Frank Barbiere and Victor Santos have teamed up to present Violent Love, a complex tale of two lovers caught up in a wave of crime and violence during the turbulent 1960’s. Daisy Jane and Rock Bradley become two of the most notorious bank robbers in the American Southwest in this noir infused action tale of twisted love and questionable morals. Barbiere, known for Five Ghosts and the Revisionists, and Victor Santos of The Mice Templar and Polar took the time to discuss their collaboration on this new series with Talk Nerdy With Us.
Violent Love is inspired by a true story- can you tell us what that story is?
We were very careful with the language we used, being more specifically “inspired by true events,” as there’s not one specific story that Violent Love is based off. It’s a collection of influences, ranging from Bonnie and Clyde to personal history, as well as Victor and I’s mutual love of pulp and film. We consider it “faux true crime,” especially with the “true events” tagline — it gives the story a dimension of being true and not featuring anything like zombies or aliens, and real locales, vs. a piece of work that is ENTIRELY fictional. Coupled with the frame story, I’m very happy with the tone it gives the book — almost like a piece of American folk lore.
How many issues are planned for the series?
Violent Love is an ongoing series, and our first storyline is issues 1-10. We’ll have a short break for a trade paperback between issues 5 and 6, but there will be a pretty huge cliffhanger there to hopefully get more readers on board! We love this book, and it’s truly a combination of everything we love in comics, so hopefully we can have a nice, long run well beyond our initial ten issues!
The story thus far takes place in 1987 and 1969 – will there be parts of it that will take place in the present?
Not in this first storyline. The biggest chunk of this storyline will actually take place in 1972, which we’ll find out in issue #2! Having a nice, long timeline to play with really gives us a lot of story mileage — part of the reason why we feel like we could tell a lot of stories in this world.
Is there a deeper connection between Daisy Jane, Rock Bradley, the Sheriff, and Penny?
Yes! The framing sequence with Lou and Penny has a very specific purpose that we’ll start to unravel as our first arc comes together. I’ve been very fascinated with the idea of storytellers in stories, and this book was a great chance to explore that. I’m a bit of a nerd when it comes to structure and story mechanics, so there was a lot to play with here that has me excited for readers to see what’s coming next!
Daisy Jane is obviously quite intelligent – getting into UCLA with matching funds wasn’t easy for a woman in 1969 – will her book smarts and obvious love of learning come into play?
I was really happy we took the extra space to flesh out Daisy in the first issue. It’s so easy to just write one-note genre characters, but we really wanted to show that these are complex, developed characters. Daisy certainly gets into her fair share of trouble, but we are going to see how resourceful and smart she can be — even when her life is on the line. The story is very much seeing how far she can go with her intellect and how quickly she can acclimate to the dangerous new world she becomes a part of.
Will we learn about Daisy Jane’s mom? Any more about Dad’s shady past?
As I mentioned, we’re really happy to have a story with so much scope (and I’m happy that you’re interested in all this stuff as a reader!) and really want to explore everything we can. Each of these characters has been developed and has stories behind them, so I hope we get a chance to show every side of the story to readers before the end of our (hopefully long!) run. We’ll get a really solid understanding of who’s who in the first ten issues, our first big storyline.
What comics are you, yourself reading right now?
Frank: I’m currently really enjoying THE BLACK MONDAY MURDERS and KILL OR BE KILLED. I think Image really has some of the best books on the stands, and I try to read as much as I can, but I’ve just been completely absorbed by these titles as of late. I’m honored to share the shelf with them!
Victor: I´m reading a lot of creator-owned stuff, ongoing series like Deadly Class, American Monster, Powers, Injection, Low, … all the stuff produced by the Brubaker & Philips team. I don’t follow the big publisher’s events, but often I find creative teams I love in books like The Vision, Daredevil, Moon Knight…I love the manga classic reprints, stuff from Kazuo Koike or Osamu Tezuka, and European books like Blacksad or Lastman.
Who are your biggest influences?
Frank: It was really writers like Brian Bendis, Ed Brubaker, and Brian K. Vaughan that made me want to write my own comics. When reading POWERS for the first time, it just completely reinvented what I thought comics could be. I’m glad to finally be doing a crime book, and hopefully, fans of the genre will enjoy the nods to a lot of our influences within our own story.
Victor: A lot of varied stuff, from my sacred American modern trinity (Frank Miller, Matt Wagner and Mike Mignola) to the Jack Kirby classics, to manga from all ages…Western, noir and samurai cinema, directors like Sergio Leone and Michael Mann and others Nicolas Winding Refn or Johnny To. And writers like James Ellroy or Dennis Lehane. Culturally I try to be a sponge.
Frank, it’s been said that you “have written for every major comics publisher in the US”? Is this true? Do you have a favorite that you have worked on?
I’ve been very fortunate to spread myself out across many different publishers. I’ve worked with pretty much everyone except IDW and ONI, and quite frankly I’m thankful to any publisher who gives me a shot. Comics is a very risky business, and the fact people are willing to take a chance on new writers and new ideas is something I’m very thankful for. I’m particularly proud of FIVE GHOSTS as it’s the book that brought me into comics, also the one I worked on the longest with co-creator Chris Mooneyham and colorist Lauren Affe. We hope to do more of it in 2017. I also really love Image as we have total freedom, and so much of Violent Love simply couldn’t be done anywhere else.
Frank as a former English teacher, how do you feel about the use of comics and graphic novels in the classroom?
I’m really excited by their inclusion in a lot of curriculums. I’m a very big advocate of the medium, and think a lot of students who may not love “reading” can find a love in comics — without realizing that they’re reading just the same. I hope more educators continue to seek out comics to use in the classroom, as there are a ton of great resources.
Victor, can you tell us about some of the other projects you are currently working on?
Right now I´m working with Dark Horse on the US edition of one of my Spanish graphic novels as a complete author, Rashomon: a case of Heigo Kobayashi. It’s a crime story placed in the Feudal Japan, inspired by the 20s writer Ryonosuke Akutagawa but I gave it a noir point of view. I´m also giving the finishing touches to a graphic novel for the French market.
Victor, what’s the latest status of the live-action “Polar -Came in From the Cold”?
We are still in a development stage, the hell of pre-production, you know. We recently renewed the rights agreement, so this means Constantin films is still interested and working on it.It’s a little frustrating because we work with different timing in the comics market but the project is alive.
Be sure to check out Violent Love, a special double-sized Issue 1, on sale next week, November 9th!