Un-Muted: A Conversation About "Mute" With Frank Cvetkovic

Yesterday we brought to your attention a Kickstarter project called Mute from creators Frank Cvetkovic and Michael Lee Harris. Today we have an interview with Cvetkovic about the project and some preview pages for you to check out. Enjoy and be sure to stop by the Kickstarter page.

Dustin Cabeal: Can you start off by telling us a little about Mute and where the idea came from?

Frank Cvetkovic: MUTE is a 48-page modern noir comic – that I wrote, is being drawn by Michael Lee Harris, and was edited by Adam P. Knave – that deals with the consequences of honest mistakes. Our story follows Adrian Kim, a deaf steel mill worker, and his ladyfriend, Meg, as they find themselves on the run from a ruthless killer, after Adrian accidentally mistakes the killer's smartphone – filled with incriminating evidence of grisly murders – for his own.

Because Adrian is deaf, there is absolutely no spoken dialogue or sound effects in the comic. You, as the reader, are just as "deaf" as Adrian is. Which means that there aren't any sort of advanced warnings of oncoming danger. No footsteps slowly growing louder or gunshots ringing through an alleyway; just bullets whizzing past your head.

The idea itself is one that I've been toying with for a couple of years now, but kept in a drawer until I knew exactly how to handle it. It stemmed mostly from the desire to branch out and write stories that I didn't typically get to write. I typically write dark comedy and really wanted to try my hand at something more serious in tone. I've always wanted to write a silent comic. I've always wanted to write a comic where the main character is being chased by some unrelenting force. And as I started to look at all these different things that I wanted to do, I began to see how they might all actually exist in one story.

Dustin: It’s pretty daring to have an all silent story, what made you go that route with it and when did you know it was going to work?

Frank: Like I said, writing a silent comic is always something I've wanted to try. I absolutely LOVE writing witty dialogue and the idea of cutting it out almost completely was equally as thrilling as it was terrifying. I had a really thorough outline and a good handle on how I would get around the handicap of no spoken dialogue going into to the scripting process, so I knew I could make it work. But once I had written the first quarter of the script – past the exposition scenes, introducing characters you would care about without ever having heard them speak, and into the main conflict of the story – any insecurities I had about the story format seemed to slip away and I was able finish writing the book without really second-guessing myself.

Dustin: Was it a difficult process to find an artist that understood the story and could pull of a silent issue?

Frank: Not at all. I met Michael Lee Harris at the Columbus College of Art & Design several years ago and we've been very good friends ever since. We've worked on mini comics together in the past and were convention table buds for several of years. That all stopped for a while, once he had moved to Georgia to attend SCAD but, recently, I've started lettered a number of comics he's been drawing and that really made me want to write something specifically for him to draw again. He's an amazing talent and one of the few people I would trust to visually carry a mostly wordless story like MUTE.

Dustin: You’ve taken Mute to Kickstarter, what made you take it to crowd sourcing?

Frank: There are a lot of reasons we went to Kickstarter. The most obvious, of course, is funding. I knew that if I was going to do MUTE, I was going to have to do it right. And then meant finding the money to pay Michael for art production, working with an editor I trust completely, and finding a good printer to work with. Kickstarter also helps me to discover just who my audience is, allows backers to help widen that audience by bringing in people they know who would potentially dig our story, and lets me communicate with them all directly and share aspects of the comic-making process that I might not have been able to do otherwise.

Dustin: With Kickstarter being the home of several comic book projects, what about Mute is going to make it stand out?

Frank: Honestly, what sets MUTE apart is that there aren't a lot of comics like it being produced. Telling a complete story without the use of spoken dialogue is not an impossible task, but it can be a challenge, especially the longer the story goes on. MUTE is a fairly straightforward story told in an intricate format, yet there is still enough heart in the silent character interactions to make you care about who these people are and what happens to them. --- A big thank you to Frank for taking the time to chat with us, be sure to check out the Kickstarter for Mute and you can find the creative team at the following links:

http://gofrankgo.wordpress.com/ https://twitter.com/GoFrankGo http://michaelharris.deviantart.com/ http://kck.st/1loLYBi (Link to KS page)