Name:Chris Charlton Nom De Plume: Chris Charlton Contact Info: Chris Charlton on Twitter Location: Cincinnati, OH Credits:Writer/Editor – Binary Gray, Black of Heart, Open Tree, Sleepless Creative Title: Writer Favorite Comic: Preacher If you could have a 1 power:Mental Health
Chris Charltonthis may very be well the Noir you are staring in when you go up against:The7Deadly Questions
How do you deal with references to your work and Sin City? And how are they different?
I’ve honestly had very few. When people see David’s artwork, they’re quicker to compare it to Dave McKean or Bill Sienkiewicz. Even with reviews of the story, that hasn’t been the case and realistically the comparisons are few and far between beyond the genre. They’re both noir and they both play with the color a bit. Where Sin City picked a couple of colors and dropped them in sparsely, we decided to make the color a big piece of the actual story, starting with black and white and increasing it as the mystery unfolds. Visually speaking, noir is almost unmistakable with very few elements – black and white (or heavy shadows), wet city streets at night and a man wearing a fedora. We recognize these things and associate them mentally without knowing the story. Going all black and white has been done a million times and full color has the potential to alienate fans of the genre, but starting with splashes of color and expanding that palette creates a sense of uneasy tension. Your brain is processing the changes, and subconscious or not, it’s building along with the story. It’s something I’ve never personally seen done in comics and it worked perfectly with Black of Heart.
What is the best piece of art that you own?
The “best” piece is probably a signed original from Kelsey Brookes. My “favorite” pieces are some of the pages from Black of Heart #1, which I had printed on canvas – hanging in my living room. David’s artwork really lends itself to being on display. Even the sequential pages. Each panel is it’s own piece of artwork, which is why we’ve added an option to the Kickstarter to pick any page or panel from the book to have printed on canvas. I can’t recommend it enough and I would urge people to check out the pages on display and really look closely at his work. That’s the fun of working with David, because I’m always in awe when I get something new.
Do you worry about being too violent in your comics or having it be unnecessary ?
The short answer is yes, I do. Writing Black of Heart was a very strange experience for me personally because I really had to go to some dark places and examine scenarios that would legitimately scare me. I thought that if I could scare myself, it would hopefully translate to the reader and I hope that I’ve done that. The horror of Black of Heart is not gore or violence (although there is some of that), it’s the psychological trauma that Detective Harper experiences and that the killer’s victims are put through as well. Ultimately you have to do a bit of a balancing act. I have no desire to make some kind of torture porn – I’m in it for the story and the characters, but part of relating that is showing just how bad your bad guy can be. You have to show that the threat is real or there’s no drama for your characters. I think beyond that it’s something I’m very conscious of and I did edit a couple of scenes because I thought I may have gone too far – things that just didn’t sit well with me and again, that’s part of my job as an editor. I’m writing this thing for myself, but ultimately I have to step in and make some judgement calls about where the line is for what’s acceptable and what’s not.
Do you ever change the story to play to the art of the comic?
Absolutely. I generally do a wave of edits through each phase of a new book. The scripting phase is the heaviest, obviously, as I’m creating and pulling the pieces together. My preference is to have the entire story completely scripted (multiple issues) before it ever reaches an artist. I think you get a much stronger script working that way. I do another run through (this time issue by issue) as the pencils/inks are completed, another run through for colors and again for the lettering. I think you have to be flexible when you’re working with an artist. Being too rigid can freeze some people up and I like to think that I give enough freedom that there’s a collaborative aspect to it. That can’t always be the case depending on the genre and how tight the script has to be to make the story work, but in general adapting to the artwork is a big part of what I do and something that comes with the territory.
What TV show currently on would you cancel?
Anything containing a Kardashian.
What character would you love to show up in your noir?
Probably Philip Marlowe, (created by Raymond Chandler and played by Bogart in “The Big Sleep”), so he could work with Drake Harper to solve a murder. I’m sure they’d wind up in a fist fight at some point, which would lead to an important clue that helps crack the case.
So you are given the power to bring any character from any comic ever created into your graphic novel Black of Heart to kill them so they no longer annoy you. What character that out their do you send a hit man after?
Tough call. As much as I love Paul Dini, I’d probably lean toward Harley Quinn for two reasons – over-saturation and the fact that I think the Joker is a little more wicked without a girlfriend. Hopefully the Suicide Squad movie will change my mind!
Well doneChris Charlton you have survived your own Noir Story written by The 7 deadly questions. Now have a duo of paragraphs to tell us why we should become fans ofChris Charlton and what you are working on now :
“I appreciate this opportunity and yeah, I’m here to promote my work, but anyone out there who can relate to what I’ve said or who’s interested in what I’ve created based on that should give it a read and decide for themselves. There’s enough self promotion out there without me telling people why they should love my work. I work hard to make stories that are different and twist in ways you don’t see coming. That’s what makes me happy. If that’s what makes you happy – you’ll probably like it.“
“I’ve been working for the last year on a variety of projects. A murder mystery set in present day Hollywood, a sci fi thriller, an old school horror story, etc. Later this year, my short for the ’68 Anniversary book (Image) will be out and I’m really looking forward to the response from that one. I worked with artist Gavin Smith and we did some very cool/unconventional stuff with it. I’m currently working on something very special, but I can’t say too much about it! My cats seems to like it, though.”