Joshua Hechinger still hasn’t reached drinking age (that comes in July), but he’s already crafted a true comics gem in Grave Doug Freshley, a mash-up of comedy, horror and Spaghetti Western.
Cowboy and tough guy Doug Freshley takes a bullet to the head at the story’s start, but that’s not enough to stop him from a zombified revenge mission in the five-issue series from Archaia Studios Press. Hechinger recently spoke with me about where that idea came from, his love of Westerns and his upcoming projects.
COMICMIX: First, I’m curious about your choice to do a Western. Is that a genre you’ve long held an interest in? How did the idea of the book come about?
JOSH HECHINGER: I didn’t really care about Westerns one way or another for a while, actually. And then in high school, a friend of mine lent me The Good, The Bad and The Ugly… Pow, that was it. Instant Western fan.
As for Doug, well, a few weeks after watching The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly, I was doodling in class instead of paying attention. And I doodled this zombie cowboy and a kinda Huck Finn-y kid. I didn’t really do anything more with it, but it sort of hung around in the back of my head until Marv [artist mpMann] came calling.
CMix: How much comics writing had you done previously?
JH: Well, this is my first real book. But I’d been writing comics nobody else saw since eighth grade or so, and I wrote something like 400 pages of various scripts in a year and change of college. I was doing three to five pages a session, twice a day. Although to be fair, most of it was kinda completely crap.
But anyway, by the time I started Doug, I at least knew how to sit down and just pound out pages. The pages probably weren’t crackling with genius, but I find it easier to clean up something than to nail it on the first draft anyway. The important thing was that I wasn’t sitting down and getting psyched-out by a blank page.