INTERVIEW: A Chat With Frank J Barbiere About His ‘Violent Love’

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INTERVIEW: A Chat With Frank J Barbiere About His 'Violent Love'

Written by Frank J Barbiere, art by Victor Santos and published by Image Comics, Violent Love is an upcoming crime comic which shows the romance in robbing banks. Daisy Jane and Rock Bradley are the most notorious bank robbers of the early 70’s, knocking over bank after bank throughout the American Southwest. While their love is just for crime it soon blooms into something more as they fall in love with each other. It’s a comic oozing with pulp-stylings, action, mystery which you will fall in love with.

I had a chat to Frank J Barbiere, writer of Violent Love, about what the comic is all about, his love for the early 70’s and the creative process that went into making it.

HTLC: Violent Love is described as a romance story. Would I be right in saying that the romance is more than simply love between Daisy Jane and Rock Bradley, but also in the sense of excitement and mystery?

F: Yes, for sure. To keep with that, it’s a love letter from Victor and I to all the different genres and periods we love in comics and fiction. There’s a real sense of nostalgia to the book, something Victor helps evoke with color and tone, and it all comes together to work on a thematic level for us. It is also a nuts and bolts love story, where our two protagonists will eventually learn to overcome their differences and come together as lovers. There will be plenty of twists and turns, but I was very excited to apply some of the traditional elements of a romance to the crime/action genre.

HTLC: Can you elaborate on the on the use of “inspired by true events”? Is it an adaption of a true story or more along the lines of inspiration from people and events from different points in history?

F: Violent Love is not based on any one story or person, but exists in a “faux true crime” space. We know we are seeing a story grounded in the real world — there won’t be aliens or zombies — and we want to have a sense of history to the project. We’ve been careful to do research into the periods we are drawing on to keep it authentic and interesting. Really, coupled with the frame story, we want this to feel like a piece of American folklore.

Violent Love #1 cover by Victor Santos.

HTLC: The story appears to be narrated by the detective out to catch Daisy Jane and Rock Bradley as an old man. Why was it decided to tell the story looking back instead of in the moment and how does this change the way the story is told?

F: I became very fascinated with the device of a narrator and frame story while working on some other projects, and thought this would be a great book to implement it. Coupled with our “faux true crime” idea, it gives a real sense of scope and myth to the book as well. We have very carefully constructed the narrative so the frame story has a specific purpose and will add to the narrative, not just be something “clever” to change up how it’s told.

HTLC: Violent Love appears to be set in the early 1970s. How does having it set in this period of time influence the narrative and the style of the book?

F: As I mentioned, we’ve really drawn on the period for inspiration. There’s a certain energy to the period that we’re trying to infuse, as well as more practical things like a lack of cellphones and modern technology that evoke more of a “wild west” element to the time. I think the 70’s were a fairly tumultuous time, and there was a sense of rebellion in the air, and that really helps feed our narrative about two bank robbers who are against the world.

HTLC: How do you and Victor collaborate together and how does that collaboration come together to create the final product?

F: I truly feel Victor is one of the best storytellers alive, and getting the chance to collaborate with him is not something I take lightly. I write a “full script” — i.e. a panel-by-panel description, but then Victor comes in and adds and subtracts panels, sometimes coming up with a whole new layout. He is certainly an expert (and a genius, in my opinion) when it comes to graphically laying out the page, so I am more than happy to put it in his hands. A lot of the great pacing and visual storytelling is all from Victor — I couldn’t be happier to have such a talented and amazing co-creator and collaborator.

Violent Love will be available from November 9th from all good comic book stores, the Image Comics website and Comixology. 

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Trevor Van As

Trevor Van As is the founder of How to Love Comics and has loved comics all his life. When he's not reading or talking about comics he can be found eating frozen yogurt and dancing like no one is watching.

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