What: Christa Faust is a crime writer, pervert and pulp enthusiast whose novels include MONEY SHOT, CHOKE HOLD and HOODTOWN. PEEPLAND is her first comic series.
Born under a bad sign, Gary Phillips must keep writing to forestall his appointment at the crossroads. He was editor of the bestselling anthology ORANGE COUNTY NOIR, and co-editor of the groundbreaking BLACK PULP. Dropping the end of October from DC Comics will be his street level superhero miniseries VIGILANTE: SOUTHLAND, and his collection of short stories, TREACHEROUS: GRIFTERS, RUFFIANS AND KILLERS, is also out now from Down & Out Books.
Where: Los Angeles
Interview conducted by email. Some questions and answers have been edited.
Let’s start with the obvious question: How did two established West Coast-based crime authors get involved with this neo-noir comic series?
CF: Though I’ve lived in LA for more than 20 years now and love my adopted city, I still consider myself an East Coast ex-pat. I’ll always be a New Yorker at heart. Anyway, I’ve been writing for Hard Case Crime boss Charles Ardai since 2008 and have published two novels with his crime fiction imprint. He’s one of the best editors I’ve ever worked with and so when he told me he was starting a comic line, I jumped at the chance. I had this idea kicking around in my head for several years, something set in the peep booths where I worked in the late 80s. I knew that story really needed to be told through a visual medium and had considered pitching it as a TV series, but in the end somebody way more talented than me beat me to the punch with a similar concept. When this opportunity came up with Hard Case Comics, it seemed like some kind of crazy hardboiled destiny.
But I’d never written a comic script before and felt like I needed an experienced tag team partner. I knew Gary had written comics and was old enough to remember those bad old days as well as I did. Plus he’s dealt with some similar themes in his own work and seemed like a perfect match for this project. He’s the wily veteran to my mouthy rookie and together I think we came up with something more than the sum of our parts.
GP: I’ve talked about this elsewhere, but for me, I’d once visited New York back then as a teenager. Like a lot of folks my impression of the city was from films like “The Pope of Greenwich Village,” “Ms. 45,” “China Girl,” and “Alphabet City.” Films I’d see at the Tower Theater in downtown L.A., three in a row—be in there from early to late afternoon. Steeped in that kind of filmic lore, I had to jump at the opportunity to work with Christa to tell this crime tale of late ‘80s Times Square and its characters.