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Fanbase Press Interviews Josh Eiserike on the Upcoming Release of ‘Charm City’ Through Scout Comics

The following is an interview with Josh Eiserike regarding the upcoming release of the new comic book series, Charm City, through Scout Comics. In this interview, Fanbase Press Editor-in-Chief Barbra Dillon chats with Eiserike about his creative process in bringing the story and characters to life, what he hopes that readers will take away from the story, and more!

Barbra Dillon, Fanbase Press Editor-in-Chief: Congratulations on the upcoming release of Charm City! For those who may be unfamiliar, how would you describe the series’ premise, and what was its inspiration?

Josh Eiserike: Sure! Charm City is a weirdly personal, five-issue serial killer murder mystery. The easy X-meets-Y is it’s a Jessica Jones-style mystery set in a world of underground magic, kind of like Harry Potter.

Charm city is also highly inspired by one of my all-time favorite comics—Batman: The Long Halloween.

More specifically, Charm City is about Alyssia Singer, a music blogger living in Baltimore. She’s estranged from her family, who are part of the city’s underground witching community. When we first meet her, it’s ten years after Alyssia was excommunicated from the witching community and—other than to get herself a full ride to NYU—she hasn’t used magic since.

But when a Ravens cheerleader turns up murdered, floating in the Inner Harbor with arcane markings carved onto her corpse, Alyssia knows what it means: that a serial killer is targeting the witching community. So now, she’s got a choice: take the case and confront her estranged family and long-buried demons… or risk more bodies piling up…

Charm City also draws on my experiences as a journalist in my 20s. I worked for a community paper in Northern Virginia and did some freelance work for DC’s alt weekly. I covered everything from Congress to the Warped Tour… and was happiest writing about music. I’d also find myself constantly going up to Baltimore (geographically outside my beat)—going to shows, hanging out at the bars… and fielding calls at loud venues from an annoyed copy editor, questions about my articles because the paper needed to go to print… and then I’d stumble into work the next day well after noon. With Charm City, I’m really drawing on that time of my life and those experiences…

I’m also a huge fan of murder mysteries and wanted to put the most unlikely protagonist at Charm City’s center. Not a detective, but someone with an emotional investment in solving the case who was better suited to writing 800 words on Animal Collective than cracking a case… also drawing heavily on my love of music!

Oh—Charm City’s also very specifically Baltimore. The bands, the bars, the neighborhoods. And one of my aesthetic influences is Baltimore’s most famous writer, Edgar Allan Poe. I love how the Ravens are named for his most famous poem; I love the way the skyline looks bathed in purple. I love the idea of a modern Victorian Gothic…with lots of rock and roll… and magic! That’s Charm City.

BD: What can you tell us about your shared creative process in working with artist Scott Van Domelen to bring this story to life?

JE: Scotty’s been a dream collaborator. All of my previous works—self-published comics and last summer’s The Very Final Last Girls graphic novel from Darby Pop Publishing—I’ve been the one finding the artist and putting together the creative team (or drawing it myself).

With Scout, they made the match. And I was very, very nervous to see what they were thinking for Charm City’s look. But the first time I saw Scotty’s stuff, the first words out of my mouth were “he’s perfect.” And he is!

Scotty’s been a collaborator in every sense of the word. He’s had some amazing ideas and I’ve had a blast working with him—whether it was settling on character designs, or choreographing the final fight in #5. I also appreciate his attention to detail—I haven’t lived in my native Maryland for some time now, and I’ve really relied on Scotty for verisimilitude. Plus, he’s a musician, so in a comic that heavily draws on music… it’s an added bonus.

BD: How many issues do you have planned for this initial story arc, and, if given the opportunity, would you expand the series to subsequent story arcs or even other mediums of storytelling?

JE: Charm City is a five-issue miniseries. The story wraps up, somewhat nicely, but leaves the door open for more. I don’t know if I’m going to get the opportunity to tell more stories within the world of Charm City, so the ending needs to be emotionally satisfying… but leave the door cracked for more adventures. The ending of first Star Wars is a good example of this: the heroes win… but Darth Vader escaped. Even with this dangling plot thread, I think if there had never been an Empire Strikes Back, people would have been very satisfied. That’s the kind of ending I strive for in my writing.

But given the opportunity, I’d love to do more Charm City. Alyssia’s a spin on the hardboiled detective trope. There could be any number of cases (or corpses!) for her to investigate within Baltimore’s witching community. I’d love to further explore this world and do something more sprawling, again, in the vein of Batman: The Long Halloween.

Beyond that, Charm City was the first-place winner of the inaugural Script2Comic competition, which was a complete honor. So, the goal is to now to try to adapt this to television. Which would be like winning the lottery! But, I’m very zen about all the Hollywood stuff—it’s completely out of my control and whatever happens (or not), I had the privilege of telling a weirdly personal story exactly as it was meant to be told with some wonderful collaborators. And for me, it’s so much more important that the story works, creatively, emotionally—and stands alone—as a comic book. Also, as of writing, we’re still on strike, so there’s nothing really to say other than my hope for a fair outcome to the WGA/AMPTP contract.

BD: What makes Scout Comics the perfect home for Charm City?

JE: Scout has been an amazing collaborator. For understanding exactly what the book was (further underscored with bringing Scotty on board), but also with suggesting colorist Lorenzo Palombo. I want to make sure Lorenzo gets a lot of credit as well for bringing that atmospheric tone out in Scotty’s work. (I told Lorenzo, “When in doubt, purple!”) And it looks great.

On top of that, everyone’s been exceptionally supportive. When I told them I wanted to myself draw a 4-page backup story in each issue, telling the “10 years ago” story of Alyssia’s excommunication, or that I wanted to letter the book, there was nothing but support. Oh! And Joshua Malkin, our editor, had some awesome story notes early on in the process which really strengthened my writing… so for that I’m exceptionally grateful.

BD: Are there any upcoming projects on which you are currently working that you would like to share with our readers?

JE: Sure! I’m currently in the middle of lettering Charm City #5 and putting the rest of the book together, but I’ve already started my next project(s).

First, after The Very Final Last Girls (a horror book) and the even-darker/more violent Charm City, I want to step back and do something for a slightly younger audience. Despite these books, most of what I write is YA, so I’m working on a historical fantasy… something my mom can read and not wonder where her parenting went wrong! I’m pretty early in that process, so it’s too soon to talk specifics.

Second, The Very Final Last Girls artist Z. Crockett and I are working on our next project, as well—and it couldn’t be any more different. I have a background in comedy (I used to freelance for MAD Magazine.), and Z shares my sensibility—she’s heavily influenced by artists like Tex Avery. Z’s also proudly transgender and fairly popular in the transgender erotica space, so we’re bringing all of that together to co-create a book called Bro House. It’s a raucous, transgender comedy about a fraternity that magically becomes a sorority. It’s insanely stupid and that’s kind of the point. And there’s going to be two different versions—my R-rated script, kind of an Animal House meets What Women Want… and then Z’s decidedly more X-rated, extremely NSFW version, which will be an exclusive to her Patreon. In fact, as of now, while we’re slowly putting this together, the only way to read the story as it comes to life is to support her on Patreon. But eventually, the R-rated version will be in print.

Finally, after I finish the script to my YA historical fantasy, I’m going to write The Very Last Final Girls 2. Darby Pop—the publisher of the first volume – has expressed interest in doing another, so…

BD: Lastly, what is the best way for our readers to find more information about Charm City and your other work?

JE: I’m online at, and

Charm City #1 will be available in stores on July 19—but make sure you call first to confirm availability, or for pre-order directly through the Scout Comics website. I should also mention that per Scout’s policy on serialized comics, there will be a three-month gap between #1 and #2, to allow retailers the opportunity to see the book and to see how many of subsequent issues they want to order. So, #2 should be available in October, and every issue a month later… with the trade due sometime next year.

Finally, my previous graphic novel, The Very Last Final Girls (about the girls who survive horror movies) is currently on sale at or—and you can read the first chapter there, too, for free!

Barbra Dillon, Fanbase Press Editor-in-Chief




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