WEIRD CRIME THEATER An Archived Edited Iteration
This is now the fourth iteration of WEIRD CRIME THEATER. Unlike previous iterations this was taken from the 2010 -2012 archived pages of the third iteration. Sorry, but there is no new material since the present owner of the domain is not an artist as the original owner was. However, I still appreciate what Kumar and Mulele did here and so I have attempted to recreate some of the great vibes once eminating from the WEIRD CRIME THEATER website by providing just a taste of what was offered a long time ago when WEIRD CRIME THEATER was in its prime. Enjoy!
Now for a nostalgic trip back...
You have reached the home of WEIRD CRIME THEATER, the 'nad detonating new comic book coming soon to a comic shop near you!!
mack ‘Em Yak ‘Em: A Welcome to the Weird Crime Theater
To the best of my recollection (which may be at least partly or even mostly incorrect), Weird Crime Theater — a comic book about two bumbling investigators of the paranormal — began life in the twilit streets of Tokyo around the summer of 2003. In fact this is the third iteration of this website.
Mulele Jarvis and I had collaborated on some short stories for Dark Horse Presents a few years earlier (me writing, him drawing) when we were both living in Shiga Prefecture, Japan – a partnership which ended in an ugly falling out. But we had now both migrated to Tokyo and were friends again.
Mulele enjoyed taking long, rambling walks through the city’s streets. As I recall, and which Mulele disputes, it was on one of these walks in 2003 that Mulele asked me when I was going to write more comics.
“Well,” I told him,” I can’t write any comics because I’ve got no one to draw them.”
“Ah,” he said with a knowing grin, “are you saying you want me to draw them?”
My gut reaction was to say, “No,” because I didn’t want a repeat of our previous falling out. But I had a real desire to write comics again and I loved Mulele’s art, so I swore a secret oath to myself that I could collaborate with him again, but if it ever started to affect our friendship I would call a halt to it.
Mulele already had an idea. Two characters: a male character who “works in an office,” and a schoolgirl with the mentality of Conan The Barbarian. The basic idea was they were investigators who never actually / intentionally solve any of their cases. And so Rack ‘Em Smack ‘Em was born.
As I originally imagined Rack ‘Em Smack ‘Em, it would have been an ongoing periodical series of issues — “floppies” — with a few stories in each issue. Eventually we would publish a “best of” trade paperback volume, so there would still be a reason to own the single issues for “collectors” or “die hard fans” since some of the stories in them would never be reprinted.
However, given Mulele’s working pace (10 pages done in the first year), it became clear that a periodical schedule, even bimonthly or slower, was not going to happen. I began to reconceive the project as a series of miniseries, something like Hellboy, with 5-issue “bursts” comprising a volume coming out once every couple of years. Because I had grown up with floppies, I was very intent in Rack ‘Em Smack ‘Em coming out in that format. In fact, nostalgia is such an intrinsic element of the book’s identity in my mind, that if we ended up self-publishing, I was intent on calling our company either “Spinner Rack Comics” or “Back Pocket Comics.”
We created a ten-page sample and started mailing it out, and took it to Comic Con International in San Diego in 2004. The response was almost universally negative. It was one of the most depressing experiences of my life. However, in late October of that same year we got a nibble. With some caveats: it had to be re-lettered, the title had to change, and the name of our male lead had to change. I took over lettering duties from Mulele, our comic became Weird Crime Theater, and our lead became Granny Kinkade (though he may get his original name back depending on publishing circumstances — more on that later).
Work progressed slowly, and a few years later the deal with that potential publisher had fallen apart. And yet a further few years after that, we had a potential publisher yet again. But by now the market had undergone a complete transformation, and the publisher wanted us to reformat the series as a stand-alone “graphic novel” of 80-pages. So I reconceived Weird Crime Theater yet again, this time modeling it after a DC “80-Page Giant,” except ours would be 100 pages.
Which brings us to the present. As we near completion on the book, it has become time to start releasing it to the public. But with floppies out of the picture, we’ve decided that the best way begin is as a web comic. Of sorts. The book was always intended for print, and once it is completed there will be a print version, even if economic circumstances dictate that the print run is only 5 copies. But for now, we are going to put up two pages every week on this website — one on Tuesday and one on Friday — starting with those very first pages drawn back in 2003, until most, if not all, of the 100 pages are online. As a result, the pages are not ideally formatted for reading on a computer and putting it online for free may sabotage any hopes of a potential publisher. But this is a way for us to hopefully build an audience before the book’s hardcopy release, and to give some insights into the behind-the-scenes production of the project as it proceeds through publication. And if we lose our publisher, hey, Granny gets his original name back. Why, whatever could it be…?
Kumar Sivasubramanian / April 30, 2010
All tips will go towards site maintenance, advertising, and chocolate milk for the creators.
My 2 Cents: I loved, loved, loved this site and the artwork when I was a teenager and first came across WEIRD CRIME THEATER. Cool stuff all around and most inspiring. I decided then and there I would create my own comics series. Jump ahead to college and I was still doing my thing. Friends continued to encourage me, but reality kicked in after graduation and I ended up in the Peace Corp and then Teach for America and am now an English teacher in the NYC public school system. My comic drawing skills still come in handy in class. I encourage any student with an artistic bent to illustrate their compositions for extra credit. My comments about an assignment or a test often include a comic pic or two. But as I said, reality and the need to make a living has grounded me a bit. I was told that this site attained some notoriety after becoming a victim of Google's search, where it was listed as if connected to actual crimes. This created outrage that lasted until Google fixed their result but it created a compelling dark story that has become a whispered legacy. Apparently this kind of harm created by Google happens a lot - check this. I'm glad Kumar Sivasubramanian is out there doing great stuff, with published works by Penguin Random House. And Mulele Jarvis is still creating awesome works of art and is getting his comics published as well.
by Mulele on April 15, 2011
Thanks And in the meantime, we’ll just hang in here, and good luck with the corrections ^^
Awwwww, there goes my daily fix…..
Heheheh, good luck!
Om and please give us a centerfold of Melissa and I’ll buy three copies
Thanks kindly! We’ll do our best on all counts!
!! it will be beautiful! hope that doesn’t mean that granny and mel’s adventures aren’t over. thanks for the laughs in the meantime!!
Plenty more scripts are written, it’s just a question of if/when Mulele gets around to drawing them. In the meantime, look at the expression of Granny’s face in the page above: Does that look like a man who’s ready to quit…?
If this comic dies, I will haunt it in the after life! or at least resurrect it for torture!
Oh! How touching! The best of lucks to you guys. I still don’t have enough dough to buy you the Lamborghini I promised, but I will certainly spare a couple of bucks to buy any printed version of your deplorable deliriums, just so you can finally afford Ritalin and start making dog & cat comics like everybody else.
your humble super-genius fan,
>Manocat: Since you haven’t won the lottery yet (that we know of), you don’t owe us that car yet. And you do know that Mulele already does a comic about a cat, right?! So, we’re beyond hope!
Zhiwu: Just haunt the blog and leave angry comments. The guilt of our slow pace will be just as torturous!
ahh! i JUST noticed the awesome shoutout! oh you guys rocked my socks hard, and i can’t wait for WCT to start up again! THANKS FOR THE RIDE YALL!
sqeaky, I’m quite amazed that you are still dropping comments on the “End” page two months later! (And now I am too for that matter…) Those socks must’ve been SERIOUSLY rocked! Anyway, there is still some occassional action and snark-ery going on in the regular blog section (www.weirdcrimetheater.com), so check it out if you are inclined to that sort of thing.
Damnit! This is the most fun thing I’ve found on the internerd in months, if not years, and it’s dead. Ah well, good luck with whatever it is that you’re doing now–may it live up to and exceed what you’ve accomplished with this silly story.
Thanks for your comments, anonymous coward! We’re not actually that dead as work is still going on behind the scenes, even if you are slightly late to the party. How did you find us anyway?!
Kumar Sivasubramanian — B.A., M.A. English Literature — is an Indian-born Canadian presently living in Melbourne, Australia. He is the one time writer of the serialized comic FULL THROTTLE in Dark Horse Presents, and a former Japan Correspondent for Wizard Magazine and Anime Insider. He is currently an English Language Consultant for Sunrise Inc. (the “Gundam” animation people), and has translated over fifty volumes of manga from Japanese to English for Dark Horse, Fanfare, and DMP. He also worked for six years at McDonald’s.
Mulele — check out some of my other work at my personal site MULELE.COM