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Dean Haspiel's Red Hook writes a striking love letter to Brooklyn and Silver-Age bombast

Image Comics eporter Rich Barrett did a promotional interview with me about The Red Hook for their Image+ magazine and website:

Excerpts:

"The titular Red Hook is a super-thief who finds himself transformed, against his will, into a decent human being. In a passing of the torch before his death, the world’s greatest hero, The Green Point (anyone familiar with Brooklyn geography will find the names behind Haspiel’s ensemble endearingly familiar), thrusts his Omni-Fist of Altruism into Red Hook’s chest, where it stays permanently clenched around his heart. Acting altruistically doesn’t come naturally to the Red Hook, nor his girlfriend, the Possum, but his new chest implant drags him across the morality divide—a blurry line in Haspiel’s noir-tinged fiction.

Superhero comics have consistently held a mirror to the times and the society that created them. The Red Hook offers contemporary commentary dressed as a throwback to a simpler era that the saddened, sentient Brooklyn may be longing to return to. Haspiel merges broad, larger-than-life super-heroics with tongue-in-cheek humor and loopy pseudo-science, mixed with political messages the author says will touch on “community, gentrification, and how hard it is to make a living as an artist.”

This Brooklyn shares far more in common with the real one than representations in other comics. At one point, the fallout from a super-heroic battle is compared to the effects of Hurricane Sandy, and the comic even opens with a real-world event that inspired Haspiel to approach this project: a prank in which the American flags atop the Brooklyn Bridge were replaced with white surrender flags. The borough has remained a muse for Haspiel for decades. “I was born and bred in the Upper West Side but found my heart in Brooklyn,” he says of moving to the Carroll Gardens neighborhood almost 21 years ago."

“There is no single panel that is more important than another panel in any given comic book or graphic novel,” he explains. “All the panels and pages are there to serve the story. So, with that in mind, I've taken a more reductive approach, drawing what is essential in order to maximize emotion and move my character-driven plot in dramatic and humorous, yet sometimes absurd, ways. My costume and character designs are honed into a graphic zenith of what makes them tick so you know who they are, close and afar.”

The Red Hook is the beginning of something big for Haspiel and New Brooklyn. “Because we're creating a new superhero universe,” he says, “some people think we're nuts competing with Marvel and DC Comics—but we're not. Our NuBKU comix can't help but be influenced by Silver Age comics, but we're still firmly rooted in alternative, outlier sensibilities. I would like to spark a NuBKU anthology, akin to ye olde Marvel’s Tales To Astonish where you get two, maybe three, serialized stories featuring our premier characters. Fingers crossed we get to launch a line of books not unlike Marvel Comics, 1961!”

Read the entire article here: https://imagecomics.com/features/dean-haspiels-red-hook-writes-a-striking-love-letter-to-brooklyn-and-silver
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