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Shooting his way into the wild frontier of the comic-book
industry is THE TOURETTE COWBOY, written and drawn by former Fango intern sHANE
tEa fRENCH. A tale that blends gunpowder and gore with soiled doves and saddle
leather, this is not you’re grandpa’s Wild West. We recently caught up with
French via Pony Express to get the scoop on his blood ’n’ bullets bonanza,
published by Dalton Gang Press and available at Amazon.com.
FANGORIA: What was the genesis of THE TOURETTE COWBOY?
SHANE TEA FRENCH: Basically, a few years ago I was hanging
with my art-school friend Paul Bryant, who now owns J&P Comics [603 Centre
Street, Jamaica Plain, MA], and we were talking about Oliver Sacks and some of
his books on OCD and Tourette’s syndrome. Paul said, “What if your tic made you
the fastest draw in the West?” The idea kinda blew me away, that your tic could
make you the best at something, whether it’s obsessively lining your peas up on
your dinner plate or whatever.
So the next day, I started writing a script for what I
wanted to turn into a movie. It was a few more years later that I actually
began working on it while I was an art PA on Sylvester Stallone’s boxing TV
show, THE CONTENDER. All I had to do [on the show] was answer phones and make
photocopies, so I drew it as well and as fast as I could. I didn’t take too
much time on it, and just gave the story a lot of plot holes that I could fill
in as I went on in later issues. This graphic novel is almost just the setup
for what could become a much cooler story at a later date, and one that would
get more and more gory as it goes along.
Anyhoo, I met the publishers, Nathan Wrann and Kimberley
Dalton of Dalton Gang Productions/Press, at a FANGORIA convention a few years
ago when they were selling their film HUNTING SEASON in the dealer’s room; it really
surprised me with its raw intensity. So I told them that I also lived in
Conneticut, and that when they made another horror film they should get ahold
of me, which they did when production on their horror film BURNING INSIDE
began, featuring special effects by [STAKE LAND’s] Brian Spears. Plus, it was
distributed by James Felix McKenney’s Channel Midnight Releasing! So we do
have some splatterpunk cred among us, even though this is a Western comic at
heart! But it’s a bloody heart.
FANG: It’s interesting how you blend the Western and horror
genres with black comedy.
FRENCH: By issue #2, there’s a graphic shootout in a saloon
where you can tell I love the horror genre and have a sick sense of humor. The
story thus far is [one where] humor and tragedy walk hand in hand. TOM AND
JERRY taught us that at a very young age…or was it Shakespeare?
FANG: Are there any artists or comic books you were inspired
FRENCH: I am a total Marvel fan! I like my characters flawed
and full of conflict and angst. Some of my favorite comic-book artists are
probably Chris Bachalo, Arthur Adams, Steve McNiven and too many more to
mention or bore readers with. I grew up drawing The Punisher and X-Men in
junior high, making photocopied comics and selling them to whoever wanted one,
but I don’t think you can see any real influence on my drawings other than
being “comic book-y.” I was truly just blasting through, not spending a lot of
time on it, but people say that roughness is what they like. If I knew someone
would want to publish it one day, I’d have been much more patient, spent a
whole day on one page or panel, as opposed to doing about four pages a day or
more. The next comic we have planned will look a million times better, and be
strictly horror…and there will be titties.
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