“Just when I thought I was out, they pull me back in.” A line made famous by Al Pacino in THE GODFATHER PART III. It’s not so easy walking away from a life of crime. Maybe there is no escape. Sometimes, bad guys, or morally circumspect good guys, attempt to escape from their dubious past only to be sucked back in. Gerry Duggan’s and John McCrea’s mask wearing hoodlum, Dead Rabbit, is one such character. He’s stolen from the rich, the powerful, the crooked, and the wealthy then retired to be with his wife Megan. But happiness doesn’t last, and the lure of the mask and the thirst for action bring Martin Dobbs’ (Dead Rabbit’s alter-ego) back into a world he wishes he’d forgotten. We talked to Gerry Duggan and John McCrea about their new series, the action/comedy/crime thriller DEAD RABBIT.

The Very Best of Image Comics Debuts (Part Two)

ComicsVerse (CV): For those not in the know, what is DEAD RABBIT about?

Gerry Duggan (GD): It’s a romance with beautifully rendered fatalities.

CV: How did the two of you end up collaborating on DEAD RABBIT?

GD: I have kompromat on John. He gets to collaborate with me, or gets to go to jail.

John McCrea (JM): It’s a wonderful relationship built on mutual trust and blackmail.

CV: Dead Rabbit is such an unusual name for a criminal. Can you explain where that came from or will we have to wait and find out?

GD: The origin of the name is dropped in arc two, but it’s a nod to one of the OG gangs of New York. It’s a Boston story, so already — that’s kind of weird. But you can’t deny that the name, the design — it’s all sublime.

Dead Rabbit
Courtesy of Image Comics

CV: The design of Dead Rabbit is understated but cool. How much work went into getting the visuals of the character right? Also, I noticed the sketch in the back of the review copy had Dead Rabbit with white eyes instead of red. Why the change?

GD: I asked John for practicality in only one way: that Dead Rabbit could walk out of a bank, round a corner, and suddenly be Martin Dobbs. A thin mask and cap can be removed and discarded in seconds. I think blood red is always cooler, but I don’t recall a chat about the eye color.

JM: Simplicity is generally the way to go in design — it started more complicated and gradually crap was removed till it worked… red eyes are always a good graphic.

CV: I loved Mike Spicer’s work on DEAD RABBIT and thought the flashback scene colored in grey to be a fascinating choice. Joe Sabino (letterer) really makes the dialogue flow and hit its beats. What do you think they bring to the comic?

GD: When John began he said Mike was coloring it. There was not to be a discussion, and I’m very glad there wasn’t. Mike’s got such a great eye, and a wonderful palette. There’s a lot of love on every page. I dragged Joe into this world. We had such a good shorthand after so many years. This is crazy, but I think he lettered every issue of Deadpool I ever collaborated on. Mike and Joe and our editor Will Dennis have been such a great team. Manny Mederos contributed our logo, and now that we’re into our second arc the team is really humming.

JM: Mike Spicer is the bomb! Joe is a star and Manny’s logo is one of the best I have ever seen!

CV: Martin’s and Megan’s life is tinged with sweetness and sadness. How important was it to show the life of the man behind Dead Rabbit’s mask?

GD: Readers may not sympathize or cheer on Dead Rabbit, but I think they will identify with him. Everything is just a bit decrepit in the world of DEAD RABBIT. The corpse of the middle class is constantly on view in this comic.

Gerry Duggan
Courtesy of Image Comics

CV: Would you define Dead Rabbit as a villain or an anti-hero? And why?

GD: I think it’s a great question, and the answer depends on who you think the real crooks are. Dead Rabbit robs from the banks that are throwing people out of their homes, to pay off the insurance companies that profit off our illnesses.

CV: Gerry, you have an ANALOG/DEAD RABBIT Signing Tour coming up. How did that come about, and where can you expect to see you? Will you be joining him at any stage, John?

GD: It was a bit of good luck that the ANALOG trade and DEAD RABBIT debut arrived on the same day. The tour kind came together by accident from that. ANALOG is five over-sized issue for 9.99, best value on the shelves.

JM: I’m joining Gerry on every stop of the UK and Southern Ireland leg of the tour, and the NYCC and Midtown Comics in New York. This is my first ever NYCC and I am excited for that — I’ve heard a lot of good things about the show!

John McCrea
Courtesy of Image Comics

CV: What can we expect from DEAD RABBIT going forward?

GD: The first arc sets the table, and the tone. The second arc digs deeper into the characters, and has a direct connection to one of Boston’s most notorious unsolved crimes. The third story is a dramatic escalation of the dangers that have been stirred up.

Gerry Duggan and David O’Sullivan Talk About Their New Series ANALOG

CV: Have you any other projects coming up you’d like to mention?

GD: Looking forward to sleep. Hope everyone likes the first volume of ANALOG and the debut of DEAD RABBIT.

JM: DEAD RABBIT is it at the moment as far as comics go, but I am running a new class helping up and coming comic artists get their foot in the door of the industry — in fact my students are running a Kickstarter so I am going to plug it here! If you want to support new UK talent have a look, folks-

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/935657776/off-the-mark-comic-anthology

It’ll have an all new cover by myself too! Thanks and shameless plug over.

Want to know more about DEAD RABBIT?

DEAD RABBIT #1 will be released in stores on Wednesday, October 5th. The FOC (The final order cutoff) deadline from retailers is Monday, September 10th. If you want to get on the ground floor of this new series, make sure to pre-order!

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