Following on from my recent review of Kill Them All I was lucky enough to fire some questions at creator Kyle Starks like a series of roundhouse kicks to the face…..here’s what he had to say.
What can we expect from Kill Them All?
I think you can expect a lot of fun. Comics should be fun, right? I like my fun to be full of awesome fights, of good jokes and likable characters. I mean, it’s a spiritual successor to Sexcastle but with more of an ensemble cast. Lots of crazy baddies. It’s a good time. I think everyone can expect a good time. With lots of curse words.
Is Kill Them All a story you’ve been working on for a while?
You know, no? I actually had plans for a couple other books to follow-up Sexcastle but while I was working on them this idea just came in and butted everything else out of the way.
80’s movies were the inspiration for Sexcastle but what was the main inspiration for Kill Them All?
80s movies were the inspiration for Sexcastle, for sure. I would tell a story about Sexcastle where I was watching Roadhouse for the 300th time or whatever, and it reached the credits and a little voice inside my head said “why aren’t there more thing like Roadhouse?” because there really aren’t – so I decided I would make something in that vein and then it got out of hand and turned into my dream 80s action movie. Kill Them All, in the same manner, was inspired by me finally seeing John Woo’s Killer for the first time in a decade and I just knew. I knew if I dipped directly into the action well again I wanted a buddy cop thing and Woo’s twist on that is great. Honestly, I followed up Killer with Hard Boiled which has this, like, 20 minutes non-stop fight sequence and I wanted to do that – just a 200 page book of non-stop fighting but it ended up being not quite that, although, let’s not kid ourselves it’s FULL of fighting.
Do you enjoy being able to work on both writing & art duties or is it added pressure to deliver on both?
I do. I really enjoy it. I joke that when I do these books the writer always writes to the artists strength and the artist knows what the writer wants. I think it’s the clear line of clarity I appreciate most about it. Not that I don’t love *just* writing – seeing other people do different and often better takes of my ideas is really rewarding and beautiful – but, like, I like the all around feel of me doing double duty.
How does it compare between working on your own creations and working on the likes of Rick and Morty?
Ha, yeah, like I just said, I guess – it’s different. CJ Cannon and Marc Ellerby on Rick and Morty are both really talented artist. You know, I’ll like write my script, here’s my gags, here’s what happens and when I start getting finished art and CJ has put hilarious gags in the background I didn’t write, there’s facial expressions that just nail it. For issue 17 I have a bit where Rick and Morty see a wanted poster for Rick and I had drawn it a certain way that was efficient but not great and Ellerby made it just perfect. The collaboration stuff on Rick and Morty is super easy. Ari Yarwood, the editor, does an amazing job of making that entire thing seamless – the most difficult part for Rick and Morty is handedly the writing – since it’s not my voice. I think Rick and Morty is similar in tone to the type of thing I naturally write, but the voices are different. The jokes are different. And you know, Dan Harmon and Justin Roiland are actual geniuses and I just have to try to recreate that every month. No big deal.
There’s some great action in your stories but also a great deal of heart too – is that a balance you like to try to keep in your creations?
For sure. I love kicking and jokes and all but I think it also needs to exist within a dramatic frame. I think there needs to be a reason for it, I guess? But yeah, I don’t just want to do fight stories, I want to tell Good Stories that, incidentally, have a bunch of fighting in them.
Your previous book Sexcastle seems to have developed as much of a cult status as the movies it was an homage to – was that the aim or an added bonus?
I mean, you just try to tell the best stories you can and hope anyone likes them besides yourself. I’ve been very fortunate with Sexcastle, I’ve been very fortunate with the quality of people who have supported me in my creative endeavors – I have really, truly, special fans. So added bonus. You never know if anyone will care.
Did your success with Sexcastle on Kickstarter make this the best option for getting Kill Them All into print?
I did my first ever book on Kickstarter, Legend of Ricky Thunder, something like four years ago and it was a great success and very encouraging. Sexcastle was the same way. The feeling you get on Kickstarter is so visceral – here are the people supporting you, here are you live sale numbers, here are the people who want you do a drawing with the book, here are the people who want you to succeed. In my life I don’t have a feeling like that. It’s unbelievable. And it’s a lot of work, obviously and the day it ends it’s a lot more work but it’s all worth it. I’m a huge proponent of Kickstarter for the interaction you get between creator and backers.
Have you heard anything more about Sexcastle‘s progress towards hitting the big screen and will you be involved?
The last I heard was the were writing the adaptation that was announced in May so it’s been awhile – which you never know if that’s good or bad.
What else are you working on just now??
I’m currently the full-time writer on Rick and Morty from ONI Press, I also do the layouts and am additionally drawing every fifth issue. I’m really excited to be on that book since I genuinely love the property. I’m also working on a book with Image that will be out, at this point, I suspect next year which is going to be great. And I have a couple other things in the pipeline. I’m hoping 2017 is going to be a good year for me.