“I decided to just slap this deer/man into the real world and watch how it unfolded” Ryan K Lindsay on the origins of his utterly unique crime noir Deer Editor: Hack
With the third and final issue coming to Kickstarter this week, Ryan K Lindsay’s surreal crime noir about a journalist, who also happens to be a deer, taking on a bunch of vampires is about to reach it’s mind-bending conclusion. And yes, you read that right – a journalist who happens to be a deer! If you need a little more convincing about this is brilliantly original take on the crime genre then read on, as we talk to writer Ryan K Lindsay about the inspiration for the utterly unique, Deer Editor: Hack.
Let’s start with the obvious one – how on earth did you come up with the idea for a half man half deer investigative reporter?! Was it purely for the puntastic name?
Ryan K Lindsay: It was ALL about the puntastic name. I was dicking around on twitter and made the joke to @benrankel about typos in magazines and someone writing to Deer Editor and it instantly hit me. Bucky came to my mind fully formed. I then had to go find his story.
One of the things we love about Deer Editor is that you write it very straight – not making a big deal about Bucky being a deer, unless it needs to be mentioned. Is that an intentional part of the story?
RKL: It’s a crucial part to the entire book and world, yes. I’m not funny enough to play this for a gag strip, so I decided to just slap this deer/man into the real world and watch how it unfolded. Like in CONEHEADS how no one mentions it ever, that was how I wanted this to play out. No one really cares that he’s a deer – though there’s some bigotry towards him, because that felt like it would be the only reaction that would happen in the real world.
Do you find yourself struggling to make Bucky fit plausibly in the real world – for example how does he cope with doors with those antlers?
RKL: I do my best to add realism, where possible. He drives a convertible for this reason, even in the snow [because with his fur, he wouldn’t actually be that cold], but we’ll just have to assume he’s fine with doors, or he’s a limbo champion.
And do you enjoy it when you can sneak in the odd moments when he can use his deer attributes like smell and use those horns as deadly weapons?
RKL: One of the first things I did when I started this whole affair was to research the shit out of deer. I scoured the dark web for all the weird stuff about them I could find, and I have a whole file of these things [like albino deer and that their antlers are covered in velvet] and I’ll dole them out as needed, as seen with Bucky’s ability to run and jump fast and high [though only in short bursts, he might be superhuman, but he’s not necessarily all that fit] and his sense of smell.
Was this the first book you worked with Sami on? Did you know he was going to be so good at drawing deer when you pitched it to him?
RKL: The first thing we did was put together a pitch for a book we called The Darkest Waves which ended up becoming Chum, which we just released through ComixTribe this year. I instantly fell in love with his work – both his page layout and the ways in which he makes the characters act, From there, he was the first person I asked about Deer Editor, but not because I thought he would necessarily be great at rendering a deer head five thousand times. That just came as a super-helpful byproduct because, man, does Sami do a good job with Bucky’s facial expressions.
We love the use of landscape for the book and the fact it is black and white so it looks like a newspaper strip, was that part of your original pitch or something Sami brought in?
RKL: Sami doesn’t scrimp on the background detail, he’s great for really grounding every scene. I told him early on I wanted the first issue to take place at Christmas in the snow because I love Shane Black and he was down for it, so we’ve never looked back, really, haha.
Whereas the black and white vibe was decided early, both because it’d suit this newspaper crime aesthetic, but also out of necessity because paying for a good colourist is expensive and I’d just had my second kid so was happy to see a way around this.
You’ve added in a vampire subplot as a twist from issue 2, why bring those bloodsuckers in? Was it to make things a little more fantastical or just because you knew Buck would have the perfect weapon against them?
To be honest, they were initially added because the first issue was heavily inspired by Chinatown so I thought maybe we could aim for 3 issues, and we could draw from Polanski for each of them. It was more an idle thought than anything, honestly, but suddenly The Fearless Vampire Killers took hold of me and the story started to really assemble itself.
Plus, yeah, stabbing a vampire in the heart with a broken off antler was always gonna be on the cards, c’mon.
And finally where can people get the issues from (apart from Kickstarter) and will you be collecting them together once this arc is finished? How many more issues to go?
RKL: At the moment, the issues have only been available via the Kickstarter campaigns because we’ve been shopping the book around [resounding consensus is somewhere close to “Wow, this is awesome, we love it…oh, no, we could never ‘sell’ this, though, good luck.”]. Without any firm traction, there is a chance we’ll collect these 3 issues together ourselves at some stage down the track, for sure.
And, sadly, at present, there is no firm plan to make more Bucky stories beyond this issue. We certainly have the desire, and more story ideas, but Sami and I are presently shopping another pitch around right now.