Indy Hunter gets to chat with the very busy but always hospitable Dirk Manning about his Kickstarter campaign to bring his widely-popular Tales of Mr. Rhee to print. Finally because you demanded it!
Hi Dirk, thanks’ for a taking the time out of what I can see is a very busy schedule! First off, If you don’t mind, can you recap a little bit on who Mr. Rhee is for those that were maybe slow to the show?
DIRK MANNING: It’s my pleasure, man! I’m currently approaching the mid-point of doing 13 signing appearances in 13 weeks, but I always try to take a few minutes where I can to talk to friends… especially if it’s about great comics! [laughs]
As for TALES OF MR. RHEE, it’s a modern pulp noir horror comic series (or, in this case, graphic novel) about a cryptic paranormal troubleshooter who lives in a post-Biblical Armageddon world that refuses to consider the fact that both some humans and monsters alike have been “left behind.”
Back when you created Nightmare World if ever there was a character that would spin out of those stories was Mr. Rhee that characters always?
DM: Honestly, in regards to NIGHTMARE WORLD characters, I always thought Brian Carter, the man who meets a Cthulhu priestess, kills his wife, goes crazy, and unleashes The Great Old One himself (as seen in the stories “You Oughta Know,” “Mine,” and “Eulogy” among others) would be the first one to get his own series… but Mr. Rhee (who can be seen making a cameo appearance as the janitor in “No One Knows”) sort of snuck past him and beat him to the punch, which is fitting since Rhee likes to punch things. Especially monsters. [laughs]
What is it about the character Mr. Rhee that motivates you to write him?
DM: Honestly, I think a lot of it has to do with the fact that he’s such a damaged and tragic character who, on top of that, finds himself in a very supernatural Kafka-esque, Orwellian world and society where he knows he’s right, but no one else is willing to believe him.
How has the response been from fans/readers alike in regards to Mr. Rhee?
DM: Very, very positive from everyone who read TALES OF MR. RHEE when we originally read the series when we posted it online for free as a follow-up to NIGHTMARE WORLD. Despite his gruffness and many flaws, Mr. Rhee is a character that if very, very easy to fall in love with… which makes his slow undoing throughout the course of this first graphic novel all the more compelling and tragic.
Any common accolades that you hear often when they approach your table at the conventions and shows?
DM: Well, I would always get asked when I was going to take TALES OF MR. RHEE to print..
so I guess that’s the best compliment of all.
Mr. Rhee it seems has been a staple of horror comics online and available on the web, what was the catalyst that finally decided he should grace the printed page once again?
DM: See above. [laughs]
Popular demand aside, Mr. Rhee is a character who I really want to continue writing, and as much as I love releasing (RHEE-leasing?) the comics online, I know there’s a good amount of people who would enjoy reading the series that I’m not reaching (RHEE-ching?) that way, so considering all of these factors, it only makes sense to take it to print.
Finally, taking it to print will allow me to include a lot of cool extras, including some new bonus background material, a new story or two, and that amazing cover by Riley Rossmo, who is one of my favorite artists currently working in comics!
Agreed! Is there a risk/thrill that Mr. Rhee – as a character or a franchise – may overtake your other horror series Nightmare World in popularity?
DM: You’re asking me to choose between my children, man! [laughs]
While I’m obviously very, very proud of NIGHTMARE WORLD and it’s still a book I can proudly and enthusiastically talk about and sell at shows, TALES OF MR. RHEE is a totally different type of series (and hopefully franchise). They’re both horror series… and astute readers will notice that Rhee pretty clearly takes place in the NIGHTMARE WORLD “universe”… but that’s where the similarities end…
Aside from them both being great comics, of course.
Let’s talk about the Kickstarter campaign for Mr. Rhee. What’s the goal?
DM: The goal is to offer fans who pre-order (and support) the series a really cool, completely limited-edition hardcover copy of the book – something that, upon getting it, will give them bragging rights forever and ever and ever.
And what can fans expect regarding some of the pledge prizes?
DM: As of right now there’s a few script-review sessions left, a few commissions from Josh Ross left, and a few more chances to be drawn into the book.
Will there be any other characters from the Nightmare World series going solo?
DM: Solo? Probably not. Several of them appear in TALES OF MR. RHEE Volume 1 in supporting roles, though… and a few of them are going to be MAJOR characters in the series as it continues.
Back to Mr. Rhee….after this kickstarter is done. When Mr. Rhee is in the hands of people everywhere. What is it you’d like people to take away from the story, from Mr. Rhee himself?
DM: I don’t want to spoil anything… but I will say that the end of TALES OF MR. RHEE Volume 1 is very… heavy… and it will undoubtedly leave readers pretty curious as to where things will (or even could) go next. All I can say, though, is that there is a long-term plan for Mr. Rhee...
A very long-term plan indeed.
To check out the kickstarter efforts of Dirk Manning, Riley Rossmo, and Mr. Rhee cruise by here: