There are plenty of detective stories with P.I.’s and the like traversing time, space and more likely than not the dirty alleyways. So what sets Keith Carmack’s upcoming comic Victorie City apart? We ask the writer about his book, Film Noir and start-up publishing.
AiPT!: Thanks for taking the time to talk to us about your upcoming comic. You can find your book in the previews, but give me your own elevator pitch on the title. Three sentences or less!
Keith Carmack: Thanks for having me! It starts off like a classic, noir detective story with brooding inner-monologue and such. Personally, that’s what I always go back to when I’m reading comics, but then we add a supernatural element and the whole story takes a left. The real crazy thing is that some of the scenes in this book actually happened.
AiPT!: Whoa, really? To you personally or something you’ve seen in the news?
Keith: My uncle was a really gnarly dude. He spent some time in prison and had stories that would blow your hair back. I wanted to sit him down, have him tell me everything on camera and make a documentary but he passed. I think it’s just as well because no one would believe any of it. Now, I’ve decided to pepper some of that stuff in my comics writing… let people believe it’s all fiction.
AiPT!: There are a few detective books out there. How does yours differ?
Keith: More than a few! The difference with Victorie City is the villain, Brahm Allvar. I came up with his origin when I was in the 7th grade and kept saying I was going to write a story with him someday. I’d write a little something about him over the years and it would morph and mature, finally I landed on the circumstances in Victorie City and knew he was the perfect villain. The big reveal surrounding him doesn’t come until issue #2 so I can’t say much just yet.
Victorie City Preview Page 1.
AiPT!: My college thesis was on film noir so I love all things of the genre. So tell me…what are your top 3 film noir films?
Keith: Haha, that’s awesome. Touch of Evil and Maltese Falcon trade places for #1 and #2 for me. Picking #3 is tough because so many are right there… I’m gonna say Ace in the Hole because it sticks out as something a little different but still classic noir. I’d be interested to see where Citizen Kane comes into play in your thesis, if at all. Many people say it’s the first film noir and everything about that film and Orson Welles’ career is fascinating to me. Everyone expected him to make masterpieces… and he did. Citizen Kane was his first movie, it was 40 years ahead of its time, and he was 25 years old… and still, most people consider his career a failure. Whoa.
AiPT!: Imagine the pressure of making such a masterpiece so young. So then it makes me wonder, what would you rather Victorie City be, your Citizen Kane or your… let’s say Shadow of a Doubt (which in this example would be a great film but of course Hitchcock went on to make many more films)?
Keith: I hope it’s more of a Shadow of a Doubt. I have more stories to tell. The scripts I’ve been working on lately have me really excited to finish and get them made and I think it’s because I’m getting better. It’s the whole Malcolm Gladwell thing about practicing for 10,000 hours.
AiPT!: Your new book is being published by IDW. How did you that relationship start?
Keith: I work with 44FLOOD, we’re a small publisher and art collective made up of Ben Templesmith, Kasra Ghanbari, and menton3. We were able to strike up a partnership with IDW to distribute some of our books after a few successful Kickstarters. I really have to give Templesmith the credit here. When I started putting together the book, Ben was the one really championing it. He really liked Vincent’s art and thought the way we were presenting it with Jessi’s design was nice. When it finally came time to submit it to IDW, he played liaison and really backed me up. I don’t know if it gets published without him.
AiPT!: I have friends who are trying to get into the comic industry and it seems like the hardest part is finding a dependable and great artist. How did you connect with Nappi?
Keith: I met Vincent while on a trip to hang out with George Pratt at an illustration school he teaches at. We were trying to get him motivated to put out more work which, by the way, should be happening sometime next year through 44FLOOD/IDW. He said he wanted to introduce me to a student of his who wanted to get into comics and was really hungry for some work. He had done a whole graphic novel on his own just for practice and it was good. I eventually hit him up to do Victorie City and we were off and running.
Victorie City Preview Page 2.
AiPT!: You told me before this interview you’re involved in a start-up publishing company. Can you tell us more about that?
Keith: Yeah, 44FLOOD. It’s just the four of us, really. I do what we call “Operations” and most of the update videos. It’s basically all day everyday for me, trying to build something from the ground up isn’t easy. We use Kickstarter to put together our premium hardcovers. Then, if the book fits, we see if IDW wants to make a trade or piece it out to floppies and distribute it that way. It’s sort of like a record label, we have our own flavor of art and story that we want to put out but we’re always open to ideas and submissions, so anyone can hit me up if you think your stuff fits.
AiPT!: We’re big fans of Ben Templesmith here at AiPT! having recently interviewed him and reviewing his stuff regularly. In fact I’m a Dagon Kickstarter funder! I see he has done a cover for you on the first issue. How did you get involved with Ben?
Keith: Dagon is in the final stages of proofing, actually. So I’ll be packing up your pledge and sending it out pretty soon. I kept flailing my arms to Ben on twitter and he eventually brought me in to 44FLOOD. I can tell you 100% that dude gets it. He helps other artists as much as he can and he’s helped me a lot. He moved from here in Chicago to Seattle but if he asked me to come out there for something, I’d be on the next flight.
AiPT!: What’s your favorite method of procrastination? Temptation? Vice?
Keith: Procrastinanting changes for me, it’s whatever my one-track-mind is on at the time. It could be a show I’m catching up on or a video game. I like to go to the gym. When I’m really focused on it I prioritize it in front of things I really shouldn’t and end up getting behind on work. I don’t have a true vice but it would definitely be gambling if I ever let myself do it. If I walked into a casino or sportsbook with some real money I would fall off the wagon so hard I’d be running guns from Mexico in two weeks.
Victorie City Preview Page 3.
AiPT!: What talent or superpower would you like to have (not including flight or invisibility)?
Keith: I’d want Wolverine’s regenerative power that way I could live a long time and not get hurt.
AiPT!: If you were to cast the Victorie City movie who would play the parts?
Keith: There’s this actor, Ben Foster, who I really dig. Every time I see him in something he completely steals the movie. Watch him in 3:10 to Yuma, he’s up against Russell Crowe and Christian Bale and totally annihilates them. Past that I have no idea, I haven’t really thought about it, but Ben Foster gets his pick of any role.
AiPT!: Thanks for your time Keith!
Victorie City #1 comes out January 6th 2016.