I had the chance to talk to Paul Jenkins about Fiction Squad his latest story in the Fablewood World. Fiction Squad is currently on kickstarter looking to reach it's funding goal so that Paul and artist Roman Bachs can bring the story to the world. If at any point during the interview you're sold on helping the project then just click on this link and be whisked away to the kickstarter.
DUSTIN CABEAL: Of course the most important question is what is Fiction Squad about?
PAUL JENKINS: It tells the story of Frankie Mack, a throwaway character from a forgotten 1930s novella who lives in the Realm of Crime Fiction. Frankie never caught his bad guy, so he’s a bit of a lost soul. Figuring there is work to be had elsewhere, Frankie hops the genre border and goes to work for the Police Department in a place called Rimes, which is where all the nursery rhymes live. And at that point the poor guy realizes he is in too deep – all of the nursery rhymes are crime scenes, and the mayor is a Crooked Man. The Witches and Queens are the Mob, and a turf war is brewing. To make things even harder, Frankie finds himself partnered with Simple Simon, the world’s dumbest person.
PAUL JENKINS: Pretty much every children’s character – and especially the nursery rhyme characters – are represented. You’ll come to learn that Itsy Bitsy Spider is a cat burglar, Bo Peep is trying to run an insurance scam, and the Dish ran away with the Spoon to avoid getting arrested. It’s a little bit like "Where’s Waldo," where you have to spot them all.
DUSTIN: How does Fiction Squad fit into the Fablewood World and what’s its connection (if any) to FairyQuest?
PAUL JENKINS: Well, Fiction Squad was the original Fablewood story, as a matter of fact. Once I talked with Humberto Ramos about doing Fairy Quest, though, we decided to bring that story into Fablewood. The basic gist is that Fablewood is a giant, uncharted forest that contains every story that has ever been told. We have a lot more to tell…
PAUL JENKINS: Well, I think there might be many future stories that are possible for Frankie and Simon. But for the moment I would prefer to go into another part of Fablewood and do some of the other stories first. So, Fiction Squad as it stands right now is a standalone. Mind you, if enough people wanted it…
DUSTIN: Other than having a previous working relationship with Ramon Bachs, what made him the right artist for the story?
PAUL JENKINS: Ramon is just amazing – he has so many styles it is ridiculous. He is incredibly quick. Above all else, he is one of the best people you will ever want to meet. I have always railed a little bit against the concept of talent; talent is a great work ethic combined with social maturity. And that is Ramon – he works so hard to get it just right. His art is closer to the story I envisage in my mind’s eye than almost any other artist I have worked with.
DUSTIN: Why Kickstarter? Other than the previous success of course, but I’m sure some people are wondering why this platform?
PAUL JENKINS: Well, we’re trying to make a point here in a way. I feel that the backers are our publishers. It’s important that we remember this and stay close to the fans of the work. Comics is like no other business in that regard, and I really want to embrace that.
DUSTIN: What’s next for Fablewood?
PAUL JENKINS: The next planned story is about a character form the Romance Realm who is sent to live in the Realm of Horror Stories. She hates it, of course, but soon learns that it is just about lifestyle and customs. I guess you could call that a metaphor for moving to a different country and learning to accept their customs, as I have done by moving to the USA.