Interview: David Lapham on the Return of STRAY BULLETS

December 17, 2013

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.