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FCBD19 Interview: Grumble Creators Discuss Dogs, Demons, and Working with Eric Powell

Running can be good for you. It gets your heart rate up, keeps you physically fit, and can help you clear your mind. But, uh, in the case of Tala and Eddie, running lands them in some hot water.

See, Eddie is a con artist magician that has managed to transform himself into a dog and Tala is his half-demon sidekick daughter. So, when they go on the run from death incarnate, they try to dimension hop their way out of trouble, only to land in the world of The Goon… and up to their eyeballs in trouble.  And Franky, the newly appointed dog catcher, don't like talkin' mutts that give him the sass!

Grumble creators Rafer Roberts and Mike Norton partner with Eric Powell and his legendary character The Goon to bring fans one of the weirdest, funniest, most action-packed, over-the-top comics Free Comic Book Day has ever seen! Check out our interview below with Grumble writer Rafer Roberts and artist Mike Norton to find out more about what antics fill the pages of this fantastic Free Comic Book Day title!

Free Comic Book Day (FCBD): Set up your title for those that might be new to your comic book: What will new readers need to know before diving into your Free Comic Book Day issue? Who are the characters and what’s the storyline? Free Comic Book Day, FCBD, Grumble, The Goon, Albatross Funnybooks

Rafer Roberts: I think we’ve done a good job of making Grumble vs. The Goon easily accessible to folks who have never read either comic. That said, Grumble follows Eddie Endino, a low-rent criminal who was trapped in the body of a pug, and Tala Palacio, his part-demon sidekick, as they con their way through Baltimore and try to stay one step ahead of the monsters and inter-dimensional creatures hunting them down.

Mike Norton: Grumble is the story of a wayward con artist magician and his half-demon daughter. After permanently transforming himself into a dog to avoid cosmic police, he and his kid run around the country trying to escape the forces of evil (AND good) while searching for a way for him to become human again.

FCBD: What did you enjoy most about writing/drawing this comic?

Roberts: I’ve been a big fan of The Goon since the beginning, so getting a chance to jam on this with Eric is an insane thrill. However, since the script is done, I’m really enjoying watching Mike and Eric working on their parts of the art. The art is so beautiful!

Norton: The idea of collaborating with Eric, first and foremost! I’m having a blast monthly with Rafer and the gang drawing Grumble, but getting to share characters and literally drawing on the same pages with Eric and the Goon is pretty exciting and fun.

FCBD: Why should people pick up this Free Comic Book Day title?

Roberts: This may be the strangest comic I’ve ever had the opportunity to work on, and that’s kind of a high bar for me. Folks should read it just for that, but the art sure helps!

Norton: 1. It’s free.

2. It’s funny and looks good.

3. It’s free.

FCBD: What other comic books would you compare to this title? “If a comic reader likes _______ , they should pick up my title?”

Roberts: I always have trouble with this question. My current answers are: Criminal, Saga, and Howard the Duck, with a healthy helping of Hellblazer.

Norton: I usually describe Grumble as Howard the Duck meets Hellblazer, but now we’re in a Goon comic… So I don’t know what the heck it is now! 

FCBD: Looking to the future, is there anything you can tease about what's upcoming for the title and its characters?

Roberts: Magic and mayhem, a lot of me making Mike draw chaos and crowd scenes, and a ton of crazy psychedelic colors by Marissa Louise. Oh, and in the second arc, Eddie and Tala summon the Devil!

Norton: Grumble is gonna be the weirdest, funniest, saddest, happiest, action/adventure/road comedy starring a pug that you’ve ever read.

FCBD: What got you into reading comics?

Roberts: My mom used to run an airport shuttle when I was real little and would buy me comics to keep me occupied during the rides. Once I started school and met a few other comic readers, I was hooked.

Norton: My dad used to bring them home from the gas station on the way home from work. I learned how to read from them!

FCBD: Many newcomers will pick up comics for the first time on FCBD—what was the first comic you remember reading?

Roberts: ROM: Spaceknight Annual #2. It’s the one with the Bill Sienkiewicz cover, which just shows that I had good taste from day one.

Norton: The first comic I remember reading was Amazing Spider-Man #163. It’s got The Kingpin trying to kill Spider-Man with a desk on the cover.

FCBD: What are some of the titles you're reading today?

Roberts: My reading habits are sporadic and awful, but I never miss an issue of Stray Bullets.

Norton: Outer Darkness, Bitter Root, Mage, Paper Girls, Farmhand, Murder Falcon. I don’t get as much time to check out cool comics as I’d like.

FCBD: What is your favorite part about working in the comics industry?

Roberts: It’ll sound sappy but working with all of my collaborators. To paraphrase Willie Nelson, the life I love is makin’ comics with my friends!

Norton: Making stories. I am the happiest as I’ll ever be when making my art. To do it with friends is the cherry on top of an already sweet set-up.

FCBD: Tell us why everyone should read comic books!

Roberts: Because I need to eat and pay my rent! Also, when comics are done right, they can blow your mind apart better than any other form of entertainment.

Norton: I learned how to read from them! I learned my first foreign language words from them. I learned so much from reading comics. It’s a true form of literature!

FCBD: What is your favorite part about Free Comic Book Day?

Roberts: I like meeting new fans.

Norton: Kids getting in to them. I always see a bunch of kids at the events I’m at.

FCBD: Where do you plan on spending Free Comic book Day?

Roberts: I’m not sure yet. In the past, I’ve been at Beyond Comics in Maryland and Sound-Go-Round in New York, but I don’t have anything booked as of this interview. I expect that to change once we’re allowed to talk about the book in public!

Norton: I don’t know yet! I better find out!!!!

Free Comic Book Day, FCBD, Grumble, The Goon
Free Comic Book Day, FCBD, Grumble, The Goon
Free Comic Book Day, FCBD, Grumble, The Goon
Free Comic Book Day, FCBD, Grumble, The Goon
Free Comic Book Day, FCBD, Grumble, The Goon


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