Dean Haspiel is one of the great cartoonists, both as an artist and writer. You may know him from Billy Dogma or The Red Hook on Webtoon. We enjoyed a spirited comix talk and got to connect the dots on his intriguing new comic book series, Covid Cop. If you’re familiar with Dean’s work, then you know he leans into surreal and satirical work. Please refer to my recent review. We discuss the exciting and evolving ecosystem of independent cartoonists and how Dean is bringing his comics to you, the reader. You can always find him at his Substack and he’ll connect directly with you on purchasing his work.
Once you dive in, you’ll see that this is a fully-realized dystopian world, one that allows us to entertain some distance from a pandemic we are still processing. When we go through such a big event crisis, we turn to great storytelling. Thusly, we can rely upon Dean Haspiel to provide an intoxicating mix of levity and pathos. And there’s even a romance to be found embedded within this work!
What is Covid Cop about? In Haspiel’s dystopian story, Covid is beyond being unstoppable and the government concludes the only solution is to eliminate humans. We follow one lone police officer, Lincoln Bio, as he resists his marching orders and seeks another path out of hell. That is the cut-and-dry description. There’s plenty going on, including how Lincoln manages to survive and what motivates him to somehow rise above all the muck and mire. Did you know that the pandemic is officially over with? Well, until it returns in some other noteworthy variant. Alright kids, there is no chance that Covid Cop is going to go gentle into the night.
People who know me personally, from this blog, or from my comics, know that I enjoy offbeat humor and exploring a topic down to as fine a distillation as possible. That’s not idle crowing at all. It’s just part of what I do. Anyway, Dean and I engage in a bit of that in this conversation. I think we really hit our stride discussing the phrase, “knows where the bodies are buried.” The phrase is what I used to describe Dean to a friend. And, oddly enough, the phrase appears on the first panel of his new comic, Covid Cop!
So, who “knows where the bodies are buried?” The art of conversation is such that it’s easy to lose the thread unless you’re willing to make adjustments along the way. I had meant to segue into something else when I brought up this curious phrase but we proceeded down an interesting, and entertaining, line of thought. What makes for a good conversation? Keep to an agile and nimble mind. Work at it and just be a good egg. A confluence of factors leads to becoming a good cartoonist or cook or conversationalist. You don’t even need to be a “talker,” per se, but it helps. So, I invite you to check out our conversation.
Dean Haspiel’s THE RED HOOK
Dean Haspiel’s BILLY DOGMA
The main point is that we had a good talk. We discuss the creative process at length and that alone is worthwhile. If you’re an indie creator, I’m sure there will be some food for thought. We cover such topics as how to jump start a project and regain your creative flow as well as share some tips and tricks on what it’s like to get your work out into the world.
Seek out Dean Haspiel:
Find him at various events, including the upcoming Awesome Con in DC (June 16-18, 2023). Awesome Con’s Film Festival will include Dean’s short film, THERE IS NO TRY as well as a short film by Dean creative cohort Whitney Matheson, CONTINUITY ERRORS. Great to see these films in a theater!
THERE IS NO TRY by Dean Haspiel
Connect directly with Dean here. Keep up with him on Instagram here. And keep up with him on Twitter here.
COVID COP. Art & script by Dean Haspiel. Dean Haspiel Deep Cuts. 28 pp. $15.
Dean Haspiel is in fine form with this short work in comics that transforms the Covid pandemic into a surreal parody of a sci-fi/horror story. In this scenario, the virus has completely taken over to the point that the government has clamped down hard on anyone disobeying protocol. It’s a take-no-prisoners battle plan and one police officer, Lincoln Bio, is doing his best to follow orders. If you’re a fan of Dean Haspiel, then you can expect that kooky sense of humor, bathed in pathos, made famous in the Billy Dogma comics series.
Our anti-hero Lincoln Bio is aware that he’s living in very strange times making very strange demands on him. How he comes to terms with his marching orders and how he confronts an insurgent group out to kill everyone makes up a good part of this dark comedy. Drawn in the mock heroic style that Haspiel is known for, this comic book will deliver a weird and entertaining jolt right to the jugular and then some. You probably won’t have nightmares from reading this but I can’t guarantee it. And, if there’s a sequel, all bets are off. This comic, by the way, is the first in the developing line of indie comics, Dean Haspiel Deep Cuts.
This comic will defy your expectations, especially if you don’t really know what to expect, and offers up the most recent example of a cartoonist at the top of his game. The winner of a recent Kickstarter campaign, this comic book is making its way to its backers and will make its way to you. Keep up with Dean Haspiel for more details.