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February 7, 2010

Indy Gems: Interview with Blacklist Studios!

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I recently had a chance to sit down and exchange e-mails with Thomas Hall and Daniel Bradford, the creative force behind Blacklist Studios. This dynamic duo has released some pretty exciting comics so far and the stuff they have in the works is gonna be just amazing!

COMICATTACK: First things first: could you take a moment to tell the readers little bit about yourselves. Who are you, where are you from, etc?

DANIEL BRADFORD: I am the artist and co/creator of Robot 13 and KING! and co/founder of Blacklist Studios. I guess you can also say that I am the art department for Blacklist Studios.

THOMAS HALL: I co/create and write Robot 13 and KING!, and I do all our promotions, marketing, sales and pretty much all the business stuff for Blacklist.

CA: Where are you from originally?

DB: Born and raised in Tucson, Arizona.

TH: Born in Paterson, NJ and lived in Butler, NJ from there out.

CA: What got you into comics?

DB: Batman got me into comics, Gotham By Gaslight made me want to make comics.

TH: My dad read me a Hulk comic when I was about 3 & explained to me that there was this person called a Writer whose job it was to write comics. That hooked me on comics and writing, and pretty much sealed my fate to get into this whole thing.

CA: Which writers could you say inspired or influenced you the most?

TH: Comic wise, I love Grant Morrison. I love the way he just runs with an idea and builds in all these details in his work to support it and makes a compete mythology around what he does. I also get a huge kick out of Steve Purcell and I guess everyone loves Neil Gaiman, right? Other than those guys, I read lot of literature- Mary Shelly, Edgar Allen Poe, William S. Burroughs… guys like that.

CA: Which artists inspired you or influenced your artistic style?

DB: It would be a dead tie between Mike Mignola and Stephen Gammell.

CA: What music are you listening to right now?

DB: Access Zero.

TH: I’m working on scripts for KING! right now, so I have been listening to alot of old school stuff. Public Enemy, Beastie Boys, Run DMC and some Johnny Cash and David Bowie. Oddly enough, I can’t listen to Elvis when I write KING! & I really am not sure why…

CA: If there was a zombie apocalypse tomorrow, would you be prepared?

DB: Prepared? I’m prepared to lead it.

TH: I’m a pretty good shot with a rifle, so sure. Bring it on!

CA: Robot 13 seems to have some influences from Greek mythology and the Greek epics, was there a particular reason for that?

TH: There are reasons that the Greek mythological stories have hung around for so long, and that’s because they strike a chord with people. In those stories, you found out something about the values of the Greeks, about the nature of Human beings and there were lessons that were being communicated. It was like their Bible in that sense; stories communicated the deeper ideals and concepts that people were supposed to live by. Anytime you go back to source material which is that rich, it’s easy to get inspired to do something great with it.

CA: Blacklist Studios is a rather new company; are there any other titles you are working on? If so could you tell us a little about them?

DB: Aside from Robot 13 we have KING! which is a book about an Elvis impersonating professional wrestler from the southwest who has pretty much retired from wrestling and has entered the profession of monster hunter. We’re also working on a crime / horror graphic novel that we have several plans for in the very near future. We hope to be able to talk about that soon in detail.

TH: Yea, there is KING! and we have a few other ideas that aren’t to the point where we can discuss them right now. I can say that, if things go the way we’d like them to, we will be doing a “Sword and Sandal” type story with I think will be pretty amazing. It’s a period piece with tons of action, and I think Conan and 300 fans will really get into it. Right now, however, we have alot to do with KING! and Robot 13, so we will have to see how everything comes together.

CA: From reading the first two issues of Robot 13 I get the feeling that it takes place around the 1920s. Would I be correct in that assumption?

DB: Close. In fact I think it’s cool you got that much out of the first couple issues. We didn’t provide much in the way of a time frame that the story takes place in.

TH: The main story that we follow in Robot 13 takes place in 1939 in the area of Spain, although we do show events from earlier times in the mini-series. While I don’t want to give too much away, I will say that some of the things going on in Spain, Europe and Greece in the late 30s will play a role in future Robot 13 stories.

CA: I find Robot 13’s lack of memories about himself and who he is fascinating. Will he ever uncover his past?

TH: Robot 13’s journey is to find out who he is, so we wouldn’t string you along and never give you that. That would be unfair- to you as a reader and to Robot 13 as well. But it’s kind of like you and me, in that when you get to a point in life where you think more deeply about your life, the question “Who Am I?” can take on many meanings and have many different answers. Some of those answers are pleasant and some not so much. So it’s kind of what you DO with that which makes for the big difference in life. Once Robot 13 knows all about his own past, what will he do with that? To me, that’s when it’s going to get even more fun.

DB: Totally. 100%. It’s what happens afterward that has the biggest impact.

CA: When I read Robot 13 I get the feeling of Hercules facing his challenges, especially with the big bad being revealed at the end of issue two. Which Greek heroes influenced Robot 13?

DB: For me it wasn’t necessarily a Greek hero but more along the lines of the concept of an advanced technology at the time. R13 is something of the embodiment of the entire idea of Atlantis. A form of forgotten technology beyond what we can imagine today that existed in ancient times.

TH: There are Greek Heroes that influenced the storyline, sure. In every story about a Monster or Creature, you have the Hero who has to do something about that. Sometimes it’s killing the beast, and other times it’s just working out the situation that is causing people grief. In any case, the Hero is always tied to the Creature so there are things in Hercules or Odysseus or whomever that resonate with Robot 13.

CA: An Elvis impersonating retired professional wrestler, monster hunter? Now that sounds like an interesting read! Where did the idea for KING! come from, and where can I get me a copy?

DB: KING! has been an idea that Tom and I have been developing for about 3 or 4 years now. We wanted to see if we could create a character, a book, that encompasses just about anything and everything that people love…a book that has something that everybody enjoys: Rock, horror, comedy, wrestling, and underwear. Only thing missing is an actual KING! soundtrack. As for where a copy can be picked up, we’re still working on the book.

TH: KING! is our next book and will follow right on the heels of the third issue of Robot 13. It’s a different thing completely from R13 but it’s still going to have lots of fun and action. It’s a little more humorous and more surreal, and it is just going to be a lot of fun. People seem to love the concept, and we hope the end result of our labors will be everything they hoped for and more!

CA: Is there anything else you could tell the readers here about KING!? I am really interested in this series from your descriptions as it sounds like it will be a great humorous read.

DB: Well, its nothing like Robot 13. Where R13 has more soul KING! has more BS. It’s a book to read on the crapper. And even though it’s more character driven than story driven we do have an overall purpose with KING!. R13 is a series that tells one story over several chapters, but KING! will remain something of a one-shot for sometime. It won’t be necessary to pick up issue 1 in order to understand what’s going on in issue 2. Each issue will be self-contained and, hopefully, we will be able to continue the series by developing an overall plot to carry the book forward.

TH: Yea, KING! is mindless fun. Hopefully you’ll find it to be well drawn, well written mindless fun, but it’s not about deeper stuff. I am still researching the book as much as I did with R13, and Daniel is still pushing himself to do better art every time, but we are going for a completely different feel. Some people try to do everything in one book- make people think and be goofy and whatever else you can do with comics. We want to do different things with different books, and make each one all that it can be. Hopefully, every issue of KING! will be wilder and crazier than the last!

Scott Andrews



  1. Billy

    Good interview Scott.

  2. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Thomas Hall, Scott Andrews. Scott Andrews said: Indy Gems: Interview with Blacklist Studios! – […]

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  4. Yeah, I’ve seen this series on the shelf at my store. I’ve been persuaded to check it out!

  5. […] there more of him? What about robots 1-12? Where does he come from? Writer Thomas Hall said in an interview with, “Once Robot 13 knows all about his own past, what will he do with that? To me, that’s when […]

  6. […] at the beginning of the year I had a chance to sit down and talk with Thomas Hall and Daniel Bradford, the creative powerhouse behind Blacklist Studios. At that […]

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