TAKE 10! Pine and Merrimac

TAKE 10! Pine and Merrimac

BOOM! Studios: TAKE 10! is a new interview series asking writers and artists about their new series or graphic novels.

Eisner-award nominated writer Kyle Starks (I Hate This Place) pens his first original series at BOOM! Studios along with fan-favorite artist and co-creator Fran Galán (The Amazing Spider-Man), and letterer Pat Brosseau (Batman: The Knight) in a new detective tale PINE AND MERRIMAC! Available in January 2024.

In Jamesport, on the corner of Pine and Merrimac sits a small, unassuming detective agency. Former homicide detective, Linnea Kent–along with her husband, an ex-professional MMA fighter and the unofficial brawn to her brains–puts her former life behind her and moves far away from the violence and death of her job in the big city to open up a quiet little detective agency in a quiet little town. At first, the simple cases this nook of the world has to offer were exactly what she was looking for. But there’s more to the quaint hamlet than Linnea could have possibly imagined, and something truly sinister pulling the strings…

1. What was the most challenging aspect of working on this series?

Kyle Starks: I think the most challenging part will be getting people to read it, honestly. Working with editor Jon Moisan is easy as pie – this is our fifth or sixth project together now, I think. Fran Galan is a dream collaborator and telling this story has been nothing but fun and thrilling. But it’s a slow burn and a mystery so you can’t give too much away which makes covers tough, it makes promoting tough because you don’t want to spoil anything or give up something that would lessen it’s effects when it appears in the book. So, yeah, the biggest challenge is going to be to get people to take a gamble on it, I think. Making it has been so much fun.

Fran Galán: It seemed important for me to make clear from the first moment the love that Linnea and Parker professed, through their looks, caresses, when they give each other gifts during the series, etc… In a couple so different in appearance, it was difficult for me to draw. I hope I’ve achieved it. Another aspect that I always pay close attention to is the atmosphere of each scene and in this work I have enjoyed it very much.

2. Could you explain the title?

KS: PINE AND MERRIMAC, the title of the book, is the location of the detective agency of the main characters, Linnea and Parker Kent.

3. What is the elevator pitch for the series?

KS: A former homicide detective finds out she physically and emotionally can not handle murder so she returns to the small-town she grew up in to open a cozy detective agency with her ex-MMA husband but they take a case they shouldn’t and from there it gets worse and worse. Each issue is an escalation of stakes and dangers. BOOM! made the comparison of Alfred Hitchcock’s VERTIGO or TWIN PEAKS and I feel like those  are very good, very apt comparisons for the vibe and feel of this book.

4. What does your writing and drawing space look like?

KS: So my desk has a big tv on it too close to me, which in front I set my macbook, and next to my MacBook is a old thesaurus my friend Chris Schweizer gave me as a gift one year which I use as a stand for my iPad – which I use to do thumbnails for my writing. And a bunch of soda cans too. It could also stand to be cleaned, frankly.

FG: In that aspect, the truth is that I am quite organized. I need things to be in their place and I can’t draw comfortably in the chaos. I need music, that’s essential. I would send you a photo but I am in the process of moving 

5. What was your biggest inspiration for Pine and Merrimac?

KS: This is going to feel self-involved but Pine and Merrimac came around as a result of wanting to make a follow up to my Eisner nominated series I HATE THIS PLACE. I wanted to tell another story about a happily married couple and how far they would go for each other and how they would respond to terrible situations and circumstances. The story is something I had been mulling around trying to work out but this angle really solidified the story and the terrible journey for these characters.

FG: I always imagined the series as a mix between Twin Peaks and Jaws.

6. What are you reading now and what’s on your pull list?

KS: I wish I had more time to read, honestly, I’m the busiest professionally I’ve ever been. In fact, it’s my resolution this year to take more time to read.  I have a stack of books I want to go through. My only current active reading is sort of piecemeal re-read of Naoki Urasawa’s MONSTER and Garth Ennis PREACHER.   But I have a stack of comics and literature I’ve been neglecting. End of the year is also when I scour lists to see what I missed in the year and get even MORE stuff to read. Next year! More reading, Kyle! Be better!

FGThe Nice House on the Lake by J. Tynion IV and Alvaro Martinez Bueno and the last volume by Blacksad, by Juan Diaz Canales and Juanjo Guarnido

7. Describe your ideal way to sit down and read a comic or graphic novel.

KS: A quiet corner, a comfy chair and good lighting is all I need!

FG: Always in a chair with good lighting. If it’s also raining, I couldn’t ask for more. 

8. What is your favorite writing/drawing snack or drink?

KS: I do not eat a lot while I work but I do drink a lot of coffee and Coke Zero. Too much boo both, probably. If there’s a number one snack it’s probably a quick granola bar and back to work!

FG: Always a good coffee. 

KS: Man, I want to see Fran’s answer to this if he has one. I’m really bad at the casting game. I think I’m out of touch with modern stars and often if I DO give some sort of point of reference for a character it’s based on someone in a movie from forty years ago so not very applicable now. These are not going to be super clever suggestions but I guess I would say Jason Statham for Parker and Margot Robbie for Linnea?

FG: Natalie Portman and Jason Statham.

10. What piece of advice would you give to the main character? What about the villains?

KS: My advice for the main characters is to BE MORE CAREFUL and also DO NOT GO IN THERE but they wouldn’t listen. They’re trying to do something good and right and they’re the type of people are who are going to do that no matter what.

FG: Don’t accept the case.