I recently was featured doing an interview for the website Baller Mind Frame (BMF), a division of Complex Magazine. I really appreciated that they had me do this so check out what I had to say with their crew over there!
We recently sat down with writer Brandon Fiadino, author of the upcoming graphic novel series Chicago Typewriter. The series is set in an alternate reality 1920s Chicago and combines urban myth with the occult. Chicago Typewriter is a collaboration with artist/inker Djibril Morrissette-Phan (Zack the Zombie Exterminator) and colorist/letterer James Greatorex (Some Kind of Blue Moon). For updates on Chicago Typewriter, scheduled for release in 2016, head over to its Facebook page.
Q. Tell us about Chicago Typewriter.
Chicago Typewriter is an alternate history story that follows the main protagonist of Emilio Enzo and his rise to power within the city of Chicago back in the Prohibition era of the 1920s. Although Emilio is the hero of our story, he is very much a criminal. Emilio’s overall background to his tale is that as a child he was institutionalized by the State due to a traumatic incident in his past. Through experimental psychiatric treatments of the time, it left Emilio’s mind broken and with a penchant to lash out. His father leaves Emilio a special set of gold rimmed sunglasses that act as a catalyst to his more enigmatic gangster ego when he dons them. Along with prototype weaponry and vehicles designed by a scientist under the employ of Emilio, he comes to find out that the criminal element of Chicago is much more than he anticipated as he vies for territory against the supernatural and criminal underworld itself.
Q. What was the initial inspiration for Chicago Typewriter?
A lot of my original inspiration for Chicago Typewriter came from wanting something different from my life. Although I work in corporate America, there has always been something that has nagged at me to get my ideas out. When I was younger, around the age of 15, I went online and actually got a person to draw a single page of an old idea of mine. This was back in the early forms of the internet where there was less of a community than today. I kind of shelved that for years, not knowing I could have really made it into a career path if I worked on it.I began formulating random ideas working the graveyard shift at UPS. It all started with the idea of a superhero who wore sunglasses that gave him some kind of power. But as I thought about the idea more, I began to move it towards a more psychological aspect. I always felt like when people wore sunglasses it made them act different or maybe something as if people couldn’t see them. Taking that idea, I threw the historical aspect in there, then the technological and supernatural elements to bring us now to the world of Chicago Typewriter.
Q. What comics influenced your work the most?
Mike Mignola’s Hellboy, Garth Ennis’ Preacher and his run on Hellblazer, and Frank Miller’s Dark Knight Returns.
Q. What about animated TV shows, what were your biggest influences there?
Although I like my superhero animated series such as The Batman Adventures or the X-Men animated series, I have actually always been drawn to anime. I’ve enjoyed anime since I was a child. First being introduced to Dragon Ball Z back when it was on early in the morning before school and over time getting into other series such as Trigun, Cowboy Bebop, Escaflowne, and many others. It actually bothers me when people in American comics don’t give Japanese anime and manga their due. I enjoy their work as much as our own.
Q. When did you get into comics? What’s the first comic book you can remember reading?
The first few comics I could remember reading was my Mom buying me an Amazing Spider-Man issue in the 90s where Spidey became Spider-Carnage at the airport heading to Mexico. I must have been around 8 or 10. I also had a few issues of Spider-Man 2099 and Iron Man that I used to keep them in a small portfolio with clear protective sheets thinking they were worth something.
Q. Is there a comic franchise that it would be your dream job to write for?
Probably Punisher, Daredevil, or Batman since they are some of my favorites. I do write ideas down every now and then for some of the major publishers if they come to me, but it’s not something I think about as much as my own creator-owned ideas.
Q. Which writers do you look up to most?
Frank Miller, Garth Ennis, Brian Michael Bendis, Robert Kirkman, Rick Remender. There are so many I enjoy, but they all have different reasons why. With people like Frank Miller, I enjoy his dialogue in his old stuff and other writers like Bendis, I admire his ability to put out so much work.
Q. What’s your favorite show on TV right now?
I stopped watching a lot of TV, but when I can, I really loved Mr. Robot. I can’t wait for the new season this summer. Anything Netflix has been putting out with Marvel has also been spectacular. Especially Daredevil.
Q. How can people get updates from you on your work?
If people want to keep up with any of my work I have a Facebook at www.facebook.com/chicagotyperwriter, I have an Instagram for it @killthetypewriter, and my website is www.killthetypewriter.com. You can also follow me personally on Instagram and Twitter @brandon_eff.
Q. Tell us about the rest of the Chicago Typewriter team.
I went about contacting Djibril Morissette-Phan through Deviantart.com. I looked for a few artists who fit the idea of the look in my head and he was one who responded. We began by simply working on a character concept of Emilio Enzo. After drawing Emilio, I asked Djibril if he would like to know more about the story to which he agreed. Upon knowing what the world of Chicago Typewriter would be like, we agreed to contracted terms and have been putting it together since 2014 as far as getting visualizations put together. Djibril is from Canada and is only twenty-one years old. I give him a ton of credit for showing such drive.
In that time Djibril has been excelling in his own endeavors and I’m very proud of his work since discovering his talent. He’s worked on Zack the Zombie Exterminator with Evil Ernie/Lady Death creator Brian Pulido as well as having a brand new book by Image coming out this summer 2016 by Jim Zub (Wayward) called Glitterbomb.
As far as my colorist and letterer, I gave the opportunity to a local friend, James Greatorex. James is originally from Australia, but he moved to the US a while back and used to work at my local comic shop. Since then, James has moved to Delaware, but he worked on a book called Some Kind of Blue Moon with Michael Stewart and Tim Boatwright (Zeke Deadwood). James only did the lettering on that book, but Mike let me know he had gotten a lot better at coloring. I gave James the opportunity to color my concept of Emilio to see if I could try and bring a friend up with me. James did a great job there and he has been a big part of the whole production process. He’s put together little promo pieces for me as well as collaborating on the logo for Chicago Typewriter. I’ve said this before, but it feels like we have the United Nations of creators working together.
Q. Anything else you want to tell us?
No matter who tries to put your talent down, you go after that dream. Don’t ever let somebody else tell you otherwise. Till every door is slammed in your face, you don’t stop.