This November, acclaimed crime novelist Victor Gischler turns his talented pen toward three pulp characters we have come to know in the Dynamite comics universe.
Noir, a five-issue miniseries, will feature Miss Fury teaming with the Black Sparrow along with everyone's favorite 1940s crime fighter, the Shadow ... at least in its first issue.
Cosmic Book News Managing Editor Byron Brewer wanted to get the 411 on this crime story and so exclusively sat down and talked with Gischler about his most recent work.
Cosmic Book News: Dynamite is building up quite a stable of both crime and pulp hero books. Tell us about how the Noir miniseries came about.
Victor Gischler: It started with a pretty casual conversation actually. I thought both Black Sparrow and Miss Fury were both some crazy dangerous ladies and wouldn't it be fun to get them together. The answer, it seems, it yes. Yes, let's get them together.
Cosmic Book News: How do Miss Fury and the Black Sparrow come together, and how does the Shadow become involved?
Victor: Gischler: In our story begins, we don't see Miss Fury for a while, but we vaguely feel her influence lurking in the background. So they don't really come together until Black Sparrow and Shadow finish their business. Last time we saw Sparrow and Shadow together, they were trying to kill each other. We open the story with Sparrow on the Shadow's home turf, and Sparrow is just cunning enough to know she can use the Shadow's help. After all, what kind of masked adventurer would he be if she couldn't set a little attempted murder aside when there's treasure to be hunted. Shadow is intrigued by the Sparrow's unexpected appearance. Sure, he could have dropped the hammer on her right away ... but where's the fun in that? Better to play along and see what happens.
Cosmic Book News: Who is the big-bad in this five-issue adventure? New, or someone one of our stalwarts has seen before?
Victor Gischler: That's an interesting question because in the first issue, there really is no big bad. Rather, the conflict in the issue stems from the unfolding mystery and the tension between Sparrow and Shadow working together. There is an antagonist figure, but we don't meet the "big bad" until issue #2 -- a very strange boyfriend and girlfriend team. I think I was channeling my inner-Chaykin when I created these characters, and I'm looking forward to unleashing them on Sparrow and Fury and watching the sparks fly.
Cosmic Book News: What is it about these characters that makes them so much fun to write? How do you recreate that pulp vibe in a modern comics market?
Victor Gischler: The market might be modern but the setting for these pulp tales is still pure 1930s-1940s. I remember briefly talking with Nick a while back about bringing The Shadow into the present. I don't think that's a terrible idea, and I'm sure another writer could knock it out of the park. But for me, a big part of the attraction is period clothing, period cars, period weapons, and a historical setting ripe for storytelling. Pulp also lends itself to a sort of slam-bang style of narritive which provides a really comfortable zone for me.
Cosmic Book News: You are an acclaimed crime novelist as well as known for your comics work. Can you tell us the difference in approaches?
Victor Gischler: Much more of a team effort in comics. When writing a novel, it is 100% my responsibility to write the words which help the reader create a picture in his/her mind. In comics, I feel like I'm directing a mini-movie. (Sort of.) Talented artists bring the action to life. With a novel, I'm writing directly to the reader. A comic script is me having an important conversation with the artist (and colorist, and letterer), and then we go to the reader together.
Cosmic Book News: You created Black Sparrow, I believe, in your great Shadow run. Were you familiar with Miss Fury before working with her? Any favorite stories or plot points from Miss Fury or Shadow that might rear their heads here?
Victor Gischler: To be honest, I was not familiar with the classic Miss Fury character. My first exposure to her was the Alex Ross cover for Dynamite. I saw it and thought WOW. Then I saw Jack Herbert's splash with Miss Fury in the bath tub. Wow again. Rob has been killing it in the MISS FURY book. Mostly what happens in NOIR is all new stuff. Readers might find it helps get them in the mood to pick up MISS FURY or the Revolution arc of THE SHADOW for the Black Sparrow's first appearance, but they won't be lost if they just dive into NOIR #1.
Cosmic Book News: Why is artist Andrea Mutti right for Noir? Are you a fan?
Victor Gischler: Andrea had been sending me samples for a while and saying "Hey, let's work together." So when Joe was fishing around for an artist for NOIR, I mentioned Andrea, and it worked out. Andrea is a pro, and one of the things I really appreciate about him is his ability to take all the reference I send him (pictures of cars or guns or strange old towers) and fit the images onto the page just right. And the guy works fast, too ... which keeps me on my toes.
Cosmic Book News: What do you hope readers take away from this story at series' end?
Victor Gischler: I'd love for readers to come away with a real appreciation for both Miss Fury and The Black Sparrow. Sparrow especially, since I created her. I think she ended up being a great character and can either be a protagonist or antagonist, depending on the story. Also, props to Alex Ross who took my description and was the first to draw Black Sparrow for the cover of The Shadow #10. He 100% nailed it.
Cosmic Book News: Any project current or future you would like to discuss?
Victor Gischler: I'll be brief since I don't want to distract from our conversation about NOIR. But I do have a creator-owned book called KISS ME, SATAN coming out in September and another creator-owned book coming out later this fall called CLOWN FATALE. I hope everyone can give those books a look.
Cosmic Book News: Finally, why Noir as a title?
Victor Gischler: Joe and Nick (and maybe others in the Dynamite office?) put their heads together and came up with the title, so I can't take any credit. But I think the title works well. At its core, the story of this arc is pure Indiana Jones pulp style adventure, but the tone very much has a noir edge. This isn't Superman saving a bus full of orphans. Even the "good guys" in NOIR have a bit of an edge. (Or maybe a ton of edge?)
"Noir" #1 hints in November from Dynamite Entertainment!