The first time we met CW Cooke, we were transported to his amazing comic, “Solitary”, where we met Tim Hill, a wrongly accused man on death row who learns of his power of immortality only after an attempt to execute him fails. This was in 2014, and since then, some incredibly exciting things have happened, not only to this comic, but to CW Cooke as well! Since this blog, CW has proudly announced that “Solitary has recently entered a development deal for television and film”! If you’d like to catch up, check out the original blog and interview here:
So what’s next for CW Cooke? A brand new comic and concept that is bound to have you hooked! It’s currently on Kickstarter with an amazing selection of perks (aside from being involved in the beginning of this project)! Ready for this? Meet L.U.C.H.A., a wrestling sci-fi thriller. Described by CW as, “lucha Underground meets Truman Show: A luchador detective comic with a monstrous twist”, this comic is something you cannot miss.
On Kickstarter, where you can go to fund this awesome concept, you’ll find the description impossible to ignore. You’ll be instantly hooked by the beautiful graphics and this enticing bit: “L.U.C.H.A. is the story of Agente, a luchador detective who spends his life solving low level crimes and murders, taking on any job that falls in his lap. He just so happens to get wrapped up in a murder campaign that involves vampires, wrestlers, and other notorious figures before the rug gets pulled out from under him…and the readers!”
I was really excited to catch up with CW again to talk about L.U.C.H.A. and more. Check out his answers:
Comics and Cashmere (CC): This is so exciting! Not only are we back to give an update on Solitary, but there’s a new project, L.U.C.H.A that is already seen some amazing backing on Kickstarter! Tell us a little about your concept.
CW Cooke (CW): L.U.C.H.A. is a fun concept wrapped in a dramatic package, a comic book about wrestling, luchadors, and monsters, while also exploring a much deeper and crazier world that surrounds the main characters. The concept was a very simple setup of a luchador detective in a world of monsters, but we then built a much larger and more developed world around Agente and the other characters in order to make the story rich and vibrant and insane. It’s a crazy comic that is very much a kitchen sink idea comic. Anything and everything can and will happen in this book.
CC: There is so much to love about this comic, including the incredible talent behind its creation! How did the team connect between yourself and Travis Hymel, and then Jeremy Kahn, Micah Myers, Shawn Gabborin, and Shawn Pryor?
CW: Travis and I met through the Kayfabe Anthology group on Facebook, which is run by Micah (who has been a friend and collaborator of mine and lifesaver for a long time). I was looking to do a story for volume 2 of the anthology, Travis was looking to do a story, and we thankfully got paired up through our love of comics and wrestling and just doing a crazy fun story. We are both co-creating this so he and I are developing it from head to toe. Micah is always my first choice for design and lettering because he’s pulled me out of a number of jams and is a ride or die for me in comics. Jeremy has been working with me on a few things for awhile and we needed a colorist fast and I knew he was good and capable of handling everything we threw at him. The Shawns I’ve also known for awhile, having pitched them Solitary way back when and having had help from them on a number of things, so they’ve helped me in various ways throughout my career to develop a stronger voice and a better way to edit my own works while relying on them to help me edit the things I don’t want to change.
CC: I love a good creative concept, and this one is insane! How did you make the decision to blend the supernatural into the world of wrestling?
CW: Travis and I are constantly trying to one up the other one with crazy ideas. This started as a luchador detective named Agente in a Sin City-esque setting. Then we added vampires to the mix. Then werewolves and a world of monsters. And then we went berserk and just started throwing in a bunch of ideas that seem strange and unusual on paper and don’t seem to match, but the best thing I’ve ever learned about the mashup is to take wildly different ideas and jam them together and see what happens. That’s what we’ve been doing. I will say that we are definitely not the first to mix the supernatural with wrestling though. El Santo has always been a favorite character of mine and he had numerous films where he fought vampires and other creatures of the night as a luchador. This is a little bit my love letter to the El Santo films I grew up with as well as just a crazy idea factory that Travis and I have been putting together.
CC: Have you, and the team, always had an interest in the world of wrestling or have any favorite wrestlers, or fighters?
CW: I grew up watching some wrestling. I was in the Macho Man/Hulk Hogan era growing up so I got to see a lot of fun and exciting stuff happening in the WWF/WCW. I loved the video games and the cartoon, the comics that came out, the Hulk Hogan movies (watched them, loved them as a kid, but your mileage may vary now), the toys were a lot of fun, and just the sheer inventiveness sometimes and the spectacle of it was a blast. It was like watching comic books on screen, the pop soap opera of it all, and the storylines that developed over time sort of informed my writing in a way. On the simplest level, wrestling just seems like two big muscular dudes tossing each other around a ring, but watching it and the stories that occur, you get the sense that this is very much like Claremont’s X-Men in a way, a soap opera for young kids that don’t really want to watch soap operas.
CC: It’s such a strong message for creators out there trying to stay focused and motivated to make their comic book dreams a reality. You’ve been working on comics since 2007, how do you personally stay motivated to keep working so hard on comics and independent projects?
CW: When the Solitary movie/TV deal was announced, to a lot of people it seemed like an overnight thing, but I routinely remind them that I’d been working on that deal for 3 years alone and had been writing comics since 2007. So eleven years of hard work and dedication, doing everything I can to make comics I want to read or write and comics that I am proud to be a part of, and struggling to find new gigs in between. It can be insanely tough. It can feel very touch and go at times, like it could end at any minute and the ride is over before you’ve even began. I’ve been lucky to do all of the things I’ve done so far in the eleven years I’ve been working, and I’ve been blessed to have some incredible creators and collaborators I’ve worked with over that time.
One thing people don’t realize is that working on the comics can be lonely, but it doesn’t have to be. I’m a very open person, I’m very honest, and I explain my struggles and the things I deal with. I take anxiety and depression medication, I struggle with insomnia, I have lots of things that I deal with on a day to day basis that can sometimes take me away from the writing. BUT I know that I always have to get the work done. I want to make comics and I’ve wanted to make them for as long as I can remember, and the only person really standing in my way in any sense of the word is myself. It took me eleven years to get to this point and it’s been a struggle and it’s been hard, and I still don’t feel like I’ve made it really, but I’m at a point where my work is being noticed by people and I’m meeting and working with folks I never in a million years believed would call me one of their peers. My favorite creators, writers, and artists calling or treating me like a peer has been the strangest part of this whole thing, but I wouldn’t change any part of it (except maybe make the road a bit easier or shorter to this point). It can be a struggle, it can hurt, it can make you want to quit, but you can’t. You can’t give up and you can’t give in. If this is your dream, if this is your goal, keep doing the work and keep pushing forward. Always forward. Don’t compare yourself to other people and don’t take for granted the people who want to help you or want to see you succeed, but also, don’t treat others as a stepping stone to your own success. Comics should ALWAYS be a collaborative effort and should always be something you do with others. You can write and draw your own thing, but you don’t have to be a jerk. Push others forward. Help other people. Hope for their success as well. Do good things and good things happen, to quote Earl Hickey.
CC: Since L.U.C.H.A. involves some classic supernatural elements and monsters, what would you say your favorite monster would be? Do you think any in particular would be harder to fight for Agente given their abilities?
CW: Frankenstein’s Monster (which I’m going to abbreviate as just Frankenstein for the sake of brevity moving forward) has always been a favorite, or the Creature from the Black Lagoon. Creature might be tough as Agente can’t breathe underwater, but he may have a trick or two up his sleeve if he were ever having to fight a monster of that sort.
I will say I’m a huge fan of all of the classic monsters, as well as zombies and sasquatches and various other cryptids and Lovecraftian beasts. You’ll see a lot of crazy stuff in these pages so I don’t want to give much away, but I will say that I’m doing a comic called Luther Frankenstone for Source Point Press (just announced on Friday I think) that will scratch my Frankenstein itch.
CC: With the rate of crowdfunding, what can you say for the future of L.U.C.H.A, and what could the stretch funding goals help you accomplish?
CW: The stretch goals are funding are basically to help pay the team to create the first arc and deliver the first issue and all of the rewards to people safely and soundly in as fast a turnaround time as possible. Additional stretch goals and money would go toward the team as well, putting money in everyone’s pockets, as well as allowing us to add on variant covers and stickers and pinups and prints and everything else we’d love to add. And there are a lot of cool things we want to add, like maybe additional original art levels. We just need folks to keep pledging and pushing us higher and higher.
Plus, a little part of me just wants this Kickstarter to do better than Solitary’s. It’s a point of pride I guess.
CC: Anything else you’d like us to know?
CW: Comics is my passion and my dream and I’m never going to give up on it. Even if this project failed or didn’t go past the initial funding, I’d still keep doing it. I’m always going to keep doing what I love. I’m always going to keep trying to find the right project with the right creators because I want to make comics and I want everyone to experience the fun of comics. I’m excited about what I’m doing and what I’m making, and I can’t wait for all of you to see this.