It was an experiment to see if I could, really. Like many comics creators, I’d seen Wally Wood’s 22 Panels That Always Work, and wondered if the panels alone could be used to tell a story. I think it worked.

How did you go about writing the story?
I took the 22 panels and tried to think of a way to turn each one into an image that would tell a story, then rearranged them until it made sense. After that, the characters and situations seemed to almost suggest themselves.

What were your influences with this particular comic?
Predominantly, Wally Wood. One of the characters is visually inspired by his take on Power Girl, for instance, and another by the title character from Sally Forth. Beyond that, the visual tropes and cliches of noir storytelling. Because with the interplay of shadows and light, noir felt appropriate. There’s a little influence from the final issue of The Death of Superman, because that’s also a story told in splash pages.

You’re a true indie creator, do you like what you see around you in the indie world today? 
Mostly, yes. There’s a lot of great creators out there putting out some astounding work. That’s why I love cons like Thought Bubble and Meanwhile and ICE that give the small press creators a place to shine. I tend to follow writers more than artists, so a big shout out to Umar Ditta, Matt Garvey, Joseph Glass, Drew Edwards, Mike Garley, and anything from Mindstain Comics and Hellbound Media, among many, many others.

I’m a fan of your Fast And Frightening roller derby three part series, what was behind that?

I met the ladies from Hot Wheels Roller Derby one year at Thought Bubble. One of them asked me why there were no roller derby comics. I agreed that there should be, and after the con got in touch with them to try and work out how to do it. Since then there have been a few others but there were none when I started.

There’s a lot of Kickstarter campaigns out there, why should people back yours?
Because the comic is cheap, and incredibly well drawn and lettered. David Baf Gallart is an artist I met on Twitter and his pages blew me away. The letterer, Sergio Calvet, is also amazing, as well as being a great artist and writer in his own right. Also, because the book is already finished and printed, it’ll be ready to send out a few days after the Kickstarter funds – none of this waiting around for months on end and constant apologies for delays. I happen to think it’s well written too, though I would say that.

There are some brilliant looking comics on Kickstarter right now, though, so if you don’t like the look of mine then hopefully something else will grab you.
But please back My 22 Always Works if you can.

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