Barbra Dillon, Fanboy Comics Managing Editor: Congratulations on the upcoming release of your creator-owned comic, Allen: Son of Hellcock! Given that this will be your debut in the comic book field, what inspired you to tell your story in the sequential art medium?
Will Tracy: It begins with our mutual love of comics. Every time Gabe and I see each other, dating back a decade or more, it is inevitable that the question "What comics are you reading?" will arise. So, the idea to write one seemed obvious to us, even given our inexperience. As for Allen: Son of Hellcock itself, I think it's a story that we really couldn't have executed properly in any other medium, because it's consciously playing with comic book tropes, it's highly visual and panel-based in its comedic rhythms and logic, and it would be prohibitively expensive to try to capture in, say, a movie.
BD: Allen: Son of Hellcock is brimming with fantastical elements and very much embodies the sword-and-sorcery tale. Gabe, as a long-time fan of Groo the Wanderer, do you feel that the Sergio Aragonés tale influenced and/or encouraged you as a storyteller?
Gabe Koplowitz: Definitely! Groo got me really excited about comics as a comedic medium. Sergio and Mark Evanier (and Stan Sakai!) made a comic that appealed equally to my adolescent love of swordplay, magic and carnage, and my love of dopey humor. On a more surface level, Groo is about a lovable, but clueless, hero. That's kind of what we wanted to capture with ASoH.
BD: Will, you have solidified a mastery of comedic writing with credits including Last Week Tonight with John Oliver and The Onion. Did you find that your previous writing experience for TV and print transitioned easily to the sequential art medium?
WT: It's very different from television, because when you're writing for TV, at every step you're second-guessing yourself with logistical questions like "Will this be too expensive to shoot? Who should we cast for this? Is this line too dense for a performer? How are we on time? Can we get this location? Can we get the right after effects?" and so forth. There are a thousand production considerations that stand in the way of you making that thing in your head come to life. In comics, I really think the only limits are the limits of your imagination. Plus, the art makes your words ten times more vivid than they would be just sitting there on the page. (I guess what I'm saying is, it's secretly the most writer-friendly medium there is. Don't tell anyone!)
BD: As co-writers of the comic, how would you describe your creative process?
GK: We have a great comedic rapport. When we're in the same room, it's easy - we just try to make each other laugh, and if we succeed, we put it in the comic! It can be difficult when our busy schedules prevent us from seeing each other for a while, but we've built up enough trust that we can write piecemeal and have total confidence in the final product.
BD: Likewise, what can you share regarding your work with artist Miguel Porto and his contributions to the project?
GK: After graduating from college, Will and I traveled around Europe for a few weeks. We took a tour of the catacombs in Paris and got separated from our group when we thought we saw Chazz Palminteri stealing some ancient skulls. (He's a well-known grave-robber, of course.) Adrift in the darkness for hours, we finally saw a glowing light at the end of one of the tunnels. Upon closer inspection, we saw that it was a delightful bearded Spanish man wearing a headlamp, drawing the most glorious comics we had ever seen. "Welcome to your destiny," he said. "I am Miguel." I think he's still down there.
WT: Film and television actor Chazz Palminteri, meanwhile, is currently serving three life sentences for grave-robbing in a minimum-security white collar prison in Sri Lanka. Are these answers helpful?
WT/GK: Okay fine. If you want the truth, Miguel is immensely talented and ASoH couldn't exist without him.
BD: Z2 Comics has had a stellar year thus far with the release of multiple creator-owned comic books. What makes Z2 Comics a great home for Allen: Son of Hellcock?
WT: Well, first of all, Z2 Comics publisher Josh Frankel is a comics wunderkind with boundless enthusiasm, patience, and generosity. He's sort of like a young David Geffen in the '70s, only nicer and, generally speaking, less tolerant of The Eagles and their music. Plus, when we saw the roster of talent Z2 had already lined up, it seemed the obvious choice. Gabe and I are both incredibly proud to be in the Z2 family.
BD: Are there any upcoming projects on which you are currently working that you would like to share with our readers?
GK: Will and I have a goofy space adventure laying around that would be fun to do one day. I also have piles of comic scripts and screenplays that I'm certain will all see the light of day. (Please insert an emoji here that connotes sarcasm.)
BD: Lastly, what is the best way for our readers to find more information about Allen: Son of Hellcock and your other work?
WT: Check in with z2comics.com or on Twitter, @Z2comics. Or, alternatively, you could listen, carefully and quietly, on a stark winter's evening in the dimming firelight, for the arrival of a royal missive carried aloft on taloned feet. Your call, chief.
GK: Will and I are both trying to make some extra scratch as UBER drivers. Just come to New York, order an UBER until you get one of us, then ask us for updates! Or Twitter, I guess.