Don't Miss The Last Train

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Last month, Kazu Kibuishi finished up Daisy Kutter: The Last Train, the critically-acclaimed four-issue mini series released by Viper Comics. When you look at one of the four books - not to mention the finished product - you'd have a really hard time believing that Daisy Kutter marked the creator's first foray into the world of comics. Then again, given Kazu's genuine storytelling talent and Viper's trademark high-quality production process, it's no wonder Daisy Kutter: The Last train caught the eyes of comics fans worldwide.

With the trade paperback collection out this month, Broken Frontier spoke to Kazu about how he looks back at the series and to find out if, by any chance, there are more stories involving his dearly beloved Daisy coming up in the near future.

BROKEN FRONTIER: 2004 was a breakthrough year for you. What was it like to be recognized as a storyteller nationwide?

KAZU KIBUISHI: People recognized me? Hehe. Actually, 2004 was definitely a great year for me.  It's simply the greatest feeling in the world to be acknowledged for the work you do.  I am super thankful.

BF: When reading Daisy Kutter: The Last Train, even though it is basically your first big project, one gets the impression that you've been doing sequential stories for quite some time. In fact, what is your background in storytelling?

KK: Well, I've been drawing comics ever since I could remember.  I was probably four or five years old when I put together my first bo oks.  Since then, I started honing my skills as a writer when I wanted to be a novelist as a young kid.  I switched over to being interested in films when I discovered the Coen Brothers, and I went to film school where I wrote tons of terrible screenplays. 

During all this time I was drawing comics as a relief, like it was my safety net.  I rarely considered doing it for a living and I have been the most stub bo rn person when it came to accepting that I was actually a cartoonist.  I just wouldn't concede.  Thankfully, I was beaten down by my failed attempts to pursue real careers, so I ended up finding my way back to comics and graphic novels. 

After college, I worked at a small animation studio where I spent a lot of time developing stories and really fine-tuning the craft.  It helped a lot to actually develop stories with other people because it really forced me to analyze the process.  After spending a couple of years there, I left the studio and decided to pursue this full time, which brings us to where I'm at now.

BF: What was some of the best critical acclaim you received during the period covering the release of Daisy Kutter?

KK: Hmm.  I think the best comments were regarding how so many people that typically don't read comics are enjoying it.  Comics fans have been able to give a copy to their significant others and they would actually like it!  Wait, does that count as critical acclaim? 

BF: I guess it does! [Laughs] Now that the four issues have been released, how do you look back on the story in its entirety? Is there anything you would've done differently?

KK: Surprisingly, there is very little I would change.  Despite it not being perfect, I am happy that this bo ok represented my first time out.  It's rough around the edges, but still a strong piece of work.  I'm typically not happy with anything I do, but Daisy Kutter is definitely one of the few exceptions.

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BF: Looking back, what made your partnership with Viper Comics on the project so successful?  

KK: The cooperation with Jessie and Jim .  They're awesome, and I knew that from the very first time I talked to the guys.  If it weren't for them, I wouldn't have put so much energy into the project.  What at first started as a really quick, fun exercise in style ended up being something I really did care a bo ut.

BF: What was the most fun part abo ut Daisy Kutter? Creating the world, scripting it, drawing the ro bo ts or something else?

KK: Thinking a bo ut all the situations Daisy would find herself in is the best part of it.  I have a ton of fun thinking a bo ut the next Daisy story.  Of course, actually doing the work is a very different story…

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BF: I noticed you thanked Scott McCloud , among other people, at the end of issue #4. In what way did he help you with the story?

KK: Oh, I think I would just have to thank Scott for anything I do.  I owe him so much for being my mentor and guide to the world of comics.  He's simply the best.  Also, Chapter Two of Understanding Comics made me respect what I do.  Without it, I probably wouldn't be doing what I'm doing… 

BF: Will there be any extras added to the trade paperback collection released this month?

KK: It will be chock full of extras!  The story is 149 pages in length and the bo ok is 192 pages of content.  That's a lot of extra stuff!  It includes a pin-up gallery, some history on the creation of Daisy, and a step-by-step description of my work process.  I think the guest pin-up gallery alone is worth buying the bo ok.  In fact, it's probably better than my own stuff in there. [Laughs]

BF: Are you planning to revisit the world of Daisy Kutter at a later point this year, or some time in the future?

KK: Not this year, but I do have the story in mind.  You can be sure I'll be revisiting her universe.  In my mind, her story has only begun.

BF: Will we be seeing you on any Viper Comics projects this year?

KK: I did a short story in the upcoming Dead@17 Rough Cut Volume Two.  I think it came out nice, and I really like Josh's work on Dead@17, so I hope it shows.  In any case, I recommend picking it up!

- Frederik Hautain

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