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Bare Bones co-author Joe Gentile talks books

Moonstone co-founder and comics and novel writer Joe Gentile talks about getting hold of unfilmed script fragments from the Kolchak: the Night Stalker tv series, and turning them into comics...

READERSVOICE.COM: What’s the difference between writing a prose Kolchak short story and one of the comics Tales?

JOE GENTILE: Prose is much more structured, and therefore, more work to get it right. And “its all you”. In other words, there’s no artist for you to collaborate with. I do like prose. I like how deep you can get with story elements, and not have to worry about panel layouts or page count, like you do with comics. But both have their place for sure!

RV: In the story you wrote with Dave Ulanski, that you planned in Mexico, did you have an act structure in mind? How did you come up with the eight scenes needed for the story (which you then wrote alternately, leaving cliff-hangers for each other to solve)?

JG: It was a lot of work, but really a WHOLE lot of fun. We really didn’t put too many restrictions on ourselves, but we DID say we had to limit the length of each part that we did: trying to remain balanced. So if Dave wrote three pages, then I would write three pages. It was crazy and mostly unplanned, but I’d do it again! So, there was not a conscious act structure in mind. I think we both wanted to give a great story and not kill each other –two high minded goals!

RV: How did you get hold of the leftover tv scripts or fragments thereof from the cancelled origi nal tv series, some of which you based comics on?

JG: Jeff Rice [creator of the Kolchak character, and author of the novel The Kolchak Papers] had the rights to those stories.

RV: Have you ever spoken to any of the original writers of tv scripts, or maybe even the creator of Kolchak, Jeff Rice, and if so, did they say anything about writing Kolchak stories that struck you?

JG: I have talked to Jeff Rice, one of the TV shows producers and one of the directors…all VERY cool. I think a large part of who Jeff is/was IS Kolchak. Jeff was a reporter as well, and has very strong opinions….a definite truth seeker.

RV: Can you talk a bit about your stories where you combined the Kolchak character and Sherlock Holmes?

JG: It was many months of me losing my mind.

There is a mystery from 100 years ago, and BOTH of these investigators get involved in it, 100 years apart from each other. The reader will get to see BOTH guys tackle this mystery, as it all unfolds a bit at a time, until eventually, I hope(!), it will all make sense!

There’s some supernatural mystery, some little known historical facts, some romance, some violence, and some humor. I don’t want to give away too much, of course…

RV: What was it that struck you the most about the movies and original tv series of Kolchak: the Night Stalker?

JG: Kolchak himself. Now I know it was THAT as well as Darren McGavin’s portrayal that made the magic…I have read the original scripts, and while some are good of course, it was Darren who made them sing…

RV: There are a lot of people involved in the Kolchak comics, from interior artists, pencillers like Kirk Jarvinen, cover artists, writers, letterers, editors. How did you come across some of the people involved in putting together Kolchak comics, and the writers for the Kolchak short stories collections?

JG: Word gets out! And a lot of these folks were Kolchak fans and were excited to be part of what we were doing! We have been very fortunate.

RV: What are some of your plans for your writing and for Moonstone?

JG: For myself, in about four weeks, there will be a very cool comic called Succubus by Moonstone.

It’s about a demon who has been punished, but she is slowly realizing, as her memory becomes clear, that she wasn’t always this way…so, she doesn’t want to “be” a succubus anymore, but her urges are still very strong…Where is redemption?

I also have the aforementioned Holmes/Kolchak comic miniseries this summer, a prose short story in the Avenger Chronicles in a month or so, and eventually, an expanded Holmes/Kolchak NOVEL!