Well it’s been a minute since I did an interview. I’ll freely admit that they’re not my strong suit, but I’ve enjoyed talking to Dave Dwonch, creator of Cyrus Perkins and the Haunted Taxi Cab, over the years. I meet him at Wonder Con one year and we’ve touched base here and there since. He was even on our podcast the CBMFP when he was first kicking off Cyrus Perkins and is to this day one of our best interviews. That said let’s jump into a new interview with Dave about the now completed Cyrus Perkins as it heads to Action Lab Entertainment this August.
DUSTIN CABEAL: Well I already know the answer to my first question from your appearance on the CBMFP, but can you let our audience know what the inspiration for Cyrus Perkins and the Haunted Taxi Cab is?
DAVE DWONCH: Heh. Well, a couple of years back, I went home sick from the day job, thinking I had food poisoning. Five days later, I'm sick, potentially dying actually, as my gall bladder had shut down. I called the help line and they told me they were calling an ambulance. Not knowing how much that would cost, I told them that I'd drive myself to the hospital. We compromised when they asked me to call a cab. Before passing out from the pain I told the cabbie that if I died in his taxi I would haunt it.
Long story short, when I woke up from surgery I had the premise of Cyrus Perkins and the Haunted Taxi Cab!
DUSTIN: You originally Kickstarted Cyrus Perkins, what was that experience like? Would you go back for another series?
DAVE: Kickstarter is a great way to get your projects made. It can also be a pretty powerful promotional tool, and even a solid distribution model. That said, it's a whole lot of work. I wasn't prepared for that. I'm not really great at self-promotion, so the whole process was really foreign to me. I know that sounds funny coming from the Creative Director of Action Lab, but if you're not prepared to give Kickstarter 100%, it can end disastrously. Thankfully we didn't ask for much, and were funded within three days. That felt great, and made the back end work that much more rewarding. We did have a snafu where someone contributed a crazy amount of money and it turned out to be fake. I don't know what kind of person would do that, but but I think you open yourself up to attacks like that when you are crowdfunding. I'm definitely going to Kickstart another project, but I want to make sure it's the right project at the right time.
DUSTIN: How did you team up with Anna Lencioni who does the art and tones on the series?
DAVE: M. Goodwin, the original artist of Princeless recommended Anna to me years back when we were working with the NFL on their Rush Zone comic, and had kept in contact. When I came up with Cyrus, I knew she was the person I wanted to work with, and after telling her my sob story, she signed on. Ironically she had just gone through health issues of her own, and I think the fact that Cyrus came from a place of perseverance helped sway her to signing on with me. Anna handles all of the art and shading for the book and I come over the top with color. I had a very specific vision of what I wanted the palette to be for interiors, and I think it works well for the subject matter. I came from a background in art, so it's fun to flex those muscles every once in a while.
DUSTIN: What do you want readers to take away at the end of reading Cyrus Perkins?
DAVE: That's tricky. Obviously I want people to be entertained, first and foremost. It's a twisty, fun supernatural crime noir, and at its core it's about an ordinary guy dealing with an extraordinary situation. I guess if I wanted the reader to come away with anything, it's that life is too short. Do what you want, but also do what you can to make the world a better place.
DUSTIN: How long will Cyrus Perkins run for? Is it an Ongoing? A Mini, with potential for future volumes?
DAVE: Oh, yeah, there will be more Cyrus Perkins. While this mystery will be solved by issue four, some of the seeds planted will bloom into another adventure called Cyrus Perkins and the Death Brigade. I have three mini-series planned-- 12 issues in total. If the creative bug bites, I may do more, but only if Anna wants to join me down that road.
DUSTIN: What’s been your favorite experience working on the series?
DAVE: Seeing my story realized through Anna's art. She is the BEST. My scripts are pretty tight, but Anna adds a dynamic that I couldn't have even hoped for. The art is cute, expressionate, and at times horrific. And don't get me started on how she cuts up a page. Her storytelling blows away anyone making comics right now. When she reads this, she'll probably call me and tell me to shut up, but I can't. She's that good!
DUSTIN: Final question, what’s one comic you think everyone should read before they die?
DAVE: You mean after they read Cyrus Perkins?
DUSTIN: Of course!
DAVE: Hmm... well, my personal favorite storyline is the Daredevil: Born Again (DD 227-231) Miller is at the top of his game and Mazzuchelli is right there with him. A lot of my aesthetic comes from that run. When I think "perfect comics" those books come to mind.
Be sure to check out Cyrus Perkins and the Haunted Taxi Cab, from Action Lab Entertainment. Also a big thank you to Dave for taking the time to talk with me, you can find him on Twitter @davdwonch.