SR: Well, let's talk about the Death Dealer project.
SR: How did you get called in on that?
Bisley: Well, it was originally Kevin Eastman showed my work to Frank, the Slane stuff I'd done, and Frank liked it. There was kind of talk of me doing Death Dealer, then it all was very quiet. I don't know what happened there. I think I was distracted with other things, and then I got friendly with Glen Danzig and he said to me, Hey, do you fancy doing Death Dealer? I said, Yeah, and that's it. It's as simple as that.
SR: You'd said before that you'd wanted to do that character since you were a child.
Bisley: Well, it was when I was eight years old I first saw Frank's stuff, and you know how you feel when you first see Frank's stuff?
SR: Oh, yeah. Yeah, it's very exciting.
Bisley: So, I mean, it kicked me in the head as well. I just couldn't believe it. It's almost like a phantom sense of direction. It was that kind of age where you know you don't know much about anything, really. You just kind of plod through life and kick around and do things. But when I saw that image of, I think, is it The Barbarian, Conan standing on this pile of bodies, I couldn't believe my eyes. I mean, I thought, My God! And then I started collecting a few Frank Frazetta books, and those images always stayed in my mind, and I think it's obvious the huge influence he's had on my work. Even more so now, I think. So, yeah, I mean, and I'd always heard that Death Dealer was going to be a comic strip character or a film or something. So, I think it's incredible for me that I've been offered the job all these years down the line. I was born to do it I think.
SR: That's cool. It's going to be great, I'm sure. How are you guys going to do Death Dealer? Have you figured out the length of the stories, the format and that kind of stuff?
Bisley: Yeah, we kind of worked it out. It's going to be like a forty-four pager, and I'll probably do about two a year, just sort of the same thing all the time. I think basically the first story is going to be oriented around just total, utter violence, gratuitous violence throughout. You know just battle after battle after battle in and out of different time periods and things, and the coming of Death Dealer and how he came about. And that's an interesting story. But I won't tell you much about it. It's mostly oriented around big imagery stuff and violent mood. And it's a homage to Frank, and really, I guess, about the character. It's almost like there's no story there at all. Just doing classy, classy illos really.
SR: But is it going to be comic panels, or just...
Bisley: Oh, it's going to be comic panels, but it'll be huge, big splash panels. We've left a lot of freedom to do plenty of action in there. No bullshit story, just straight into the action almost from the very beginning. No one is going to be standing around for a minute, not for one minute. Just total carnage, total, total and it'll be great.
SR: Have you read the Death Dealer books?
Bisley: I haven't, no. I heard they're not too hot.
SR: Yeah, I have a couple of them that I got for the covers. I haven't read them either.
Bisley: Yeah. Why do you think people buy them? Because of the covers. Exactly. I mean the story was basically just written so the covers could be used, isn't it?
SR: Yeah, and the guy who wrote them I think is a friend of Frank's.
Bisley: Oh, right...So, what's the story on that, then?
SR: The guy's name is Jim Silke. He's an artist himself, and collects pin-up art, and stuff. And I guess he's known Frank for years. He's supposed to be one of the biggest experts on pin-ups in the country.
Bisley: Is he really. I'm surprised that he's not involved in this Death Dealer project then.
SR: How much direct involvement is Frank going to have?
Bisley: I've no idea. I've only talked to Frank once, and he just basically said, you know, don't go crazy with the muscles and try and make it--I think Frank doesn't want, you know, stereotypical "Image-type" illustrations, you know. Death Dealer is not, Death Dealer, and I do appreciate it, and it's how I want to approach it, is that classic look going back to Foster and St. John and Frank. I mean it's basically I want to draw Death Dealer as Frank would have done it, I guess, obviously with my own style strongly sticking out I suppose.
SR: Are you going to do the pages full color on the pages, painted?
Bisley: No, I'm not painting it. I'm doing it black and white line.
SR: And then is it going to be colored?
Bisley: Yeah, and then we've got Oliff. Isn't it Oliff or something?
SR: Oh, Oliff? Excellent choice.
Bisley: Yeah, he's absolutely brilliant.
SR: Yeah, so it'll be that kind of moody, dark coloring, lots of blacks, blues, slate gray.
Bisley: Yeah, that's right. Exactly. And we'll hint at this color and that color, like Frank does. The thing is, this isn't done so much for money, on my part, it's really done purely because we love Frank's stuff. And it's done just for the joy of doing it. You know I'd do the damn thing for nothing. It's just something that I have to do.
SR: No, believe me, I understand. It must be so cool getting to work on a project that's the product of one of your artistic heroes.
Bisley: Well, yeah, and I'm also very much obliged to do a bloody good job of it...
SR: Yeah, well, you not only have to please yourself, you have to please Frank, too. And he's a tough audience.
Bisley: Well, yeah, I think I'm doing it. You see, I think I'm doing it for like Frank really, and for myself, not for anybody else. And if other people enjoy it, then that's a bonus, isn't it?
SR: So when's the first issued supposed to be out?
Bisley: It's supposed to be out (laughs) about February time. So, I'll be starting that pretty soon. But obviously I'm working, working...I'm obviously doing stuff for the moment with Kevin, which is my main project and my main priority. So I kind of fit the Dealer in at my leisure, but that's not making it a secondary job. So I'll just kind of work around things and make it work somehow. It'll come out great in there.
SR: And then are you going to do any color work for it, or just do the black and white line art?
Bisley: Well what I might want to do is paint some of the panels, I mean some of the pages, some of the splash pages, paint 'em in full color. And I would die to do a Death Dealer painting, at least, but I think Frank's pretty much holding onto that. I think it's unlikely. It's very difficult I think to get Frank to let me do that. I'm not sure. I think...he eventually will but I don't know. It's a shady area, a funny area. He's obviously going to do a cover, but I don't know.
SR: I think he's only done, what, like half a dozen paintings, with that character?
Bisley: Yeah, I think. But I think it needs some more.
SR: Oh yeah.
end of part two. Next, more on the Death Dealer!