Fire Is A Constant Companion – Chip Mosher Talks ‘Blacking Out’

by James Ferguson

I love a good noir tale and Blacking Out scratches all the right itches. The original graphic novel from writer Chip Mosher, artist Peter Krause, colorist Giulia Brusco, letterer Ed Dukeshire, and designer Tom Muller, follows Conrad, a drunk ex-cop seeking redemption as he tries to solve a murder during the Southern California fire season. The creators are running a Kickstarter campaign to fund the book’s release along with a lobby card set featuring work from an all-star cast of artists including Francesco Francavilla, Jamal Igle, Emma Rios, Eduardo Risso, Mirka Andolfo, Jacob Phillips, Dan Panosian, Ryan Kelly, Patric Reynolds, and Elise McCall. I had a chance to speak with Mosher about the project.

James Ferguson: On a scale of one to ten, how much of an asshole is your main character, Conrad?
Chip Mosher: What? Conrad an asshole? No. Not at all. He’s deeply flawed but has a heart of gold. And incredibly fun to write. I love the guy. But that might tell you more about me than I should be letting on…

JF: Comics can be a long and winding road. Blacking Out was several years in the making. Did the story grow or change during the time it took to bring everything together?
CM: Oh yeah, the story most definitely changed. Mostly the contours, but the core a to b to c was always there. I had too many details and side trips for the one and done oversized format we were doing, so it was great to have Pete there trimming the fat. I love that Pete, who storyboards for a living, got to take that skill and really put it to use in this comic. Taking Blacking Out and pairing it down to essentials. He really made the book tighter than it would have been. His work on the book is without peer.

JF: What drove you to this particular setting of Southern California during the fire season?
CM: I fell in love, oddly enough, with how sunsets in SoCal are impacted by fires. During the fire season, even if you didn’t know a fire happened around you, a great sunset is always an amazing tell. Fire is such a constant companion of your life here, so it just clicked one day to set a crime story during a fire. I wanted the fire to be a silent character, enveloping the story… and Pete and Giulia really spent a ton of time making sure that was realized on the page.

JF: There’s an impressive array of artists contributing work for cinematic lobby cards for the Kickstarter campaign. How were they selected and approached for the project?
CM: Pete and I got on the phone and made a short list of people that we wanted to work with and we’re lucky enough to be able to get to most all of them. Francesco was a no brainer, since he worked on my other comic and he does amazing work. But, yeah, Risso, Rios, Andalpho, Igle… Panosian… holy cow. I love Jacob Phillips’ lobby card… and then we got him to color Reynolds, Kelley, and McCall’s cards… guy knocked it out the park. Really amazingly lucky to have any one of these folks working with us but all of them? Pinch me.
Comicon would like to thank Chip Mosher for taking the time to speak with us. Blacking Out is currently on Kickstarter.

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