We’re in a golden age of comics right now, and in an age of geek none of us could have ever imagined, but with the good comes the bad. As our geek news sites become more corporate, they tend to focus less on comics and in some cases less on independent creators. My goal is to never shy away from giving a soapbox to those starting out, the independent, the unsung and the creators trying to carve a niche for themselves.
Today I am interviewing writer Corey Fryia about his comic book miniseries Doctor Crowe (created with artist Matt Horak) from publisher 215 Ink. Doctor Crowe is a supernatural action/adventure comic book starring Dr. Crowe, an infamous, adventuring scientist; expert on the occult and an all-around pulp hero who uses advanced technologies to battle gruesome, supernatural terrors across the globe.
Each adventure pits Dr. Crowe and his allies against an otherworldly threat that must be eliminated at all costs!
And that pretty much sealed the deal for me. Because once you say supernatural action/adventure, I’m there. Especially when you mention the words pulp and hero in the same sentence. It’s like catnip to me.
As I stated before Doctor Crowe is a mini-series. Four issues. And issue #4 is out Oct. 11th. I’ve read the first issue and really dug it and believe it’s a comic you should all be checking out.
But don’t take my word for it. Get to know Corey through this interview and the impressive images and links that will be placed throughout this article.
Marco: First off, I want to thank you for letting me interview you and for letting me read the first issue. I’m going to start us off with some introduction questions designed to let the readers get to know you.
So, tell us what made you fall in love with comics? And is Doctor Crowe your first published comic or have there been others? And if so give us a bit of history on those.
Corey: When I was young I always dreamt of becoming an artist. I would draw everything and anything under the sun, but my favorite stuff to draw became comic books, Star Wars and classic 90’s superhero cartoons like X-Men, Spider-Man, and Batman the Animated Series. The first comic book I ever read was New Mutants #87 aka the first appearance of Cable! I picked it from a stack of bargain bin comics and started redrawing what I saw on the page. My love affair with comics started there, and it’s only grown ever since.
Doctor Crowe is my first published mini-series, but I’ve had some work published in various anthologies, and I’ve worked a co-editor on four anthologies for Stache Publishing’s Out of the Blue series.
Marco: Now let’s talk crew. Because you didn’t create this comic in a vacuum. Matt Horak is the co-creator and the artist on the third story in the first issue. And you also have fantastic lettering by one of the best in the biz Taylor Esposito. There’s also additional art for stories 1 and two by Tony Gregori and Felipe Cunha and colors by Joshua Jensen, Jasen Smith, Doug Garback and Mark Dale.
How did this ragtag group of people come together? And why did you choose an anthology format for each issue of Doctor Crowe and tell us about some inspiration and how you and Matt started the journey on creating and getting this book out there.
Corey: I actually met Matt through Twitter back in 2015. I tweeted out an open call for an artist who would be willing to collaborate with me on a new idea that I had for this crazy supernatural/adventure comic (which later became Doctor Crowe), and I was extremely fortunate that Matt answered my tweet. Together we developed his look and started plotting these long-form stories that we were unfortunately never able to tell. However, we did start working together on Wretched, which is the story in Doctor Crowe #1 where Dr. Crowe tries to cure a plague-ridden town and ends up squaring off with a disease-ridden Werewolf. This story is only six pages long, but it was the first Doctor Crowe adventure ever produced.
When it came time to work on more Doctor Crowe stuff, Matt was knee deep in his work on The Covenant with Rob Liefeld for Image Comics. So I needed to get creative and that forced me to take Doctor Crowe in a different direction – a serial anthology of random short Doctor Crowe adventures, similar to what Matt and I had done with Wretched.
I know that everybody says this, but in this case, it is absolutely true — I truly couldn’t have asked for a better team to work with. Tony Gregori, Bruno Letizia, Dann Franco, Karim Whalen and Felipe Cunha each bring their own unique talent and spin to the character. Colorists like Doug Garbark, Sean Burres, and Josh Jensen truly complemented those guys’ lines in a way I didn’t think possible, and of course, Taylor Esposito is a lettering wizard. I can’t stress that enough. Taylor’s letters deserve a heaping load of credit. He’s truly amazing at what he does.
Marco: What are some of the (comic and novel) inspirations for Doctor Crowe? And who are the writers, artists and comic series that inspire you today? I see the obvious pulp inspirations but is there something people wouldn’t expect that inspired your work and the character of Doctor Crowe?
Corey: I think an obvious source of inspiration that many readers/reviewers like to point out is Hellboy, but to be honest, when it comes to the Mignolaverse Doctor Crowe draws more inspiration from Baltimore than Hellboy. Another source of comic book inspiration comes in the form of the Sixth Gun by Cullen Bunn and Brian Hurt. It’s such a fun series that blends two of my favorite things to write and consume – supernatural stories and spaghetti westerns. The Sixth Gun is actually where I got the inspiration for Nora’s fearless cowboy style character and attitude. She’s a direct homage to The Sixth Gun and my love for that series.
As far as fellow creators that inspire me today (and I’m sure I’ll forget somebody!) Jeff Lemire is a huge influence. I adore his storytelling. Chris Samnee is another big one. That guy can do no wrong. And allow me to throw an indie creator into the mix as well – Fabian Rangel Jr. Fabian creators some of the most fun stories out there. I’ve read everything the guy has ever written, and they’re all enjoyable. He truly doesn’t get enough credit in our community. Plus he’s just a super nice dude!
Marco: Being an independent creator in this business and the struggles and triumphs that come with that what is it that you like best about the industry and what is there that you think we could improve on? Or that we’re not doing enough of.
Corey: This is a tough one. I will say one of the things that I enjoy best is collaborating with people all over the world. I’ve been fortunate enough to work with talented folks in Brazil, Australia, and Italy as well as all over the United States. Without the Internet, none of that would be possible as an indie creator with little to no budget! The same goes for readers from all over the globe. It’s incredibly cool when a reader from Germany or Ireland tweets you about how they picked up your book at their local comic shop and tells you how much they enjoy it. That’s always a pleasant surprise, and I can’t explain the feeling of accomplishment that comes with it. It’s truly crazy to think how far of a reach a small press book like Doctor Crowe can actually get. I never really thought that was at all possible.
The industry isn’t perfect. Especially when you’re an indie creator who’s trying to get your work out there, and you’re vying for some of the same readers as the top dogs. However, I will say that if I could change something in this industry, it would be publishers and editors becoming a bit more accessible. As an indie creator, it’s extremely difficult to get your work seen by and taken seriously by these folks (or at least that’s what it feels like.) And I’m not just saying this for my benefit, but the industry could benefit from giving some of the new blood more of a chance. For example: look at what Donny Cates is doing right now.
Suddenly the industry is embracing him with open arms after God County became such a big hit. He has a Marvel deal, and he’s going to be writing Doctor Strange. The crazy thing though is that Donny has ALWAYS been this talented. He’s even worked with Marvel in the past. I just think it’s silly that it took a hit Image book before people started to recognize the guy’s talent. In my honest opinion, guys like Donny should have been given a real chance a long time ago. So if the industry could make strides to improve that sort of nonsense than I truly believe both publishers and readers would benefit in the long run. Publishers can create new star creators by giving them a chance rather waiting for those creators to create their names for themselves.
Marco: And now we come to the end. But before we wrap this up I want to give you a moment to PIMP YOUR STUFF! That’s right Corey this your time to shine. Tell the readers with all the passion you have why they should check out your work and where they can purchase it and where they can follow you on social media.
Corey: Doctor Crowe #3 is coming to a comic shop near you on September 27th. Doctor Crowe #4, the final issue in the mini-series, is currently available for pre-order and the diamond code is AUG172085. So please preorder #4! It’s available Oct. 11th. I’d also like to exclusively reveal that I’m working on a Doctor Crowe crossover with a fellow indie creator and indie property that I’ll hopefully be able to talk more about in the near future, but it’s going to be a TON of fun. I promise you that!
And that’s the end of that. I want to thank Corey for letting me interview him, and I hope you all enjoyed reading it. Don’t forget to check out Doctor Crowe #3 on Sept. 27th. Also, don’t forget to stay up to date with all of Corey’s work by following him on Twitter and the Doctor Crowe Facebook page.