Jed W. Harris-Keith interviewed me about my new, free WebToons series, THE RED HOOK, for FreakSugar.
Here are some excerpts:
FS: As you just said, Brooklyn, specifically New Brooklyn, seems to be a character unto itself in the first chapters of The Red Hook. What made Brooklyn the perfect setting for the comic?
DH: I moved to Brooklyn from Manhattan almost 19-years ago. I live in Carroll Gardens and have been drawing comix in Gowanus for many years, but I fell in love with Red Hook along the way. In that time, I’ve written and drawn a lot of stories about my experiences in Brooklyn. So, when I decided to create a new superhero, I only had to look as far as my backyard. Brooklyn is rich like Paris with diverse food, artists and culture and became the exodus for so many native Manhattanites as myself. Over the years, it’s become too expensive and a challenge to maintain a good quality of life as I watch my fellow artists and freelancers make a new exodus upstate and to the Catskills or to New Orleans, Portland, Los Angeles and beyond.
As a creator, I think it’s important to put out there what you want back and my knee-jerk reaction towards the current difficulties of sustaining an affordable lifestyle in Brooklyn is my fantasy of transposing Brooklyn into a place that can support experimental art and champion diverse culture and, heck, inspire new heroes, rather than lose another bodega and another art loft space to more innocuous banks and pharmaceutical stores.
FS: The Red Hook’s character seems to have elements of Robin Hood and V from V for Vendetta, with an emphasis on rebellion for the greater good. How would you describe him and what is his ultimate end game?
DH: That’s the thing: The Red Hook is not an inherently a good guy. He’s not evil, either. He’s a criminal who, initially, is only concerned with his own well-being. I relate how hard it is to get by in a suffering economy and the difficulties of making ends meet. I’m a freelance cartoonist who lives in the most expensive city in America! I can understand how a person can bend sideways and not trust the world. Not feel safe. Depending on the day, I can be a half-glass empty kinda guy and this is where our protagonist starts until he’s cursed into a position of altruism by fate. He didn’t choose to be heroic and must come to terms with his new moral code or die.
You can read the entire interview/article here: http://www.freaksugar.com/dean-haspiel-goes-to-brooklyn-for-his-line-webtoon-series-the-red-hook/