Barbra Dillon, Fanbase Press Editor-in-Chief: Congratulations on the recent release of Clash of the Classics! For those who may be unfamiliar, how did this new series come about, and what can you tell us about the premise of the first one-shot installment, Don Quixote Fights the War of the Worlds?
Tom Pinchuk: In Clash of the Classics, we take characters from one book, drop them into the plot of another, then watch what chaos unfolds with an eager, unblinking eye. It's a simple set-up, perhaps, but a deceptively simple one. There's no predicting how this comic ends, I guarantee.
For our first clash, we explore what'd happen if the Martian invasion from War of the Worlds landed in Spain hundreds of years ahead of time. And while Don Quixote may be the right man in the wrong time in his own book, the time's right for him, now -- because he's the only man who's been specifically training to fight giants like these.
Think What If...?, but with the entire world of classic adventures available to us, and all bets are off. As I like to keep saying, we're fully expecting H.G. Wells and Cervantes to roll in their graves over our take.
How'd this madness come to pass, though? Well, Kypsel is the only outfit crazy enough to take on this premise and let me run wild with it.
BD: You have reunited for this project with Remember Andy Xenon? artist Nikos Koutsis. Did you find there to be a creative shorthand in your work process?
TP: We’re even more simpatico at this stage, for sure, but "shorthand" doesn't feel like an appropriate term because we're both putting so much detail into the book.
As with Andy Xenon, we took the label "one-shot" to heart and treated this like it's our only chance to tell a story. We've made it feel like an epic in a single issue, nothing held back. But to do that, there can't be any stray lines, right? Every move's got to have intention behind it.
So, my script was just as detailed as Andy Xenon's -- and any backer who read that can attest that it's quite detailed -- but I was once again impressed by how game Nikos was for everything. He rose to, and surpassed, every creative challenge. Wait 'til you see this one part, in particular, where Quixote rampages across the entirety of Spain in a single page. You'll see exactly what I mean.
And I'd say that's our creative shorthand. We know how to challenge each other to outdo ourselves.
BD: The creative process of adapting existing properties - especially those as well known as War of the Worlds and Don Quixote - can be a daunting experience. How would you describe your approach to breathing new life into these stories, and what did you find to be most rewarding/challenging about the process?
TP: There are plenty of crossovers in comics involving characters in the public domain. Most don't work for me. It's obvious the creators aren't pulling from the actual books. It's the popular conceptions -- the misconceptions, let's be real.
When I started this project, I made clear to Kypsel that I wasn't interested in doing "Dracula versus Frankenstein in Oz." I wanted to be more clever. I wanted to keep the characterizations accurate, even in unexpected interactions. And I found out real fast that the reason a lot of crossovers don't go back to the sources is that it's way harder! Haha... Don Quixote, in particular, is a damn long novel.
So, challenge and reward were two sides of the same coin here. Research took much, much longer than for previous projects -- going through all these books, revising ideas to fit what I found, keeping details consistent, etc. But the time put in definitely led to better material. I'm way more juiced about the story-as-reshaped-by-research than I am about the more loosely-defined scenario I started with.
Let me stress, too... we're not expecting anybody who picks up this comic to have a deep, or even passing, knowledge of the books we're playing with. So, there are little recaps at the beginning which will quickly catch you up on the relevant details. I've done the homework so nobody else has to! We've got an irreverent take, but we didn't cheat, all right?
BD: As noted, all installments of the series will be released through Kypsel, a new content platform with an innovative sales model. What encouraged you to work with Kypsel, especially since this is the first release for the platform?
TP: One of Kypsel's founders, Victor Schoucair, is an old friend. He reached out one day, saying his new company was interested in getting into comics and asking if I could be a consultant. After a few meetings, they wound up liking what they were hearing from me so much, they realized that me making comics for them, too, would be a no-brainer. So, we batted some ideas around... and the rest is history.
Being the first in anything is exciting, of course -- and doubly so in this case, since Kypsel has a sales model I really haven't seen anywhere else. Basically, any reader can become part of our street team. If you like Clash of the Classics so much that you want friends to read it, too, now you can actually sell it to them and get a percentage.
What I like about this is it restores to digital media some of the fun of collecting analog comics. You know, sharing your favorites with friends, feeling like you own something you can share... all that stuff is part of the experience again.
BD: Are there any other upcoming projects on which you are currently working that you would like to share with our readers?
TP: Nikos and I have started work on our next project. It's longer than anything we've done so far. I'm so confident in it, in fact, that I was crazy enough to go ahead and write all the scripts already. Nikos will be starting on it soon.
Beyond that, I won't say too much more. When you're toiling away, it's very easy to get ahead of yourself and talk about a project too early. When supply chain delays and paper shortages affected Andy Xenon's release, too, I found out how lame it is to make updates to readers where all you can say is "Don't worry, it's still coming!" So, we're keeping mum until the time's right. But it's coming, for sure.
BD: Lastly, what is the best way for our readers to find more information about Don Quixote Fights the War of the Worlds and your other work?
TP: The comic is available at Kypsel right this very moment. Only a few clicks and you'll be knee-deep in the carnage.
My newsletter, the Chuk Chronicles, is the place to go next. It's the first place I announced Clash of the Classics, it's where I'll announce this next project with Nikos first, and any project I've got coming in the future will be first announced there, too. I've got a lot of other projects in the works, as well, so if you want to be ahead of the curve, sign up there.