Comics Features

INTERVIEW: David M. Brown – Co-Creator of Chewler

‘When a mad man attempts to raise Hitler from the dead, only one man can stop him…… but he’s drunk!’ Co-Creators, David M. Brown and Shannon Gretzon have embarked on a new and exciting project, Chewler. Their graphic novel is finished and they’ve launched it on Kickstarter, to get it off the ground. David kindly agreed to have a chat with us about it.

AP2HYC: Chewler is a completed 88-page book. Was it a conscious decision from the outset, to have it finished before launching your Kickstarter project, or is this a path that developed organically?

David M. Brown (DB): Actually, we completed the book so we could pitch it to publishers. Shannon and I both usually self-publish but decided to give Chewler a shot out in the wild. Unfortunately, most independent publishers want you to pay for the printing and they’ll distribute it. That’s not what we were looking for so we decided to attempt to kickstart it. I have one successful Kickstarter project (The Wisdom of Fool anthology) under my belt so it felt like a natural place to go.

AP2HYC: You’ve described Chewler as a ‘balls-to-the-wall, action packed, comedy tale’. What made you choose ‘comics’ as the medium to tell it?

DB: Both Shannon and I are fairly established comic creators and our love lies with the medium. Honestly, we wouldn’t know how to tell the tale of Chewler any other way. It’s a little on the insane side. Maybe an animated feature would work but I’m not sure how to even go about that.

AP2HYC: Gretzon’s input as artist/co-writer and letterer is clearly substantial. How did this partnership develop?

DB: Shannon did a short for my previous Kickstarter anthology book, ‘The Wisdom of Fools’. He worked with another writer on that story and I have been itching to work with him ever since. I don’t remember if he got in contact with me first or me to him but we both kind of had a vague idea that we wanted to do something crazy.

Shannon’s a great guy to work with because he’s so absolutely unique and multi-talented. We developed the plot together and I did most of the writing…he basically did everything else because he’s a mad genius.

AP2HYC: The plot delivers a resurrected dictator, a dastardly tycoon, a supremely enlightened A.I. and a host of aliens. I’m almost afraid to ask about the sources of inspiration for this deranged epic?

DB: Shannon mentioned that he’d been watching documentaries on the Nazi’s ties to the occult and that he’d had this crazy dream. My aim was to make reading Chewler equivalent to ‘reading drugs’ if that makes any sense. I’ve always had an unhealthy taste for the outrageous.

AP2HYC: Shannon’s artwork is distinctive and comes across as a veritable celebration of black and white reproduction. Did this take some time to formulate and what work perhaps inspired this graphic style?

DB: Unfortunately Shannon is not doing this interview and it’s difficult to speak for him but he’s had this style as long as I’ve known him. He’s got an obscene number of books published, most notably ‘The Disgruntled Avenger’ and he’s always had this same, unique bold style. It reminds me of the art you might see in a fairy tale book written by the Devil.

AP2HYC: There’s a heart-warming irreverence in the grand hysteria of the plot, that’s embedded in the storytelling, the dialogue and the art. Were there any particular challenges to getting each set of pages where you wanted them to be?

DB: For the most part, I’m happy to report that Chewler came together fairly easily compared to other books I’ve done. That surprised me because Shannon did some writing as well which I thought might throw me off a bit. I’ve never co-written anything before but we were both on the same page (no pun intended) so it all just kind of flowed. We just kind of clicked.

AP2HYC: Our hero, General James Chewler (RET.), is quite a character to say the least. Where did he come from?

DB: Ah yes, our man General Chewler. His name sprung forth from a dream Shannon had. I remember he mentioned the name Chewler in an email conversation we were having and we both agreed it would make a great name for our lead…and our book. As for Chewler himself, I’ve always loved covert government stuff and pretty early on in the creation process, it was clear that we were going to need him to be involved at a high level of the military. When we meet him, he’s already been through years of craziness as head of the paranormal division. Making him an insane, retired drunk just seemed right for him.

AP2HYC: Once you’ve recovered from your launch, do you have any future plans for General Chewler or any other projects in the works?

DB: We are always working! Personally, as head of Fifth Dimension Comics, I can tell you that we’ve got plans to release a collected edition of our book ‘Obscura’ in addition to some other projects that we are working on at the moment. Shannon heads up Exspastic Comics and is always involved in a bunch of projects. He continues to produce his flagship title ‘The Disgruntled Avenger’ which issues now number into the hundreds.

We’ve talked about doing a Chewler sequel or prequel but whether or not that happens really depends on if people respond to it or not. Positively, everyone who’s read it has had nice things to say about it so if I were to guess, I’d say you haven’t seen the last of Chewler.

AP2HYC: To anyone considering reviewing your Kickstarter launch is there anything you’d like to add?

DB: Yes! Please help support indie comic creators! It’s a thankless job and we make no money…we just want our books in the hands of readers and hope to spread our insanity around a little bit. Chewler is a book both Shannon and I are proud to be the creators of, give it a chance and I promise you won’t be bored. Thanks so much for the chat!

AP2HYC: Thank you, David!

Well, that wraps it up for now. I’ll be back in a few days with my review. In the meantime, please do go have a look at their Kickstarter launch, right here!

About the author

Patrick Smith