“He once put a toy gun to his head as we discussed pages on Skype” Dead Canary Comics’ Chris C.S. Baker on working with UK legend Shaky Kane on Last Driver

Last Driver Official CoverDead Canary Comics are set to hit the indie big leagues with the release of their newest book Last Driver, which hits Kickstarter today. Featuring artwork from indie legend Shaky Kane it’s a psychedelic retro road movie with irradiated insects and giant purple dinosaurs, tangling with an ass-kicking BBQ loving hero in a red corvette. We catch up with writer Chris ‘C.S.’ Baker to find out more about Last Driver and working with a comic legend.

Tell us a bit about the world of Last Driver and how it came about?

Chris Baker: Originally it was a short story. A vintage action hero battling a beast on the road. After working with Shaky Kane on another project, we were all looking for an excuse to ‘get the band back together’. Last Driver grew from that. I wrote it over a few weeks, and Matt Fitch turned a disjointed 90-page petrolhead epic into the tight story you see before you.

You have art from the legendary Shaky Kane, how did you get him to produce this? 

CB: As mentioned, we had worked on a short story together called Campaign 2079, about a robot running for president and falling victim to an assassin’s bullet. It was five pages and packed with layers of style. We were all Kane fans, and it was so fun to get creative with the man, the legend. I wanted to get him onto Last Driver before the script was even finished. It’s about a guy tearing around the American open road in a world filled with monsters… I guess I wrote to his taste.

Comic legend Shaky Kane and Dead Canary writer Chris C.S. Baker share a quiet moment – but it wasn’t always so tranquil when the two talked pages!

Was there any additional pressure working with a UK legend like Shaky?

CB: He once put a toy gun to his head as we discussed pages on Skype. I did sweat.

You’re Kickstarting the book, have you got any tips on crowd funding?

CB:  Crowdfunding is a bold new tool and we enjoy using it. It forces you to make the most compelling pitch of your life to the entire world. It puts the power of creation directly in the hands of the audience/consumer. Our advice to anyone looking to fund a project this way is one word. Passion. Believe in your project and give it the love you would your own child. Hopefully others will see and decide to join you on the journey.

Is this an ongoing series or a one shot?

CB: For now it’s a one shot. The story is self contained and doesn’t leave you hanging with questions. But there is the hope that the character, Frank Sudden, makes an impact and gains a following… he’s damn likeable, so maybe people will want to see more of him.

Last Driver Official Cover
“there is the hope that Frank Sudden, makes an impact and gains a following… he’s damn likeable, so maybe people will want to see more of him?”

What’s next for Dead Canary after this?

CB: We try to keep ourselves busy. The DCC office abhors a vacuum so we have several things cooking. Some I can tell you about: we have Paul Clark Forse’s Ministry Of Normal due to go to press at the end of the year. It’s drawn by Will Robson, a super-talented guy who has just started at Marvel Comics as the artist on the rebooted Great Lakes Avengers. Ministry will be great and I can’t wait to hold a copy in my hands. Another we have on the slate is the Dead Canary Sci-fi Anthology, which is a collection of all our short stories, including the aforementioned Campaign 2079 by Mr Kane. The book will be filled with name brand artists and original storytelling, we’re really excited about it.

What’s the secret of Dead Canary name?

CB:  When we needed a name for our fledging company, we heard a story about what happened to informants in the days of the mob… Apparently, if you were suspected of ‘singing like a canary’ to the cops or the Feds, you’d get ‘whacked’ and a dead canary would be left on your body to make others think twice before doing the same. Seeing as we’re in the business of telling stories it seemed like a good fit, and the dark and twisted origin of the phrase appealed to our sensibilities… Plus it just sounds cool!

You can support Last Driver on Kickstarter by pledging here.

And to read an interview with Shaky Kane himself and see exclusive images from this amazing new book then purchase our indie fanzine The Pull List via our Gumroad store for just £0.99 – featuring an exclusive Shaky Kane Last Driver cover!