“The Grave” by David Taylor has been making some waves on Kickstarter after being fully funded with 24 hours and having some stretch goal artwork by Alex Ogle (Action Labs, Marvel).
Not bad considering it’s David’s first Kickstarter campaign. I caught up with David to ask him about the book, influences and what’s next.
What can we expect from the Grave?
It’s a hard-boiled noir thriller, in the style of Ed Brubaker and Frank Miller. Imagine if the Coens cast Sylvester Stallone in a revenge movie at the end of the 80s – that’s what I was going for…..but it’s got a lot of heart underneath that.
I wasn’t interested in just repeating all the tropes of crime fiction, so I spent a lot of time looking at who the characters are and what the events do to them emotionally as well as physically. I think it’s a pretty soulful story.
How long did it take for the story of The Grave to come together?
I’d worked through a few ideas for the story over the years. The version that’s on Kickstarter, I spent a year figuring out the characters and the world, and then another year writing the script and creating the art.
Was it something that inspired you long ago, or a newer project?
The title and some of the characters have been around for about five years. I wanted to do something really pulpy, like the old EC comics in the 50s. And The Grave sounded really silly.
But a lot of stuff happened over the years and the title started to mean something less literal to me. So what I ended up writing was just a title and a few names in a completely new project.
Have you always had a love for Film Noir and the idea of an Anti-Hero in Comics/Films?
Yeah, because there are so many ways of telling those stories. You can have all the same tropes and the end result can be anything from deadly serious to straight-up ridiculous.
But for someone like me who enjoys working in black and white, the look of classic film noir is perfect. All heavy blacks and hard edges.
Anti-heroes are fascinating. They let you explore much more emotional territory than someone who believes they’re righteous or always does the right thing.
Was the intention always to publish The Grave as a Graphic Novel or did you consider a web-comic or short serialized issues?
I wrote it as separate parts, but I was always going to release it as a graphic novel. Personally, I enjoy getting the complete story in one go, so that’s how I created it.
Even single issues would have forced me to cut some of the more thoughtful moments out because people want to feel the story moving all the time if it’s only 22 pages long.
The biggest thing is it lets me do lots more with the art design, so I can create a really great package of things on the Kickstarter.
What is the key message you’d like readers to get out of enjoying the Grave?
Hopefully, the story works as a straight-up crime thriller as well as something more thoughtful about what violence does to people.
What’s next after The Grave?
First up is a pretty lurid action comic called Wild Nature. It’s about a contract killer of sorts who gets sucked into a game of death while down in Miami to rescue a young woman. He ends up being chased across the city by killers in animal masks, trying to find out why he’s been betrayed. So far, so tropey, but there’s a lot of weird Lynchian stuff under the surface.
And then I’m going to write a sequel to my short story, HER! and learning more about what she’s trying to achieve as her dark mission leaves New York into the remote corners of the US. It’ll be my first comic using traditional inks rather than digital ones, so I’m looking forward to stretching myself.