Jack 1979 is a comic that features one of history’s most notorious killers—as a time-traveling monster hunter in 1970s Los Angeles. The Jack 1979 Kickstarter campaign just launched, and writer Jp Hart was kind enough to spend some of his time answering our questions!
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Black Ship Books: Here’s a pretty generic opening question, but let’s see how interesting we can make it! How did you get into comics, Jp?
Jp Hart: Well I’ve been a fan of comic books since I was just a young lad. I remember going to the comic book store and reading comics, without any real understanding of what was going on in them. Honestly, child me probably just liked the cool pictures and the characters. It wasn’t until high school that I read my first non-superhero comic, Earthboy Jacobus, by Doug Tennapel. It really made me see that comics could be so much more than the superhero stories I was used to reading. From then on, I was hooked. I read everything I could. I have gone down a few different paths in my life but they’ve all led me back to comics. It’s home.
BSB: A time-traveling Jack the Ripper as a monster hunter is a seriously trippy concept! What can you tell us about the genesis of the idea?
JPH: Well, it was actually created by accident. I was working on the script of another comic, and I needed some side characters from different eras of time. I wanted to have a Victorian-era character and I thought Jack the Ripper would be perfect. Eventually, I abandoned my idea and started working something else. A few years later I was trying to think of something new to pitch and I found my way back to Jack the Ripper. I knew I had to give him an edge, so I decided to set the book in 1979 Los Angeles. As a Los Angeles native myself, I thought it would be the perfect location to set the book, probably out of laziness. As for why it’s set in 1979 and not the present, I felt that bringing a character from the past to the modern era has become a bit cliché. I wanted to still base in the past, just not 1888.
Another big inspiration for the book is my love of the LA Noir. It may not be readily apparent in the first issue of Jack, but I really plan for the book to have an air of mystery about it. I see Jack as more of a hard-boiled detective than just a typical monster hunter.
JPH: We actually met through the Digital Webbing Forums, which are, as most amateur comic book creators know, heaven on earth. I checked out some of his art and I loved his style on the site and decided to pitch him my idea. Luckily, he loved it and was on board to do a Kickstarter campaign with me. We have been working on this book together now for the better part of a year and I can honestly say that he has become one of my good friends. He has helped me to shape the character a ton over the last year. Honestly, I consider the character and whole book to be half his. There would be no Jack 1979 without Davey Siddall.
I want to also mention the two other members of our distinguished team. Jeff Graham is our very talented inker and Joshua Jensen is our amazing colorist. They are both serious professionals and Davey and I are both honored to have them working with us on this book.
And I’m honored to be working with all of them!
BSB: It’s a great team for sure! Is this your first published work? If the Kickstarter goes well (or, I feeling I should say when it goes well!) do you have any backburner projects you’d like to move onto?
JPH: This would be my first published work. I love that enthusiasm! I have a tendency to get tunnel vision when working on a project. I haven’t really thought about my post-Jack 1979 endeavors. If the Kickstarter is successful, I’d really like to spend some time trying to get the book professionally published. I mean, I definitely have more ideas, but as far now, it makes me feel almost unfaithful to pursue any of them. Maybe after all of this is done, people will want to work with me more! It can be tough out there for an aspiring comic book writer. I was very fortunate to meet the people I have.
JPH: Many a night has been spent asking myself the same question. I have the first arc planned out. I really want it to be a self-contained story. Davey and I have talked about where we go after that but those ideas are much more loose. They involve Jack traveling to different places, and meeting a lot of cool people. Maybe even some more historical figures pop up!
BSB: Time for some high-concept marketing! In one sentence, tell us what makes Jack 1979 so damn cool, and why we should contribute to the Kickstarter campaign.
JPH: He is a mustache-wearing, monster-hunting, mystery-solving son-of-a-bitch with a heart of gold!
BSB: Sounds good to me! Once again, the Jack 1979 Kickstarter just launched, so everybody be sure to check it out.