Boston is a fantastic town. I lived there for several years and looking back, it seemed like every day was a grand adventure. I’m a little disappointed in myself that I don’t make it back to Boston more frequently.
Robert Parker’s detective series Spenser has always been a favorite. I do visit Boston – via books – with Hawk, Susan and the rest of Spenser’s characters. But there’s always room for more, right?
The Boston setting was one reason I was excited for the new noir thriller, Dead Rabbit, by Gerry Duggan and John McCrea. But it’s not the only reason. I reached out to co-creator and artist John McCrea and chatted him up a bit. He offered fascinating insights:
Ed Catto: Dead Rabbit has a both a freshness and a world-weariness to it. That combination, to me, really makes this series stand out. Would you agree and what do you think is special about this series?
John McCrea: I agree that there is an element of world weariness to Dead Rabbit, it’s a reflection of what is happening in the world today, the general erosion of our quality of life by the big companies who rule us…. Rabbit is the little guy starting to stand up to that, albeit in the only way he knows how- stealing and cracking heads! But the thing that makes the series special is the relationship between Martin and his wife Meggan, which is still full of life and joy despite everything that is being thrown at them.
EC: How’d you decide on the locale of the story and do you feel it’s important to the tale?
JMcC: The location was all Gerry, he lived and worked in Boston in the late 80s/ early 90s when it was still very much a wild place to be, he saw and experienced a lot of shit which has informed some of the storylines.
EC: Dead Rabbit, although very much of the moment, embraces all the best parts of classic film noir. Would you agree and was that purposeful?
JMcC: I definitely wanted Rabbit to be a noir book, I wanted the look of the book to have a classic gritty noir feel while still embracing the contemporary, which was achieved by grounding the locations in the present day. I’ve always enjoyed black and white art and would like to think that if there was ever a b&w reprint of the book it would stand up, even without the gorgeous Mike Spicer colours.
EC: I think you “debuted” this series at SDCC with a special preview copy. How hard is it to market a new book today and what are the most difficult challenges you face?
JMcC: The sheer volume of fantastic books being published now means we are in a golden age of comics, where there are quality books of any genre out there- I don’t think there are less people buying comics, just that the money is spread around much more. And that’s the problem, how do you manage to push your head above the parapet and shout ‘Over here, check out my book!!’. Having a publisher who has faith in your book is important, and having a book come out regularly helps too. Being busy on social media and getting out to shows etc… to push it can’t hurt, but at the end of it, you need great writing and art with a relatable character who also looks cool… I hope we tick most of those boxes!
EC: The art on Dead Rabbit is moody, murky and menacing. I just loved it! What were you hoping the visual look would be like and do you feel you’ve achieved it?
JMcC: Well, like I said, I wanted a classic film noir feel, lots of solid blacks and cast shadows to heighten drama – but also a lot of detail to give the places a realistic feel…. as to whether I’ve achieved that, I guess I’ll see what the readers think. I am rarely happy with my own work, so hard for my to say….
EC: What can fans expect from this series in the months to come?
JMcC: Rabbit and his family will be pulled further into danger, so lots of action but as with issue 1 also lots of character driven moments, lots of laughs and lots of broken bones!
EC: Thanks so very much, John!
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One last thing – I really dig Dead Rabbit ’s logo!