Barbra J. Dillon, Fanboy Comics Managing Editor: Congratulations on the recent success of your comic, Pussycats #0, which sold out of its print run in just one week! Given that Issue #1 is currently available for pre-order in PREVIEWS and Issue #2 will be in next month’s catalog, what should readers anticipate in the upcoming issues?
Vince Brusio: The story for this mini-series hinges on the premise set-up in the #0 issue, which is that our nation’s government used entertainers in the adult film industry for espionage during the Cold War. Records of those operatives were kept. So, it was only a matter of time before those records could be used against someone. Some politically motivated soul would do the unthinkable. Flash forward to the present time. The new characters introduced in the four-issue mini-series (Cowgirl Cathy, Schoolgirl Suzie, and Nurse Nancy) are either tied directly to the events of the past or they are “legacies:” candidates who have been chosen to carry on the work of their predecessors. Their line of work now puts their lives in danger, with some not even knowing it.
In speaking about what lies ahead? Bullets. Lots of ‘em. And, lovely ladies that know how to shoot straight. And, they never need a guy to come in to lend a helping hand. They have the situation well under control. Except for the story's central character, Tammy, the “madam” of an escort service that’s caught under a falling house of cards. She’s not in a good place. She’s been abducted. And, her captors are mean, greedy degenerates without souls or conscience. Guys you don’t bring home to mother.
BD: How has audience response been to the initial issue, and what do you hope that readers will take away from the series?
VB: I was floored when the first printing was depleted in a week. I was really happy to see the different types of stores that bought it, too (Game Master Goods). Plus, to see online retailers like Midtown Comics sell out the signed editions, as well? I think that speaks volumes to those who said, “Well, you just didn’t print enough.” Yes, we did. And, they sold. Quite a few reactions to the cover had some people say online, “Oh, it’s a porn comic.” No. It’s not. Just like Boogie Nights wasn’t an X-rated film. Just read the PDF we’re circulating.
What’s really funny is that the response to this book has been so positive that my old zines from early 2000 have popped up on Amazon. People are actually digging up the old, underground stuff I did with Pussycats’ artist, Mats Engesten. It’s crazy.
As to what I hope people will take away from Pussycats is the story, of course, but also its design and storyboarding. It’s not your typical comic. It doesn’t look or read like other comics on the rack. For instance, the characters in the story are independent and self-sufficient, yet the cover designs for #0 and the subsequent three issues of the series mimic the pretty girl holding the power tool or having her standing in front of the muscle car, implying you don’t have to think past what you’re looking at on the cover. That’s the point. What you think is one-dimensional is actually 3-dimensional. We took the same approach towards the ad for Pussycats #1 in the PREVIEWS catalog. It shows Cowgirl Cathy on the bed with a lollipop. The ad text reads, “Your first mistake was looking at the lollipop. While you were looking . . . she was grabbing the gun.” If you just got hung up on the image of Cathy and the lollipop for the first few seconds, you’re mistake was not asking yourself if that revolver was loaded.
It’s all a setup.
I want people to keep enjoying stuff like that.
BD: Would you recommend that readers start the series with Issue #0, or do the subsequent issues provide easy jumping-on points for those new to the material?
VB: I definitely recommend that readers start with #0. It lays the foundation for why things go the way that they do--which is downhill very fast. Issue #0 gives a history and context for the craziness. Also, the #0 issue ties directly into the ending for the four-issue mini-series. So, yeah, you want to read all the issues to get the complete picture.
But, the truth is, the way the mini-series is structured with new characters, you still could enjoy it independently. It’s like going to a house party. You walk in, and there are all these people, and drinks, and eats. All the action’s upstairs. But, if you went into the basement, you might get a different picture of who the home owners are, and you might want to leave the party early.
The #0 issue basically sets up how there are bad things happening. But, once you’re into the mini-series, it moves so fast, you may not have time to care as to WHY things are screwed up. You’re more interested in how these new characters can stay alive. It’s all perspective.
BD: How would you describe the ongoing creative process with the Pussycats team?
VB: Constantly in motion. We all have families and lives, and getting this thing done is accomplished in small steps. It’s why we’ve been working on it for two years. But, all the heavy lifting is already done. We’re on schedule to meet all of our deadlines, and all of these books ship on time as a result. We don’t let our creative tendencies get in the way of what the calendar says is due on a particular day.
BD: Are there any other projects on which you are currently working that you are able to share with our readers?
VB: Well, we do have a horror/science fiction book in the can. All the finished art for one issue is actually done by Mats Engesten. But, we’re sitting on it for now, because everything’s riding on Pussycats. We’re focused first on making this book sing. Then, maybe we’ll crack open a six-pack and start brainstorming again.
BD: Being that we focus on all things “geek” at Fanboy Comics, would you care to geek out with us about the comic books and/or graphic novels that you are currently following?
VB: Oh, man. I wish I could. Really. But, for me, being a father, a husband, a full-time employee at a day job, and a publisher/writer at night, my free time is limited if not non-existent. Those few books I’m reading now regularly would include (of course) The Walking Dead, and, well, the old pre-codes from the '50s. I’m big on EC Archives. I’m also paying attention more to how specialty stores (games/toys) are selling comics. The speculation market seems to be ramping up.
BD: Lastly, what would you like to tell fans who want to learn more about Pussycats?
VB: Check out news sites like First Comics News, Comic Bastards, and Fanboy Comics! These are the sites that report on indies like Pussycats. And, they’re good at it! Aside from that, check us out at e-comix.net for updates and the links to our social sites. And, as for what lies ahead for Pussycats, it’s already in the works. We’re sitting on the premise for the next series. Now that we’ve introduced the core characters in the first series, it’s time to put them through the consequences of their choices. That should be fun. And, brutal.
*As of the date of this interview's posting, Pussycats #0 is now completely sold out at the retailer, distributor, and publisher levels! An additional 150 copies will be allocated by E-Comix to Diamond Distribution for the first 150 retailers that place re-orders.