Jack of Spades is a new comic book which will be debuting at Motor City Comicon that has a bit of a different take on super powers and all of the drama that unfolds as a result. Fanboys Talking was lucky enough to interview the creators of the comic, Trico Lutkins and Josh Werner, and have them talk a bit about Jack of Spades along with some of the story’s expectations, and a few personal tid-bits. Read on…
FBT: Fanboys Talking
Trico: Trico Lutkins
Josh: Josh Werner
FBT: Can you tell us a bit about your comic? (back-story, etc.)
Trico: Basically the comic world I’ve created is on the verge of change. Everything else is like our world except that there are people emerging that have extraordinary powers. The media has dubbed them “paranormals” or “parmies” for short, although parmie is often seen as a derogatory term. The paranormals are like Marvel’s mutants only their powers can manifest anytime throughout their lives.
No one is really sure what to make of these paranormals. No one knows what’s making people have superpowers. Most people are afraid of them. Some people embrace paranormals as the next step in evolution. And of course there are those that think its the result of aliens visiting earth or a government experiment.
Although most just want to be normal again there are some that pose a problem. When you give man the power of a god you can’t expect all of them to do the right thing. Some paranormals just want to destroy things while others want to take whatever they want. Business and private individuals are willing to pay large sums to protect them against paranormals that their government and law enforcement seem helpless against. That is where our main character comes in…
Spade’s family was killed by a very powerful paranormal when he was twelve. He doesn’t remember much and can’t remember what the man looked like.
When the series begins Spade has been running his business Jack of Spades Security Consulting for a few years. In his alter-ego, John, which he seems to keep around just for fun, he is a womanizing card dealer in a high stakes room in a local casino. The regular public sees Spade as their protection from paranormals. Some paranormals believe he helps them “go underground” until they learn to control their powers while the villainous paranormals are captured and jailed.
FBT: What is your creative process with this story and its character(s)? (Images first, then dialogue, vice-versa, or simultaneously)
Trico: The main character I created the concept for when I was twelve. I used to write tons of short stories about him and play them out with my old action figures. Over the years I got ideas for other characters, supporting characters and villains. I usually come up with powers and the personality of the character first and then work on an origin story. One of the main things I try to do is create a reason or a motive for the characters to do the things they do. Heroes are the most difficult. When someone is given power they have to decide whether they are going to use it for good or bad. Villains make sense because they become corrupted by their power but it usually takes a good reason for someone to risk their life for “truth, justice and” so on.
I’m not a very visual person so I tend to focus on the character and their personality. Josh is awesome to work with because usually I can give him some notes like “young girl, shy, has power to heal, not very confident.” He’ll then create a character that can convey all those traits just by their stance, clothing and facial expressions.
Josh: Trico provides me the script, with all the dialogue included, and then from there we discuss the character visuals in depth. I then reread the script and jot down notes every time an object or setting is mentioned. I try to imagine the settings and flesh them out in my mind and I write down small details that I’ll need to add in the backgrounds. I usually surround myself with inspiration at that point. I dig out comic books that portray a feeling similar to the feeling I got while reading the script, then I reread them while paying close attention to details such as lighting, page composition, body language, etc. I jot down notes when I pick up on elements that helped portray the mood of the story. I then pin up a ton of visuals all around my work desk. Photos of actors with good facial structure or expressions, photos with interesting lighting and angles, drawings by a variety of illustrators whose styles I appreciate, and tons of elements that could be helpful when reaching particular parts of the script. Those would include pictures of vehicles, shoes, jackets, buildings, interiors, etc. Even if I don’t really utilize any of the references, having them surround me helps set my mind in the proper direction while I draw. Basically I spend a ton of time preparing before I even start sketching.
FBT: What/Who are your influences? (both writing/story, and art)
Trico: I try to draw inspiration from as many sources as I can. I’m really into history so I draw a lot of my plot points from historical events. As a comic book creator, I’m heavily influenced by Stan Lee and how he basically created Marvel. I try to read as many of his interviews and biographies as I can to research how he made to many memorable characters. As a writer I am very inspired by Grant Morrison, Frank Miller and Alan Moore. I refer back to their work a lot for inspiration and how to show the personalities of my characters.
I love how Grant Morrison and Frank Miller can take characters, like Superman and Batman, and put interesting new twists on them that we (the fans) haven’t seen before. I feel like I learned more about Batman by looking through Superman’s eyes in The Dark Knight Returns. The same can be said about how I understand Superman more by seeing him through Luthor’s eyes in All Star Superman.
I love Alan Moore’s attention to detail in the League of Extraordinary Gentlemen. I’ve read the graphic novels a couple of times now and I still find little references to classical literary works that I hadn’t noticed before.
Josh: I’m influenced by a large variety of things while I work. I love old black and white movies, so I’ll often have them playing off to the side while I’m drawing and I’ll occasionally glance over and look at the lighting and the contrast levels. I don’t ink the comic in the traditional comic book way, I paint all the panels in washes in full greyscale with detail brushes, and a lot of that look is inspired by old films. Also, of course, I’m very influenced by comic book art. I love overly stylized illustrators like Joe Madureira and Humberto Ramos and Chris Bachalo, who have created a style that is instantly recognizable from a mile away. I’m also currently obsessing over Stuart Immonen and the way he tells a story with his images. His characters’ body language and facial expressions are fantastic, and are really important to the way the reader hears the dialogue in their mind. On top of having all these great comic book illustrators in mind while I draw, I also draw a lot of influence from vintage advertising and editorial illustrations, classic American book illustrators like Howard Pyle and N.C. Wyeth, several photographers I appreciate, and even graffiti artists. I blend my own neo-comic stylizations with a very old illustration approach and even a digital approach.
FBT: Do you see these characters being more of an anti-hero or are they going to be more virtuous?
Trico: Jack Spade starts out as similar to Han Solo’s character in that he only cares about making money by capturing parmies. The only one he’s willing to take down for free is the one that killed his family. He doesn’t really care about that segment of society (the paranormals). In the first couple of issues, Spade begins to realize that his war against super-humans is doing more bad than good. The media has only been showing the evil paranormals that Spade takes down so the public is beginning to think that all of them are bad and dangerous. Basically he starts to feel empathy for people outside his close group of friends (which is three people, none of whom know anything about him prior to age 17). The change in Spade’s attitude and feelings places him in a conundrum. He doesn’t know who he is anymore. He starts to wonder why he’s so good at tracking paranormals.
FBT: Where do you see the story/character going?
Trico: Spade begins to see that the paranormals need protection from the public as much as the public needs protection from them. He also becomes aware that paranormals are disappearing and most believe the government is involved. The Government becomes very concerned about the growing number of paranormals and begins to take things into their own hands.
Spade discovers why he is so gifted at tracking and hunting down paranormals. He finds out what happened to his family and who they really were. There is the ever present danger of a criminal called Caesar Serpent who has his own plans for the city of Nuevas Vegas. And like most superheroes, he has the occasional ex-girlfriend that comes back into his life and she turns out to be a deadly assassin.
FBT: Are you planning on this being an ongoing book or a limited run?
Trico: I plan on the series being an ongoing book. I think that a lot of people will identify with a character that is trying to figure out who he is and what he’s meant to do with his life. There are a lot of places I want to take the character to and many situations I would love to place him in.
FBT: Where will the comic be available? (ie: comic shop, website)
Trico: The comic will be available on our website (www.sourcepointpress.com), on Indyplanet.com (indyplanet.com/store)
8. Where can people go to learn more about your comic, its characters, as well as the men behind the comic?
Trico: To get up to date with the latest news, fans can go to our website www.sourcepointpress.com, the company Facebook page at www.facebook.com/
Josh: In addition to what Trico just said, you can visit my Facebook page for posts about the comic and other projects of mine at www.facebook.com/AsFallLeaves.
Jack of Spades really sounds like it’s going to be an awesome comic full of adventure, danger, emotion, plot twists, as well as great imagery and storytelling to bring it all together. Be sure to keep an eye out for it online and in your local shops, people!
Thanks Trico and Josh for your interviews – we will definitely be keeping up with you both on this one!