I’ve been dying to tell the world for weeks, but now it’s official, YES, ONE-HIT WONDER is going to be published by Image Comics everywhere in the world where comic books are sold.
This has been a long journey for the book. And when it reaches the American/international market this February, expect some surprises.
It all started with a meeting with a fine gentleman named Jean-Marc Besnier. I approached him back in 2012 at the Japan Expo/Paris Comic Con with a strong desire to work with him on a project. Jean-Marc is the owner of a small French publisher called Indeez Urban Comics. I offered him a project called “Gangsta Grill”, with Ariel Olivetti already on board.
A few days before, an informal conversation with Ariel started it off. He was off his Marvel exclusive contract and was interested in working on something that was not superheroic, and yes, he was open to me sending him ideas and pitches. He chose “Gangsta Grill” among the dozen I sent his way. This is a story about a boy who witnesses the assassination of a Tupac-like rapper and violently kills the killers. He’s then sent by his family to Japan to channel his inner desire to kill into something else: being a master-butcher. Back in the US, he becomes a world class meat/grill expert and has forgotten about the rapper’s murder, until something makes him click, awakening the serial killing beast in him. Anyway…
Then I went to San Diego and I remembered a conversation I had back in January with my good friend Joe Keatinge (writer of Glory, Hell Yeah, Morbius and the current Marvel Knigths Hulk). Joe always come to Paris for Angouleme. He loves Angouleme as much as I love the American conventions. When I picked him at the airport, I just had the idea for a comic book called “One Hit Wonder”. An actor who never succeeded in comedy but went to the dark side as a hitman. Joe liked the pun very much and encouraged me to write the book. But at that time, I wasn’t much inspired.
Cut to Summer 2012. I was in the plane to San Diego and I had convinced Jean-Marc to let me do Gangsta Grill with Ariel. But it all became clear in my head : Ariel was born to draw One Hit Wonder. I wrote the first 22 pages during the 11 hour trip. And I sent it to Ariel immediately after I landed. He loved it. He said (as I expected) that he’d prefer to work on that series rather than on “Gangsta Grill”. Ironically, at the San Diego Comic Con, I met with another artist who’ll be perfect for Gangsta Grill and I hope one day, he’ll have enough time to do that series with me.
A few hours after coming back to Paris, late july, I called up Jean-Marc and told him there was a change of plan. He was cool enough to believe in me and let me create the book I wanted. We agreed that One Hit Wonder wouldn’t be the title for the French edition as the pun isn’t understandable by the locals. So I opted for Hollywood Killer, which is not a French title but is very easy to understand.
Fast Forward : Angoulême Festival 2013. Jean-Marc and I had a crazy idea. We wanted everyone to notice that One Hit Wonder/Hollywood Killer was a different book. So we orchestrated a viral marketing campaign all in english, culminating at the festival with the preview of the series, also in english. It was never our intention to publish the full series worldwide, in Shakespeare’s mothertongue, but we wanted everyone to get that we had done things the way no other French publishers do.
The preview was a success. And it paved the way for the international career of the book. It certainly helped getting us to Image Comics. The French album containing the first two episodes was finally released on June 20th 2013 in F
rance. Indeez Urban being busy with many projects and One Hit Wonder being a big-budget blockbuster, I made a deal with Jean-Marc so that Ariel and I would finish the series as a creator-owned book at Image Comics.
It has then expanded from 4 issues to 5 and we’re having a terrific time telling the tale of Richie Reese.
I owe a lot to Jean-Marc, Joe and Ariel. None of this would have been possible without those three amigos.
Now, the sky is the limit, and Richie is going to roll with the body count!!!! 🙂