Join Under The Ink for the first interview of 2019!
Adam Blackhat is the author of two stellar webcomics: Captain Sin, a whirlwind NSFW Science Fiction and Starfall, a Superhero genre piece the likes of which we can promise you have never experienced before.
Captain Sin is the newest comic to come to the Blackhat Comics roster but it offers vivid art, a colorful and varied cast and… a questionable plot??? But we assure that’s a good thing!
For those looking to sink their teeth into a larger archive, Starfall is on its fourth chapter and still going strong! Readers won’t be disappointed.
Without further ado, however, the interview.
I met with Adam at 7:52PM Atlantic Time. He spoke about being “…scattered here [at home].”. I laughed and assured him it was ok. He spoke of being prepared and that he was currently doing lettering for a comic. We have an easy atmosphere. Laid back.
Panda: To introduce you to our readers, let’s start by giving a rundown of what you do for both of the series you currently have running.
Adam: No worries. So, I’m introducing myself? I’m Adam Blackhat (not my real name), writer and letterer for Starfall and Captain Sin. Of Starfall, I’d also add “creator” or, at least, originator.
Captain Sin was my idea, but the incarnation I was masterminding was a 1960’s scifi parody and the released product is much more than that, having grown and changed based on heavy input and creative design from my collaborating partner and resident artist, H.D. Harris. If we sold the movie rights, the placard would say, “Created by Adam Blackhat and H.D. Harris.”
To break it down further, I write the script and the final result is a combination of artistic input, page count limitation (for Starfall, which we plan for traditional publication), and lettering dissected in a final pass by a surly, swooning editor…me, again. If I can cut any dialog, I do! As a fan of both artists, I want to see the art and, whenever possible, let the art tell the story. When I fall in love with a page of art, I wheel out the guillotine and put my script on the chopping block.
Panda: Putting your own script on the chopping block takes a lot of self reflection and shows you take your projects (and in turn their quality) extremely seriously. Do you ever have times when that’s difficult, though?
Adam: I’d love to say no, but then I’d be the first writer in history that didn’t fall in love with their own words. Occasionally, there’s a line that’s a real bummer to cut and I’ll hem and haw and move the balloon to the fringes of the page, looking for an excuse or room. It’s not always about room, of course. Sometimes what’s drawn looks different from what I imagined and the line no longer feels organic to the conversation happening on the page. It’s much easier, under those circumstances, to put on my editor visor.
It’s also impossible not to come up with plot lines, B- and C-plots, that just don’t fit alongside the main story. Sometimes they’re relegated to later chapters, left as implications, or I have to keep them in my head and write with them in mind. And try not to refer to events that readers have never seen transpire.
To give a specific example, I over-indulged when I began Starfall. There are far too many characters with unique plot lines and the central thread is muddled. Every chapter that follows the first has been, at least partially, course correction.
Writing Captain Sin with that indulgence in mind, I made sure to give myself an obvious audience surrogate. When we meet the more outrageous characters, I do my best to keep her in mind and crop around her story.
Panda: Indulgence, some would say, is the reason to create a webcomic. On the other hand there is also a business model side of comic making and you seem more the sort to adhere to that end of comic creation instead of the self indulgence brand. Do you pick your artists based on that or is it another set of criteria?
Adam: I’m four years into creating comics and that is just long enough to be absolutely positive that there is no winning combination. I have been mercenary –when I approached Valentina Sannais to draw Starfall, it wasn’t with much hope. Her work looked professional and I assumed I was ignorantly approaching someone that had a contract deal with Dark Horse or a new European graphic novel coming out; something like that. It turned out she was very excited to join and had only really begun her career.
On the other hand, approaching H.D. Harris to work on Captain Sin was an innate response to his art. He was drawing couples that were only occasionally humanoid (if your readers are unaware, Captain Sin is allegedly a sexy-time space pirate comic) and he didn’t hold back in his color choices, how he posed his figures, or in their basic designs. I had originally conceived of a much more sterile environment, with cookie cutter, square-jawed characters, possibly on a five year mission, boldly…am I allowed to say trekking? Harris’s work was nothing like that. I don’t intend to rewrite history; I was originally scheduled to begin working with another artist and he failed to meet every deadline. When we parted company, I immediately sought out Harris and began gushing about his work.
Shaking the Etch-a-Sketch on Captain Sin was Mercurial. The moment Harris signed up, almost everything had to go and I began again.
Panda: Flattery is the best form of… bribery? Ha! Speaking of that, I have a question coming out of left field: Which character in either comic do you think you’re the most like?
Adam: Oh! Well, since we’re typing, I don’t have to say “interesting” to buy time, which is great! But I wouldn’t have to say that, anyway, because I have an answer for both…two for Starfall, in fact!
Starfall’s protagonist, the oft-monosyllabic Elly, has thus far been relegated to a reactionary, sullen, put-upon position, that will likely lead her to tactlessly lash out at the people supporting her and her power set is pain-based. The more pain she’s in, the stronger she is, like an emo Hulk. I can’t deny that she is, perhaps, the embodiment of my own worst impulses and motivations.
However, a regular trope in Starfall has been the “cameo character” and one such urchin was recently deleted from the script for chapter 4 (currently underway). Without giving anything away, an erratic hero goes AWOL and attempts to disguise himself with a bartered-for moldy fur coat from a grouchy hobo he meets in an alley. I even grew a beard, temporarily, so that Valentina would have the perfect reference photo for the cameo!
Captain Sin is trickier. So far, I’d say I’m like Grody. He generally keeps his head down at work and tries not to rock the boat before quitting time. When everyone begins having outrageous, uninhibited sex, I’ll have to reevaluate things a bit.
Here we took a small break. I got a snack, fed my pets and Adam… Adam ate a questionable meat pie. His evaluation: “…it’s really…runny and mealy, there are no solid bits. And it smells.” I took a moment to wonder if the food was worth it or if his survival was better off done without it. Then we finished.
Panda: Last question! Do you have anything you’d like to say to promote your comics? We love to give folks a clear opportunity to say any promo talk they may have wanted to but missed in earlier conversation.
Adam: Starfall has the greatest art I have ever seen in a webcomic. I don’t know how I got so lucky to work with Val, but I would happily paper my wall with her art. So, if you like pretty art we’ve got you covered. And everybody always says that “now” is the perfect time to catch up, but I actually think your readers should have started reading Starfall back during chapter 2, when Elly was attacked by a horde of blood goblins grown in the shape of her ex-girlfriend by a stylishly suited Cthulhu-esque demon she’s attempting to make a deal with to evade arrest for the murder of her ex-husband, formally the world’s greatest mind and hero. If you’re just joining us in chapter 4, get ready for a car chase, magic, giant monsters, hopefully some wit, and gunfire.
Captain Sin’s first chapter is going to be a slow burn, but let’s call it foreplay given the circumstance. Jokes and setup, you know the stuff. The final third of the comic is mostly sex, so you’ll get what you came for. And see, me, with the maturity, avoiding the obvious joke? I feel like I’ve grown. We’re laying the groundwork for several deviations into personal stories, archnemesi, and at least another dozen stand alone adventures. If the Patreon does well, chapter 2 should be a fast-paced heist (although it won’t be strictly speaking the family jewels that are stolen, it’s something equally near and dear to the owner’s pelvis), and we’ll just keep getting more ridiculous from there. I met H.D. Harris at the perfect time in our lives: he wanted to draw a sex comic and I wanted to work with a true visionary, an original that I hadn’t see the like of. Together, we’ll keep delivering, as long as people are interested.
**To read more from Adam and his team, click on the links below!
Starfall: CLICK HERE!
Captain Sin: CLICK HERE!
Adam’s Twitter: CLICK HERE!