The following is an interview with actor, writer, and producer Tyler Mane (X-Men, Rob Zombie’s Halloween, The Devil’s Rejects) regarding the upcoming Kickstarter campaign launch for the graphic novel, The Last Spartan: Red Tape. In this interview, Fanbase Press Editor-in-Chief Barbra Dillon chats with Mane about the shared creative process of bringing the story and characters to life on the page, what readers may take away from its themes, the incredible backer rewards available through the campaign, and more!
Barbra Dillon, Fanbase Press Editor-in-Chief: You will soon be launching a Kickstarter campaign for your new graphic novel. For those who may be unfamiliar, what can you tell us about the premise of this story?
TM: It’s Sons of Anarchy meets The Punisher set in Atlanta’s human trafficking underworld. The lead character, Frank, is a paroled ex-enforcer for a motorcycle club, living a life of boring obscurity when he gets the call to go on one last ride to rescue a friend’s granddaughter from a human trafficking ring. When he gets to Atlanta, he crosses paths with a decoy agent, Amanda Harper, whose goal is to get every last person out and while they are often at odds from working toward different goals, in the end, they’re forced to work together to take down a massive cartel.
BD: The story deftly combines the suspense of a crime thriller with the stark reality of human trafficking. What can you tell us about your shared creative process in working with editor Renae Geerlings and writer Christopher Priest in blending these narratives?
TM: Well, first I should point out that Renae is my wife (laughs), so that is always a different experience than working with someone outside of your house. We met for the first time at Wizard World con 2000, so it’s actually kind of surprising that it took us this long to make a comic book!
I knew I wanted this to be gritty and real. At the beginning, we would have some story meetings with Christopher and we’d bring in our research about human trafficking and give some ideas. Christopher would look at us like we were nuts and say, “That would never happen.” And we’d share the articles and links. Truth is truly stranger than fiction!
And we also needed a writer who would be able to dig into a character who’s rather enigmatic and laconic and show who he is through the characters around him. And we KNOW Priest is great at that, so I had ultimate trust in what he would bring to the table.
I realize that comics are often an escape from reality or allegory for it, but I think it’s just as important to delve into the craziness of the real world sometimes and reflect it back to people through a fictional story so they can digest and assess with a little bit of distance. Yes, this might not be real, but all too often it is!
BD: You have an incredible lineup of artists involved with this project. How would you describe your collaboration in bringing this story and characters to the page?
TM: Renae was able to reach out to a team of many people she’s worked with in the past through her years with Top Cow and image and IDW. And these are some great artists, so it was just a joy to see the work they brought in.
BD: At Fanbase Press, our #StoriesMatter initiative endeavors to highlight the impact that stories can have on audiences of various mediums. How do you feel that this story may connect with and impact readers?
TM: Well, I really hope people enjoy Priest’s deft handling of a story that has layers of deceit that are ultimately peeled back and shown the light of day. But I also hope this fictional tale worms its way into people’s brains as a way to make them more aware of the problem of human trafficking and that we can point toward some foundations that are doing great work to stop it in the process!
BD: Are there any particular backer rewards for the Kickstarter campaign that you would like to highlight for readers?
TM: “Coffee & A Comic” has a bag of Deliver Fund’s Thrivers Coffee and a copy of the graphic novel, so through that we’re able to support a great cause! There are also a couple of in-person tiers like a retailer tier, where I do an in-store signing and also a super high-end perk for a couple FANATICS who want me to hand deliver their package to their door and go for dinner!
BD: Lastly, what is the best way for our readers to find out more about The Last Spartan: Red Tape and its Kickstarter campaign?
TM: Sign up for my newsletter at maneentertainment.com and follow my Broadcast Channel on Instagram for instant updates!! You can find me on Facebook, insta, TikTok, and Twitter at @therealtylermane.