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A 27 Encore: Charles Soule Interview

Written by Christian Hoffer on Friday, March 25 2011 and posted in Features

Charles Soule returns to the Outhouse to discuss the end of 27: First Set and what's next in the world of Will Garland!

Six months ago, Charles Soule spoke to the Outhouse about an upcoming Image miniseries called 27.  Thanks in part to an upswell of interney hype before the first issue hit stores, 27 was a huge success.  Like any good artist after a magnificent performance, Soule returned to the Outhouse to give an encore interview about 27: First Set and what's to come in his next miniseries. 

The Outhouse: Needless to say, 27 was a runaway success. Were you surprised at how well received the book was?

Cover to 27: First Set #3
Charles Soule
: Frankly, yes. When you write a book (or embark any creative project that takes a long time to complete), you get into a zone where you've spent so much time with it that it becomes difficult to evaluate its appeal in an objective way. You know whether you've made it the way you want it to be, but your ability to determine whether it's something anyone else will "get" just vanishes. I mean, I knew Renzo's art was perfect for the story, and I remembered a time early on in the project when I thought it seemed like something people would enjoy, but when it finally got out there, I was as nervous as any creator putting something out into the world. So, when it connected with readers the way it seemed to, I was floored... and humbled... and jazzed as hell, of course.

OH: How do you feel the book turned out? Is there anything that you would have done differently?

CS: I'm actually very happy with it. There's only one thing I might have done slightly differently – when I conceived the project, I wasn't certain whether it would be published as 22-page floppies with a hoped-for trade, or as an OGN all together. So, I didn't completely script with a 22-page format in mind – in fact, my initial concept had it broken out in 27-page sections, which would be completely unmanageable from a publisher's standpoint. (You can still see a little of that in the finished version – count 27 pages from the beginning, across Issues 1 and 2, skipping the first page of each issue, and you'll see where the original 27-page break would have hit.) Anyway, if I had known from the very beginning how it would be released, I might have changed some of the pacing towards the beginning – but just a little. I think the book works very well as it is, and that's really thanks to Renzo, Scott Forbes, Shawn DePasquale and the folks at Shadowline for their guidance and great suggestions throughout the whole process.

OH: How much did the story change from the first draft to the final product?

CS: The first draft, the first glimmer of 27, didn't have any music in it, if you can believe that. I had an idea about a sort of a riff on the "Dial H for Hero" concept that I was playing around with, but the story didn't start to, ahem, "sing," until I melded that with the 27 Club and made the main character a musician. Otherwise, though, this one came together smoothly, and didn't vary much from the outline I made at the point I added the music elements.

OH: Can you give us any hints about the upcoming volumes of 27? How soon will they be coming out?

Cover to 27: First Set #4
: The next volume of 27 is entitled 27: Second Set. It's scheduled for release in September. It'll be a four-issue mini, just like the first one (which we're calling 27: First Set when it's collected.) Second Set will have a self-contained story, just as First Set did. As for what Second Set is actually about, well, here's a hint – I'm delving into another famous area of rock music mythology that will seem very thematically appropriate when people figure it out. And yes, the homage covers will continue – although not with members of the 27 Club. I can't wait – should be a blast.

OH: I've heard that 27 will have quite an impressive trade in June. What bonus materials will be in upcoming trade?

CS: It's stuffed to the gills, believe me. The biggest "extra" is probably the all-new 12-page backup story entitled "Crossroads Blues." It's got art by Renzo, and serves as a nice palate cleanser before we get to Second Set. Beyond that, there's just tons of additional material explaining some of the fun little mysteries we layered into the book, a new, stunningly gorgeous cover from Scott Forbes, the answer to the infamous '27 Puzzle,' and more. It will be released in June, and it should hit Previews any minute. Make sure to preorder if you want to pick it up – you have no idea how much that helps creators, particularly indie guys. It's one of the best ways to show support to books.

OH: Besides the next volume of 27, do you have any upcoming projects you can talk about?

CS: I do! The biggest non-27 thing I have cued up is Strongman Vol. 2: Oaxaca Tapout, the sequel to the super-fun action/crime book I put out through SLG a few years ago (entitled Strongman, obviously). Strongman 2 is as good as anything I've ever done, and I'm really looking forward to it getting out in the world. It does need support, though, like any indie book these days. If you like 27, ask your retailer to order Strongman and Strongman 2 – they're also available on Amazon here: . What else... I just signed a deal for another OGN I'm excited about, not related to either Strongman or 27. I'll announce details on that as soon as I can, and I have a number of other projects in the works as well. The best place to keep up with my upcoming projects is either on my Twitter feed (@charlessoule) or my blog: . And of course, thanks for the support and interest in my stuff!

The trade version of 27: First Set hits stores in June.

Written or Contributed by: Christian Hoffer

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About the Author - Christian

Christian is the exasperated Abbott to the Outhouse's Costello. When he's not yelling at the Newsroom for upsetting readers or complaining to his wife about why the Internet is stupid, he sits in his dingy business office trying to find new ways to make the site earn money. Christian is also the only person in history stupid enough to moderate two comic book forums at once.


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