Interview: David Lapham on the Return of STRAY BULLETS
Posted on December 17, 2013 by David Brothers
DAVID LAPHAM'S STRAY BULLETS IS BACK! The award-winning classic crime series is returning to print in a major way in March. STRAY BULLETS #41 follows-up on the heart-stopping cliffhanger of STRAY BULLETS #40 and closes out "HiJinks and Derring-Do," the fifth arc of the series. STRAY BULLETS: THE ÜBER ALLES EDITION collects STRAY BULLETS #1-41, the entirety of the original series. Finally, STRAY BULLETS: KILLERS #1 debuts, officially kicking off a new story arc called "The Love Ride." STRAY BULLETS #41, STRAY BULLETS: THE ÜBER ALLES EDITION, and STRAY BULLETS: KILLERS #1 all hit store shelves on March 12. On top of all of that, STRAY BULLETS #1-40 are available as digital comics now, and issues #1-4 are free.
The return of STRAY BULLETS is a big deal, and series creator, writer, and artist David Lapham was kind enough to take a moment to answer a few questions about concluding the last arc of the original series and the return of Spanish Scott.
How does it feel to get back to STRAY BULLETS after some time away? Was getting back into the groove as easy as riding a bike, or did you have to build up to it? Is there a specific "STRAY BULLETS headspace" you have to be in, or do you approach it like your other work?
David Lapham: It feels amazing. To be working on STRAY BULLETS again and working with Maria again is a dream come true. Getting back in the groove was very natural. Truthfully, we've been building up this return almost since the moment we decided to put the book on hiatus. Making it a reality and finally talking about the book again, planning, dreaming, bouncing ideas between us about the characters and stories and just life. If there's a STRAY BULLETS “headspace,” that's it, and it's why SB brings out the best in me creatively when I sit down to write and draw.
STRAY BULLETS #1 opens on a dark mystery, and #40 closes on an absolutely harrowing cliffhanger. In between those two issues are a lot of good jokes, brutal violence, and strong character work. What is STRAY BULLETS to you? What story are you telling?
Lapham: STRAY BULLETS to me is a format for telling my stories. Every issue is a complete tale in itself ranging from traditional noir to emotional drama, comedy, action, suspense, even surreal nonsense. Together they all form a larger story of a cast of misfits, losers, outcasts, families, kids, and killers and the tragedies that shape them. But forgetting all that, the gut of STRAY BULLETS, its mission, is to deliver emotion. To knock readers on their ass every issue with a strong visceral, truthful emotion.
The STRAY BULLETS: ÜBER ALLES EDITION collects twelve hundred pages worth of STRAY BULLETS. Is it possible to pick a favorite arc, or even single issue? Is there one that you're particularly proud of or attached to?
Lapham: So many stories are favorites, but it's impossible not to pick the first arc, because there was so much unpolished about it, so much that I didn't quite know what I was doing, but it all worked and it was honest and powerful. Single issue? Many favorites, but issue #2 is the first one that always comes to mind. Issue #1 is a more traditional noir while issue #2--which was about a little girl, Virginia Applejack, witnessing a brutal murder and the tragic way that it affected her home and school life--really became what made STRAY BULLETS unique and very different from other crime books.
In addition to the finale of the original run of Stray Bullets and the collected edition, you're working on STRAY BULLETS: KILLERS, featuring the return of Spanish Scott. As your fans know, where Scott goes, trouble follows. Can you tease anything about Scott's status quo at the beginning of this tale for the new readers? Who is Spanish Scott?
Lapham: Spanish Scott first appeared in that issue #2 I was talking about. He's a killer. A hit man in a Hawaiian shirt. Calm, cold blooded, and very cool. He's the butterfly that flaps his wings and creates a ripple effect that destroys the lives of people he's never even met.
Every issue of STRAY BULLETS is available now on the official STRAY BULLETS series page and the official Image Comics iOS app, as well as on Comixology, iOS, Android, and Google Play. #1-4 are free, so grab your favorite reading device, relax, and dive into one of the finest comics you'll ever read.
More of Stray Bullets
Stray Bullets: Sunshine And Roses #1
February 4, 2015
STRAY BULLETS CONTINUES WITH THE BEGINNING OF A BRAND-NEW ARC OF STORIES! SUNSHINE AND ROSES is about violence, love, and really bad decisions. The Baltimore underworld is falling apart at the seams and blood has been spilt. Where and when things went to hell in a handbasket can be traced back to a time a few years earlier, when a man named Harry ran the city, Spanish Scott and Monster enforced the rules, and an insecure young man named Orson met a wild and crazy girl named Beth. The two together cooked up the boldest, most outlandish, and just about the stupidest plan ever devised—a plan to steal a whole lot of Harry’s money and drugs and get a little revenge along the way. While every issue of STRAY BULLETS presents a complete story, the start of each new arc is the perfect place to jump on board and see what everybody else is talking about.
Stray Bullets: Killers #8
October 22, 2014
Spanish Scott, The Finger Man, Beth, Ron, Monster, Mike Hussey...These are just a few of the killers Virginia Applejack has known in her short life. The effect of knowing this collection of cutthroats has never been fully realized until now. As her safe place falls apart, Virginia realizes that the unraveling of her life began with one person, one incident, long buried. To put it right—to excise the cancer eating at her soul and cursing those around her—she may have to do the unthinkable. Virginia Applejack may have to add her own name to her long list of KILLERS.
Stray Bullets: Killers #7
September 17, 2014
What happens when when you find out you've been living in a prison your whole life and had no idea? What happens when everything you thought was good is really bad and everything you've been told is bad is really good? And what happens when you know if you make the right choice your life will become a nightmare beyond your imagination? Tonight Eli is going to find out. He's going to put his soul on the line and find out who he really is even if it kills him...or someone else. You've never read anything like these sometimes happy, sometimes sad, but always desperate...TALES FROM THE BOX.
Stray Bullets: Killers #5
July 16, 2014
AMY RACECAR IS BACK! The first kill is always the worst—the most traumatic, the most gut-wrenching. It’s the one that sticks with you. Except if you’re Amy Racecar. The most dangerous woman in the world doesn’t even remember her first kill. The next 112 kills that came after were buckets of fun, but Amy’s always felt that void of not remembering number one... All that’s about to change, that sickening “first kill” horror is about to come with kill number 114. After she’s been reborn into a new life of hope and love. After she’s found her one true love. After she’s changed her ways, renounced violence and put down her gun...lost it...then found it...then picked it up again...
Stray Bullets: Killers #4
June 25, 2014
- By: David Lapham
"Sorry." Eli and Virginia get closer, and despite his best efforts, his mother finds out. He's driven to the edge by her disapproval.
Stray Bullets: Killers #2
April 16, 2014
When her niece, missing for almost a year, shows up on her doorstep with a horrifying secret, Carol Hogarth will find out that people can be poison...especially if that person is named Virginia Applejack. Find out what best friends, worst enemies, an artificial leg, and a bottle of rum all have to do with "THE KILLER WHO AWOKE BEFORE DAWN."
Stray Bullets: Killers #1
March 12, 2014
- By: David Lapham
One of the most acclaimed crime series ever returns! When Gary Goldsmith and his young son Asa are involved in a deadly hit and run, their night goes from bad to worse when their grisly deed is witnessed by a disturbing stranger. Find out what thirty dollars, a dirty diaper, and a girl named Yummy will reveal about the true meaning of life in a little story we like to call “The Love Ride.” Featuring the return of Spanish Scott!
This new arc of stories about life and love and all the things we do to kill them starts out in the best noir tradition, then turns the genre on its ear. Would you expect any less? If you've never read STRAY BULLETS before, jump in here. Hell, jump in anywhere. Every issue always presents a complete story that fits into a larger whole.
Stray Bullets #41
March 12, 2014
- By: David Lapham
The long awaited conclusion to “HiJinks and Derring-Do” arrives with a thirty-two pages of cover-to-cover action and suspense. Virginia Applejack's return home has turned into a disaster of blackmail, tragedy, brutality, motherly love, dismemberment, kidnapping and now...murder. Watch it all come to a head as Virginia faces the unhinged Mike Hussy with Leon's life on the line. Will a missing finger, a pile of cocaine, and a basket of laundry be enough to stop eight rounds of white-hot lead? School's out forever...