Dark Horse Spotlight: Q & A With Concrete Park Creators Tony Puryear & Erika Alexander
Hi everyone! Today I’m happy to share this interview with you from the creators of Concrete Park. Currently running in Dark Horse presents CP is a wonderful melding of Action and Science Fiction. Scroll down to learn more about the creators inspirations and things to come:
1) Tell me a little about your writing and artistic background. Is Concrete Park your comic book debut?
Concrete Park is a comics debut for both of us.
Tony: “I trained as a painter at Brown University. I was a gourmet chef (my favorite job) and worked as an advertising art director at J. Walter Thompson under then-Creative Director, now best-selling novelist James Patterson. He taught me the writing trade, and I’ve been writing films for 25 years. High points include my 1996 Arnold Schwarzenegger picture Eraser and being hired to write pictures by both Sidney Poitier and Will Smith.”
Erika: “I’m known as an actress, but I have been writing for two decades. Tony and I often work together on TV pilots and screenplays. It’s great training for me to work with an A-list screenwriter.”
2) From your site I learned that you and your wife Erika came up with the concept together. What were your inspirations and influences for the story?
Erika: “Tony, my brother Robert and I share co-creator credit. We just made something we wanted to see. We were all inspired by the films like “City of God”. Octavia Butler’s work was a big influence. Another important touchstone for us is old soul music. Remember when the highest praise you could give a record was that it had “soul”?
Tony’s the longtime geek with world-building aspirations who idolizes guys like Jack Kirby and Jaime Hernandez. For example, Tony loved Kirby’s Dickens-esque names like “Scott Free”. Tony named our near-future megalopolis ‘Scare City’ and it’s a direct descendant of ” Kirby’s Fourth-World ‘Armaghetto.’
“I came up in independent film and theater, so I’m partial to the kind of maverick creative guys who raised me – folks like directors Peter Brook, Joseph Papp and of course comedy genius Bill Cosby. Working with these showbiz badasses showed me the importance of using your uniqueness and working outside the big tent. In all their cases, they ultimately went mainstream and changed the whole game.”
3) What I immediately enjoyed about part one is the diversity of the cast, from the color of their skin to their sexuality. Did you have any problems with these elements when you pitched it to Dark Horse?
Tony: “The ‘diversity’ you mentioned was one of the main reasons we created the project. Dark Horse knew what they were getting into, and liked it. That was very gratifying”
Erika: “We were trying to find a way around Hollywood’s institutionalized racism and gender inequality. Let’s face it, it’s almost impossible to do anything new. Because of the internet and comics publishers like Dark Horse, things are changing.
“Regardless of ethnicity, gender or resume, Dark Horse’s Mike Richardson saw Concrete Park and signed us up. In fact, I think what worked against us in Hollywood worked for us at Dark Horse. Mike took a look at Tony’s art and said ‘I want to publish Concrete Park.’ Mike may be the last of his kind.”
4) Tell me about ownership of Concrete Park. Do you retain all rights to your creation?
Erika: “Concrete Park is creator-owned. Dark Horse has optioned comic book rights.”
5) What are your plans for Concrete Park after its Dark Horse Presents run?
Erika: We are filmmakers so we think in moving pictures, but right now we are focused on making Concrete Park the best graphic novel we can for our publisher and our fans.
Thanks so much Guys!