What happens when your dad is murdered by rival circus crime family and ends up haunting his old Mercury Cougar muscle car? If your Ollie you team up with your ghost dad for some revenge. If your the team of creators behind this new series, “Death Trap,” you launch a Kickstarter to fund the release of the graphic novel. Launched last week by writer Matt Miner, artist Christopher Peterson , colorist Josh Jensen and letter Matt Krotzer the team set a goal of $18,000 to end at Wed, October 2 2019.
To learn more about this story and the Kickstarter we were able to speak to Matt and Christopher about “Death Trap.” The two discuss Ollie as a character, carsplotation and inspiration and running a Kickstarter. A big thanks to Matt and Chris for taking the time to talk about “Death Trap” and be sure to check out the Kickstarter for the series live now at this link!
I’m sure you guys have been asked too many times already but it’s the nature of new Kickstarter projects, What is “Death Trap?”
Matt Miner: At its heart, “Death Trap’s” a story about family – both the kind you’re born into, and the kind you find along the road. It’s about trying to do right by those families and make them proud of you.
But it’s also about our hero Ollie, who’s teamed up with the ghost of her dead father to find his killer and bring about a little revenge in the rich world of a circus freak crime family and a rival carnival organization. Dancing bears, killer clowns, crab twins, bearded strong women, freaky fish girls, a rocket-powered pit bull, a dude obsessed with bobblehead dolls, his kinda simple son who thinks he’s a tiger – it’s an utterly bananas book and just so much fun to create.
Did I mention Ollie’s dad haunts his old 1968 Mercury Cougar muscle car? There’s that, too. Dad’s basically a car.
This is very clearly Ollie’s journey and adventure as well as your own. Why will readers want to be a part of this journey? What was your goal for Ollie both narratively and visually?
Christopher Peterson: I hope people see the joy we have with these characters – that we truly care for them. The story itself, take away the 300 year old mermaid and rocket dog, boils down to acceptance, resolution, and family … basically Fast & Furious but with clowns and wackier hijinx. You know that safe vault they towed in FF5? That wasn’t CG, it was real. That’s this comic – real life safe vault drifting through streets absurdity.
MM: Ollie’s all about making her dad proud. She didn’t quite get there while he was alive, so she’s trying to do it now. Her journey is about realizing dad can either be proud of her or not, but she doesn’t need that to be proud of herself. Even though she’s essentially a criminal in a unique, but still pretty awful, crime family, Ollie has a strong moral compass and sense of right. She’s not looking to save the world, but she knows which shade of grey fits her best.
You have mentioned drawing inspiration from carsploitation, 1970s and 1980’s revenge films , comics and B Movies for this series. What is most appealing about those genres/tropes and how have you attempted to utilize them to tell your story?
MM: All those things you just listed off are incredibly FUN. My favorite movies, books, and TV shows these days take me out of the dark reality we live in and put me somewhere fun for a couple hours where I can forget about the real world. So if we look at a movie like John Wick, for instance, that’s an elevated grindhouse revenge flick. The plot isn’t super deep, but his character sure is. His motivations, the feelings, the depth is all there and makes you invested in what happens to John so when the fun gunfights start and the bodies hit the floor you really care.
That’s what “Death Trap” is. It’s an exploration of Ollie’s relationship with her families and how that relates to who she is and how she sees herself as a person and the growth she’ll make through the series. And then we break out the circus freaks and the bodies start hitting the floor.Continued below
CP: Playing into tropes is what makes it fun. People know the stuff that will happen, but they enjoy the ride – the satisfaction of it. I see us playing with these cliches but messing with them, delivering the unexpected along the way, but giving the audience what they want. Plus, they are crazy fun.
In much of both your previous work as creators you have crafted comics that tell socially conscious narratives. Is that something you continue to do in “Death Trap?” Why do you think comics works as a medium to discuss these topics?
MM: Hey I know I’m known for some politically charged work, and I love doing that stuff, but Death Trap is more about family and fun and the weirdos that Chris, Josh, Matt K and I have created for you.
CP: Is there a difference between socially conscious and socially aware? I’m sure there’s not, but I’m going to say we’re definitely keeping socially aware but that’s just on the sidelines to our main goal. There’s definitely comics and situations where we may push a stronger message, but I dont think this title is here for that – we’re here for us to just have fun, goof around with comics, all while telling a compelling story.
MM: Yeah, like Chris said, it’s not like we suddenly became different people, but this book isn’t about our personal politics. This book is about being the most bananas comic of 2020!
It seems like comics in particular have really benefited from Kickstarter. Matt you have 3 successful kickstarters under your belt already. Why do you guys think this a platform that works so well for comics and wanted to pursue for Death Trap. What have you learned with the past 3 projects that you have taken into this campaign?
MM: I know it says 3 under my profile, but that number is actually 5 if you count the successful anthologies I’ve run with my pals Eric Palicki and Tyler Chin-Tanner. I love Kickstarter for a very simple reason: I make comics and I rescue dogs and therefore I am very poor. Chris, here, needs to eat and keep the lights on, so making sure he has a page rate while he works on “Death Trap” is key. Same goes for Josh Jensen, the colorist, but not for Matt Krotzer. Matt Krotzer can suuuuuuck it. Earlier today he was bragging that his dad wasn’t a phone. Can you believe that?!
If one of your main characters is going to be a car possessed by the spirit of someone’s dead father then I would have to imagine a lot of thought went into the selection of the car. I mean I don’t know how well it would play it was a PT Cruiser. So why this car, a 1968 Mercury Cougar?
MM: I mean, Ollie’s a cool rockabilly girl and mechanic, so we want her driving a cool car, and to me there’s no car cooler than a ‘68 Cougar. Look at those sexy hidden headlights. Oh my god, so freakin’ hot.
CP: At least with a PT Cruiser, I could find some reference pictures for it. This is Matt’s version of ‘draw them in a crowd on horses’.
Chris, I have been told many times by many artists, Horses and Cars are some of the hardest things to draw. How have you approached this series as an artist? Do horses appear?
CP: That’s my secret captain, I always like drawing horses. But for real though, I enjoy both and honestly, I’d rather draw a stampede of horses instead of New York Times Square. I like cars also, I started with cars and motorcycles in Grindhouse and kept it up in a lot of my work, I guess. I’m no Sean Murphy, but I do enjoy trying to get the ‘speed’ out of static images when drawing a car.
Outside of funding cool projects that otherwise might not get made Kickstarter is pretty unique in the extras fans can get. What are some of the different rewards you have included in this project?
MM: This project has a cool publisher willing to bring the book to comic stores, so long as we fund the art costs ourselves, so the 2 incredibly rad covers on Kickstarter are both exclusives. Plus we have book packs, GWAR exclusives, and trade paperbacks of the whole series, for those folks who don’t mind waiting.Continued below
CP: Things you can’t normally buy is what I like. Getting your face in the comic, naming a character, or your own bobblehead on the dashboard of a bad guy’s car. I feel lit really bonds the community with the project to know they are forever a part of this comic – you can’t buy immortality.
The campaign is for the 4 issues worth of story of “Death Trap.” A lot of projects will focus on a complete collection for their final product. What was the thought behind the 4 issue reward approach? Are there plans for more?
MM: With every new character we’ve created, Chris and I are like yeah THIS ONE needs a spin-off series. And so yeah, there are plans for more, but let’s focus on this book first. And for those who prefer, there’s a complete collection “trade waiter” tier in the rewards, if you’re not into floppies.
CP: 4 issues wraps up the story we’re telling here and who knows what comes in the future, but thats for a different topic I guess. Four issues makes a nice trade size in the end as well.
I was excited to see Christopher Peterson was doing the art for the project with Josh Jensen on colors and Matt Krotzer doing letter work. What has the team dynamic been like and what have they each brought to the series that you is all their own?
CP: The team has been fun all around – we bounce ideas all over the place in our chat sessions. It’s cool to watch Josh experiment and I think this project gives him the freedom to do so. Krotzer is **checks notes from Matt** great! Seriously though, he polishes everything off nicely with his letters and added design sense like our sweet kickstarter graphics and touching up our Death Trap logo to its fullest potential.
Chris had been on a mini break from comics. How does it feel to be back and what made working with Matt and this series one to return to sequential work again?
CP: It feels good to be back creating and drawing again. Matt has always been wanting us to do something together and we did a pitch way back during the time “Broken World” came out and oddly enough, a morsel of that pitch grew into this story. And it all started with Matt contacting me and asking “remember that side character, well I completely changed it and made it a full story”. Matt kept in touch with me when I drifted away and he led me back in.
At the end of the day why should someone back “Death Trap” and what does it mean for you when someone chooses to back your work in this way?
MM: It means everything that anyone would believe in us and our story so much that they’d plunk down money today for a book that’s coming out later. Thank you for supporting creators trying to bring new stories to a crowded market full of capes and gimmicks. We love you.
CP: It means I can work for a couple more months and pay rent. But it also means people believe in us and are excited for what we’re going to bring them. I’m excited and that makes them excited, which makes me more excited which makes th – – ok, I’ll stop. I truly am grateful for every person helping no matter if it’s pure retweet support or pledging, I’m glad people want to see our creation.