“I want something that alienates the usual tropes of crime!” Christopher Sebela tells us about the specials in Short Order Crooks

Christopher Sebela’s High Crimes was one of our favourite crime books of recent years, mixing criminality and mountain climbing in a truly unique digital-first package (and ended up bagging a well deserved Eisner nomination). So, when we heard he was heading back to the crime genre, and to Kickstarter, with a new book entitled Short Order Crooks all about crooks and cooking, we knew we had to drop him a line and put in an order!

So tell us a bit about your new book Short Order Crooks – is it just an excuse for a great pun title?

Christopher Sebela: The pun title was actually the final piece of the puzzle, long after the team had been assembled and we’d done over 10 pages for the book. Just got lucky, I guess. It’s a crime/comedy/cooking comic, all about a guy working in the Portland food cart scene who’s gotten mixed up with loan sharks and burglars and rogue food truck pirates while he tries to live out the dream of being a chef while kind of sucking at it.

This, and High Crimes, have very unique takes on the classic crime comic style taking characters from very unlikely walks of life and then getting them mixed up in criminal activities, is that part of the appeal for you when working on a story?

CS: Yeah, kinda. I’m just not really interested in straight ahead crime narratives. There’s so many out there of the detective or the cop or whoever trying to unravel the mystery of who the killer is or trying to set up a job and while I loved reading that stuff, nowadays I want something new, some new take that at least alienates the usual tropes of crime and makes me approach the genre from a different angle.

Are you publishing this yourself or as part of a deal with a publisher? How did the arrangement come together?

CS: We’re publishing it ourself. Officially it’s a Two Headed Press book, which is just an imprint that I set up with some friends to crowdfund our books and have a name to put all these books under. We hope to at some point make a deal with a publisher to put out a trade, but we’re mostly focusing on getting the issues done right now.

How did you get involved with George Kambadis and did you get to choose who was involved on the art side? Was it important to have a slightly lighter style for the art than you had on High Crimes?

CS: George Kambadais and I had been talking for awhile, trying to figure out something to work on together. I’d initially attempted the book with another artist and the style was much more serious and straightforward and that kinda fell apart so when I started thinking about the book and George’s art, I thought they contrasted perfectly. George has such a light touch that he can make some of the bummer subjects we cover still fun to read and look at. Lesley Atlansky is local to Portland and she assisted on colors for High Crimes towards the end and I’d been wanting to work with her on a book. The stars just aligned in a perfect way.

Its now funding on Kickstarter, are you running the campaign or leaving it up to others? Have you had much experience of crowd funding comics?

CS: I am running the campaign and I’ll be fulfilling it and paying the art team from what we raise. I’m basically hip deep in a world of responsible businesspersondom and it’s both exhausting and terrifying.

How long will the series run for and will each issue be kickstarted?

CS: It’s 5 issues. We’d ultimately like to do a couple more arcs, but this first arc is kind of a test balloon to see if people like it. It stands on its own. We’re kickstarting all 5 issues at once, I just didn’t want to exhaust people with 5 separate kickstarters and i didn’t want to deal with the stress of it, so doing it this way saves everyone a lot of grief.

And what’s next for you? More High Crimes? Other projects?

CS: After this I have a series of horror one-shots that I’m going to Kickstarter. Me and the same artist doing 5 or 6 20-24 page horror stories. Those I’ll be kickstarting separately. I also have the new season of HEARTTHROB coming out from Oni Press in the middle of June, KISS/VAMPIRELLA coming out from Diamond and a new comic with Jonathan Brandon Sawyer that we’ll be self-publishing and distributing. I’m basically busy all the time.

You can pledge your support for Short Order Crooks on Kickstarter here.