Writer Frank Martin stops by to chat about his ongoing Kickstarter The Last Homicide, the first of a two part crime-noir detective story featuring the art of Pietro Vaughan, Colors by Eugen Betivu, and Letters by Toben Racicot.
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Frank Martin – The Last Homicide Interview
[00:00:00] Casey: Welcome again, to another episode of spoiler country today on the show, I have writer Frank Martin. Frank Martin is putting out a new book called the last homocide as part one of two in this on Kickstarter. Today, today you can go onto kickstarter.com and find the last home. On the side by Frank Martin.
And if you like gritty noir, if you like comics that do not involve capes so far in so far as I know because it sure as hell didn’t show me in the first, in the first issue. Oh my God, this thing is amazing. Frank, how you doing, man? I’m
Frank Martin: doing good. But spoiler alert at the end of the second part, a superhero is going to come down and sit.
I did it all along. Huh? I should just do that. Take everybody
Casey: have, so, okay. This, this book, I’ve read your stuff before. I’ve really [00:01:00] enjoyed it. This book is kind of a departure from some of the other stuff that I’ve read of yours. And I
Frank Martin: think you can use that phrase for pretty much everything I put up
Casey: there, but that’s fucking great, man.
I love that. You don’t want things to get stale. And also, like, it just goes to show like the the, the breadth, the breadth of work that you can do and how versatile your writing can be. So, yeah, I really enjoyed
Frank Martin: it. Thank you. Thank you. I I mean, I like, I, people like right or they create what they like and I mean, I really like everything, so it’s not like I want to, it’s not like I’m just all big horror fan.
And I only go to horror shows. So I’m going, I’m going to write a whole bunch of horror stuff. It’s like, I, I kinda, I like everything. I like new Orleans detectives. Hard-boiled kind of pulp stories like this. I like superheroes. I like Saifai. I like horror. I like fantasy. [00:02:00] And if my wife asked me to sit down with a romcom with her, I’ll watch that damn thing too.
So, I mean, I just, I like everything. So I’m not going to write something that I don’t like. And since I kind of have a wide range of tastes, that’s kind of where my work gravitates towards.
Casey: Awesome. Awesome. So, was there any inspiration that you had in this book in particular, because. Like no, our fiction is, you know, they’re generally you’re, you’re standing on the shoulders of giants with these books.
Frank Martin: Yeah, I’m I got really sucked into the Maltese Falcon when I had to read in middle school. That’s a book that, I mean, I haven’t read it in years if not decades, but it’s always stuck with me. You know, those classic tropes. It was a super easy to get into super easy read and, and it’s. All those kinds of stories from the golden age of Hollywood is it’s the tropes and the stereotypes.
And the themes have bled into our culture, you know, to the point where people recognize them, even if they’ve never seen [00:03:00] a story or a movie or read a story that. Like that, you know, so, yeah, tons of inspiration on that front. So we have the detective side of things, and this is also, it’s also a crime story, you know, it’s not just kind of a detective murder mystery, so it’s big in, into the mafia and to the mob and we have Tons of, of great shows and stories like that, that have bled into our collective consciousness, like the Sopranos and the departed.
So I kind of, I kind of jammed those two things together and tried to, to create a, an original tale, my own. It’s
Casey: nice. I I’ve really enjoyed it. And in addition to, to the great writing that you know, is is throughout your art team. Really is hitting on all cylinders, man. I I gasped with how, how beautiful this book looked and, and, you know, Pietro Vaughn is, is really amazing.
And you have some really great colors in there by Eugene bed of view. Yes. And [00:04:00] letters by Tobin race. What does that
Frank Martin: raise the
Casey: cock? Awesome. Okay. Race a cot, but yeah, it, everybody is working together just, just perfectly in sync. And I actually had to review a book not long ago and the letters were not good in the book and that.
Can hurt the entire thing. So having a capable letter is is everything. And so everybody in this book is, is pulling their weight and just making a really beautiful book. God,
Frank Martin: God bless told me, man. Cause I’ve I started lettering my own books. So I’m very picky about how I want things to look and I was going back and forth with him and he was, he was a trooper.
He was, he didn’t even complain at all. And also when it comes to stories like this, you know, there’s not a lot of action to, to drive the scene forward. It’s very, hard-boiled, it’s very dialogue heavy. So sometimes when you’re writing the script, you don’t. [00:05:00] Really realize just how much damn words is going to take up the page when you go to the letters.
So, I trimmed a lot of the dialogue after the fact and he, and he just was, was right in step with me kind of making sure that the dialogue balloons didn’t didn’t overpower the art and Oh yeah. And that the dialogue flowed to the point where that it’s, it’s still just a, a readable scene. It’s not just a mess of words.
Casey: And there’s, there’s so much characterization in this book and, you know, th this 27 page book, there’s, there’s so much just solid characters. And again yeah, it seemed like Tobin was, was very Very aware of not wanting to stamp on the art because it PHR just really knocked it out of the park on this.
So, yeah, you, you got a good team here, man. Thanks. Yeah, the character.
Frank Martin: I mean, my last book was the polar paradox and that was kind of a scifi adventure story. And [00:06:00] people are people like the characters in that story too, but it’s, I could, I could, the characters took a back seat a lot to the, to the action and to the setting stuff that you really don’t.
You don’t have a whole lot here. This story is really driven by the drama. So drama is really only as good as its characters and their relationships. So you really got to really have formulated characters, a strong, strong, foundational characters so that when they are in a scene together and they’re spitting their dialogue back and forth, they clash and make, and really amp up the tension of the scene without throwing punches or having any, any sort of visual cues that really engage the reader.
Casey: Yeah. Yeah. So, so you guys, you have the Kickstarter going on right now. Can, can you tell me a little bit about that?
Frank Martin: Yeah, so the Kickstarter is gonna, I mean, when we’re, as we’re talking about this, it’s live now and it just launched today and I’ve been running my campaigns for, for three weeks. So it’s going to be on there for, for 21 days.
I think we’re ending [00:07:00] on the 27th. So sorta like that of April and with my campaigns, I like to offer, of course, you’ve got to have a digital reward, people that don’t want to get a physical book so that it can read the story. I’ve also been offering like a digital deluxe reward tier, which has usually been on the script and maybe some concept art for this.
The digital deluxe is going to include two short crime stories that I’ve kind of, I’ve had sitting on my computer that I think people will get a kick out of. So it’s basically the. The regular book and then some, some extra, extra short stories in there. Try unrelated. Then we have a standard cover, which we were talking about before we started recording that our NCR team did a phenomenal job with this, with this coverage.
It really sets the atmosphere. It was perfect. It was perfect. I don’t, I couldn’t imagine a better cover that kind of really gets you in the mood for this book. And then my buddy, Lou Cooper did a variance and we also have a black and white and Waller version of that standard cover that. [00:08:00] That’s version that has no have no dress on it.
Casey: That’s awesome. So, so it is, it is a genuine new, our cover. The pricing on this is really, really good. Like generally, if it’s. If I see a digital edition for more than like 10 bucks, unless it’s like huge, I’m like, oops, sorry. I’m out. You guys are at the gate at, at five bucks, which is, you know, a S a deal, especially given the story that you guys have and how, how beautiful it looks.
But even, even your actual physical addition is you know, Just 10 bucks, which is you can’t beat that with a stick. It’s
Frank Martin: Indie publishing is tough, man. It’s, it’s really hard that that Marvel and DC kind of set the, the market prices for their books when they print tens of thousands of hundreds, of thousands of copies and they, they get.
They it’s dirt cheap for them to print our, their books. [00:09:00] And we don’t print nearly as many copies as them. So our price per unit is a lot higher yet. Readers still expect it to be on par with the same, the same pricing model that they have. So, the way I figure it is, is kind of five bucks for the book, five bucks for shipping and all the accoutrements that come along with that Kickstarter has its own little zone, low market going where it’s, it’s taken some trial and error.
But I feel that 10 bucks for the physical book, all in with shipping is, is something that the market can bear and readers and backers are happy to pay it too, because they understand that this is, this is an indie book. So it’s, it’s going to be, it’s a little bit more worth their, their, their dollar. And then, but still, there’s always a breaking point, you know?
Oh, yeah, 14, 15 bucks for a 20 page book. I think I got 24 pages, 23 pages of story in here. So, if you got a regular size floppy and you want 15 bucks with shipping a lot of people are going to balk at that and
Casey: you, you got some It’s it’s well worth the price. In addition to that, though, you also [00:10:00] have some like become a character for 425 bucks produce a short comic for seven 50.
But even then going down to like private private drabble session, can you lessen rather, can you tell me a little bit about that? So I’m always, that’s,
Frank Martin: that’s a tough price point. You know, I try to my, my top tiers are always, usually like commissions or create something. And then I got the lower tiers with the books.
That’s $75 one, you know, man, I, I, I’m always trying to try new things. To, to insert into that slot. So one of the things I love writing in prose or drabbles, which are hundred word stories, they’re exactly a hundred words, not 99, not 101. And I’ve written so many of them and there were a lot of fun that I felt like it’s a, a particular skill of mine.
That’s really strong that if people want to. Learn how to add it, how to do it, how to write it because it’s, it’s not like writing a regular story. It’s more like crafting a puzzle, you know? So I figured people are interested in it. I can, I can sit down with them with a zoom call 45 minutes and give [00:11:00] them all, all the tips and all the tricks to kind of craft their own.
Casey: awesome. That’s awesome. So do you guys have plans for any like, stretch goals or anything like that or y’all y’all just going to stick to The the standard things that you get, like just the regular book.
Frank Martin: I always keep stretch goals back of my mind. You know, I, I kinda know what I’m going to do.
They’re always typically the same from campaign to campaign, but for as far as really planning them all out and creating graphics and announcing them, I never do any of that until I’m well past my goal, you know, I’m just, I’m not one of these count your chickens before they hatch. I’m just super pessimist.
I’m always assuming that I’m going to get 99% of the goal. And then I’m just going to have half of the backers dropout simultaneously. Like it’s a big scheme. Oh yeah.
Casey: That’s a little thing called imposter syndrome. I think we all, we all suffer from that just to let you know
Frank Martin: personally, it’s it. I don’t know, it’s a pet peeve of mine.
I find it a little [00:12:00] tacky when people launch and they already have stretch goals on there and they’re not even close to their goal yet. So, I mean, I don’t know. It just, it rubs me along the wrong way. So I try not to let it enter my mind until, until I’m firmly in that territory.
Casey: Well, I’ll, I’ll I’m saying right now is you’re nearly halfway there with 21 days to go.
So you’re more, you might want to be saying some stretch goals.
So, yeah, man, this book is amazing. I can’t wait for people to get their pause on it because it really is just a bad-ass book. And it’s going to be a two-parter. So, so two books out of this and you’re done. Do you have any plans to, to move on with these characters later on? No,
Frank Martin: no. I had a lot of questions with, with the polar paradox cause I’m like in a two part kind of mode.
My previous campaign was two parts. My next one is going to be two parts. But with the polar paradox, people always have, is there going to be a follow-up after the two parts and that will, [00:13:00] the ending was left open. So there’s definitely a possibility. Not with this one with the last homicide, it’s going to be two parts in and out and the way it ends in the second part, or I don’t, I don’t think we’re going to be able to, to carry it on.
Casey: Nice. Nice. So, when do you guys expect to have the book shipped and then after that, when, when should we expect to see the second part to the To the story go up on
Frank Martin: Kickstarter. So I’m crazy with campaigns right now on a bus in the mouse. So I try to do stuff as quickly as possible. I’ve already got a proof of the book, so I’ve seen it.
I felt as a whole. Yeah. So, the, the, the book is with the files with the printer, as soon as the campaign is over. And I know exactly how many copies I need, I placed my order of the next day. So, and then it takes about a week, week and a half to get them. I start shipping fulfillment is going to be another week, week and a half.
And then however, it’s in the hands of the United States postal service to get to everybody. So, so yeah, I wouldn’t be [00:14:00] surprised if. After the campaign ends, people are going to start having their books three, four or five weeks right after. And as far as part two goes, we haven’t, we haven’t started art on part two.
I’ve written the script. It’s all done. As you were mentioning the becoming the character tier, that was for a single character in part two, there’s only one of them. Available. And it’s a, it’s a kind of a main character. He’s a, he’s a, it’s a speaking role. He takes up a good portion of the book, a character that’s not in part one.
So, as soon as we know, if anybody’s going to grab that, then we’ll know that we can include their, their likeness in the book and bust out the art. When should that be? I’m not sure. Six, eight months kind of a little bit down the line. It’s not going to be as quick as some of my others, but It’s still
Casey: that that’s
Frank Martin: not bad.
It’s not terrible in, in my, in my mind. I like to have things done as quickly as possible. So, so when I have to tell people six to eight months, it’s a little, I don’t know, discouraging buddy. I know some [00:15:00] campaigns, they run an issue a year, so it’s kind of like you have to wait a whole year to get the, the next issue in a series.
So, I try to do things as quickly as I can. That’s awesome. Yeah,
Casey: we, we offered become a character in the Kickstarter for, for my book, gooder child. And the person that, that did it said I don’t want to be a character. I want my cats to be. Which makes initially presented like a huge issue. I was like, Oh shit.
And then it clicked. And I was like, I am so happy about this. This is going to be so awesome. And every time I think about it, I’ll laugh a little bit because it’s going to be so over the top and off the wall. I cannot wait to put that book out. Yeah.
Frank Martin: Every, every pro problem is actually an opportunity. So,
I’m sure I’ve seen that a lot. You’ve learned a lot. Cause you have to do a lot of stuff on the fly when you self-publish.
Frank Martin: Yeah, I I’m a good, a good kind of mantra is the problem is the [00:16:00] solution, you know, you, that’s how you have to look at things.
Casey: I hear ya. So is, is there any other things that we need to look out for from from Mr.
Frank Martin? In addition to this book. So yeah, the reason I want
Frank Martin: to get my shorten my fulfillment is because I want to move on to the next campaign. So, after this one, I’m going to move on to the polar paradox part two, which was the scifi adventure story. After that, and launching a kind of a fun horror adventure book called pipe creepers.
The way I kind of pitched that is super Mario brothers versus Fulu. So that’s be awesome. That should be fun. I got into I kind of a post-apocalyptic war story called the truce and then I think my next campaign after that will be glass homicide too. So, yeah, there’s going to be much. So at three, three, and in
That’s that’s crazy. So, man, that’s that’s awesome. So, you guys keep an eye out for [00:17:00] Frank Martin. The last homicide is on Kickstarter now. You can go there and get this book and, you know, super easy buy in. It’s not going to hurt your pocket book. And yeah, get this book. You will not regret it.
So Frank, do you have anything else to say before we head on that? No.
Frank Martin: No. The book is it’s, it’s not for everyone, you know, if you’re not, if you’re,
Casey: if you’re. If you’re a huge into star Wars and you love nothing else. I
Frank Martin: don’t think you’re going to like it. If you, if you like crime stories at all, if you like detective stories, mysteries like that definitely give it a shot and hopefully hopefully you dig it.
Casey: If he liked good books,
Frank Martin: good things, all the good things that you will like
Casey: if you like, shit don’t even bother you, like good stuff. A man. Frank Martin. He’s got it. Frank. It was good talking to you, buddy.
Frank Martin: Thanks Casey.
Casey: Katie’s brother.