Variant Market, Collectible Ashcans & Lady Death! Interview with Brian Pulido
Earlier this week I got the pleasure of having a quick phone call interview with the infamous Brian Pulido, creator of Lady Death, Evil Ernie, and many more. Brian and Coffin Comics are at the tail end of another massively successful Kickstarter Campaign for Lady Death's new book: Treacherous Infamy #1! Being a 90's kid as he likes to say, I wanted to ask him some questions geared towards his history with comics and inspirations when he sits down to create a new story for the swarn.
Nate: What was your first comic book and where did you buy it?
Brian: I think I was buying comics before I realized I was buying comics. One of the first ones I remember was buying Captain America 176 and that was from a pharmacy off the rack in 1968.
Nate: What 90s books got you into these epic Lady Death covers, rewards, variants and everything?
Brian: I started in the 90s, so it was really fun to experiment and get into all the different styles, I think I was the first to do a flocked cover, we’ve done lenticular covers, foil variants, glow in the dark, glow in the dark behind the foil. We just got done doing a TRIPLE Lenticular cover, that thing is awesome. We also did the first all leather cover I believe. It’s really fun experimenting and figuring out everything you can do.
Nate: I Just watched your video on Facebook about the new Lady Death ashcans and you mentioned they are going to be the spine of your marketing for next year. First, when you opened those short boxes and saw the ashcans for the first time, what memories did you get opening that short box?
Brian: A couple things we jumped on in the 90's was printing those old school ashcans. Ashcans go back as far as the mid forties and what happened was publishers, in an effort to get trademarks, a copywriter would slap almost anything in between two pages. In the 90's this guy started encouraging everyone to start making these old ashcans. I loved the idea. The whole thing with these ashcans was you could show a preview of the script, tell some stories before you release them and basically show what was going to happen way in advance. And these things were printed as cheaply as possible. They were printed on copy paper and card stock covers, typically on astro bright, and I gotta tell ya, man, they are a thrill! I still have my huge collection from the 90s and when we were looking at starting the new Lady Death kickstarter, I was just feeling bringing them back.
Nate: What does your process look like for a one shot? How long does the writing usually take?
Brian: I love world building and at this time we have stories for Lady Death planned out for the next five years if you can believe it. Right now, we are adding a lot to the universe so when we introduce a new character, you need to think, where did they come from, what are they going to do and you get to write all that history to flesh out the character. I would say a 48 page comic takes about 40-50 hours right now, though which might be long but we like to take our time and get all the details in there before we print.
Nate: What are you reading, like, what are some staples on your pull list? I know you just talked to Tom about Invincible but that’s not a current book. What are some staples on your pull list?
Brian: Right now I would say Thor by Donny Cates. I really liked his run on God Country a few years ago and I could easily see this Thor story being a cousin to God Country in a way. I actually have full sets of series I need to read. I still have to finish Maximum Carnage from last summer. But I would say anything by Donny Cates right now, he’s doing a really good job world building and story telling.
Nate: After your work with New Line Cinema on horror titles like Nightmare on Elm Street, Texas Chainsaw Massacre and Friday the 13th, is there any other 80s horror movies you watched that you’d like to sink your teeth into?
Brian: I'm having a really good time right now with my stuff and you know, when you're not working on licensed content you don’t have an extra boss, but I could see myself doing a sequel to the Exorcist because that movie was legitimately scary. I'm a big zombie guy too so I could also see doing a Days of the Living Dead style story where we look at what happen on that day in 1976 and its the same time as the movie but in different parts of the country. That’d be interesting.
Nate: What advice would you give to a first time comic creator before they start crowdfunding on Kickstarter?
Brain: Man, I started prepping for my first kickstarter five years before I did mine and when I do something, I make sure I have all the people in place to make the experience the best I can for my readers. I would say, make sure you have your team in place and make sure you can do everything you say you're going to do. Shipping on time is my number one thing. I will do anything I can legally to make sure I can ship on time so finding someone I can partner with on that was huge for me.
Nate: How has your film making studies at NYU influenced your writing process?
Brian: My education is one of the things I’m most proud of. At NYU, they taught us how to take a story, break it down, and put it back to gather and it really helped me understand how to world build. We got to look at all the classics and understand the inner workings and how to build great stories. My NYU film education has been an immeasurable benefit to what we do now.
Nate: What influences has your interest in cryptozoology had on your writing?
Brian: Yea, you know finding all the monsters, finding the new wrinkles in these monsters is always fascinating. They are regional so where ever you go, there’s new ones. I think what’s really interesting is under water creatures. How they all have different things to help them survive, how they’ve adapted to live.
Nate: Did you ever go to the Long Branch, New Jersey Haunted Mansion on the pier when you were a kid?
Brian: That was a great time growing up by the pier and I lived by the pier so we went to the Haunted Mansion and Carnival Carnival and other stuff. They didn’t really regulate those things back then so when they tried to scare you, they really tried to scare you. You can’t get that today when you go to a haunted house.
Nate: Lovecraft Country, what would your elevator pitch be if you were telling a friend about it and do you have any predictions for the rest of the series?
Brian: Yea I’ve seen the first three episodes and really like it so far. I would say it is a look at some classic Lovecraftian stories and themes seen through the eyes of a black family who is trying to deal with the world in general, and at the same time, the supernatural and the Lovecraftian threats that keep popping up. I love it so far, I'm really excited to see where it goes.
Nate: What do you want us to know about the Lady Death: Treacherous Infamy #1 Kickstarter before I let you go?
Brian: I cordially invite you to back our campaign Lady Death: Treacherous Infamy #1, a beautiful 48 page square bound comic. And for only $26 it comes with 20+ unlocked free items including three more comic books, stickers, pogs and more. We are doing free shipping and we are adding more stuff every day. We just added just over 100 of the retro ashcans we were talking about to go randomly in our physical backers packages. That's a pro tip for all of our digital backers: back any physical reward and you'll be in the mix to get one of those extremely limited Lady Death ashcans. I'm inviting you now, you reading this, to go and back our Lady Death: Treacherous Infamy #1 Kickstarter before it ends. Head over to Kickstarter and type in Lady Death Treacherous and we will come up. You will find a plethora of fun items to choose from. Join our community, we are making comings and other awesome stuff and having a great time doing it.