B. Clay Moore has written comic books for virtually every major publisher, including Image Comics, Marvel Comics, DC Comics, WildStorm, Oni Press and Top Cow Productions. He is also part of the collective of creators behind 2013’s Bad Karma hardcover.
Perhaps his most enduring creation is Hawaiian Dick, a noir detective series set in 1950s Hawaii. Wizard Magazine named it one of the top 100 graphic novels published during their run and it was nominated for Spinetingler Award for best comic book. Moore’s series Battle Hymn was listed in the book 500 Essential Graphic Novels.
We caught up with Moore for an exclusive Planet Comicon interview about the latest developments in his career, including the current Kickstarter project for his all-new hardcover graphic novel, Great Big Hawaiian Dick.
Planet Comicon: It’s been a big couple of weeks for you and your series Hawaiian Dick! You have a television show in development by Johnny Knoxville for NBC, a new hardcover edition on Kickstarter, and I’ve heard that you have a new comics mini-series in the pipeline. What are the highlights for you?
B. Clay Moore: Well, as relates to Hawaiian Dick, those are definitely high points, although each of the projects has been in the works for quite a while. The responses to both the NBC news and the Kickstarter were gratifying. It’s been a while since the last Hawaiian Dick series dropped, so it’s great to see how many people are enthused about new HD. Our fans are better to us than we are to them.
Also, yes, next spring will see the release of Aloha, Hawaiian Dick, the fourth Hawaiian Dick series. From Image Comics, of course.
Planet Comicon: For those who know nothing about Hawaiian Dick, what are the essentials? What has kept the fans hooked on it over the past decade?
B. Clay Moore: A stateside detective washes up in early 50s Hawaii, and while trying to make a living picking up odd P.I. jobs, he runs into some supernatural stumbling blocks. The three main characters are Byrd, our detective, Mo Kalama, a hulking Honolulu detective, and Kahami, a former cocktail waitress who steps in to help Byrd straighten things out.
I think people have always responded to the way we spin so many fun pop culture elements together, and the series has always featured great art — and great coloring that has earned multiple Eisner nominations. I think the main characters are engaging, as is the ever expanding supporting cast.
Planet Comicon: How did the potential new television series come about? Were you involved in a pitch to Johnny Knoxville?
B. Clay Moore: I’ve never met with Knoxville personally, but he’s been involved in one form or another with Dick since 2004 when the book was first optioned as a film by New Line. At that time he was on board to star. When we started kicking around the idea of a television show, I reminded the producers about Knoxville’s prior involvement. It just so happened that one of the producers was having a general meeting with Knoxville, and asked if it would be okay if he mentioned Dick to him again. It was, he did, and the next thing we knew we were back in business.
Planet Comicon: Over the years, you’ve worked with many publishers on a variety of work-for-hire and creator-owned books. What are the best parts of developing a series like Hawaiian Dick where you’re in the driver’s seat?
Learn more about the Great Big Hawaiian Dick Kickstarter project.
B. Clay Moore: All of it? As much fun as it can be playing with established characters and working with good editors, there’s nothing as exciting as building your own world, without a net. It’s often a pain in the ass to coordinate things and keep the trains running on time, but collaborating with talented, creative artists, and taking a concept in whatever direction we want, is impossible to beat.
Planet Comicon: You’ve been a part of the Kansas City comic book community for a long time. Who among the local creators has been a big influence on your career? Were any local creators helpful in your younger days?
B. Clay Moore: In my younger days, say the early 2000s, not many people were well established in Kansas City. Hawaiian Dick first emerged around the time Matt Fraction was starting to make noise, and just before Jason Aaron launched his career in earnest. Essentially, we all came up together and leaned on one another in one way or another for advice and support. I’ve always felt the community is relatively tight knit because so many of the local creators are, first and foremost, interested in telling their own stories their own way.
Planet Comicon: As far as comics conventions, you go way back to the early years of Planet Comicon.
B. Clay Moore: One of the first times I ever had a table at Planet was sometime in the late 90s, I think. The show was held in a big room, and con panels were held behind a curtain at the back of the room, but you could hear the panelists throughout the hall.
Anyway, just as we were starting to pack up, Kenny Baker of R2D2 fame was holding a panel behind the curtain. At the end of the panel, someone asked if he could play the harmonica, and so he did. As people packed up their booths and tables, the soft strains of Danny Boy echoed throughout the hall. For whatever reason, I’ve always thought that was the perfect way to end a comic book convention: R2D2 playing Danny Boy on a harmonica as people head out the door.
Planet Comicon: What are the coolest Kickstarter rewards that our readers should check out? Where do they go to find out more about Hawaiian Dick?
B. Clay Moore: Primarily the book itself. It’s a 100-page hardcover of all-new material, with lots of cool takes on the HD universe. There are also a couple of sweet T-shirts available, and a series of prints.
Planet Comicon: Thanks for taking some time with us. We’re eager to see Great Big Hawaiian Dick.
B. Clay Moore: Thanks!