In just a few short weeks at the San Diego Comic Con, we’ll be releasing the latest volume of Rick Geary’s Treasury of XXth Century Murder, THE LIVES OF SACCO & VANZETTI. Over the next three Wednesdays come back and read our interview with Rick as he discusses both his creative process and upcoming book.
Have you always been interested in True Crime stories?
I date my interest in True Crime to the early 70s in Wichita, Kansas, when a friend of mine, a former cop, showed my his large collection of mug shots. Looking into the literal face of crime was an inspirational thunderbolt! He also gave me a copy of the complete police file on an unsolved murder in Wichita, which I studied and later used as source material for my first published comic story.
Your first several volumes were all set in the Victorian era and then moved into the 20th century. What elements are the most essential, in your opinion, for a true crime story to be told in a graphic narrative?
I’m most drawn to unsolved cases and most of my books deal with those for which there’s still a major level of controversy. The lack of resolution provides a sense of mystery and drives the narrative forward. For those stories in which we already know the culprit (like the H H Holmes and John Wilkes Booth), the goal is more of a character study: how and why was the crime committed? I also like those cases that contain a great amount of visual interest. For this reason I choose to concentrate upon the crime itself and the investigation. The trial isn’t nearly as interesting, since it’s all talk and most of the relevant information is already known by that time.
You’ve done several adaptations of classic literature. Do you find doing your True Crime books more challenging because you need to discover and craft the narrative?
That’s correct. In adapting classic literature, I feel I have the responsibility to be true to the author’s original vision. With a True Crime case, I deal with several differing points of view, and must sometimes organize a mass of disparate facts and theories into a unified narrative. For this reason, it’s much more challenging.
What is the general process of idea to graphic novel?
I always have a short list of crimes I’d next like to deal with, and once I decide upon which one, I read all I can about it, and try to find as much picture reference as is available.
I next attempt to shape the mass of material into a narrative that will be clear and accurate. I always try to arrange events in chronological order, the better to observe cause and effect, though it’s often necessary to insert a flashback or tangent to provide context. My next step is to arrange in, a provisional way, a page-by-page outline, which is always subject to change once I start writing the full script
Once the script is completed, I start on the pencils, after which comes the final inking. During every stage, the story can undergo revisions and corrections, depending upon newly received information.
Come back next Wednesday and read part 2 of our interview with Rick!
We also have a special very, very limited edition being made available ONLY THROUGH US online or by mail of this volume with a special bind, a tip in sheet of art specially done by Rick for this and numbered and signed by him.
HURRY! Only 25 copies are being made available. This will not be in stores!