Barbra Dillon, Fanbase Press Editor-in-Chief: Congratulations on the upcoming release of the first issue of your comic book series, Jazz Legend, through Scout Comics! For those who may be unfamiliar, how would you describe the book’s premise, and what inspired you to tell this story?
JC Lacek: Thanks a lot. It’s funny, I never know what to say to this question, considering the series - in many ways - doesn’t follow some common conventions. Like, there’s not what you would traditionally call a hero’s journey and the protagonists, well… even using the term “anti-hero” would be taking serious liberties. The story pulls from a mix of influences including avant garde jazz, the macabre, classic noir, and beat literature. For me, Jazz Legend is a world where these influences intersect. The lead characters, a gigging jazz musician and a reclusive novelist, are essentially thrown into this world of drugs, insanity, and the supernatural. It’s a sink-or-swim situation, and unfortunately for them, there’s a disproportionate amount of the former. We’ve been using a quote with our promotions with Scout which we feel sums things up pretty nicely:
If Miles Davis had been the one to fall down the rabbit hole in Alice in Wonderland, you would have had something closely resembling the bizarre and turbulent world of Jazz Legend.
BD: What can you share with us about your creative process in working with Vasco Duarte, Patrick Gama, Cristian Docolomansky, Adrian Sibar, and Stephen Jackson, and what have been some of your creative influences?
JCL: Getting a new series off the ground is work. I feel lucky to have been able to bring Jazz Legend to life with a team who understood the vision and brought their A game to the table. Sometimes, making an ongoing comic series can begin to feel a bit like an assembly line; it’s unavoidable at a certain level. With Jazz Legend, however, I can say that it has felt more like the camaraderie of a sports team. We’ve hustled to be our collective best, and as a team we want to win. I’m hugely proud of the work we’ve done.
As far as influences, I’m a sucker for genre mashups. Stories like Image’s East of West, Vertigo’s Preacher, or the HBO series, Westworld, these are the future in my opinion. When genres are blended in the right way, they have a way of evolving into something new altogether. For me, when it’s done right, it just doesn’t get any better.
BD: What do you hope that readers will take away from your work?
JCL: I feel like it’s important to say at this point, you don’t need to know anything about jazz to get this book. This story is a noir, it’s fantasy, and it has Lovercraftian elements. If you’re a fan of any of the genres, you’re likely to dig Jazz Legend. As far as takeaways, well… after checking out issue #1, you’ll likely notice there are many loose ends all going different directions. The truth is, it will get even more chaotic in the coming issues; however, like a good jazz improv, the story will eventually hit that point where everything suddenly clicks and what seemed like noise unexpectedly becomes music.
BD: Issue #2 of Jazz Legend is currently available for pre-order through the Diamond catalog. How many issues do you have planned for the series?
JCL: Yes, #2 is set for a June release with #1 releasing in May. This arc is six issues and will completely wrap up this storyline. I’m considering the idea of making Jazz Legend an anthology series similar to HBO’s True Detective, meaning the vibe of the series is kept intact but follows a new storyline for each arc.
BD: If given the opportunity to expand your series into other entertainment mediums, in what format do you hope to see it adapted?
JCL: Ha, the million dollar question. First, I love making comics and that is where my heart is creatively. Nevertheless, I would be lying if I said it wouldn’t be amazing to see it adapted. Without a doubt, it would be best as a TV series. Having that much time to tell a story, to add nuance to the mystery and seediness of the Jazz Legend world, letting the tension build with a slow burn. Yes, I could really see it reaching its full potential in that sort of setting.
BD: Are there any upcoming projects on which you are currently working that you would like to share with our readers?
JCL: I have irons in the fire for four other series which I have yet to pitch. So, as of now, nothing to formally announce, but I will say they are worlds away from the darkness and grit of Jazz Legend.
BD: Lastly, what is the best way for our readers to find more information about Jazz Legend?
JCL: Starting in May, you should be able to find Jazz Legend at your LCBS or for direct order from www.scoutcomics.com. If you’d like to pre-order you can check out www.firstlegacycomics.com and just do a quick search for Jazz Legend. Besides for that, please follow me at www.facebook.com/jclacek for updates and info.