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Bleeding Cool: Brooklyn Reborn – Dean Haspiel Talks Red Hook And New Brooklyn

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Bleeding Cool reporter, Nikolai Fomich interviewed me at New York Comicon 2015 about THE RED HOOK, my new webcomics series.

Here are some excerpts:

"The Red Hook is a character that I created as a way to cleanse the palette when I went to Yaddo, the artists and writers’ retreat in Saratoga Springs, New York, in 2012. The reason why I say that is because I treat my time at Yaddo as a time of extraordinary privilege, and I use it as a way to not do comics but write novels and screenplays instead. I try to shrug off my comics inklings and attitude by the first night, and that first night, I created this character, which was basically, “What if Jack Kirby and Alex Toth got together and birthed a new superhero?” So I created this character, and then put it to the side.

Soon after, Seth, who was a basically a photographer, and who in his comics work was doing autobiography via Schmuck, decided he wanted to create his own superhero. He created something called the Brooklynite. As the years went by, we tried to figure out a way to do a two man anthology – we were going to call it Brooklyn Comics, and I was going to do Red Hook, and he was going to do Brooklynite. But to be honest, I felt like that was kind of boring. The stories were fun, but the concept was too on the nose.

It took me awhile to figure it out. And I started thinking about Brooklyn as a city. One of the influences, of all things, was actually Escape from New York. I liked the idea of New York being quarantined, but rather than making Brooklyn a prison, we went with a different direction. Something happened last year on the Brooklyn Bridge, where the American flags were replaced with white flags. And it gave me an idea that Brooklyn gave up – but rather than giving up in a bad way, it was actually a way of saying “fuck you” to new technology, and to the way people are acting and behaving today in 2015. It wanted to go back to the days of old. I made Brooklyn a sentimental place, because I decided its heart got broken. It literally pulls itself away from the other boroughs and becomes its own island, its own country. I talked to Seth a lot about this. Could Brooklyn survive on its own? We figured out it probably could. It could probably farm food, and offer certain things for trade, and one of the things I thought of – and this might be the leanings of Eisner in me, because I’m so sentimental – is that it could probably trade its arts. It could barter art. And so that was the genesis of New Brooklyn."

NF: How does this drastic change in Red Hook’s character relate to Brooklyn’s own transformation into an independent state?

DH: That’s an interesting question. You know I’m getting tired of bleak comics – the apocalypse, it happens every Wednesday. It’s getting boring, which is why when I make stories, I want to readers to be left with a sense of hope. Maybe it’s a way for New Brooklyn to rehabilitate its bad guys in a subconscious way, to take their abilities and use them for good, like how great hackers get hired by governments. In the case of Red Hook, at first it feels like a gun is pointed to his head – he better be good!

Read the entire interview here:

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