Coming Soon to comic shops is The Butcher of Paris from Dark Horse Comics. It is based on true events from World War II, and it is spectacular.
We reached out to the writer of the book, Stephanie Phillips, and she was gracious enough to talk with us. Stephanie is coming on strong in the comic scene. She has written Devil Within for Black Mask Comics, Descendent for AfterShock Comics, and just recently her first story for DC Comics was announced. She will be contributing to the February Valentine’s Day special Crimes of Passion.
We are big fans of her storytelling style and execution, and we were thrilled with the first issue of The Butcher of Paris. Check below to see our advance review of the book and our interview with Stephanie.
The Butcher of Paris #1
Dark Horse Comics
Written by Stephanie Phillips
Art by Dean Kotz
Colors by Jason Wordie
Letters by Troy Peteri
Cover Art by Dave Johnson
In 1944, as Swastikas flew over Paris, one of the most notorious and prolific serial killers in history turned the occupied city into his personal hunting ground.
Under the guise of opportunity and freedom, a killer preys on those desperate to flee . . . until a gruesome discovery alerts the police. In a city on the brink of war, the hunt for a serial killer begins as a French detective races to catch the villain before the Nazis beat him to it.
Written by Stephanie Phillips with art by Dean Kotz, The Butcher of Paris is a historical, true crime thriller about a killer wanted by both the Nazis and allied forces for the death of nearly two hundred victims.
This is a fantastic piece of storytelling. The pace of the story, the scene construction, the dialogue, the figure angles and background, the lighting. You can feel that great attention to detail was taken in the crafting of this book. The reader can see that each member of team made an important contribution to the story, but it reads as a cohesive whole tale.
Without giving away any spoilers, the solicitation doesn’t do this book justice. It is suspenseful, terrifying and heartbreaking all at once. We cannot recommend this book highly enough. It is set to be released to Comic Shops and Comixology on December 4, 2019.
Pop Culture Squad: The production dress on the cover says that The Butcher of Paris is “Based on a True Story.” What about this story inspired you to bring it to this medium?
Stephanie Phillips: The story of Marcel Petiot really stuck with me. I have always been interested in history and this story gave me a unique opportunity to show a side of WWII that I don’t think is very common. It’s a serial killer in Nazi-occupied Paris hunted by the Gestapo and the French police… It’s one of those stories that’s so crazy, it could only be true. All of these things made me want to find this story a home in the pages of a comic.
PCS: I am in awe of the art in this book by Dean Kotz and Jason Wordie. What was it like for you to see this story rendered in a visual form?
SP: Impressive is the first word that comes to mind, and even that doesn’t do the artwork justice. Dean and Jason absolutely make the book better than I could have imagined, and I feel very lucky to have such a talented art team to collaborate with.
PCS: Your books focus very grounded characters. Why do you think that your focus in writing to this point focuses on those types of character stories?
SP: I write stories that have some pretty large backdrops. In this case, WWII has entered the streets of Paris. Without characters that pull you into the streets and make you see these events from their perspective, I think we could just read a textbook about the event. I’m interesting taking a more personal approach to history in order to find ways to connect with the past.
PCS: What brings you to historical comic fiction? Both Descendent and Butcher must have required significant research.
SP: It’s really my comfort zone. If you could see my father’s personal library it might make a little more sense… My dad is a book collector and primarily focuses his collection on history and historical fiction. I always wanted to be like my dad, so if he was reading a book, I wanted to read it, too. That often meant I was a third grader trying to make sense of a very dense biography on Napoleon, but it became a bonding experience for us. My dad and I are such history nerds we even made it a point to visit all of the Civil War battlefields together. I love the research aspect of the projects I am working on, and I like the flexibility that the genre offers to play with fictitious elements while still including historical fact.
PCS: What can you tell us about what you learned from Descendent, which we also love, and have you applied any of that in The Butcher of Paris?
SP: Actually, I wrote The Butcher of Paris before Descendent! Publishing is a weird industry where things get released on a timeline I sometimes don’t have control over. I have been working on The Butcher of Paris for over two years, and a good chunk of that time was spent just researching to prepare for the actual scripts. Butcher is far more factual than Descendent. The biggest challenge to both, and writing historical comics in general, is needing to curb the desire to find a place for every single detail. Sometimes, in five issues, that’s just not possible. It becomes about finding a balance and remembering that the story often has to take precedence over a history lesson, which is not what I want my comics to turn into.
PCS: For some background for your fans, how did you come to end up writing comics?
SP: My background is as an academic – I am currently finishing a PhD in writing and rhetoric. I have multiple academic publications and just thought I would end up following the path to a full-time professor. I was looking for more creative avenues for writing and publishing, and a few friends in the comic industry pushed me to try my hand at it. I had no idea what I was doing, and there are definitely some comics with my name on them that should never see the light of day. However, I eventually fell in love with the medium and found a kind of groove as writer. It really took over everything else in my life and has luckily turned into a career.
PCS: Is there more from Stephanie Phillips and when can we expect an announcement?
SP: You can basically expect a new book from me coming out every month from now through about May, so don’t get too sick of me yet! Already announced is a pirate story from Top Cow/Image Comics called A Man Among Ye. That will be out in the spring with some amazing interior art from Craig Cermak. I can’t wait for everything that’s planned for the new year!
PCS: On a weird note, what is it like being not the only Stephanie Phillips on the University of Buffalo Faculty? LOL
SP: What?! I had no idea. I think we have to fight now or something. There can be only one!
You can keep up to date on everything Stephanie Phillips at www.stephaniecomics.com.
Also follow Stephanie at @steph_smash on Twitter.