For this week’s Small Press Saturday I spoke with Zack Quaintance about his upcoming book Next Door, a Neo-Noir Crime Comic, which is currently funding on Kickstarter HERE.
Make sure to reserve a copy today! I know I did!
JJ Tell me about yourself…
ZQ I’m a journalist and writer who’s done all kinds of work in the media. I’ve written for newspapers, magazines, and digital marketing companies. I’ve written quite a few short stories, a few of which were published in literary journals. I’m also the editor and founder of the comics site, Comics Bookcase which you can find HERE.
JJ What can you tell me about Next Door? What inspired you to write it?
ZQ Next Door is a crime comic inspired by a mix of the housing crisis and the pandemic. It’s about privileged people blundering into a gentrifying neighborhood, stirring up problems once they get there because they don’t trust the long-time residents.
A big part of the idea for this story came from the artist, Pat Skott, who wanted to work on something with a lot of everyday grounded imagery, versus fantasy or sci-fi stuff. So, I pulled more directly from the problems in my community that had been on my mind a lot this year. Nothing says 2020 to me like distrust between neighbors causing giant problems.
JJ Please tell me about the creative team…
ZQ The rest of the team are amazing. I’ve never been so proud to be a weak link. Pat Skott is an incredible artist who brings so much to every scene. His work tells the broad strokes of the story in a clear way that lets me script more naturalistic dialogue because the visuals have established the narrative. Ellie Wright’s colors are perfect too. There’s a great almost ominous warmth to the tones she’s bringing to the book. I love getting her pages back, because they make me feel like something bad is coming even within scenes where the characters are just packing up an apartment. And Hassan Otsmane-Elhaou is my personal favorite letterer today. He takes a risk on every page, and I’m yet to find one that doesn’t pay off massively.
JJ Your campaign seems to be going great, what is some advice you might give someone looking to start a kickstarter or other crowdfunded book of their own?
ZQ Prepare prepare prepare. I wish I’d done more preparing for the promotional aspects of this thing. I’ve had the luxury of bringing over part of my established audience from my comics site, Comics Bookcase, so I’ve been able to get past my many marketing stumbles. Overall though, I think you should spend at least 30 days in advance of your campaign preparing promotional material as if it were a job, and then take the first two days off work so you can spend all your time doing outreach.
JJ Tell me about your past projects
ZQ I’ve published four short stories that are available to read online. My favorite of the bunch is The Mannequin Leg, which was published by The Stockholm Review of Literature. In it, I call myself out for feeling entitled as a writer with a story that’s um…NSFW, a little bit. I won’t tell you what the protagonist does to the mannequin leg, but it’s pretty gross.
On that note, here are some interior pages for Next Door! Art by Pat Skott and Ellie Wright.
JJ What is your favorite part of making comics?
ZQ The community. When I was writing literary fiction, I felt far more isolated. This is in part because there’s no collaborators. So, in the moments when I felt most insecure, there wasn’t an artist to boost me up with their excitement. Another thing is that the readers of literary fiction are at a greater remove. Conventions in comics are filled with fans of all ages. In the literary world, I often felt like everyone else at the readings was also a writer, like we were all just generating work for each other. It’s not nearly as much fun.
JJ What is your dream character or characters you want to work on?
ZQ I like Green Arrow a lot. I always loved Robin Hood when I was a kid, and Green Arrow is like Robin Hood but in the modern world, plus also he’s almost Batman.
Be sure to head over to the Kickstarter page HERE and show your support for NEXT DOOR: A Neo-Noir Crime Comic! Check back next Saturday for another edition of Small Press Saturday!
Small Press Saturday with Zack Quaintance and Next Door!
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