NEWS & EVENTS
I will be tabling in Artist's Alley at this year's Boston Comic-Con, July 31st-August 2nd. Stop by to grab copies of Robin Hood #1 & 2, and some other cool swag. Check back for more info as we get closer to the show!
Interview for DigBoston.com with Claynferno - 8/14/13
Matt Dursin is a comic book writer as well as the founder of the League of Ordinary Gentlemen Comic Book Podcast (LeaguePodcast). Dursin has written comics before, but taking the knowledge of his Comics Experience writing classes combined with his film-making degree from Emerson College has led him to applying himself to his latest project, green lit by Kickstarter: Robin Hood: Outlaw of the 21st Century #1. Fellow League member and Earth Prime Time comic book correspondent Clay N. Ferno interviews his close friend about his experience getting the project together, Robin Hood’s modern Merry Men, and the ridiculously high cost of medical expenses these days.
DIGBOSTON: Start with the origin of Robin Hood: Outlaw of the 21st Century!
DURSIN: This goes back to the Andy Schmidt (IDW, Hasbro) Comics Experience writing class I took in 2009. The first class assignment was to write a 5-page story with a beginning, middle, and end. I had this idea in my head because I wanted to make a screenplay out of it. I had been writing scenes for the screenplay for many years. It was a classmate that suggested that we don’t know if they are good guys until the end … page 5.
Tell us about this Robin, the setting he is in. Does he use a bow and arrow? What is he stealing?
He doesn’t steal gold! I figured, “What do people need?” Because of my own health issues through the years, I always think of the cost of medications and medical supplies. “How would you even pay for this without insurance?” What if this Robin Hood steals medicine and gives it to people that don’t have health insurance or can’t afford it or don’t have a job? That’s what people need these days.
In the traditional Robin Hood, he was just giving money to the poor. Now, who is richer than the pharmaceutical companies these days?
If you go back to serfdom and the knight class and the royal class of the medieval period, the gap is just about the same from the 99% to the 1% in modern times.
Spoiler here: in issue 2, he does actually steal money. Without giving away too much, there is someone that needs money and Robin Hood makes the decision to steal money, but it is a decent to a darker turn as he gets deeper into it. I was kind of inspired by Breaking Bad. Every issue isn’t going to be a robbery; different things can happen.
Are there more characters from the old stories than the familiar Robin Hood who will show up in your comic?
There’s Robin Hood, The Merry Men, Little John, Will Scarlett, of course the Sheriff is the bad guy. Maid Marian of course—the lady friend of Robin Hood. She is not a maid, obviously. She’s a nurse and one of the people who knows where the medication needs to go, she knows where the supplies are that he can steal. She’s the inside maid.
It’s basically Sherlock—not to compare my little comic book to one of the greatest shows ever!
Go for it!
That’s Sherlock Holmes in modern times. Although when did Sherlock actually debut? I think I predate it with my 5 pages in 2009! It’s the same idea. The character is one you know, and a story you can identify with. This Robin Hood uses a gun; it’s not bows and arrows.
Are you intimidated by taking on a story of legend, or are you inspired by it?
I’m inspired by it, but I haven’t gone and read all the old Robin Hood stories. I probably would be intimidated if I adapted every little thing. This is fun, that everyone can find something in!
Who else is involved in the book?
In the class, we decided to have our pages drawn and included in an anthology. John Hunt, (LeaguePodcast, Viz Media, IDW, Star Trek) and I were using an artist, Mark Vuycankiat for another project. He was fast and he was good! He turned the 5 pages around so quick, I recommended him to another person in the class. He also does his own inks, which is even better.
The cover, that’s a whole other story! We wanted a known artist to do the cover. I had metMark McKenna (X-Men, Spider-Man, Batman, Justice League, Combat Jacks) at his birthday party around Boston Comic Con 2012. Mark and I had a very good conversation about Kickstarter and Combat Jacks.
When I approached him about the cover, he said, “How about I get you to donate to my Kickstarter?” He liked the idea of using a known artist on your indie book cover, so he used it as a reward in his Kickstarter. “If you pay ‘this much,’ I will draw your indie comics cover!” I helped fund his Kickstarter, and Jason Baroody and Mark McKenna penciled and inked the cover (respectively). The turnaround was really quick and now I have an awesome cover by professional artists!
That’s so awesome you can help each other out that way!
Mark’s really cool, and definitely helping me and he shares the link on Facebook. I know I got a couple of backers just from that!
People know you from LeaguePodcast .. or they don’t, but you do have a writing background.
I was a film student at Emerson back in the day, and I liked the screenwriting part of it more. The film making part is fun, and everyone has their own calling, I was drawn more towards the writing part.
I’ve been writing screenplays, and I was a script reader when I lived in LA a long time ago, and tried to learn the ropes that way. I’ve taken classes at BU. Twelve years ago, John and I published a few issues of The Secret Monkey. Back then, online comics weren’t as big as they are now, it was different. We had fun doing that. I had no idea what I was doing.
Most of my comic book writing experience came from the Comics Experience class. That’s a great place to cut your teeth. Comics are a visual medium, a collaborative medium, and in the end hopefully something awesome comes out of it!
I read the script and I imagined all of the action. The script was so great, all the information the artist would need was there. That was awesome.
It’s weird, if you read anything about comics writing, there is no real definite way to do it. Some people are very detailed, like Ed Brubaker, but back in the day, Tom Defalco would say, “Page 5 – they fight”. When I was learning screenwriting, you have to format it exactly as the standard is. I like to be kind of loose, give the artist some freedom to do his thing. That’s just my style.
Your Kickstarter video was so hilarious. So good.
(laughs) The hours that went into it. The video is the most important part, to draw people in. The idea of sitting and talking to a camera was weird to me, so I lightened it up by putting the bloopers at the end. There is an excitement and anxiety with this Kickstarter thing. “A new backer”!, then hours go by without one and you think your life is over!
You have until September 7 to back this project! Also go and like on Facebook!
The plan is to have this be a real thing! We’re watching this happen before our eyes!