Welcome back, my faithful minions! Your Indie Huntress is here again, to romanticize you and carry you off into a magical place. Actually, this time it's more like a dark alley that is filled with unpleasantries. No worries though, I'll save you!
Your Indie Huntress has officially gone international! Exciting stuff! Avner approached me through Facebook, looking for someone to review his comic, BPD (Baltimore Police Department). He was interested in having it reviewed on my podcast with Michelle: The Mistresses of Mayhem and Chaos . However, we are booked with guests through July. (However I did pencil him in for August 1st!) I explained to him that I also write articles through here, and he replied, "I know. That's how I found you." Naturally, I was giddy that someone had sought me out on their own. Normally I am the one seeking out new prey. I requested the he email me the pdf's to his comic for reading and that I would get on it as soon as I could. As I spoke to him I learned he was from Israel. Israel! I couldn't believe my eyes as I read the text. I was excited at the prospect, because I love all things independent, and to think that I was reading one from another part of the world was pleasing.
Avner is 33 years old, born in Israel and spent some time in the States as a child. He make a living working for a PR firm that handles clients in the tech industry. In the past, he has worked as a journalist, an editor, as well as a content manager for a startup company. He studied communications, with an emphasis on creative writing and film production. In his spare time he is also an amateur musician, and stand-up comedian.
It took me a few days to make the time to read his comics; however, once I did, I was blown away. I'm a die hard fan of anything that is in relation to the following: detective stories, noir, exploitation, blood, dirty art, intense emotions, fear, and anything that goes along with those subjects. Needless to say, I was like Ralphie receiving the Red Ryder B.B. Gun.... In awe and wonder, yet in near tears because of how much I felt for the main character, Marty. More than a few times, I questioned to myself, "how could you do this? This is terrible!" The story is so well written, though I couldn't bear to stop. This comic is VERY mature, and definitley not for the faint of heart. It takes you through an emotional roller coaster, so intense that it created heart palpations and a sheen of sweat across my brow.... It is a painful story of torture brought upon four officers, a female in particular taking the worst of it.. and her quest for vengence. Set in a town called Baltimore, where it seems that crime has run rampant. As we follow the main character Marty, through her terrifying flashbacks and present journey. I became attached to this woman quickly, wanting to be right there with her, destroying her predators. While the PDF's were great, I'm craving to have the actual print in my hands. Of course, given my love for this comic; I had to interview Avner. It was too good to pass up. Here are the bits you crave...
What made you decide to write comics?
I've always been a great admirer of the medium. There's something in the flow of it, how it has a linear narrative, yet things occur simultaneously on the same page. I've been reading comics for as long as I could read. I've also been writing stories since I was a child, and I knew that I wanted to find the proper platform for my stories. When I finally decided to bring a story into form, I knew that comics were not only a proper medium, they are also one of the easiest to produce yourself. I do hope to someday write for TV and film, but even if I only write comics for the rest of my life - I'd be happy.
Where did the idea for BPD come from? What were your influences on creating this story?
I was studying screenwriting at the time, and my instructor taught us that any good movie's main idea can be written on a box of matches. So I made it a habit, and whenever I had an idea, I'd write it down as succinctly as possible. One of those ideas was BPD. I didn't even know where I would take it at first, but when I decided that I want to start working on a comic book, it was one of the ideas I pitched my partner, artist Vladik Sandler, and he really liked it - so we started developing it into a series.
I'm guessing that my greatest influences are Brian K. Vaughn, Garth Ennis and David Simon.
Did you make this comic availble in Hebrew as well?
I am heavily influenced by American culture, especially when it comes to comics. I spent four years in the States as a kid, and have kept informed about American culture, so that's the market BPD is aimed at. I will definitely create other stories in Hebrew in the future, but BPD is an American story that takes place in Baltimore.
How long of a story arc do you plan for this series? Will you be releasing a TPB?
We are currently finalizing issue #3 of a six-part series. When we're finished with the single issues, I believe that there's a good chance that we will put out a TPB. However, since we're self-published at the moment, we will probably need to find a partner/publisher to help us with printing and distribution.
While writing for these characters, what were you hoping to channel? Are any of these stories based on personal experiences through yourself or people you know?
I don't remember who said it, or perhaps it wasn't anyone specific, but I'm a firm believer in writing what scares you. If there's one aspect of society I hate, it's violence, and I think that mental anguish is something that everyone's afraid of. I think that's the reason for me making BPD so dark. It is about telling the story you wouldn't want to live through. Since I created all of the characters, I assume that they are all parts of me, even the ones I would never want to be. There's bravery and cruelty, weakness and strength, violence and compassion in everyone. I guess that I'm just trying to express the entire spectrum of emotions in my writing.
What other projects are you working on for the future?
Vladik and I will hopefully start working on a bio-comic of my grandfather's time in the second World War. He wrote a memoire about it which is absolutely fascinating. After he passed a few years ago, I started looking into turning it into a graphic novel and my grandmother is for the idea. I don't know when work will begin on that, but I assume it'll after we complete BPD.
Where can people find BPD?
Are there any creator shows in Israel? If so, how often? What is it like there as far as supporters of comics?
Israel's a small country, and as such, has a small comic book community. However, it is a very supportive community and there are quite a few great creators. We have several conferences each year, some are just about comics, other are about geek culture in general, and thousands attend each year. When I was growing up, it was pretty hard to get comics in Israel. You'd go to the local book store and find random issues on the magazine stand. Today, there are two very successful shops in Tel Aviv, both owned by people who adore the medium. One shop, Comics N' Vegetables, even won an Eisner award! So the community is growing and more and more readers are getting into it every day.
Where can people follow you for updates on your work?
Our Facebook Page and Twitter Account account are a good place to start! I always welcome more followers on my personal Twitter account, though people should know that I tweet in Hebrew as well as English. They are also welcome to follow Vladik on his artist page on Facebook.
As for me, you can find me all over the internet in the following places:
Podcast Archives Also- Check out our network partners Pat and Corey!
Michelle's Poetry (My podcast partner!)