@’s by WHORE’s Jeffrey Kaufman!!!
MATT ADLER (MA): How did you first get into comics?
JEFFREY KAUFMAN (JK): I’ve been writing since I was a kid and I received my first comic book when I was six. 30 years later, as a lawyer, I was representing comic book creators pro bono. My writing career began when I started working, with one of the artists I represented, on a book called TOTEM. I wouldn’t recommend publishing the first thing you ever write, but learning through failure is a good way to remember what not to do.
MA: What made you want to write your own graphic novels?
JK: After writing 31 single issue books, I just decided I wanted to tell a complete story. I had a great premise for the book, “Terminal Alice”, about five female contract killers and I just wanted the time to produce my best stuff.
MA: Does your legal background help you at all in your writing?
JK: After spending 16 years practicing criminal defense, representing thousands of people in matters ranging from trespassing to murder, whether I like it or not, has changed me. I see things differently. Thousands of real life stories are constantly popping up in my melon. When I see fictional characters, I just naturally look for logical justifications. It does sometimes feel like I’m constantly running a Google search in my mind.
MA: What was the initial inception for the book that would become WHORE?
JK: I came up with Jacob Mars a couple of years ago but knew I couldn’t write the book. I didn’t want to write it without being able to title it WHORE. Knowing at the time most stores would not carry it, I wasn’t willing to take the risk. After producing my last book TERMINAL ALICE and seeing the other books which were being published, I believed enough stores would be willing to take the risk with me.
MA: Tell us a little about the protagonist, Jacob Mars.
JK: He’s an ex-black operations CIA agent who gets downsized and now has to do anything for money. He probably at one time was a pretty moral guy but that’s been beaten out of him. The end for him always justifies the means.
MA: What kind of tone are you aiming for with this book-- action, thriller, comedy, a mix, or something else entirely?
JK: WHORE does not have a specific genre. Life is life. It can be funny, adventurous, sick, sexy, sad and sometimes very confusing. I choose all the above. I want to constantly keep the reader amused and my goal is to slap them at the end. WHORE, if you want to describe it, it’s a little bit “James Bond”, a little bit DIE HARD with a final touch of the THE USUAL SUSPECTS.
MA: Did you have any specific influences or inspirations for the scenarios that appear in the book?
JK: A lifetime of nonsense is where I get most my ideas but concerts are always good for inspiring a ridiculous amount of my ideas. Without giving away any scenes, I’ve got a wife, kids, dogs, and everyday I see people suffer with real life issues. While some of the scenarios I throw at “Mars” seem absurd, I am simply shooting for believability in a sea of disbelief.
MA: What's it like working with Marco Turini?
JK: I have always loved Marco’s artwork and his style works very well with the story I’m trying to tell. He always follows through and has never been anything but 100% professional, and after seven years working with many artists, I appreciate it. Marco speaks very little English, but since I paste pictures into my scripts, words sometimes come second to the research.
MA: The book is due to be released on September 5th; what kind of reaction have you gotten so far in the pre-release publicity? Did it match your expectations?
JK: There have been a lot more negative reactions than I expected, but the positive reviews made the heat I took worth it. The hardest decisions can be the fight between one’s artistic integrity and the costs of sales. I knew some people would be offended by the name of the book and the cover alone. I get that and do respect other people’s opinions. I have my own, but being offended based on a word or an image, without looking at the totality of the work, goes against what I truly believe. In the end, people will make their decisions with their wallets.
MA: Do you have any plans to follow up on WHORE with a sequel?
JK: Actually, after hearing from the people who read the preview copies, I’m planning on a cross over sequel between TERMINAL ALICE and WHORE. We’re currently calling the project TERMINAL WHORE.
MA: Are you working on anything else?
JK: The next graphic novel we’re currently 30 pages into is called ANGEL FALLING about a woman who wakes up in an alley with no memory of being one of the most dangerous people on the planet. It’s set for a March 2013 release.
Matt Adler is a writer/journalist, currently writing for AICN among other outlets. He’s been reading comics for 20 years, writing about them for 7, and spends way, way, too much time thinking about them, which means he really has no choice but to figure out how to make a living out of them. He welcomes all feedback.
Proofs, co-edits & common sense provided by Sleazy G