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Fanbase Press Interviews Chris Condon and Jacob Phillips on Their Return to the Western World of ‘That Texas Blood’ with the Prequel, ‘The Enfield Gang Massacre,’ from Image Comics

The following is an interview with Chris Condon and Jacob Phillips regarding the upcoming release of The Enfield Gang Massacre, a new spinoff series of their critically acclaimed Western, That Texas Blood, from Image Comics. In this interview, Fanbase Press Editor-in-Chief Barbra Dillon chats with Condon and Phillips about the experience of returning to the Ambrose County world and characters, what they hope to explore in the new series (and future story arcs), and more!

Barbra Dillon, Fanbase Press Editor-in-Chief: Where will readers find themselves in Ambrose County in this new installment of the story?

Chris Condon: We actually start in Oklahoma at a traveling Wild West sideshow, our version of Buffalo Bill’s circus-like shows. It was fun to throw readers off a bit with that introduction before getting back to Ambrose County in West Texas. Our story is really a tale of two Ambrose Counties, or really, two Fort Lehanes, as the community is just beginning to establish itself around the fort after the Civil War. There are two areas of town with two different viewpoints of what they want the future of their community to be. New Town has thrown itself behind Texas Ranger Quentin Ely, while the poorer area of town, known colloquially as Chihuahua, has become a willing home to the outlaw Enfield Gang.

BD: Did you find that there was an ease to returning to the world of That Texas Blood, and how would you describe your shared creative process in working together to bring the gunslinging action and drama to life on the page?

CC: There’s an ease to coming back to Joe Bob and our other established characters, but for this it was a bit more difficult as we were dealing with a county 150 years before those characters ever inhabited it and with an all-new cast of characters. In terms of our process, we have our own ways of researching, but we both share things back and forth when we think it’s necessary to the work. We’ve been working together for a while now, so Jake tends to ‘get’ what I’m writing in the script and I, likewise, get what he’s doing on the page. There’s little discussion. We just get out of each other’s way.

Jacob Phillips: My roughs are so rough, there’s no point in sharing them with Chris. Sometimes, I think there’s no point in doing them at all when I’m trying to decipher what the hell I drew last week. So, the first thing Chris sees is the penciled pages, by which point it’s too late to ask me to fix anything unless it’s really bad, which is just how I like it!!! But no I think we just trust each other to do what we do. After creating hundreds of pages together over the last few years, we have gotten pretty good at it I think…

BD: What makes Image Comics the perfect home for this series?

CC: Image is the dream publisher for creators. They leave us alone to do whatever we want. No one dictates how many pages we need or what needs to be in an issue. It’s just us. We wanted to do a Western and there was absolutely no pushback on it from Eric Stephenson or anyone else at Image. They just said, “Cool!”

JP: And cool it is.

BD: If given the opportunity, are there further stories within Ambrose County that you would like to pursue, whether in comics or other storytelling mediums?

CC: I think there are so many great stories that we can tell about Ambrose County and the characters that call it home. We could likely go on for years and years, though I think we’ll probably be drawing things to a close in two or three more arcs. If we go beyond that, it’ll be for a finite miniseries or something. We don’t want to burn ourselves out on the series, and we don’t want to burn out our readers either. I think having a definite end is something commendable rather than plugging along into infinity just because you can.

JP: Yeah, the beauty of creating a world like this is that there’s potential to dip back in whenever we feel the need. There’s always the option to do another spin-off, if Image will continue to let us.

BD: Are there any other projects on which you are working that you are able to share with readers?

CC: Unfortunately, most things I have cooking are under wraps. But Jake and I do have a short story in the September issue of Harley Quinn: Black + White + Redder which we’re excited about. I hope that folks who like Harley Quinn give our story a chance. I went back to one of my favorite Harley stories for that one and gave it a new spin. I can’t wait to hear what readers think of it.

JP: I’ve got a few things I’m working on. Newburn #9 is about to come out, so I’m halfway through drawing the second arc of that at the moment. I’m working on Megalopolis, a graphic novel with Francis Ford Coppola (!!!) and Chris Ryall and I’ve just wrapped up colouring Where the Body Was, the new OGN from Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips which will be out in December. So yeah, you might say I’m TOO busy. My girlfriend definitely does.

BD: Lastly, what would you like to tell fans who want to learn more about The Enfield Gang Massacre and your other work?

CC: I think that we’re trying to tell honest stories about honest characters in a dishonest world. We just want to tell good stories, really. If you think that a Western isn’t for you, pick up issue one and flip through it. It’s not just cowboys on horseback with six-shooters. It’s about characters who aren’t so different from you or I, even if it is set in 1875. The same goes for our mainline, That Texas Blood. It’s always about character, first and foremost.

JP: It’s rootin’ AND it’s tootin’.

Barbra Dillon, Fanbase Press Editor-in-Chief




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