Following last weeks release of issue #0 of Bob: Non-Union Psychic and the subsequent review (check out the review section at the top of the page), Comic Crusaders caught up with writer / creator Lance Lucero and scripter / editor Adam Volle.
CC: Hi guys, thanks for taking the time to have a chat. Let’s get started. How did you two get together to work on Bob?
Lance: This is kind of a funny story on my end. Many moons ago, an old crazy writing partner I was associated with temporarily shared an office cubicle with Adam’s stepfather, who caught wind that we were screenwriters. He handed my partner a story Adam had written for his creative writing class while in college.
My partner wanted to pass it on to me, but I didn’t want anything to do with it; we were finishing up a screenplay on a very serious deadline and we had a producer waiting for our next project. I didn’t want to make the time to read a story written by a kid for a class! My partner persisted for several weeks and eventually I submitted when I found out the story was a WWII detective drama. I was baited. What does some kid know about WWII?
I read it and it was blown away. It was really good. I decided the story would be adapted into an epic screenplay as our next project. When we had our first meeting, Adam was in the process of producing a comic book segment for the now-defunct SHOOTING STAR COMICS ANTHOLOGY. I was impressed once again. This kid had something going on. He’s talented and ambitious.
Adam: For my part, Lance was the first guy I met who was really making a go of turning his big creative dreams into reality, so I was a little in awe.
Lance: We wrote a really awesome screenplay; got some high marks on it, but it went nowhere. The content was not “commercial” enough for traditional studios and producers. We ended up going our separate ways and many years later I tracked Adam down and asked what he thought about publishing the screenplay we had written. He wanted to turn it into a graphic novel –
Adam: And we still might.
Lance: But I had another idea about a comic book project, and it was BOB: NON-UNION PSYCHIC. I passed it on to Adam and he dug it. The story had all the elements to make a great comic book. This time around, the roles were reversed; he was the Jedi master and I was the padawan.
CC: Gramps reminds me a little of the old guy in the Disney movie Up. What was the inspiration for the book?
Lance: Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. Sean Connery as Professor Henry Jones. Since hair is a bit of a theme with BOB’s character, it was worked into the design. You can see the genetics at work when looking at BOB’s lineage.
Adam: On the larger question of the inspiration for the book itself, that’s my favorite thing about it: I think Lance has created a great metaphor for the frustration that a lot of creative people like us feel when we’re trying to make names for ourselves. Anyone can claim to be a psychic in the world of BOB, just like everyone can (and seemingly does) claim to be a writer – but nobody seriously believes you’re the real deal until you get certified by some bigwig league of professionals, whether that be the Screenwriter’s Guild, a publishing house, a talent agency or whatever.
CC: I love the woman haunting the couple. Please tell me she is based on a real person.
Lance: Oh yes… a previous relation of mine. She was a total psychic vampire. I had to learn how to blast my psychic shield in order to protect myself! I will say the magic of her ancestry was not as strong as mine.
CC: How does the writing dynamic work, between you two? How do you resolve any creative differences?
Lance: The story was there. We just needed to adapt it to a comic book. I followed Adam’s lead. He knows the mechanics of the comic book format. All I had to do is listen. It was a very smooth operation for me.
Adam: There’s actually a practical answer to this question on my end, because I tend to systematize everything. I’m always mindful that BOB is Lance’s creation, as well as that Lance is publisher, so as editor I generally allow myself to express my reservations twice about any decision he makes – once if it’s a minor issue and a second time, strongly, if I really think it’ll hurt the book. And he either takes my advice the first time, or the second time, or not at all.
CC: There seems to be a time zone issue, even with this interview J. Can you explain the difficulties you both need to overcome and how you manage it?
Adam: Yeah, I live in South Korea, so Lance is currently 16 hours behind me. Hell, though: our artist Francisco Resendiz lives in Mexico and our colorist Joe “Chill” Palmer lives in Illinois. You’re in the UK! It’s just this fantastic new world we live in, this golden age of collaboration.
Lance: Yeah, I don’t sleep much … I have a really lousy schedule at my current place of employment. Two weeks out of the month I’m on nights. So, I’m in tune with Adam 50% of the time. I think we’ve managed it well, being on opposite sides of the planet. The rest of the team is in my hemisphere, so we’re able to correspond quickly enough.
CC: Technology has made creating comics a tad easier. How does digital affect your book?
Lance: When we started, I thought paper would be involved!
Adam: That’s adorable.
Lance: Guess I’m old school. I have to admit, I was concerned at first about the whole digital thing. I hate putting my faith into computers. It worked out wonderfully, though; Francisco Resendiz and J. Chill are amazing artists who know their business. I actually think the digital realm enhanced the paranormal look of the book. It looks just as cool on print! Plus, production wise, I saved a lot of money. As a producer, you always have to look at the bottom line.
CC: What sort of problems is Bob going to face (spoilers allowing, of course)?
Lance: Big problems. The Psychic Union is going to crack down on Bob; they don’t like renegade psychics outshining their organization. The dark side of the spirit world feels threatened as well; they’re going to put the heat on. Business will boom for Bob’s shop; his schedule will be full. He will be a modern-day Legros de Rumigny!
Adam: There was actually a scene we left out of Lance’s first draft, in which Bob gets ambushed in the bathroom of Ye Olden Bookstore by a monster that just beats the living daylights out of him. Very noir detective-ish: “I’m here to tell you to stop making waves,” y’know?
CC: That would’ve been a great scene. What’s next for you both?
Lance: Hopefully another issue of BOB. Hopefully finish up re-mastering my feature film HUNTING FOR FISH and get it out to the world.
Adam: I’m actually about to take a nice, long break. The Wife and I have spent four years saving up the money to take a world trip – and 2016’s when we get underway. If all goes according to plan we’ll leave for our starting point in New Zealand come March and return to the U.S. a few weeks before Christmas. But you’ll be hearing from me again. And BOB too.
Enjoy your trip Adam. I have to say, I am looking forward to the next issue of Bob. Well done on your book guys.