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Baker's Dozen
Original short interviews with notable, rising or overlooked
figures from comics or the larger entertainment field by Bill Baker.

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BAKER'S DOZEN for 09/22/2004
The Trouble with Harry
Charles Fulp on Harry Johnson

Here's another one of the "newbie" indy creator-publishers that I was lucky enough to meet during this year's edition of the San Diego con. Everybody, this is Charles Fulp, a very funny and quite entertaining fellow whose new book, Harry Johnson, which is also very entertaining and quite funny, hits the stands today. You should all make sure to check it out, and give buying it some serious thought.

Unless you're one of those kinda folks. You know, one of them that hates very funny and quite entertaining, All American reads ... and instead supports terrorism, random acts of animal cruelty, and the degradation of Old Glory in the works of pinko-friendly "artistes" who are of questionable parentage at best.

And none of us want to be considered one of them, now do we?

Harry Johnson

Bill Baker: Let's start with the basics, such as 'Who is Harry Johnson -- what's he like and do for a living, what makes him tick -- and why do I get the impression that his life is little bit more exciting than most?'

Charles Fulp: Harry Johnson is a slightly perverted 1930's private detective, a.k.a. "the Uncouth Sleuth". The book is a parody of the old black and white serials of the 1930's and 1940's. In a nutshell, you could describe it as Austin Powers meets Indiana Jones.

BB: Could you tell us a bit more about the other folks in Harry's world?

CF: Harry's world is inhabited by a variety of zany characters from around the globe. There are numerous villains such as samurai swordsmen, cannibals, evil Maharajas, and, of course, Nazis.

And since the character designs are by animator and Playboy cartoonist Dean Yeagle, you can count on all on the female characters being VERY sexy. One of the cutest is Harry's assistant, a former exotic dancer named Fanny Sellers.

BB: So, is this a case of you following that old axiom, 'Write what you know", and drawing from your own personal experiences, or are Harry's adventures perhaps a bit more the product of a wild imagination?

CF: Well, I don't have a former exotic dancer for an assistant, if that's what you mean ... but I am accepting resumes and photos! (Laughter).

Actually, I think the fact that I've watched entirely too many "B" movies in my day did help me do a better job of spoofing the genre. Plus, I do tend to have somewhat of a wild imagination. I come up with all sorts of crazy ideas when I'm tinkering away on my computer at 2:00 am.

BB: How did you bring Harry's story to the page? Also, how'd you meet and decide to work with your co-creators, and what about them and their work makes them the perfect folks to work with on this project?

CF: The first step in the process was writing the script, which started out as an action/comedy screenplay. I've been a big fan of cartoonist Dean Yeagle for a while so after I finished the script, I sent it to him to see if he'd like to do the character designs. Once Dean worked his magic, I sent his drawings and the script to penciler Craig Rousseau (Batman Beyond, Batman: Gotham Adventures, Impulse, etc.), and Craig was in. Craig put me in touch with a very talented inker, Norman Lee (Star Wars, Spyboy, etc.). Then I added LIQUID for coloring and COMICRAFT for lettering, and I had myself a creative team!

Harry Johnson

BB: Why did you choose to self-publish your book?

CF: Self-publishing has been great. If you have the time and can afford it, I'd definitely recommend it as the way to go. One downside to self-publishing, though, is being in the back of the monthly Previews catalog. Some retailers think there's nothing worth looking at beyond the front sections with the "Big 4" publishers, but I'm trying to do my part to change that perception.

BB: How'd you guys create the comic itself? Did you all work together on the designs and hash out the plot points together before you sat down and wrote it, or did it all originate and basically adhere to a tight script?

CF: The script was pretty tight, and Craig did a great job of bringing it to life. We cut or changed a few things here and there, but for the most part, the final book is very similar to the original script. There were a few scenes that I eventually deleted, but I may put them back in if I do a TPB.

BB: What kind of surprises, be they pleasant or not, did you encounter while bringing this story to the readers?

CF: Throughout the process, I've been very fortunate to work with some of the most talented people in the industry. And to be able to meet them all in person at San Diego after a year or so of corresponding only through email or by phone was very cool. And the fan response has been great so I guess you could say I've been surprised--or at least reassured--by how supportive the overwhelming majority of people in comics are.

BB: Well, what's coming up for Harry, both in the near and far terms?

CF: I'm kicking around some ideas for a sequel, and I may do a TPB at some point in the future. If I do, I'll probably include a bonus sketch book section that features all of the incredible drawings that Dean Yeagle did for me.

BB: How about you? Is this all that you're working on, or do you have some other proposals in the works?

CF: I have a bunch of ideas on the back burner. I just have to make myself pick one. I'd like to do another comedy, but I also have some ideas that are quite different. Finding time is the biggest obstacle, though, because I have a lot of irons in the fire outside of comics.

Harry Johnson

BB: Do you have any interest in working on anyone else's characters or titles, be they published by an indy or one of the bigger houses?

CF: At this point, I don't really have time to work on someone else's characters. I've got too many ideas of my own that I don't even have time for. Maybe one day, that'll change. I'll keep you posted!

BB: What do you get from working on Harry's adventures?

CF: A tax write off. HA! (General laughter)

BB: What do you hope readers get from your work?

CF: All I want is for people to have a few laughs. That's it. I guess a few chuckles would be nice, too, but that's not a requirement. A couple of giggles wouldn't be so bad either. And perhaps, if it isn't too much trouble, at least one giant guffaw. I think that just about does it.

BB: Anything else you'd like to add before I let you go?

CF: I'd like to invite everyone to visit my website: www.fulpfiction.com. That's where you can find more info about the book, learn about the creative team, and get a few sneak peeks at the art.

Thanks for the interview!

******

<< 09/15/2004 | 09/22/2004 | 09/29/2004 >>

Discuss this column with me in World Famous Comics' General Forum.
Read my weekly blog, Speculative Friction, on my website BloodintheGutters.com.


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