Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Victor Quinaz - The Mastermind for "Mr Murder Is Dead"

A long-time friend of the Before The Door team, film-maker/ screenwriter Victor Quinaz was hauled into the world of graphic novels with a murderous story which has been brewing in his mind for some time.

The result? 

A pulp-noir styled detective graphic novel entitled "Mr Murder Is Dead", published by Archaia. The book was launched at this year's SDCC and preliminary reviews so far have been very positive!

It seems that "Mr Murder Is Dead" is being released officially this Wednesday on August 17th. I am not sure if you can even get hold of a copy online now as the graphic novel is sold out on TFAW!

Zachary Quinto fans would already be familiar with Victor's comedy web series called "PERIODS.". If you go 'huh'?? and haven't seen any of "PERIODS." -- where have you been all this while???

Understandably, Victor is a busy man. And I was pleasantly and squeefully surprised that he found the time to reply my questions for this interview:

1. Tell us how you got to be involved with this Archaia/ Before The Door graphic novel, "Mr Murder Is Dead".
Victor: I've been buds with the Before The Door gang for sometime now. Corey and Neal came to me with this idea of turning a script I had developed for TV into a graphic novel.

At the time, I hated the script, the setting, the concept, but liked the mystery in it and the characters. Corey was the one that cracked the nut. He suggested the story be a riff on Pulp Strips of the Golden Age. After that it was all balloons and birthday cake, a real celebration getting to the final product.

2. Do you consider yourself a huge comic book/ graphic novel fan? And do you have a favourite comic writer or creator?
Victor:  Like a lot of guys my age, I was into comics until girls actually started hanging out with me. Now I don't see them as mutually exclusive. The comic stores I go to are like singles' bars for hipster geeks. 

As far as comics and creators I love, I think I wear my influences on my sleeve. Bob Kane and Chester Gould were guys I was aware of really young. Now it's all Alan Moore and Ed Brubaker. You really see with them this brilliant synthesis of pop into something literary and heavy. I also dug the GI JOE: COBRA run featuring Chuckles. That was pretty bad ass.

3. What inspired the retro look of "Mr Murder Is Dead"? Did you do a lot of research to achieve the noir/ pulp fiction feel of the graphic novel?
Victor: For the flashbacks, both on the art and writing side of things, Brent and I read a ton of old strips. It really became our job to fold the mystery and darkness underneath these colorful panels and pages. Of course being longtime fans of these old characters and strips made it more of a joy than anything that resembled work.

4. Is the main character, Gould Kane, a representation of someone you know in real life?
Victor: If I knew any version of Gould Kane in real life, I'd get my ass kicked. Or more likely he wouldn't give two-shits about about me. He's pulp and applesauce all the way.

5. Did he do any research into how people feel in retirement, their mental state etc? (from @doubleshiny)
Victor: I have four dead grandparents and watched three of them die, research was... unnecessary.

6. Do you plan to keep the style and storytelling strictly vintage, or slip in some 21st Century elements? (from @Sunfell)
Victor:Interesting. But do you mean with future projects or on this book? I tried to avoid cellphones, the modern story-fix-it-all.

There is definitely a bromance goin' on
7. How did you end up working with Brent Schoonover as the artist for "Mr Murder Is Dead"? Is this the first time you have worked with a comic artist, and how has the experience been like?
Victor: Brent is the brother with blond hair I never had. We went through quite a few illustrators before we met with Brent's work (it was Paul, our editor, that approached him). Once I saw some sketches it was Brent by a mile. The guy is a super talent. He completes me. And yeah it was my first time, Brent was gentle.

8. What are the main challenges you face when creating a comic book like "Mr Murder Is Dead" – compared to directing a “PERIODS.” film short? (from @lindsaysfnm)
Victor: They're very similar, in fact, as both tread heavily on collaboration. I think the challenges are staying true to your original thesis while having the freedom to explore and discard. Never be precious but also know what's worth fighting for (usually if you're fighting for something, you're already dead in the water).

9. Is it true that there will be a movie version of "Mr Murder Is Dead"? Will this be based on the novel or an offshoot story from it? (from @lindsaysfnm)
Victor: You know what's funny is that a lot of people these days make these books to develop right into a movie. And "Murder" was no different at first, but somewhere down the line we had to give up on a movie version and just make a killer book. Now that the book is done and done for book sake, the possibilities of a movie become really fun.

As to confirm there's a movie version on the way... well, I have no idea. We want to do one. We have a different take on the story than the book. But movies are a whole different kind of monster. Ask me in a year.

10. So how was SDCC 2011 for you this year? Did you do anything differently?
Victor:Yes, we wisely learned from past mistakes and spent the majority of the time when we weren't working the Con at the hotel pool. Not to mention meeting Brent and his wife, Nicole, after a year of working with him was the cherry on top of my nerd sundae.

11. Did you geek out over anyone you met at SDCC? What was the experience like?
Victor: The Tardis. I freaked out when I saw the Tardis. Otherwise SDCC is an orgy of nonsense, adolescent hope, corporate eye rape, the smell of corn chips and sex, but also killer fan costumes. But, yeah, the Tardis.

12. So between you and Brent and the folks at Archaia, who flexes his biceps in the best way possible?
Victor: I think ZQ probably has the best biceps. He was designed in a lab for the ladies' pleasure. Also Neal used to be ripped to the tits. Corey, not so much.

13. How much do you like geek girls?
Victor: Love 'em. You can talk to them. They smell great. And often times they'll loan you money.

14. Please share with us your upcoming projects.
Victor: Oh, man, aside from a crapper economy, piss poor politics, and death in general; the future looks pretty bright. Phil, Anna, the entire PERIODS. gang, and myself are finishing up our first feature that will premiere next year (can't say too much more on that, other than it's hilarious and way different than anything we've ever done. Think "Spinal Tap" meets "When Harry Met Sally"!)

We also have two PERIODS. shorts planned for the rest of the year, one a tie-in with "Mr Murder Is Dead". I have a script with Before The Door and Killer Films (the reason I moved to NYC) that will be announced shortly. And maybe I'll actually get around to finally dropping the two episodes of STUNTED we shot.

PERIODS., STUNTED, "Mr Murder Is Dead" and more!

There seems to be a number of a few creatively visual things that this mastermind may slay us with.

Whatever it is, don't Spook The Spook. You might need him.


To view some of Victor's other videos, click his Vimeo channel here!

Also, to see what happened at the Archaia/ BTD panel at Nerd HQ during SDCC 2011, here are the videos - Thanks to TheBibliotheca!

And to get to know more about Brent Schoonover, the artist for "Mr Murder Is Dead", read an interview with him here!

As for "Mr Murder Is Dead", fans can try to order a copy online through these websites (if they have not sold out already!):

And more about the graphic novel can be found at the Official Mr Murder Is Dead website!


  1. "I think ZQ probably has the best biceps. He was designed in a lab for the ladies' pleasure."

    LOL :D

    I was lucky enough to meet Victor in San Diego this year. Very nice guy, and I;m super excited to see what else he has in store for us!

  2. I hope to meet Victor at NYCC. And Brent too!
    And I can't wait to get my hands on the book at the convention.