Barbra Dillon, Fanbase Press Editor-in-Chief: You recently launched a Kickstarter campaign for your new action/comedy comic book series, Strange Burden. For those who may be unfamiliar, what can you tell us about the premise of this new five-issue series, and what inspired this story?
Scott Alan Gregory: Strange Burden is about an aging team of once-famous adventurers-for-hire who come out of retirement only to face a world that has moved on without them. The current iteration of the team is split between old-timers from the golden age and snarky new recruits, and the push and pull of egos, agendas, and alliances informs most of the comedy and conflict in the book. Also, there's a maniac going around cutting off people's feet while they sleep. What are ya gonna do?
In addition to Strange Burden, the campaign also features the spin-off graphic novel, Mr. Satan Goes to Hollywood, drawn by Samuele Giannicola, which takes a character from Strange Burden and puts him front and center in his own self-contained solo adventure.
I was inspired to write the book after a couple of totally unproductive months in lock down had me going knobby. I'd been feeding my brain a steady diet of cartoons and sitcoms and British mystery programs, and suddenly, from a stew of Archer, The Venture Bros., VEEP, Seinfeld, Father Brown, and Poirot, Strange Burden was formed.
BD: In the series, you deftly weave aging public domain heroes into a modern workplace sitcom that lovingly pays homage to the classics that came before it. What can you tell us about your creative process in collaborating with artist Thiago Motta to bring the story to life?
SAG: Thiago and I are both huge comic book fans, and we both delight in the bizarre and charming golden age comic books of the '40s and '50s, so he gets it, which is nice. But the best part about working with Thiago is his innate understanding of human nature. All of his “actors” are always on point, their facial expressions, their body language—these are never just talking heads, these are fleshed out human beings with history and baggage and distinct postures and personalities, and watching how they interact under Thiago's expert pen is one of the greatest joys of making Strange Burden. To belabor the film analogy, if I am the writer and director, Thiago is the co-director, prop master, cinematographer, continuity supervisor, wardrobe department, makeup, the entire cast, the editor, and probably craft services to boot. He carries the book, no lie.
BD: In light of the current crowdfunding campaign, what are some of the fun backer rewards that are available to those who contribute to your campaign?
SAG: I just love rewards where fans become part of the story world. We have a reward where Thiago or Samuele will draw you into one of the books for a glorified cameo. There's also a level where you get a poster of you and your favorite character hanging out in the setting of your choice. My favorite, though, is where you get your own 5-page story featuring you and your preferred Strange Burden character. If anyone ends up picking that level, it'll make my year.
BD: At Fanbase Press this year, our #StoriesMatter initiative endeavors to highlight the impact that stories can have on audiences of various mediums. How do you feel that Strange Burden’s story will connect with and impact readers, and why do you feel that this story was important for you to bring to life?
SAG: This whole endeavor came about as a means of escapism. I feel like the ability to tell contemporary stories set in the real world will, possibly forever, be affected by this pandemic. We can try to keep telling modern stories as if this awful thing didn't come along and change everything, but after a while it will ring false. Society looks different now, and it will for a very long time. Stories set in the real world will inevitably have to catch up, and storytellers have a heck of a challenge ahead of them. Strange Burden is deliberately set in a fantastic “other-world,” an anachronistic reality that is a symbolic dumping ground for everything that has touched or inspired me my whole life. It is free of the need to navigate the shifting landscape of our real world. That's not a cop-out, it's a necessary intermission. As we get our bearings both as readers and writers, we will be counting on certain reliable touchstones. Snappy dialogue. Rewarding mystery. Pathos and nostalgia. The silly and subtle affirmations of our humanity. I believe these are the aspects that will connect with readers, and why it is important for me to bring this book to life. Stories matter.
BD: Are there any other projects that you’re working on that you’re able to share with our readers?
SAG: I am developing a pitch for a graphic novel that will turn clown horror on its ear. It is much too early to say anything more than that.
BD: Lastly, what is the best way for our readers to find out more about Strange Burden and its Kickstarter campaign?
SAG: You can follow us on Facebook, and if you please, you can support our campaign.