One Lucky Duo
The power of luck is one we've all wished we had at one point or another. Last Friday I was lucky enough to sit down with Sean Peacock the creator of a short graphic novel called Peppermint Desert. In this charming story, we follow Mickey and Saturday as they ride across a barren landscape. They’re outrunning more than just the law, and along the way, they learn that with good luck comes bad luck too.
Mickey is a Fonz-type character, that plays his hand against the devil, and hell itself. He is accompanied by his sister Saturday, whose sharp wit and heavy foot keep the duo one slick ahead of the ever-present fate of capture. This quick read will bring forth feelings of sorrow and enlightenment, which, when paired with the artwork, make for an energizing tale.
"I spent my entire Senior year of college, and even the summer before [that, was when] I started writing it, but I spent the entire senior year [actually] making it happen."
Sean Peacock is more than an illustrator, you can tell he lives with these characters. He's a native of Dearborn, Michigan, and studied at the College for Creative Studies in Detroit, where he created Peppermint Desert as his thesis. He goes into more detail about his creative process on his website. One key detail to note is his limited color palette. The book consists of four variations of red, three blues, three yellows, and a single grey tone. This selection of colors would have been cut down even more if he would have been able to print with a risograph, which we were able to speak about.
"If it weren't for the length of this book, I probably would have printed it on the Risograph. (...) It's that tactile feel, I like when something has that look of being old, or misregistered or grainy, and the Risograph just does that so well."
One Saturday I awoke to my daughter kicking my back so I rolled over and swiped my phone off of the nightstand. By instinct, I went right to Twitter. Before my eyes were open all the way I crossed a picture of a man leaning out of an old car, ya know, the kind with the rear fender flairs. Anyway, he was holding a gun and his jacket reminded me of when my pa used to wear tassels. Across the sky, it read Peppermint Desert. I ordered it with the last bit of money I had. I couldn't help but feel guilty for the rest of the day.
Days later I still had the imagery stamped into my mind. Money was kicked across the pink desert floor, and the only dark color on the page was the road. I needed it in my hand, I get like that sometimes, so I emailed Sean to see when I could expect my copy. Sean emailed me back in no time and assured me it was on its way. I scrambled home after my 8-hour shift that Monday and was greeted with a white envelope.
I'm a big fan of stippling, which is a form of shading that uses dots rather than lines, which is known as hatching, or cross-hatching. Sean utilizes stippling in order to give this boock an aged effect. The quality of the print is also breathtaking. The stapled binding feels sturdier than many comics on the shelf today. Every page is just as vibrant as the last. Peppermint Desert does not disappoint. Fingers crossed we see more of this luck-enshrouded sibling’s journey.
Sean's Other Creations
Sean speaks with just as much intensity and enthusiasm when discussing his art and storytelling. All Sorrows is his website where he shares the process behind Peppermint Desert along with some of his other work. Sean is a talented storyteller and an even more talented artist. Showcased across his website is the art of another era. He uses many different mediums/styles when exploring Fogg, his overarching webcomic. Each piece found under the “personal work” section breathes a life of its own, this all goes to show the passion that he put into Peppermint Desert.
"The idea [All Sorrows] is like when a band puts out an album or they have an era."
I would go as far as to call Sean an up-and-coming rockstar of the comic book scene. The first chapter of Fogg is one of his earliest comics, and already the dynamic panels are realized, and the emotions are built into the characters. It's like when a young musician first lifts the instrument of their choice, and you can tell that there's something there that the other kids don't have. Whatever that something is, Sean's got it. Fogg is the story of a man seeking his lost love, but getting caught up in horrifying adventures along the way. The panel portrayed below compared to that above shows you the difference in art and tone between the chapters. I'd say that in the journey of being a rockstar, Sean has played a few venues by now...
"I'm putting future chapters of it [Fogg] on the back burner (...) it's a story I really believe in and I may revive it one day as something else. Fogg was always a playground for me creatively."
We took a detour in our conversation to talk about some of the inspirations he has when approaching the horror genre. It is no surprise that the man mimicking risograph techniques loves the classic Universal horror films. Mickey and Saturday even talk with the sparky tone of the 1920s and 30s. He recommended The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari to me, so I suppose I now have homework! And that's "Co-pa-setic" as Mickey would say.
Although fresh on the comic book scene Sean Peacock has a lot of big dreams and even bigger ambitions. I look forward to seeing what else he has up his sleeves, and I hope to be able to help him get eyes on future projects. If you're looking for a one-off adventure to ingest in a sitting then Peppermint Desert scratches that itch. If you want to explore what more Sean has to offer then All Sorrows is the place for that. Don't go pressing your luck though, the devil just might catch up to you.
Thank you Sean Peacock for the interview.
Thank you to my ever-loyal readers.
I'll be posting an interview with the author Laurel Hightower next week.