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Sean McArdle – Interview
[00:00:00] Casey: Hey everybody. Welcome again to another episode of spoiler country today on the show. I’m with my good buddy Renee and fleece, and we are interviewing Mr.
Sean McCardell. Sean has a book out the fear and the tramp, and we’re gonna talk,
Sean McArdle: Casey. Hey Renee. We’re good, man. Yeah. Thanks for being here. Oh yeah. Thank you so much for having me on.
Casey: So, so you got this book right here, the fear and the tramp, and it’s not a word I can pronounce well, so if it sounds dumb, it just sounds, it sounds stumped.
So, yeah. Yeah. It’s one of those words that I don’t feel like I’m saying, well, you’re, you’re
Sean McArdle: her.
I probably was like four issues in, by the time I could spell you’re right. Without having to write right. Click it, you know, spell check, [00:01:00] check. He was like, no, I’m not writing that because you want, are you racist? But you know, No, I haven’t really figured it out. I figured out how to do the the, the little, the Motley crew things.
Casey: So, yeah. Yeah. I’ll just lean on you and Renee to to, to pronounce that.
Sean McArdle: I feel like there’s like a lot of guttural noises you gotta make when you
it’s the less important of the two words. Title. Oh yeah.
Casey: Oh yeah.
Sean McArdle: So more about the transit and the DRAM. So transport important.
Casey: We’ve done several issues of this comic already. What, what issue are you on
Sean McArdle: now? Oh, it’s complete it. Uh we’re we’re releasing the trade now. The trading April’s previews. [00:02:00] So, the trade is going to be released on June 28.
So. We already had the, a five issue run at source point. It’s actually kind of six issues because the fifth issue is a double issue because yeah, I went, I’m cool like that. I think that if you like the story give you a double issue for the finale.
Casey: So, so, so how, what got you into this story in the first place?
Like, are you a big history buff?
Sean McArdle: I am, and I’m a big old classic Hollywood buff. I, you know, I, I love classic Hollywood, especially the era in which this takes place. So basically the book is about Charlie Chaplin fighting Adolf Hitler while he’s making the great dictator. So. And it takes place after the silent era and like 1939, 1940, whenever a chaplain was making his first his first talking movie and the first movie where he did not portray the tramp he made a movie called the great dictator.
We made fun of Hitler. And basically the idea came to me whenever, what was it? [00:03:00] 2015? Whenever I, yeah, I think it was like 2015, 2016 when Seth Rogan made that movie, the interview with them. Yeah. So like, yeah, I had him in 2015 because the world was still a little bit sane. I, whenever do you remember that Kim Jong-un wanted to assassinate Seth Rogan because of that movie?
Like they did the Sony hack and then yeah, you wanted to assassinate Seth Rogan. I was like, Yeah, he’s a real leader once assassinated stuff, you know, that it was just the craziest thing I’d ever heard because yeah, it was 2015, you know? Yeah. I feel like though, you haven’t made it unless a world leader wants to assassinate.
Right. That’s true. Pretty much. Most people on this planet have not made that what’s not broken. Has. He’s ascended, but you know, for me, it’s like, I kind of look like Seth Rogan, so I’m like, oh my God, I could get assassinated. No, I I was thinking that, you know, how dumb is it that Kim Jong-un once [00:04:00] assassinate, Seth Rogan, Hitler didn’t even want to assassinate or didn’t even try to assassinate Charlie Chaplin, whenever chaplain made the great dictator.
And I was like, wait a minute. That’d be awesome. If Hitler tried to assassinate. Charlie Chaplin while he’s making the great dictator. And I could just see the entire book in my mind. Right. Then, you know,
Casey: that’s awesome. That’s awesome. Is apparently he self-funded that film because no one would back it at the time.
Sean McArdle: Yeah. Well, yes and well, you know, he was part of a United artists. So at that point he was self-funding like everything he did, but yeah, it was it was. It became a very, very successful movie. One of the most successful movies in the year, 1941, but yeah, he was having difficulty playing no games or theaters at first, because you have to think about, this is 1940.
We don’t United States was against the war. And so 42, like 41 is whenever D-Day or [00:05:00] whenever Pearl Harbor happens and then it’s, you know, I think it’s a month or so later is one of our Germany declares war in the United States. It’s not like a boom, boom boom right away thing. So you’re talking a hearing two years before American, it gets into the war and before Germany actually is you know, declared war in the United States.
So, up to this point there’s a lot of German sentiment in the United States, a lot of German Americans there’s a Nazi party in the United States. There’s a German American Bund, which was an extension of the Nazi party. I mean, yeah. I mean, at the time there was a lot of people that want us to go to war with Britain and wants to join the Nazis.
Imagine that that’s crazy, right. There’s no way that then the United States would like try to endorse Nazi-ism.
Casey: Yeah. Yeah, it is. It’s really depressing when you when you think about it. And yet he persisted and made this film and maybe [00:06:00] change some people’s minds, which is awesome.
Sean McArdle: Yeah, hopefully.
I mean, that, that was really the impetus behind the entire thing was I I really that speech that sh that chaplain makes at the end of the great dictator, it makes the rounds on Facebook every once in a while. And everybody will be posting it. But at the end of the movie, chaplain gives this speech that is so impassioned and so amazing to me, it’s one of the greatest speeches ever written or ever, ever spoken.
I would put it up there with, you know, the Gettysburg Berg address and Martin Luther King’s. I had a dream speech it’s that great. And your understanding of chaplain was at that time, he was the, he was Friday. Biggest figure on the planet probably ever. Ever at that point, like everybody knew who chaplain was.
There really wasn’t a time in human history. Everyone on the planet, even people in Mozambique knew who one dude was, you [00:07:00] know, but everybody knew who chaplain was because, because of the silent movies and because of the tramp and the tramp was such a universal character because he appealed to everyone.
On the whole planet. And there are still lots of places in Africa and even Iran where even today, chaplain is extremely popular still. And he was still seeing like murals of chaplain up on walls and stuff. So here he is like at the height of a celebrity for anybody on the planet and he makes this movie criticizing Hitler.
I’m mocking Hitler. And then at the end of it, it’s like he drops all pretenses of the movie and speaks to the audience as chaplain. He tries to implore everyone. Don’t do this. We put the soldiers, you know, you’re not machines, you’re not cattle. You’re men, you’re men with minds and hearts need, you don’t have to do this.
And he tried to pour every one to not tweet this, not go to war. And you know, if only we had listened to him, [00:08:00] right. Only we had listened. Yeah. That’s how it goes.
Casey: Yeah, yeah, yeah. That, that speech was right up there with the Yeah. The speech from the duties where they’re in the
wall. I don’t know if there was ever an example before that, where they break the fourth wall,
Sean McArdle: not like that, not like that. Probably not even sense, you know? Nothing like that. But so like, that was kind of like, I wanted to immortalize that speech too again, in this book, you know, and really pay tribute to that speech.
But what are you saying, Renee?
[00:09:00] I, I do. I mean, like, I like all of it. That’s the thing. I’m trying to think what, like you said, that I’m like, what is my favorite era? I mean, the seventies are pretty freaking great. And I love the nineties, you know, I came up through the nineties, but I think I love all of it, but there’s something about this era, this.
Okay. The way that I mean, we’re not talking about the book here, but this is just something that I find interesting about this era. So you get through the silent era and once you hit you know, for 27, 1927, whenever the sound starts and you have to talk or the the jazz singer and. Up to that point.
You have movies progressing for about 30 years, getting to the points, height of silent movies. And if you’re watching movies like sunrise or wings, or the passion of Joan of arc, [00:10:00] we’re at the height of what they can do with making silent movies. And those movies are fantastic when they can move the camera, the way that they mean, you look at some of the tracking shots and wings, it’s phenomenal.
Just. How, how they were able to tell
Sean McArdle: story just visually at this point, then talking movie starts in 27 and every, within a couple of years, 90% of movies are talking. And within, by the time he gets, there will be thirties, only chaplains can still make making silent movies and city lights and modern times everybody else moved to talkies.
Even the, you know, you have the Marx brothers and really taking off and the Busby Berkeley musicals, but what happens is. That cinema language kind of bulls apart four, five, 10, almost 10 years. Meaning what happens is. Because now that you have to add sound to it, you can’t move cameras. Like you used to, you can’t use these big dollies, they’re squeaking and loud and you know, directors, screaming directions that people to move this [00:11:00] Dolly and move out of the way and stuff.
You know, you can’t have a Howard Hawks on a top of an air, an airplane flying around because you can’t capture sound, you know? So the camera becomes very, very slow. Still on stationary and things go back into not being shot outside, but shot like in studios where you can control the sound. If you’ve ever seen the beginning of singing in the rain.
Remember like whenever they’re they’re they’re trying to adjust the sound and try to capture the sound and and how much difficulty they have just getting the mic in the proper place. Well, that’s hilarious. And I love that scene, but that’s what goes on for Bob. Five years, at least it’s, they, they, they completely forget how to make movies and they’re just trying to capture audio and they have to remake all this gear so that it’s not noisy.
And they have to find ways to make mikes where they can capture the audio. It makes synchronous sound. And so. It, it takes too about the late thirties for movies to become movies. Again, like there’s an era right there from like [00:12:00] 27 to 35 movies kind of suck. They really kind of suck. And w are a great example of that is you watch the universal like Frankenstein the very first Frankenstein.
Watch that movie comes out, I think in 31 32, something like that. Right. If I get signed cause on 35, Bride of Frankenstein is drastically better than the original Frankenstein. And that’s because like, there’s something weird about the first Frankenstein movie, because they haven’t figured out how to use like a sound like they would know how to use music yet.
They don’t know how to like, will the audience understand there’s just music playing while they think of, well, where’s the record player at, you know, their audiences understand this well, an audience to be able to understand how sound works in the movie, you know, they can’t. They, they haven’t really figured out sound effects.
Either. The sound effects are really kind of weird and goofy. It takes a while for them to figure out fully work, sound design, all that stuff throughout like the early thirties. And a great example like that is a great example is when you watch Dracula and Frankenstein [00:13:00] and it just how silent those movies are, even though they’re there, they do have talking to dialogue to very silent, that very stagey, the camera moves are very lame and it’s very like.
It’s, it’s not very dynamic. Those movies are kind of boring. Then watch bride of Frankenstein and it’s light years better. Just how much the technology changed between the earth. And then also you get king Kong and what 33 34, somewhere around there. And by the time you get king Kong, you’re, you’re getting to like, Peak Hollywood again, it takes, you know, like I said, it takes a good five years for them to really embed this technology again.
So when he gets a 1940, now you’re getting really close, like citizen Kane things on 41, Casa Blanca, 42, you have 30. And in 1939, he’s like,
[00:14:00] A dozen like classic classic movies that come out that year. That’s like, now we’re back to peak. They figured all this out. They know how to make a goddamn movie again. And so I think kind of like that era, because it’s, it’s kind of a, it’s kinda neat to see. It’s like, all right, you guys figure it out again.
Took you about a decade, figuring out how to make a movie again. That’s a long answer or a long winded answer to your question.
Yeah, well, when Dexter did the artwork, but I, I work at like kind of like Keith, Keith gets them where I do like a lot of thumbnails and breakdowns, depending on the page. Uh, Lots of times if, you know, maybe I just give him, I want to see what he gives me. So I just, you know, but sometimes the, the jokes or the the action is very visual [00:15:00] and saw.
I need to do like little sketches. And lay it out. But I guess I am thinking like a director. I am thinking like visually like a director, but at the same time I wanted this to live and breathe and die as a comic book, I wanted to utilize what art on a page, separated by gutters and what A sequential art, what, what you can achieve with sequential arts and try to try to allow this thing to breathe on the page and not be, you know, just you know, a pitch or approve a concept for a movie.
I wanted this thing to exist as a comic because comics are awesome.
Casey: That being the case, like what, what were your inspirations? And sequential, you know, sequential storytelling that, that you kind of used for this book.
Sean McArdle: Oh that’s a good question. Alan Morris always like the bar that I will never reach.
So I’m constantly rereading Watchman, promethium [00:16:00] miracle man from hell. You know, I’m constantly re just going through it, just breaking down and trying to understand how more. Was he able to create those books in eight that’s that’s a, that’s a mountaintop. There’s no way I can sum it, but just, just the act of trying to climb up.
But I think I’m able to achieve something
Casey: what’s that, you know, we’re shipping enough snake gods.
Sean McArdle: Yeah, I know. Yeah. To work on that. But really, probably some of the biggest would be like Darn Rosa. Like I freaking love Don Rowe says so the life and times discouragement, Doug that’s, that’s a huge one for me are just all of the Don Rosa books.
Yeah, I got them all right here. You know, all the, all the, the Scrooge books, you know,
Casey: it’s crazy timeless. Those are and how well done they were. It’s like they were keyed in on what makes sequential storytelling. Great. Just that early is [00:17:00] wild.
Sean McArdle: Yeah. Well, the thing with Don Rosa too, especially What I find fascinating about him was, you know, th the, the, the dude chose this as a profession.
Like he had a family business, they could take taken over in, you know, it was already rich, but he chose the draw. He chose to draw comics, but you chose to draw only one kind of comic. And that was Scrooge McDuck comics and Donald duck comics. The guy could have been doing Marvel books. The guy could have been doing anything he wanted, and he chose.
That. And I think he’s kind of underrated a lot because he kind of gets lumped in this, like just doing the duck books, but the things that he does in those books, in the, the the avenue that he takes to tell a story and really experiment with panel design and layout in a way that is very fun and easy to read And it’s goofy and it’s, it is silly.
And also it’s sometimes can just be completely astounding and his draftsmanship is [00:18:00] so freaking great. Like he has such a great artist and draftsman. But, you know, people don’t really pay attention to him because he did,
Casey: you know, Carl boxes, you know? Yeah,
Sean McArdle: yeah. Probably a little bit of that. Not involve barks too. But there’s something, something about the way that Rosa the case. So like, what do you look at? The, the the back matter in life and times of Scrooge McDuck. And you read about like how he thoroughly researched every single panel that Carl barks wrote about.
And if Carl broke barks wrote like Scrooge McDuck, having a throw away line about talking about being in the Dakota in North Dakota during a certain period of time, you know, and he did this and he it’s just like a throwaway line. He would do all this research and put it on a timeline and figure out way.
Actually Don Scrooge McDuck would’ve had to been there. And then [00:19:00] when he does that, he did a lot of research and thought out that, you know, Teddy Roosevelt was also there at the same time. So Teddy Roosevelt shows up in that issue and a is a big component. And part of that issue, I love that kind of research and the way that he’s not like hemmed in by history and what actually happened.
But at the same time was able to like actual, real history story. And that’s what I tried to do with my huge, huge influence on this.
Casey: Gee, I wonder, I wonder where where your inspiration came from. Somebody using history and their comics. Exactly.
Sean McArdle: That is another one. Another big inspiration was a Sergio gobies.
I don’t know if you ever read mad magazine. Oh, yeah, yeah, yeah. I’d love a Goonies, but like he did the all those like little like stories, like little one, one panel jokes or in the, well, so what’s that grew. I love grew. Yeah. But like he, his storytelling sensibility and [00:20:00] his the way he would set up a joke in mad magazine stuff and the way that he visually, because all of his stuff is like super visual.
There’s no like real There’s, there’s not dialogue. It’s just all visual. And so, like, I kind of keyed into that a lot too. So it’s all over the map, you know, I’m like looking at my shelter and to figure out what else, maybe some therapists, I don’t know, tons of stuff. And, you know, bread was fodder.
Casey: You have a day job.
Like most of us. Yeah, I do.
Sean McArdle: You you teach, correct? Yeah, yeah. Yeah. I do. I teach I teach at Kent state university.
Casey: That’s wild. What, what do you teach there?
Sean McArdle: Production. I teach film production and I also teach I teach one class called elements of film, which is actually like the history of film. And you know, we start with the beginning of cinema all the way through it.
I really enjoy that class. But then also I teach production classes, like, teach one like story for film, which is like screenwriting teach, editing, stuff like that.
[00:21:00] Casey: Awesome. Awesome. I can. Just hearing you talk about film. I can see film and comics. I can see where your passions lie. So of course you’re going to be teaching about it.
That’s awesome. And I’m sure your, your students get a lot out of that. Wow. How, how has Ken state right now? It’s end of the year. Yeah. Camp is pretty wild.
Sean McArdle: I wouldn’t know. It’s just the opposite. I just turned in all my grades. Canvas is empty, you know, all my classes, all my classes were online this semester, which kind of sucked.
It’s not the same teaching online as as, as in person. I think I’m funny or in person.
So it was so hard. Oh, it was difficult. It’s so difficult. I feel bad for the students, but you know, they did, they did well. They, they, they really adjusted and they did well with it, really looking forward to getting back to them. Teaching in person next [00:22:00] semester.
Casey: That’s that’s awesome. Yeah, I can, I could definitely see you as, as a film teacher, so does not surprise me.
You’re working with source point source fully has done a lot of books that I thought were. I thought were really awesome. They’re they’re really swinging for the fences on a lot of these books and just putting out some amazing stuff. How has your experience been with them?
Sean McArdle: Oh, it’s been fantastic.
They really helped me navigate some of the legal rights with the chaplain mistake. Wow. Yeah, that was a big thing. Help. Excuse me. I haven’t been drinking Sapporo
Casey: Friday, right? Oh yeah. Yeah. I got my local brew going. So
Sean McArdle: that’s high leaders. I thought I grew up in the sport. So, sorry, sorry. That reminds me of when they helped me navigate.
And they were like, no, no, no.
[00:23:00] It’s more the trademark it’s the tramp trademark was the problem. Yeah. The lightness, you know, he’s dead and he’s a public character. So that’s a little bit less of a problem. The bigger problem comes from the actual tramp is a trademark character. So like me making a book about, because I went into this thinking, okay, cha and I did I hired a lawyer?
Well, I paid for an hour’s worth of time with a lawyer and consulted everything before I wrote the book. And You know, they want me to put down like a seven grand retainer and there’s a way that almost the cost of the book. Yeah. Yeah. And but you know, so I felt like I was in pretty good solid ground with that, but then the problem came from, I didn’t the lawyer I talked to didn’t look at it as a trademark and wasn’t a trademark attorney.
So like whenever someone’s trademarked. That’s way different [00:24:00] than using like a public figure. That’s like if I would’ve made a comic about Ronald McDonald, you know, Mickey mouse, you know, it’s, it’s a different level of litigation that I would certainly lose.
Casey: So, are you going to avoid trademark characters from now on?
Sean McArdle: Oh, probably my whole theory is like, there are so many reasons to not do something. So, The only person I need to ask permission from is myself. And I’ll ask for forgiveness later. That’s my, that’s my strategy because there are so many reasons not to do something. And if I thought about all the reasons not to do it, I wouldn’t do anything.
So the only thing that I go toward is my own passion and my own my own muse. So if, if it’s a story that I can’t get out of my head, To me, it’s kind of like sometimes stories just become like assessing me and I can’t stop [00:25:00] thinking about this, you know? Pazuzu demon, that’s inside my head about this story.
And then I just got an exercise, this thing out and, you know, perform an exorcism, which is like creating the book. And then I, you know, vomited all over you guys. And then you guys have to deal with that demon.
Actually it 100%, no reason you couldn’t do that, don’t listen to anybody. And the only person you need to listen to is yourself. Really the only person you need to listen to is yourself.
You know, I’m probably don’t talk in 100%. Don’t listen to me. I’m not a lawyer, but as a creator, listen to your muse. [00:26:00] Thank you. And thanks, Casey. Brilliant. I’m really excited to be chaplain. And next one, I don’t know what kind of marketability there is. It’s it’s it’s about wearables, you know, it’s about Never can as her being the first werewolf.
Sean McArdle: wow.
Casey: That is awesome. I love the book,
book it Daniels labs, dude. You heard it here first, the book of Daniel slaps?
Sean McArdle: Yeah. Yeah. I’m referencing the book of Daniel harden it dead sea scrolls.
Casey: Awesome. Awesome. We’d love to get you back on to talk about right. We’re
Sean McArdle: comic stores. So if, if you it’s it’s available in previews. Comes out June 28th, the order code is EPR. 21, 1923. So, you know, until I started making comics, I never understood the order codes and never really thought about the order codes. [00:27:00] When I ordered my stuff in previews, right. In the April issue of previews, the 21 is this is the year 2021.
So April 21. And then on 1923, I just remember that that’s that, that’s the actual, it’s actually the 1,923 entry in previews. So I remember 1923 because, you know, I dunno it was a good year. I guess, apple was doing some cool shit. Right here, right before the crash born. Twinnings
Casey: you could, you could lie and be like that’s when the beer helped huge happen and
Sean McArdle: you’re right.
I should’ve said that.
Casey: That was the winning me on PR, man. I’m really good at this stuff. I can pull stuff out of mass really well. I shot it. It was awesome talking to you, man. I can’t wait. To to read the book and I can’t wait to see, you never could Nez or a werewolf book. Would you,
[00:28:00] Sean McArdle: you want to see a sneak peek?
Oh, of course. Okay. Here. Oh, you did you disabled screen sharing? I know we have four
Casey: minutes, but I keep my eyes open for it because I don’t know. I felt Sean, thank you so much for coming on. And Renee is going to be a fixture on the show. Awesome. She’s she’s our new interviewer and As you can tell she’s really good at it.
Sean McArdle: positive way to light bulb.
Casey: No worries. I’m glad to have you on the team. So Shawn dude enjoy your summer. And my wife is an educator and right now it’s like the end of the year kindergarten graduation for her is next Monday. And she was telling me about lesson plans and I was like lesson plans for next week.
I was like yet, she said, yeah, Graduation is Monday. I hope they don’t fucking come back. [00:29:00] I could see where the mood is, so,
Sean McArdle: Sounds awesome.
My experience is just, I have a couple of weird ones, but most of it is pleasant. I get to talk about films and movies and. You know, all kinds of cool stuff and students just have a listen.
Casey: That sounds like a dream job, actually.
Sean Renee. Thank you again, Sean. You guys can go out and pick and Carlos books you’re in the train at a local comic shop. Be sure. And tell them about the book, tell them, get the book is from source point, press purveyor of fine books and good artists and writers. Yeah. I have a few [00:30:00] buddies that have done stuff through source point and every time I read the books, they look amazing and Yeah, it’s a good publisher.
I’m impressed with what they’re doing. I think that’s reasonable. All right. Well, you guys have a good evening and Sean, we’ll get this up ASAP.
Sean McArdle: Alright.
Casey: Have a good weekend.