Barbra Dillon, Fanbase Press Editor-in-Chief: Congratulations on the release of your latest comic book series, Scoundrel! For those who may be unfamiliar, how would you describe the series’ premise, and what inspired you to tell this story?
Hannibal Tabu: Thank you! Scoundrel is a historical fiction series set in east Los Angeles of 1981. I reinterpolated the story of the successful King Taco restaurant and added a twist -- in reality, they had one son, and in my story they had two. The new, younger son is a reckless hedonist who gets too much, too fast and ends in tragedy. The story is based on the 18th century painting series, "A Rake's Progress," by William Hogarth. Many people believe it's one of the earliest examples of comic book-styled storytelling.
I was inspired to tell this story by one of our world's greatest motivators: money. The publisher, Nate Wunderman, approached me about doing some works-for-hire after WonderCon a few years ago, and since then our working relationship has been simply amazing. I can't say enough good about it. He hired me to do two things he's wanted for a long time -- Scoundrel and the vampire historical fiction saga, Irrational Numbers -- and ... well, we'll see what more we have to talk about as time proceeds.
BD: What can you share with us about your creative process in working with artist Dug Nation and letterer/producer Josephine Roberts, and what have been some of your creative influences?
HT: Dug Nation was recommended to us by an old friend of mine, Joel Gomez. I found working with him enormously helpful -- he took my full scripts and sent back thumbnails as a JPG, which was amazingly helpful. We sorted out any confusion so early on that by the time he completed his pencils, it was a cursory review for smaller details.
Josephine is our rock -- a Swiss Army creative who can letter, color, and pitch in at almost every point. Whenever there's a hint of something going wrong (very rare with Nate overseeing every step), Josephine came in like MacGyver and it was fixed. Working with this creative team has been a dream.
My creative influences here were largely based in television but a few comics too -- Breaking Bad and Queen Sugar for their quiet moments, Top Cow's Postal and TV's Entourage for how to manage spectacle, and so on. I'm overall influenced by stories that balance characterization, plot development and spectacle, which is a hard trick to do. Ask Tom King or Christopher Priest or, if you could, Octavia Butler or Dwayne McDuffie.
BD: What do you hope that readers will take away from your work?
HT: The central theme of this story in particular is "be careful what you wish for," and I tried to reinterpolate Hogarth's sadly timeless tale for a different era. Nate and I debated different points of history to "place" this narrative and settled on this era due to the fact that the technology of even ten years later would complicate things past the scale we wanted to do (two paintings per issue) and to move it farther back in history would make it too close to the original to bother with re-doing it.
BD: How many issues do you anticipate being included in the Scoundrel series?
HT: Scoundrel is a four-issue limited series. The original Hogarth work was eight paintings, and we paced this to match that at two paintings per issue.
BD: If given the opportunity to expand your series into other entertainment mediums, in what format do you hope to see it adapted?
HT: From a formatting standpoint, this would fit the BBC's model of limited, short-run series best. It has a concrete end which offers no convenient "outs" -- the first page of the first issue tells you where it's going to go, and like Fruitvale Station, knowing doesn't make it any easier.
BD: Are there any upcoming projects on which you are currently working that you would like to share with our readers?
HT: Absolutely, thanks for asking. I just released Menthu: The Anger of Angels (a 72-page OGN) with Hometown Productions. I was asked back for the poetry anthology, Voices From Leimert Park Redux, which came out recently. I was in the Mine! anthology from ComicMix alongside Neil Gaiman, Ann Nocenti, Gail Simone, and other creators supporting Planned Parenthood. I'm still doing the weekly web comic, Project Wildfire: Street Justice, with Quinn McGowan and ... I don't think I'm allowed to talk about the project that has me working with the Big Two for the first time in my career, so let me not say more and hope I don't get left on the cutting room floor. I think I can share more about that by WonderCon or so.
BD: Lastly, what is the best way for our readers to find more information about Scoundrel?
HT: Both the Wunderman Comics site and my site at hannibaltabu.com have extensive sections on it, and I'm happy to answer questions on Twitter, Instagram, and (if I notice the notifications) Tumblr as "hannibaltabu." Thanks for having me, I appreciate it!