Nottingham Writer David Hazen

David stopped visited Spoiler Country and chatted it up with our Jeff Haas. Today topics, Mad Cave Studios, his wildly popular Nottingham, and his career in general. Sit back and relax and listen in on a great conversation.

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David Hazan – Interview

[00:00:00] Jeff: Hello listeners. A spoiler country today on the show we have David hands-on. How’s it go?

David Hazan: I’m good. Thank you.

Jeff: How are you? I’m doing very well. How are things in the Downunder?

David Hazan: Look usually bright and sunny would just the end of summer now. So we’re starting to get the rains coming in, but you know, COVID free for the most part and safe.

So very thankful for that.

Jeff: I’m glad to hear that. So have you lived in Australia your entire life?

David Hazan: Yep. Born here. So I always

Jeff: wonder about writers from other countries and whether or not they’re. They have different insights and perceptions than writers in other countries. So how do you think living in cities, in Australia, Sydney, Australia has alters either how you, your perception, your, how your insight into writing or your comments?

W

David Hazan: look, I don’t know how, how deep I could, I could go into this. It’s one of those things where like, even though [00:01:00] I might have a different perspective, it’s like, it’s so siloed that it’s hard to identify what exactly is different. But what I will say is I think that riders from other countries, especially, I don’t think there’s, there’s such a unique perspective in terms of like, Indie comics and writing about things that aren’t super heroes, but I’ll say that there’s definitely a uniqueness to coming from somewhere other than the States and bringing a different perspective to, to like the idea of, of superheroes, which are generally very America centric.

And you can see that in like some of the, the, like the British invasion kind of riders that happened sort of, eighties and nineties, that your Morrison’s and Moore’s, and like, you can see that, that the shift in perspective definitely brings you something fresh and different,

Jeff: especially, like I said, if you write for Marvel, your characters are all city.

One city [00:02:00] centric is New York, basically. Yeah. So I w what comic books were the con books to read in Australia when you were growing up?

David Hazan: Well, I wasn’t a big. Comics. We, in fact, I wasn’t really a comics reader at all growing up. I think my parents had a particular idea that comics were for kids and and somehow, you know, lesser than pros.

And so I was a big pros reader. I read a lot of scifi fantasy. But my, my first, most memorable foray into superheroes was I was obsessed with Smallville. The TV show. Yes, I know it well, All 10 seasons which was, which was a slug towards the end. And I’ve always been like into superhero media.

The other show that really was like a marker for me was, was a heroes. Fantastic. First season that’s that first season was genuinely like a great example of like [00:03:00] how to plot out a season of network television, like 20 episodes, just brilliant. And then the writer’s strike happened and it all fell apart.

Jeff: Yeah. I remember Herro season one. And I remember the first season, honestly, it was one of the best seasons on television that first season it was. Great world building great character building. I can’t remember the name of the, the villain by Zachary Quinto. It’s so good. A great what a great Ville. And then season two happened.

You’re like, what the hell? And then three, just ruined it.

David Hazan: This is, this is my thing, right? Which is, I have very particular opinions about TV. When you have like a gimmick in your first season, like for instance, there was just these like 14 different storylines in, in heroes, which all were, were like supposed to converge at the end.

But then if you don’t have a plan of where to go from there, it all [00:04:00] falls apart.

Jeff: You know what I agree with you? A hundred percent, I really felt like the writer of heroes didn’t understand why people liked the first season or understood it and decided just to keep giving it to you, you know, do you like to watch them, the characters come together?

Well, here’s another season where the characters come together again in a different,

David Hazan: yeah. Yeah. And then it was aping the whole days of future passed by. And I just, it just didn’t, it just didn’t didn’t work.

Jeff: I agree with you a hundred percent. I think, as a writer, you know, I really do think as a, as, as a writer, you can watch a show.

Not that it’s so good, but when a show does poorly. It’s a great lesson to look at and analyze what went wrong. And I think heroes is a good one to watch,

David Hazan: That, that is why I love bad TV like this certain bad TV. Like I find really enjoyable anyway, because of like picking apart the things I do and don’t like about it.

This is a sort of an, a mega level tangent, but the vampire diaries for me is the perfect [00:05:00] example of a show that is like really great to watch and dissect. The, the story structure is really interesting specifically the way they position their season finales. So like the penultimate episode is very much like your traditional season finale.

And then the final episode, it gives you the, the new status quo. But it really, it’s almost like a Coda to the rest of the season, but it, it provides you almost like a season premiere before you get the season premiere of the next season. Yeah, just like it, like, that was my favorite thing about that show just did like things differently.

Jeff: See, for me my show, like that is the flight.

David Hazan: I just, I just, I, that show for the first couple of seasons made me really giddy. And then yes. Yeah,

Jeff: again, it was sort of like the heroes where the first season is brilliant television. I mean, it’s fun. It’s exciting. There’s a threat that feels [00:06:00] genuine and real.

And then season two kind of repeats season one, just like what heroes did. And at some point you realize it got sillier and sillier and every time they introduced the show, as I am Barry on the flat fastest man alive, you realize. Well, every episode someone’s faster than you. Not the fastest man alive, dude, you’re out there.

You have to get them on the knife.

David Hazan: Yeah. But he’s like, I’m the fastest man alive, but I’m also like, not as fast as this other guy from the future or this other guy from another world. So technically I’m still the fastest man alive. I mean,

Jeff: it was just like, well, he’s slower than reverse flashy, slower than apparent.

I think it was Godspeed now he’s slower than zoom. He’s slower than Wally West he’s. I mean, it’s like

David Hazan: everyone is faster than, I also think that that show had a huge missed opportunity of, I think it was a season three finale web, like Barry goes into the speed force and like disappears and they should have just made it a [00:07:00] show about Wally.

They should have been like, you know, like it’s time for that shift. And it happened in the comics and it worked really well in the comics. Like why can’t we do it here? But I think that. This is like evidence of, of you know, DC’s broader vendetta against Wally West.

Jeff: I can, I can totally agree. Yeah.

Wally dirty and heroes in crisis. They definitely did.

David Hazan: I’m only halfway through that book. I know I have it happens. And yeah, I think I would really like to, like if DC handed me, you know, something I’d really like to do, like pretty much the entire cost of the Titans has been done dirty. Yeah.

I really like to do a story about why exactly they, they keep just getting victimized by, by the continuity. I think that would be really fun.

Jeff: Yeah, for me, the characters that I would love to see and take over and just be like, guys, I’m just gonna fix this for you guys [00:08:00] firestorm, which they seem to have been fucking up since the eighties the late eighties and either Hawk man or Kyron.

David Hazan: Yeah. Yeah. I like Coke, man. I think that, yeah, I I’m I’m. I wanted to read that the there’s a Bryan hitch and I dunno who else was on it. Robert fin duty. Yeah, I wanna, I, I that’s, that’s on my list of things to try out next because it looks awesome.

Jeff: I would say Hochman is written very well. We did have Robert Venditti on the show.

He’s a fan of the show. He did a great job writing it. The problem was they stopped that issue 29 and just when they were started to solidify the character and kind of got to where I think they wanted to go with the character before they moved on to the next major arc. And it was like, well, if you’re going to keep recycling the character like that, no one’s going to buy the issues.

Cause they’re just gonna assume you’re gonna come off in tennis shoes. Anyway.

David Hazan: My, my, my my particular comics fascinations More of a limited series [00:09:00] kind of. Hmm. I, I, it’s very rare that I’ll pick up an ongoing while it’s ongoing which is why I’m like, I have a huge Tom King obsession.

I love the, I love the finiteness of those like 12 issue maxi series.

Jeff: Yeah. I remember I enjoyed I enjoy Mr. Mr. Miracle. I thought that was a well done issue. I, I, for the most part like Tom King I believe he was the author behind heroes in crisis, which I was not a, I’m a fan of. Yeah. But I

David Hazan: can see the editorial meddling in that I like while I’m reading it, I can see it, you know?

Yeah.

Jeff: I think Tom can do some great stuff. Some of the Batman stuff he did was fantastic. My only gripe with Tom King feels like, He finds a way to make a two page scene into a 20 page issue. And I think at some point it’s like, you know, it is a common book. Let’s move it along just a

David Hazan: little bit.

Yeah. I think that that’s, that’s part of, like, I would say that’s part of writing Batman like that the whole double ship thing is just like, I think it’s monstrous. It just [00:10:00] dilutes too much. Cause they’re just the amount of writing that they have to pump out is ridiculous. Like nobody needed seven issues of nightmares or whatever it was.

Jeff: Right. Right. No, I agree

David Hazan: with you. But like sometimes they just like have to spin the wheels. Because there’s just too much to do, you know? And it’s a bit too inside baseball, which is why I’m like, if, if you can see if people can see you spinning the wheels, you’ve got a structural problem and you should be asking other writers too, to contribute.

Like that’s, that’s the way around that. Or you change way that your books.

Jeff: No, I agree with you. I, I think that is an issue with a lot of conflicts that are ongoing, where there’s so much filler and not enough, you know, hard of it. But the same time, I think when the problem is as well, is that to trying to hit numbers, you know, this event has to [00:11:00] happen at issue number 75.

You know, it has to be, you know, it’s like, well, why does it matter to hit 74, 73 or 75? I mean, they’re gonna buy their damn comic book. Don’t you need an anniversary, 75 issue, you know, just give us a great story. But I don’t know. It’s. It’s worth it to at least as a, to be a student of the medium, it’s worth it to read, I think a wide range of these combo.

Good in bed and try to figure out what happened. What did not.

David Hazan: Absolutely. Well, this was like a major tangent to my like journey to comics, I guess. So I, I think we’ve already established my TV obsession. Right. And I used to incessantly talk about this with a couple of my colleagues at work who eventually got sick of me talking about it.

And so I started shoving books in my hands. And one of those, I think it was like the first or second one was that woman allergy. And that book was just so damn good. And [00:12:00] so inspiring that it kind of launched me into the rabbit hole of writing comics.

Jeff: So did that, did it become an addiction for you? Did you end up buying more and more?

I wouldn’t

David Hazan: say it was the same kind of addiction as like TV was for me. I would. I was very much cautious in starting to pick and choose what I wanted to read. And I would go for like something new and then one of the classics and to try and learn how to actually do the thing. And so it was like a gradual journey down that path.

And now I’ve read most things digitally and so easy just to pick things up on Comixology, you know?

Jeff: Oh, I, yeah. Most of what I read is quite a bit. What I read now is Comicology not let’s start because I prefer digital, but because it’s just easier. I mean, you, anytime you do an interview with somebody.

They don’t necessarily have the condoms at your store. So you can just jump on a comic psychology and it makes life much more convenient. Yeah.

David Hazan: I definitely love the tactile feeling. But I’ll only, there’s like only [00:13:00] certain books where I will do that, where I’m like, this is an experience that I want to have in my hands.

One of those books was I have, I’m like behind now by like a couple ox, but di Karen Gillan and Stephanie, Hans

Jeff: w we’ve got Karen Gillan, I think on ’em in one week. He’s awesome.

David Hazan: So awesome. Yeah. I’m a big fan

Jeff: or are you also reading? Once in future? I am not.

David Hazan: I’m I’m I’m, I’m waiting, I’m waiting for a bit more of that to be.

I want to, I just, I just want to. You know, plow through it. I, I I’ve started to become, I used to be like a very much like monthly Rita now. I’m, I’m more interested in, in binge reading things just like, cause setting aside time is much easier if you can set it aside in logic blocks, especially when you’re like, Oh, I’ve got to, like, I’ve got to turn in scripts every couple of weeks, you [00:14:00] know?

Hmm.

Jeff: So, so when did the writer bug hit you?

David Hazan: I mean, I’ve always been a writer. I have a degree in writing but I think what happened was when I started learning how to write comics, things kind of clicked for me. And I found writing comics to be far easier for the way my brain works than writing pros ever was.

So there’s a. You know, my, my hard drive is chock full of half finished novels. But as soon as I got the comics writing bug, it was like, you know, a whole world opened up to me where I could actually like finish stories that I couldn’t otherwise before. It’s just so easy to do in between other things and piecemeal.

Whereas I find that froze. I have to get, I have to sit down and get a good like hours workup in order to like, start feeling like I’m effective. [00:15:00] Whereas, you know, I, there were times when I was writing bits and pieces of Nottingham, like on the train or on the bus.

Jeff: So

David Hazan: is it so basically, is it

Jeff: the difference between for you the pros and changing the comic books? Is it the investment of time? Is it the Mt. The chunks of that combo wasn’t gonna be completed in a short span of time while a novel? It’s harder to maybe keep the consistency of, because you’re writing it in weeks and months and years, instead of maybe complex where it might write in a month.

David Hazan: It’s partly that. And partly, also, I think the way my brain works makes it easier to, to produce comic pages than it does to like to produce pages of prose. There’s a there’s one on one level. There’s, there’s the This sort of the physical investment of time. And on another level, there is the sort of creative energy investment to get my [00:16:00] brain into gear.

And I find it much easier to get my brain into gear writing comics than I do into writing prose. So

Jeff: in 2019 you were the winner of the mad cave town search, is that correct? Yeah. What did you write as your entry piece?

David Hazan: I wrote a battle cats story yeah, where I, I killed most of the battles. So

Jeff: were you a fan of Battlecat prior to entering the contest?

David Hazan: Honestly, I, I had been writing comics and reading comics really for no more than a few months to a year when I entered. And. So I hadn’t, I wasn’t really familiar with Matt cave at all. I was like, all right, I’ll give this a try. And being like a big medieval fantasy Rita as you can probably tell with Nottingham, it, it was like, it was obviously the genre that just came the easiest to me, but I also decided to [00:17:00] write a story that was like very uniquely comics in that, you know, I, I, I killed most of the cast and made it sort of old man’s story about the one battle that was left.

Jeff: So what we think differentiates differentiate your entry from other potential ones? Was it just, was it, like you said, a complex elements, like you killed the cast, do you think there’s some, something about your writing or how you present it, that might’ve made your special?

David Hazan: I think I look, I, I, I wouldn’t go so far as to be able to tell you exactly.

What’s stood out about my, my entry, but what I can tell you is that I had a very particular approach to it, which was rule one. You have to write when you’re writing a work for hire, especially in a property that you haven’t come up with yourself. The, [00:18:00] the first goal is to impress people by. What, you know, and what you understand about what the, what their property is about, especially when you’re effectively pitching it to the creator themselves.

And I was like, okay, well, this is a, this is a tale about, you know, on and revenge and redemption. And so that was the starting point, but then the next, the next step is to say, okay, well, what, what is do I find that uniquely me in those themes and in these characters. And so I made it sort of this like sad melancholic tale about how all of the battle cats dead now, but there’s one left and, you know, he has a responsibility and it’s about him finding that responsibility again.

So,

Jeff: so after you won. Did it was it, you know, send [00:19:00] us your next project. That was not a hand, the one that you came to them with and said, all right, now that I won, this is what I’m going to do for you where the other pitchers involved. So

David Hazan: the general premise of it was that mad cave would give me something to pitch to with cost and, and premise.

But because of just the nature of how these things happen, they would just, they gave me something much looser than that, which was they wanted in Wawa. They wanted something that was sort of out of the ordinary. And I pitched them something closer to what I thought they were looking for. And I also pitched them Nottingham because I was interested in just radically changing.

The setting if I was doing and why just to set it apart from everything else in the market, because there is like a hyper saturation of that particular genre in indie comics. And that’s not to say that those things are good, but like how do you compete with the like, you know, the Brewbaker and [00:20:00] Phillips of the world, you know, by doing something different.

So,

Jeff: so where does your so give our listeners your pitch for Nottingham?

David Hazan: Okay. So, what we’ve done is we’ve taken the Robin hood story torn it apart and put it back together. Wherein we have the sheriff of Nottingham as the main character in a pot detective  where he’s hunting a serial killer, who is victimizing Nottingham’s tax collectors.

Jeff: And where did this idea come from?

David Hazan: I mean, I kind of rolled it out from the Y with a different setting. I was like, okay, well, I ha like I’ve watched a bunch of TV shows where they do detective stories and, you know, every setting imaginable Saifai period pieces in modern history, but never really have I seen a medieval detective story.

And [00:21:00] so I decided to go down that path. Once I was there, I was doing research on the genre of noir itself, and I found that for the most part, it, it stems from world war II and post-World war two anxiety. And. Once I was there, I left to the, sort of the medieval competitor of that, which is the crusades and which was probably one of the most significant sort of, continent spanning conflicts in, in medical history.

And from there, like my brain immediately went to Robin boob, but it was, it was you know, those logical leaps ending in Robin hood.

Jeff: So, I mean, Robin hood has been, is a property that’s been told on TV movies. Other things was, did he do a bunch of research? Did you go back and watch particular movies or shows to get a sense of it?

[00:22:00] How did you prepared to write

David Hazan: it? So I was already pretty familiar. I would say Which I think is why my brain went there, but the, the one that I, I didn’t really do any, any more in-depth research than what I’d already seen in terms of Robin hood. Because I didn’t want to influence myself too much.

But like I was a big fan of the BBC TV series. You know, I had, I I’ve seen everything from the Disney, too many tights to the unfortunate Ridley Scott version. But what I wanted to do was I wanted to very directly connect it to the history and I, I kind of came to the conclusion that there was only like, Span of two years in which the story would work the way I had it in my head.

And so I was doing a lot of research into the actual history of the crusades and what was going on at home, in, in, in in England at [00:23:00] the time in order to kind of make the plot work and also give, give myself some tent poles to, to work to, I guess,

Jeff: so, and I will say having read Nottingham, the artwork is Finn is phenomenal.

You have fantastic art in, in that book. How did you connect with Shane Conrey book? Shane

David Hazan: was also a winner of the 2019 talent search, Jen, like this is the thing about mad cave is that this talent search is possibly the greatest gift. One can give to a new comic book creators because. You don’t have to do anything yourself, other than the thing that you like doing.

Like I just got, and it was great. And like, obviously there’s this sort of collaborative, editorial feedback, things that go on. And you’re constantly in contact with your team [00:24:00] about what things should look like, where you know, what what’s happening next, et cetera. But the main thing is the writing and I didn’t have to worry about, you know, Hounding artists or pages or finding artists are finding colors, so letters or finding someone to do the design.

I just, I just wrote the damn thing. And that was the greatest gift. I think a new comic book creators can receive and I wish more publishes did things like this.

Jeff: So when you’re, when you decide to or not, don’t say not decided, but when you ended up working with Mr. Volk before you started writing Nottingham, did you have a discussion with him about either style or how to collaborate did or did you, because, like I said, this was unlike some teams, especially in the indie world, you know, you’re, you’re the one who started off the yard and you’re the one who made the connection, but this has mad cave kind of did like a

David Hazan: they played matchmaker.

Jeff: I was trying to get to like, like matchmaker sort of like a Yeah. The old days of like marriage, you know, you’re fixed up [00:25:00] by your parents as it were.

David Hazan: Yeah, so like we had a little bit of a chat about like what he likes to draw. And he was pretty keen on like, he was a history buff as well. So like that worked really well.

And we talked about the, like the kind, the kinds of pages that he liked to draw and what his influences were. So that I could kind of write to that too. Cause like you don’t want to write a thing and then have the artists hate you for, for what you put on the page. So, and, and if the artists not having fun, that’s the easiest Maka for the, you know, for a reader not to have fun.

So for me, I was, I was trying to make sure that there was stuff in there that that chain was finding fun to draw. But beyond that, I, I kinda, I, I, I sent through like all the, all the concept stuff that I had prepared and like, he blew me away with I’ve, I’ve been saying this in every interview, but it’s just so it’s so [00:26:00] resoundingly true.

The, you can get artists who you give them like a character description and, and they give you the characters appearance, but they don’t give you the character. And I feel like Shane is such an expert at giving the, the, the essence of the character along with their appearance.

Jeff: So as this collaboration was forming.

Okay. And you were getting a sense of what he was interested in. You had your conversations with him. Was there anything that you alter about how you presented your story or. What you were going to do in your story for, to work best with Volks style. Was there something that you said, you know, I’m going to do more, I don’t, don’t want to do as many, maybe captions or dialogue, because I know he’ll hand it with his art or there’s something saying, you know, I, maybe it was going too far in a different direction.

Maybe I should focus more, you know, dive more into what this is.

David Hazan: Yeah. Yeah. So, I definitely through most of the [00:27:00] grids out the window that was, that was the big takeaway from that conversation is that, you know, Shane likes the, sort of the widescreen comics thing. So, I threw most of them out the window.

There’s still, there’s still some there, but I threw most of them out the window and, you know, instead of using them as a. It means to structure the story as well. I just kinda use them for effect instead.

I love, I love a grid. I D I just

Jeff: can’t help it. I think for our, from a buyer standpoint, there’s some comfort in a grid, you know, it, it, there’s a sort of maybe creative organization involved in a grid.

David Hazan: Yeah. I, I like, I mean, I’m somebody who is very much like a comics, inboxes boxes, kind of guy. I much prefer that to like wacky layouts.

And that’s not to say that wacky layouts on it, like. Awesome. Like, that’s what drew me into comics in the first place, but I find that [00:28:00] structurally speaking, it’s really helpful to create the sense of of like visual poetry, if you can use that grid. And then subvert later on, it kind of gives you it’s it’s, it’s, it’s almost like a crutch, but I find that it AIDS in that kind of visual storytelling, which is the kind of things that I like to do.

So they’re still there, but they’re not as prevalent. I, I did

Jeff: say well, like I said, I enjoy the comic a lot. I do. I, I felt it was very streamlined. You know what I’m saying? Very efficient with captions and dialogue. Would that be an accurate description? Yeah,

David Hazan: look I definitely have a tendency to go Towards the verbose with dialogue.

And then I find that I have to cut back because like to me, dialogue reveals character. But, and, and it’s how you show without telling while still telling. And like that’s a thing that comics do a lot. Like, you know, there’s the, [00:29:00] the old, like you have to mention the characters name on their first appearance in the dialogue.

Otherwise nobody knows who the fuck they are. Sorry.

Jeff: Feel free to swear.

David Hazan: That’s that’s the Australian in me,

Jeff: I will say that is as a writer of comics as well. The thing that annoys me the most, but it’s actually necessary is the exposition that’s necessary. You know, like I said, as you said, you had to put in the name cause so people know who you’re talking about.

You have to say this to people. No, it’s like, it’s awkward, but it is absolutely necessary in a comic book.

David Hazan: Yeah. And, and like part of the challenge for you as a writer is to find interesting ways to inject that and ways that reveal character, because that can be that can be part of the art as well.

And that can disguise the kind of the stuff that goes on behind the scenes, the inside baseball stuff that you find. So jarring is to like, is to almost embrace it and try to make it your own.

Jeff: I agree. I’m per se, I think [00:30:00] it’s kind of funny, like when you’re running a scene, let’s say behind between like a husband, wife, and you’re like, okay, Oh Joey, blah, blah, blah.

It’s like, do you often say your styles or whatever from, by the first name or what I’m saying is that’s a little weird, but the same time you got to say the name or just people don’t know who you’re talking about, we just gotta find a way to make it sound as natural as humanly possible. Yeah.

David Hazan: And look, that’s my so I had a big sort of think about what I wanted to do in terms of inner monologue captions, but I wanted to have them or not.

And I decided against them, even though they’re like such a marker of genre I decided to ditch them because I often find them clunky and I have. I have this book in my mind, which I will hope will come to life. Which is about how I despise in a monologue captions. I have this, I have this thing for, for stories about stories as well.

And so you might be seeing some of that from me at some point this year and [00:31:00] Kickstarter form. I’m not a hundred percent sure, but cause you know, comics, but. I’m working on it. So, so

Jeff: keep an eye out for it for a future series called caption, suck by David hands-on. Yeah,

David Hazan: something like that.

Yeah. I just find them like, instead of, and that this is my personal, like there’s a place for them and like people who are much smarter than me and much better at dissecting comics have wax lyrical about this. You know, there’s a whole video by Hass from panel X panel about about captions and how, how they work and how to use them.

And yeah, it’s just my own personal, you know, storytelling, kink that I just, I find them really frustrating and they take me out of the action instead of putting me in the shoes of the character.

Jeff: So thought bubbles must really piss you off.

David Hazan: Don’t [00:32:00] don’t even start. Like, I don’t know when the last time I would have seen one is the only time I would ever see one is like say the way they were done in Martian. Manhunter the Steve Orlando Riley Rossmo 12 issue maxi. Okay. I think I know nominal just phenomenal. And, and like a lot of that, a lot of making them not jarring comes down to the letter as well.

And the way they execute the, rather than just having a standard thought bubble to me,

Jeff: I’m trying to remember now, the last time I saw a thought bubble in a comic book, it’s been a long time, but I’m trying to, it had to be the nineties. I mean, I can’t think of the last time I really saw a main, a comic with thought bubbles.

David Hazan: Yeah. I think certain things including thought bubbles, I am very happy. Got left in the nineties. Well

Jeff: then how do you feel about written sound effects?

David Hazan: I, I, I love a good written sound effect. I find that again, this is a [00:33:00] lot down to the letterer and you’ll see how, and when I do and don’t use them in Nottingham if you’re paying attention.

But yeah, I, I, I try to use them when they’re impactful and when I just find out figure that they’re cluttering the page, I, I just get rid of them. You know,

Jeff: it’s interesting, you know, letters never do get the credit they deserve. You can tell, I will admit it’s rare that I noticed great lettering, but you always notice bad lettering.

David Hazan: Absolutely. But like I’ve done some lettering of, of like my own shorts and stuff. And it is a hard job and I, I agree. I don’t think the letter is really get the, the Jew that they deserve, which is why, you know, I was so thankful to have an Iceland winner lettering, nodding. It’s, it’s like, it’s, it’s awesome.

[00:34:00] Jeff: I think the few times, I think I’ve seen lettering that really stood out, I would say recently in the spawn comic books, I’ve noticed the lettering is quite solid. It has always been pretty, really good in the us bond comic books.

David Hazan: Yeah. Like to me, The essence of indie comics is making the lettering part of the story.

Whereas the essence of mainstream comics is making sure nobody notices the lettering.

Jeff: I don’t think I,

David Hazan: I don’t think I ever noticed that before. I not sure. I, I, I like totally agree with, with that approach, but it’s partially because they’re churning out so many books that they often don’t have time to pay attention to that sort of thing. But, and that’s why I mentioned that Martian Manhunter series, because it did such a good job of making the lettering, just like pop.

And when people were having, what is effectively conversations in each other’s minds, it felt [00:35:00] different and unique and like, you know, almost alien, which, which like was the point clearly. And it made it feel special and made it feel part of the story.

Jeff: Ha have you ever read Neil Gaiman Sandman?

David Hazan: I had started reading Sandman and I’ve, it’s like on my list to come back to, I’ve got one of the trades ready to go.

It’s just like having only been reading comics for the last two years, it’s really hard to catch up.

Jeff: Well, I will say the Sam man by Neil Gaiman is potentially the greatest storyline I’ve ever read. The greatest series I’ve ever read was the sand man. I will say the lettering is so good that it feels part of the arts, which I think is actually one of the best things you can do with lettering.

Make it feel like the, like it’s an aspect of the art of the page.

David Hazan: Absolutely. Yeah. And so, you know, shit, my shout out to  who is phenomenal. They’re really awesome. Yeah, look, it’s, it’s so great. When, when. They just get it, you know, [00:36:00] when the letter, you don’t have to really back and forth on it cause they just know what you’re trying to achieve and they just go for it.

So

Jeff: I would say Nottingham is so good visually as well. Now what a cool thing that I saw notice visually in the first issue is the Robin hood and the mask. Yes. The mass anywhere is where did the idea come from? Is it intentionally sinister looking considering that we’ll say Robin hood is normally in most media handled as a anti hero, your character and his mass definitely tip the scales away from antihero.

David Hazan: Look, I, I, I would even venture to say that most media positions, Robyn is a hero rather than an anti hero. And I wanted to entirely depart from that idea of the jolly green Archer. And in order to do that, do you just have to make him as sinister as you possibly can? [00:37:00] So we started with all right.

I want, I wanted the Merryman two be branded almost as terrorists by the ruling class. And as out of that, I figured, well, let’s give them this sort of like visual thing and also like a thing that we can twist to make anybody make it so that anybody could be one of them. And. Th that’s when we, when I sort of landed on the mask and I was like, okay, well, what is the mosque look like in, in in 12th century England.

And so I dug around for some visual references. I was like, they’re married men, so it should have a creepy ass smile. And I was like, I guess, like the, the best comparitor I could give in sort of more modern terms was the guy Fawkes mask. So I sent those literally those three ideas to Shane and he [00:38:00] came back with the mosque and it was awesome.

And you can see that like, like, if you look at. Say wills mosque in, in the first issue versus Robbins mosque, there’s some slight differences. And like Shane put in some like visual references to like the arrow Flynn facial hair. And it was, yeah, he he’s done an amazing job. Let’s say

Jeff: it was, it’s a testing issue.

I think one thing, especially during the time of the year that I really, really appreciate a lot is that is the tax, is that as tax collectors that are named in the book as the most contemptible of themes. And I think during tax season in the United States, I really appreciate that, that, that their worst than traders and I thought to myself is hating the tax collectors, a universal theme.

You think,

David Hazan: look. As you know, I work as a lawyer and I do a lot of a lot of tax work. So, I definitely empathize with being frustrated with

the taxation [00:39:00] authorities. But that being said, there’s a lot of sort of, meta-narrative about like how we view taxes. And ultimately like from a socialist perspective, we really should be B be paying taxes and we should be paying our fair share of taxes in order to support, you know, people who cannot afford things and like, There’s certain, there’s a certain hesitancy in the United States, which comes from it’s I guess probably its history of, of of McCarthyism and, and anti-communism that finds the idea of socialism.

So despicable, which I I’m like, we do it here, like, like we have socialized healthcare and like society hasn’t collapsed. Like it’s just such a ridiculous war of rhetoric. And I’ve imported some of that war of rhetoric back over into Nottingham in, in, in certain ways. Well, I

Jeff: will say as an American, I don’t think he’s as much a [00:40:00] hatred of, of socialism.

As not understanding that it’s not common. Yeah. I think it, it, I think that the United States, to be honest with you, it’s a severe lack of education and not understanding what socialism actually is. And I think if people were better educated on what that is, I think their feelings towards it would be a little less hostile.

I mean, once again, mostly a lot of us in our country is socialism. We don’t call it that, but it is, but we don’t under, but most of us don’t understand that. And we somehow think that if you do it you know, Russia USSR, you know, Joseph Stalin will somehow March down the street and suddenly it’s all, you know, everything will be over in our country.

Freedom is it’s more just we’re, we’re just not that smart. Sometimes

David Hazan: I, and I think part of it is just like, it’s, it’s, it’s almost this vicious cycle of the people who are in [00:41:00] charge of, of, of the education system. Also don’t want you to think that way. And it’s like this cycle, this endless cycle of, of you know, a sort of widening gap between haves and have nots.

And I don’t, I don’t know that that’s sort of as intense in other places in the world.

Jeff: Yeah. I mean, I doubt it. I mean, I think Americans have a two significant fears. One is that the government will overreach. If you could somehow give them socialism fo focus on socialist government overreach. And the other problem is.

If the idea that if everything is pooled, sort of like, if you’re, I don’t remember what, if you remember your high school years. So like you got a group project that everyone pulls your resources together. One person will do all the work and the rest of us, we’ll just screw around and let them do the work for us.

I think that’s almost like a view of socialism. If you let socialism happen. Some people pay for all of it and the rest will just take advantage of it. And I was saying, I think it’s just a misunderstanding of how it actually function.

[00:42:00] David Hazan: Absolutely. Yeah, I, I look, I, I love the U S hopefully when this is all over I’ll get to come visit again.

But some things like genuinely scare me. And this is one of us it’s

Jeff: America. You should be very scared. We we’ve had, we had four very scary years just recently. And I will say from on lease on behalf of the Americans that I know we were scared

David Hazan: too. Yeah. Look, I, I was definitely very, very concerned for the people that I care about that were over there as well.

Like it it’s, it’s not great. But he’s hoping that most of that is behind you guys. Now know

Jeff: we, we, we are the pendulum of this country swings quite drastically. I read somewhere and it’s probably accurate that every person we elect as president is a reflection of the extreme, the one who came before.

So Obama was a reaction to George W. Bush. Trump was a reaction to Obama [00:43:00] and Biden, I guess, is the reaction to Trump. And in some ways, when you look at it from that perspective, there is definitely something there to somebody.

David Hazan: Yeah. I think personality wise Biden is almost polar opposite of Trump. But I just, I, what I see, and I think this is a global trend in the last, you know, 10 to 15 years maybe is that like the, the ride is moving further.

Right. And the left is compensating by also moving towards the center. It’s because, because the more reasonable people think the right is the more sort of, progressive centrist agenda seems to be.

Jeff: I, I will say my view on what’s happening in the country right now is that. We are definitely moving to extremes on both sides.

And I think the reason is on some level, I know that this might be a total cop out and you know, I’m not exactly a researcher of this at the [00:44:00] moment, but I think social media, because those on the extreme scream, the loudest, those are the ones most often heard. And I would argue that because the left extreme screams loud as it’s the assumption that they’re majority, because the right screams loudest on their extreme, there’s an assumption that they’re obviously the, the majority as well.

And I think in, and it’s just easier, I think, to. Exists on an extreme. If you’re going to be a politician is much easier, easier to find an extreme site and stick to it than it is to somehow exist in a middle. You know what I’m saying? And I think that’s also one of the issues and we know, and all across the world, you also have issues of nationalism, a fear of foreigners, which causes increased fear.

There’s ideas of finger pointing to certain people. When I think the more, for some [00:45:00] reason, the further the divide becomes between. The rich and the middle class more likely the middle class is to point the punch down instead of

David Hazan: up. Yeah. And I mean, we just seem to not learn from history,

the idea that, you know, it’s 20, 21 and we still have Nazis. Like what? Yeah. Yeah.

Jeff: I mean, it’s kind of funny. It’s sort of basically, it’s sort of like, well, that’s what happened when you look at the past, you think, how could people be that stupid to do that? You think you see it today? You’re like, Oh yeah, yeah, yeah.

You know, it’s just like people, it’s just sort of like. It’s not as, I don’t know if it’s not learning from the past or we’re just on any brighter than they were back then. So we just tend to make the same mistakes over and over. Yeah. Yeah.

David Hazan: And there’s like, I would really love to be talking about this in in the terms of of something I’m working on pitching, but, you know, obviously I can’t do that, [00:46:00] but yeah, there’s some, there’s something that I’m really working hard on that I like working my heart out on that I’d really hopefully if it happens, you know, to come back and talk about it,

Jeff: I think that’d be fantastic.

But I didn’t notice one thing though, in your story. And I think it connects to what we’re talking about extremes a little bit. Okay. Absolutely. Robin hood. Okay. Yeah. Robert Hood claimed the desire to kill fornicators and infidels. That’s a pretty maniacal kind of viewpoint on things. It’s very, it’s almost ultra conservative on some level.

So is he kind of a fanatic, a fanatic in his own? Right.

David Hazan: Well, so that wasn’t that wasn’t Robin doing that. Okay. That was, that was, that was that was will Scarlet doing that? I guess that’s a little bit of a spoiler, but so, but I don’t think it’s, it’s, it’s gone too deep into that. And in any case the, the whole thing that I wanted to, to to emphasize with Nottingham is that rhetoric has the power [00:47:00] to, to to incite extremism.

Even beyond the, the, the, kind of the intentions of the person who, who, who who’s spouting the rhetoric in the first place. So Robin is, is very clearly mobilizing a certain ideology. And so is to a large extent by opposition Prince John and his his collaborators, and then, and it’s that clash of, of ideologies that, that we find our sheriffs stuck directly in the middle.

And that’s the place he’s going to try hard to, to fight out of. And it, and it is that question of whether or not to punch up or punch down that, that kind of, I guess, occupies our sheriff for the most part of these five issues.

Jeff: And it’s very much the sheriff is the protagonist of the series. Is that correct?

Yeah,

David Hazan: absolutely. Sorry, go on. Go [00:48:00] ahead. No, no, go ahead. But I think we have like a really rich and interesting cast of characters and they’re definitely going to take the spotlight at some at different points, but we, we mostly follow the sheriff, but I think with the kind of cost that we have and the way that we’ve chosen to portray them there’s going to be a lot of interesting conversations and twists and turns because of the, sort of the section of, of, of Nottingham that is more on the crime law side.

And it’s, it’s also about, you know, why people do bad things.

Jeff: How, how much has is an aspect of the story, a perspective on heroism.

David Hazan: I think it, I think, well, to me, I take a cynical take which is, I don’t know that we really do have a hero in, and maybe that’s, that’s part of what you’re drawing out of it, but I don’t think we have a [00:49:00] hero in the sheriff ornate or any other character for that matter in Nottingham.

I, I think, I think there’s, there’s definitely an element of, of, of my cynicism. That’s gone into that about hero worship, but I think the hero worship falls back to the dangers of, of ideology for me, I think that’s the, the kind of the, the ma the major theme, right? Rather than, you know, hero worship is inherently dangerous, you know,

Jeff: is what Robin hood doing in the comp or A, I’m trying to the best way of phrasing it.

Is that sort of a manifestation of not of the Sheriff’s perspective on that behavior as well? Or is, is it, look, don’t say it, is it legitimately occurring the way it is or is that more of sheriffs view of how it’s happening?

David Hazan: Yes and no. This is something I don’t want to go super deep into, but I will say this [00:50:00] Robin is mobilizing ideology, but he may not be actually supporting that ideology.

Okay. He’s definitely has a goal in mind, but that goal may not actually be aligned with the kind of things that he’s, he’s saying to his followers.

Jeff: I’m going to use a very bad analogy. If, if you don’t mind, go ahead. Is this sort of like Donald Trump utilizing the far right in their views to further his own ends?

David Hazan: I think you could draw that analogy. I don’t think it’s necessarily the entire source of the analogy or the sorry, the entire source of the the character decision that I made. But I definitely think that there’s a similar thing going on.

Jeff: So he’s, he’s appropriating extremes. So it’s like that sort of, I mean, Trump definitely appropriated the far right.

For his enemy. I don’t think he’s in itself [00:51:00] a very religious man, but he definitely used that imagery to further used his followers as it were.

David Hazan: Yeah. Yeah. And I think. He, his, his, my, my take on this Robin is a member of the aristocracy. I find it very hard to believe that somebody who is a nobleman in 12th century, England, would ever even remotely have the kind of altruism or connection to the common people in order to actually start a peasant revolution.

So the question then is what is he doing? Why is he doing it? And where is the money really going?

Jeff: That’s an interest. That’s a definitely a very different take on Robinhood.

David Hazan: Yeah, I that’s what I wanted to do. I just was like super disinterested in, in, in running this down the line. Cause you gotta have, you know, layers and mysteries to, to, [00:52:00] to the characters or, and you’ve got to surprise people or it becomes the same thing again, we’ve already seen, you know,

Jeff: And another character that you’re definitely I’m using.

You know, I definitely, I would say more modern take on is made Mario, would that be correct?

David Hazan: Yeah. This just by far my favorite character in the series to write, you know, she’s just so fun when she talks. And I drew a lot from like a little bit to a scene that Lannister a little bit Emma Frost and just kind of threw that in there because in every, in NWA, the standout female role is the

So, you know, you kind of, you kind of have to put her in that role and when you do really exciting things happen, I hope anyway.

Jeff: Well, like I said, I think she’s a very interesting character. It’s nice to see a made meringue that it actually seems in control of her fate. Which is different than most Robin hood tales.

Well,

David Hazan: let’s, let’s put it this way. She’s trying to control her fate whether or not she [00:53:00] succeeds is a different story. But what I was excited about was she uses every single tool at her disposal to do so she’s not afraid to use, use sexuality, to get what she wants. She’s not afraid to use the political structures of the time to get she wants.

And I was inspired a lot by the way game of Thrones treats its women, which is like, if you’re a woman who commits a crime in that universe, your screwed, otherwise the law doesn’t really see you as a person. If you’re a man who commits a crime, you have the option of going to the night’s watch and, and, and, you know, kind of finding some sort of redemption, but as a woman, the Lord just doesn’t see you that way.

And so you have these characters like, Oh, spoiler alert Aria and Brianne who, who try to exist almost as men in the man’s world, or you have Searcy [00:54:00] who tries to use her, her station to kind of punch upwards and, and break through the glass ceiling and all of that. I’ve kind of funneled and channeled into my, the way I write Marriott.

Jeff: And I guess I think he did a great job, another great scene that I thought without ruining anything on spotlight, anything there’s the interrogation scene, which I think was a brutally done. Thank you. And the devoted devoted to Robinhood is someone who repeats it sort of in line over and over again.

And obviously the sheriff views him as very much the zealot. And as you discussed a little with Robin hood, I imagine Robin hood does not he’s using that rhetoric, but he doesn’t believe in it.

David Hazan: I think there’s an extent to which certain parts he does believe and certain parts that he’s he’s using.

But I don’t want to, I don’t want to spoil the, the, the end, the ending there.

[00:55:00] Jeff: So how many issues is Nottingham planned for?

David Hazan: So, bad cave came to me with five issues. So we’ve got five issues starting from now next week monthly At, we were supposed to be out this Wednesday, but Judaism delays.

We’re coming next, next Wednesday and monthly from there for five issues and then a trade.

Jeff: And what other projects are you working on?

David Hazan: I’m working on some more mad cave stuff. I’ve got that Kickstarter that I mentioned that I want to do towards the end of the year. I’ve got a short in an Australian anthology by a publisher called gestalt, which is, it’s like the premier Australian comics publisher.

And that’s a scifi anthology that I’m hoping will come this year. I’ve seen pencils for the, for the story. So I’m hoping that that won’t be too far along. Yeah, that’s, that’s about what I can really say at the moment. Well,

Jeff: like I said, it, it, it also has, Nottingham is a very interesting story. I enjoyed it.

And I look forward to reading. What do you got next? Coming up.

[00:56:00] David Hazan: Thank you very much. Thanks for having me.

Jeff: It was my pleasure. Mr. Hassan, come back anytime.

David Hazan: I hope so.

Author: Spoiler Country

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