Marvel fans are likely already aware of Fabrice Sapolsky. As co-creator of Spider-Man Noir, Sapolsky has already shown that he has an affinity for the genre, and a knack for taking characters and placing them in situations that truly reveal their internal demons and struggles. Though it doesn’t look as though Spider-Man Noir will be returning anytime soon, Sapolsky, with artist Fred Pham Chuong has a new noir series whose Kickstarter campaign has officially launched. Read all about the cool, new, kung-fu noir Intertwined and find out how you can help support this new comic series!
AP2HYC: Tell us about Intertwined! You’ve been fairly secretive about the project leading up to your Kickstarter launch, dropping teases left and right without giving too much away. What is this story about and how did you get the idea for the concept? “Kung Fu Noir” isn’t exactly something that people see on the bookshelves every day!
Fabrice Sapolsky: Call me old fashioned, but I actually miss the days when I was going to my comic book store to pick up the last X-Men or Spider-Man issue and I didn’t know anything about it. I would just look at the cover, and if I had enough money, I’d buy it. It was a gamble. Even if I didn’t like an issue, that was the game. I think there are a lot of creators like me. Who want to surprise the reader. Who wants the magic back! So I’ve been as secretive as I could. Now that the Kickstarter’s here, I can talk a bit more about Intertwined. The “Kung Fu Noir” concept came to me pretty early on. I like period books. I have a degree in History. Every book I wrote has an historical and social background. When we were developing Spider-Man Noir, with David Hine, the idea was : What if Peter Parker grew up in a different environment. In a rough, dirty, poor one. How different would he be? In Intertwined, I applied the same model but with another question: What if Peter Parker had been an immigrant from Hong-Kong? Except that instead of going to Marvel and being the guy who can only come up with alt. reality Spider-Men, I decided to create my own character. My own universe. My own concept. And the more I was digging into that, the farther from Spider-Man I was going. It sort of took a life of its own. So, in Intertwined, the hero comes from China! First, let me say that I love the idea that the hero comes from a minority. I’m not asian, but I come from a minority too. And I live in New York now. Officially, I’m not an immigrant, but I have an artist visa and I live as one. Whatever challenges my hero has to face, I can relate to them. Because I’ve somewhat been in these shoes. And Fred, my artist on the book has a very deep connection to the concept too. Kung Fu is HUGE in his family. His father was a Kung-Fu teacher. His family came from Viet-Nam in the 1970s and he knows what being different means. My own relation to Kung Fu is more sub-cultural. Growing up, I spent literally all my spare time at the video club. With my brother, we’ve seen all the Shaw Brothers movies, all the Bruce Lee, the Jackie Chan ones… I always knew I’d have to write something Kung Fu related one day. Now’s the time.
FS: Creating the campaign itself isn’t that complicated. But you have to do it with sweat and tears and heart to make it work. I was so afraid of screwing up that I asked about 20 different people with KS experience to look over my shoulder. Our campaign is a bit like we are (Fred and myself): simple and honest. We want people to share our passion for this project. We want them to have as much fun reading our hero’s adventures as we have creating it. When we were approved, it was kind of a relief, yes (laughs).
AP2HYC: I find that Kickstarter projects in particular tend to showcase the, “passion project,” of creators. Is this the case for you and Intertwined?
FS: I remember interviewing Robert Kirkman one day. He was talking about how passionate he was with the Walking Dead characters. That, to him, it was a soap opera with Zombies. And that he could to 1000 issues of it because the characters make the story. I completely agree. And I fell in love with all my characters. Same for Fred. He fell in love with it. Intertwined is not only a passion project, it also is me cutting the velvet rope with the audience. Fred and I are embracing the modern way of making comics, where publishers are more service providers than anything else. And with the public’s help, we’ll make Intertwined, not only a hit, but a comic book project that matters. Comics with substance… that’s the goal! (laughs)
AP2HYC: Was the idea for the comic one that recently struck like lightning or is it one that you’ve been toying with for quite some time?
FS: It’s a story that came as a combination of my many unused ideas for Spider-Man Noir and a trip to China in 2015. After Dave Hine and myself completed our second Spider-Man Noir mini, in 2010, we understood that the Marvel management wasn’t really interested in publishing more. So we moved on to other projects. Dave went to Top Cow to write the Darkness, among others, and I created an album for the French market, Black Box, then my creator owned series at Image Comics, One-Hit Wonder. Then, unexpectedly, early may of 2014, Nick Lowe, the Spider-Man editor, called us up for an encore. A one issue assignment which would become Edge of Spider-Verse #1. Dave and I started talking, throwing ideas at each other. But we were so limited… Only 20 pages! We thought Marvel was genuinely interested in us coming back for more. But they had other plans. And I’m cool with that. I may have created Spider-Man Noir, this is Marvel’s character. They do whatever they want with it. But I had all those ideas and concepts that I really loved and nowhere to release them. Cut to February 2015. Exactly a year ago. I was invited in Beijing to discuss making comics for a Chinese company. But after a few months of talks, the project fell apart. Nonetheless, I didn’t come back empty ended. I started writing my concept. I didn’t have a title at the time, but the immigrant story, the crime/Noir elements, the Kung Fu… All of it was already there.
AP2HYC: While you have a pretty impressive number of comics that you’ve worked on, I’m sure people most often recognize, “Fabrice Sapolsky,” as being a co-creator of Spider-Man Noir. You’ve already teased that Intertwined is also a noir comic and I’m curious as to what it is about the genre that you find so fascinating.
FS: I love Noir. Always have. When I was a teenager, I read every Mike Hammer story. Then Hammett, Chandler… And my favorite, and more contemporary, Elmore Leonard. I like that the Noir genre is constantly reinventing itself. That it can be paired with any other genre without losing its appeal. In movies, it’s the same, you have the first wave of Noir movies from the 1940s/50s. But you also have the more recent ones, the Neo Noir (I’m a HUGE Coen brothers’ or Shane Black fan for example). I even heard some people talking about Sci Fi Noir with movies like Blade Runner. I like the mood. I like the structure of Noir projects. I like how the characters interact with each other. It’s very organic, yet, you get that it’s very codified. Kung Fu Noir didn’t exist. Well, now it does! 🙂
AP2HYC: You’ve been doing #TeaseThursday in preparation for the launch of your Kickstarter. How has the response been thus far? Is it a bit thrilling to psych people up for a project that you yourself have already been psyched about for ages?
FS: It’s weird in a good way. I haven’t been very active on the social media front before. I’m kind of a newbie with that. But Kickstarter is about going on stage naked and get people as excited as you are. It’s definitely a challenge. But I’m very happy with the response so far.
AP2HYC: Lastly, what are you most excited about in regards to this campaign launch? Does the prospect of having people finally getting a taste of Intertwined make you exclusively excited or, perhaps, a little bit anxious as well?