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For the team behind Slow City Blues, the path to releasing the trippy tale of a disgraced cop stuck in his own mind has been a labor of love, with a few speed bumps along the way.
The comic centers on Det. John Loris, who after a horrible accident, becomes stuck in the strange world of Slow City, a creation of his own mind in which he must battle his inner demons in an attempt to escape.
Now, after a delay due to COVID and a break with original publisher Image, the comic is ready to be unveiled, with all five issues dropping June 7 via new comics crowdfunding platform Zoop.
The idea for Slow City Blues originated in the mind of Samuel Haine, who as a 20-something in 2013, was close to landing a gig writing the video game adaptation of Bill Willingham’s Fables. When he didn’t land it, it was back to square one.
“I’m a waiter, I’m on food stamps, and one day my brain plops out this roughshod idea about a detective who gets trapped inside his own imagination,” says Haine. “If we’re going to do the Hollywood thing, I would say that the initial idea was Who Framed Roger Rabbit meets The Cell.”
Haine’s friend and now-producing partner Mike Manning connected him with comic book artist John Livesay, who came on board to coordinate an array of artists, including penciler Shawn Moll, whom he’d worked with on an issue of What If…? Venom/Deadpool.
But first, Livesay wanted a second opinion. That opinion came from Jim Shooter, the legendary Marvel Comics editor.
“I knew that this was unlike any idea I had ever seen and definitely different than any idea I had ever worked on,” says Livesay. “But I wanted to make sure my hunch wasn’t wrong so I asked someone I trusted and they told me that Sam really had something.”
Shooter thought the idea was good, and took Haine under his wing.
“Jim was generous enough to give me years-long a master class in storytelling and comic book writing at what I called the ‘Shooter School of Storytelling’ —Which looks a lot like the school of hard knocks, just with more onomatopoeia,” recalls Haine.
The Slow City Blues team includes colorist David Baron, letterer Thomas Mauer and story consultant Artisha Mann Cooper, as well as a number of cover artists, including Paul Pope (see his cover in this post), David Finch, Derrick Chew, Doug Mahnke, Brett Booth, Julian Totino Tedesco, Francesco Mattina, Yasmine Putri, Howard Porter, Phillip Tan, Cary Nord, Pat Olliffe and Randy Green.
The five-issue comic, which the team is also developing as an animated series, will be available via Zoop, which is described as a turn-key solution for comic creators. Rather than running a traditional crowdfunding campaign and then being responsible for marketing and fulfilling the orders, the team hands off those duties to Zoop.
“Being a pro and doing pages is a full-time job, but then if you have to run a campaign you’re adding another 40-, 60-, 80-hour workweek on top of your already full-time gig,” says Livesay. “Which being spread that thin only pisses off fans and customers, as we’ve seen in other campaigns that got too bogged down. But with Zoop they handle all that heavy lifting so you can focus on the creative and delivering the goods in a timely manner.”
As for the future, Haine is ready for more, should readers respond. Says the writer: “I have the next story all written and ready to go, and I know where the rest of the series could go.”
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