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David Walker talks to Frank Barbiere about The Precinct #3

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  • David Walker talks to Frank Barbiere about The Precinct #3

    David Walker, writer of Shaft: Imitation of Life #1, talks to writer Frank Barbiere about The Precinct #3, both now on sale from Dynamite!

    DAVID WALKER: As writers, we get this question all the time Ö ďWhatís it about?Ē How do you describe The Precinct to someone who has yet to pick it up?

    FRANK BARBIERE: For the completely uninitiated, I like to say itís Hellboy meets Final Fantasy in a steampunk setting. Beyond that quick sell, I would go on to explain that itís a steampunk crime procedural with bits of a magic and fantasy thrown in. Itís actually an extension of the world Bill Willingham created during Legenderry, but I was given the lovely opportunity to populate it with my own characters and think up a story unique to the setting.

    DW: How did you get involved in the series? Was this something you pitched to Dynamite, or did they come to you to breathe life into it?

    FB: Iíve had a great experience working with Dynamite, and we were discussing ďwhatís next.Ē The publisher, Nick Barrucci, mentioned they wanted to do a steampunk/crime book in the world of Legenderry, and I jumped at that and started pitching. And here we are! I had been thinking of a similar story for some time, so it was a great moment of creative synergy.

    DW: I like the mix of genres you have going on in the story. To me, it is very much a crime thriller, with the steampunk and fantasy elements added to give it a unique flavor. Are you approaching this as a crime/cop thriller first and foremost?

    FB: Definitely. I wanted to really think of a fun mystery to drive the series, and really lean into the genre of the procedural/police crime story. From there I built in the fantasy and steampunk elements, and it all kind of took shape. While I donít think it really subverts any genres, I feel by combining a few it becomes a more textured piece of fiction and works in many different tropes, which hopefully makes it more interesting!

    DW: For some reason, I keep picturing Charlton Heston, circa 1972, as Mortimer Hill (or at least hearing his voice while Iím reading his dialog). Is there an actor in your mind that would be perfect for Hill? How about Acolyte Winters?

    FB: Hmmm, thatís a good question, haha. I really just try to think of the character traits more and let that filter through the dialogue. With Mort itís all rough and tumble, dark history, and having to grow up with a thick skin. He doesnít believe in religion or faith. With Jo, itís the opposite: sheís very dedicated, spiritual and by the book. I really enjoy having their personalities conflict, and Iím glad they are coming across as full-blooded characters.

    DW: The look of the world of The Precinct is very distinct to the story, the setting and the tone. How much of that are you putting in the script, and how much of that is Crizam [Cristhian Zamora]ís contribution?

    FB: Crizam really has been an amazing collaborator and brought the visual world to life. I have tried to add some description into the script knowing that the world should have a ďlook,Ē but he really deserves all the credit. As Iíve mentioned, he has to do SO MUCH design issue to issue, and constantly does an amazing job. Most artists donít receive the credit they deserve for shaping the world, so I really want to be clear that both he and our colorist make this book a visual delight, and Iím so fortunate to have them onboard as collaborators. Itís easy to write ďmechanical minotaurĒ in a script; it takes a talented artist to give that shape and character!

    DW: What else do you have on the horizon that we should be looking out for?

    FB: Iím also working on [Dynamiteís] new Dejah Thoris book right now. Itís been a blast, and I hope readers join us for the adventure!

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