An interview with Grumble writer Rafer Roberts
Rafer Roberts is the writer of the upcoming title Grumble from Albatross Funnybooks. With Grumble, he re-teams with A&A: The Adventures Of Archer & Armstrong artist Mike Norton. Rafer is awesome and I had the chance to talk to him about Grumble, working in fantasy and how Mike Norton is the guy if you need some pugs drawn.
For any reader on the fence about what Grumble is, how would you describe it?
GRUMBLE is about an amoral, magic-using conman who gets turned into a pug by an evil wizard, and his psychic, take-no-nonsense sidekick.
Eddie Endino has been using stolen magic to aid in his cons and schemes for decades, leaving him with nothing but enemies. Tala Palacio, the part-human, part-demon teenage daughter of one of Eddie’s old crew members, is being hunted by inter-dimensional sorcerers hellbent on eradicating impure magic from the universe. When Tala goes to Eddie for help, it sets off a chain reaction of magical chaos and destruction, beginning with Eddie’s accidental transformation into an adorable yet grumpy dog. Now on the run through Baltimore’s grimy underworld, Eddie and Tala must keep from killing each other long enough to escape the forces after them both.
It seems like we haven’t seen much that Tala and Eddie have done to have all this heat on them? Is there more to be revealed with later issues?
Oh, yes. And we’ll also watch as they call even more heat down!
Issue 1 starts with Eddie, still a human at this point, getting caught cheating a mob boss. Tala, already on the run from the inter-dimensional wizards who got her mom, helps rescue Eddie and finds herself caught up in his mess. From there, everything just snowballs!
Neither character is an angel before this point though, so we’ll have the occasional flashback as well.
Doing a book with pugs in it automatically means you had to have Mike Norton illustrate it, right? Was there other reasons to have him illustrate it?
Well, the whole thing started as his idea so I’d probably be a real jerk if I tried to get someone else to draw it!
We’d discussed working on something together ever since the end of our ARCHER AND ARMSTRONG run a few years ago, but nothing seemed quite right. We wanted to capture that same sense of character-driven anarchy, that chaos with heart, but it wasn’t until Mike pitched me GRUMBLE that we found ourselves a winner.
Honestly, Mike is a freakin’ pleasure to work with. We seem to have similar tastes in comics, and an equal desire to make something good and fun. With Marissa Louise on colors and Crank! in for letters, I think we’re making some damn fine comics.
What was it about Albatross Funnybooks that made them the publisher for Grumble?
I think it’s just the right aesthetic. Eric Powell has built an empire around incredibly well illustrated stories featuring some of the most action-packed and bizarre stories imaginable. I’d like to think that GRUMBLE fits that mold.
I’m loving working with Albatross, by the way. Eric has been super cool and incredibly supportive of what we’re doing and everything we’re trying to do.
You seem to be in a fantasy-oriented place right now with your work, examples being Modern Fantasy at Dark Horse Comics and now Grumble. Do you see yourself doing more in this genre?
Ha ha! Yeah, probably, though I didn’t do it on purpose!
I do try to make each project unique, though there can’t help but be some cross-pollination. With MODERN FANTASY, Kristen Gudsnuk and I veered towards traditional fantasy characters and tropes, even while putting everything in a more modern setting. GRUMBLE feels more like a caper flick, like MATCHSTICK MEN or THE HEIST, with Ditko-esque magic and Kirby-style action added in.
How far do you see the overall story of Grumble going and is the plan to have Mike Norton on all of it?
I could write this comic forever if you all let me! There are a few spots along the way where we can take a hiatus if need be, but I’ve got ideas for a good 30-40 issues at least.
And there is no GRUMBLE without Mike.
If fans want to follow you online and keep up with your books, where can they find you?
My infrequently updated website is here: http://www.plasticfarm.com though I encourage fold to follow me on Twitter @plasticfarm for more frequent news and fart jokes. I’ve also got a Patreon which you can find linked in my Twitter bio.
Grumble 1 from Albatross Funnybooks should be in shops on November 21st.