Barbra Dillon, Fanboy Comics Managing Editor: Congratulations on the upcoming release of your creator-owned comic, Carver: A Paris Story! Given that the series is deeply rooted in classic, serialized adventure storytelling, what were your inspirations for the story?
Chris Hunt: Thank you! I can’t tell you how exciting it is to be *this* close to having my brain baby get released into the world! I’m really fortunate that Z2 was willing to take the chance with me. My inspirations have been pretty varied, but the most pertinent one is Corto Maltese, the European adventure story by Hugo Pratt. In many ways, I modeled Carver as the American version of Corto, so you could say Carver (as a comic) is similar in tone to a Euro comic. In general, though, the story, the world, and the supporting characters have come from all sorts of mediums and tales I’ve been fascinated with for a long time. The Republic Serials that were the source of inspiration for Indiana Jones, as well as Indiana Jones itself, and Hemingway -- I’ve tried to take different elements from all of these sources to build something that feels familiar.
BD: Carver marks the second title of Z2 Comics’ new periodical line. What makes Z2 Comics a great home for the series?
CH: Well, in general, Z2's foray into periodicals has been exciting to be a part of. Ian McGinty is such a powerhouse in the all-ages category of comics already. As exciting as it has been to see the comic (Welcome to Showside) come together, it's been really interesting to watch the cartoon that he's showrunning and voice-acting in come together. Having done a similar experiment with Carver, it's invigorating to be working alongside another creative that isn't afraid to step out of his comfort zone. After issue one of Carver comes out, Z2 has ALLEN SON OF HELLCOCK from Will Tracy and Gabe Koplowitz. The two of them are childhood friends no less, so you have to think that they’ve been imagining worlds together most of their lives. Gabe works for MTV and Will is the former editor of The Onion, and currently a writer for Last Week Tonight with John Oliver. Will and Gabe have extraordinary minds for humor. Those are just the other two books in the initial launch. It's quite humbling to be a part of this operation.
BD: How do you feel that your work with comic book writer/artist Paul Pope prepared you for Carver, and do you see his influences in your work?
CH: I think it’s impossible not to see where your influences creep up in your own work. One of the greatest things about having worked with Paul, who was someone that inspired me to make comics from day one, is that we have actually had this conversation about influences several times. That’s the lineage in our industry: taking what you can from the previous generation and pushing it in your own direction. You can’t copy another person your whole career, but if you’re going steal from them, be original in how you put what you’ve stolen into play. I wouldn’t want to be a poor man’s Paul Pope, just as I’d hope no one would want to be a poor man’s version of Chris Hunt. If a younger cartoonist decided he wanted to learn how to use the brush because of my work though, I’d be honored.
BD: Given your experience with both writing and illustrating comics, do you feel that one aspect of the creative process is either more challenging or more rewarding for you?
CH: You know, it kind of depends on what day you catch me. The most challenging thing for me with drawing, beyond the frustration of always falling slightly short of what I picture in my mind’s eye, is that I have this obsession with natural movement. That probably sounds crazy since nothing “moves” in a comic, but what I mean by that is going beyond simple key-framing. It’s not enough for me to have someone simply standing in a room, or sitting at a table. I want them to do spontaneous things, like scratch their chin, or cough--things that could just “happen” if you were on set filming a scene with actors. I think a good comic should be able to be read silently, therefore, my focus is in the non-verbal communication that most people take for granted in their day-to-day lives. Thinking about these little performance nuances happens somewhere between the script being finished, and me doing the layouts for the comic. It’s hard to say which is harder, writing or drawing, because the thing that keeps me up at night is getting both elements working together as seamlessly as possible.
BD: A short film adaptation of the series is currently in production through New Century Storytelling. Do you foresee Carver expanding into other mediums in the future, and, if so, which medium do you feel would offer an ideal format for the story?
CH: The Carver short film that’s online is all we have planned for right now. It was a proof of concept in more ways than one. Frankly, I’d love to go back and do more films. The whole idea with New Century Storytelling was to experiment with a model where creators weren’t just handing someone a licensing agreement for their IP, but were in fact creating concurrent stories in a their shared universe. As I said, I would love to do more shorts, but I’d also love to experiment with augmented reality in a way that could bring the audience into the story. How cool would it be if in the comic Carver is getting into a bar fight, and, say, through the Carver app, you could put an Occulus Rift on and be a patron in that bar. You’re sitting at a table with a 360-degree view of the room, watching this epic fight unfold. People are falling at your feet, bottles are flying past your head -- I just think that would be the coolest experience ever.
BD: Are there any upcoming projects on which you are currently working that you would like to share with our readers?
CH: Right now my number one priority is Carver. I am working with Paul Pope on another short collaboration, but, unfortunately, I can’t say what it is yet. I will say that it is a science fiction story, and that I’m really excited to work on it and to team up with Paul again. After we get through these 5 issues of Carver, I’m going to decide what my next move is. If Carver is a success, I’ll revisit it, but I think I’ll have earned a much-needed break from my good friend Francis for a while. Although, I could see doing a standalone series based on Stacker Lee, my masked anarchist gang leader in A Paris Story. I think I may have inadvertently created a cooler character than my protagonist in ole Stack!
BD: Lastly, what is the best way for our readers to find more information about Carver and your other work?
CH: The best direct resource is the Carver site, which is thecarverstory.com or Z2comics.com. If you want a more behind-the-scenes glimpse at my process, I’m on Instagram as Lazzyfair. In fact, if there’s a social media site I’ve probably signed up for it, and I did so as Lazzyfair (hahaha). Whether I still use it is a matter of debate -- I can’t make it too easy.
The order code for Carver: A Paris Story #1 in PREVIEWS is SEP151762. Be sure to pre-order the comic at your local comic book shop!