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DF Interview: Writer Ryan Ferrier brings readers a different type of gang war in the Curb Stomp TPB
By Byron Brewer
Three gangs. Five girls. No way out.
Machete Betty leads a small gang of women under the self-appointed task of protecting their home of Old Beach, one of three boroughs surrounding a rich metropolitan city. When Betty takes the life of a rival gang member in an act of self-defense, she sets off a chain reaction of retaliation, gang warfare, and unlikely allies.
This is Curb Stomp, an intense miniseries collected into one TPB. To learn more of this comic and its unique protagonists, Dynamic Forces caught up with its writer, Ryan Ferrier. Here’s what he said.
Dynamic Forces: Ryan, tell us about how the original miniseries of Curb Stomp, which is to be collected in a TPB from BOOM! Studios, came about.
Ryan Ferrier: Curb Stomp was something that had been on my mind for quite a while, perhaps a year even, before I happened upon Devaki Neogi, the artist and co-creator on the series. I saw some of her amazing work that was in Mumbai Confidential, and I immediately reached out to see if she wanted to join me, and lo and behold, she did!
We dove in head-first together and cooked up what would become The Pitch, and about a year later, we found a home in BOOM! Studios. The rest, as the say, is magic.
From the very beginning, Devaki and I wanted to tell a story that had social relevance today, that would also be really exciting and violent—while really endearing readers to our characters and the situation they find themselves in. We also wanted to do this with a certain tone, or flavor, that was really fun and unique; Curb Stomp, along with having very important messages, is also a love letter to the heavy genre content we grew up loving.
DF: Who are the female warriors who comprise “The Fever” and how did this “gang” come by that moniker?
Ryan Ferrier: The Fever is very different than the other gangs in the world of Curb Stomp. They are resilient, they are survivors, they are an utter force to be reckoned with … but they are also good people. They behave unlike most of the other gangs in that they didn’t form for power or for money or drugs; they formed to protect the thing they love: their town of Old Beach, and the people they live with.
Each member of The Fever is unique, with their own goals and struggles, but they are bonded in this sisterhood because of who they are, what they’ve been through, and where they want to be. They are Machete Betty, Violet Volt, Daisy Chain, Derby Girl and Bloody Mary. Being able to bring life to these characters with Devaki has been a total dream.
DF: Tell us about the storyline of Curb Stomp, the act of self defense that precipitates greater violence, and the gangs aside from The Fever involved.
Ryan Ferrier: Curb Stomp is essentially a punk rock survival story. When The Fever acts in self-defense against another gang, The Wrath, it incites a gang war that is influenced by a big-city mayor hell-bent on gentrifying and uniting the boroughs, each represented by a gang. It’s a power-shift, it’s gang warfare, but for The Fever, it’s simply protecting their turf.
Curb Stomp paints a picture of what life is like within these gangs, whether it’s The Fever, The Wrath or The Bayside Five. But we quickly learn that codes of conduct and rules of war mean nothing, and The Fever are targets of a completely unfair system.
DF: Comics readers have seemingly, on an increasing basis, been demanding more diverse stories featuring female protagonists. How does Curb Stomp help meet this demand?
Ryan Ferrier: I absolutely agree with this demand, and I really hope the industry—every industry—continues to focus on this. Comics should be for everyone. All we need to do is step outside our front door and look around at the world. Recognize. Change our ways of thinking, change the way we’re programmed.
Curb Stomp itself has a point, and it has meaning and messages. At the end of the day, Devaki and I wanted to tell a story that everyone (age-appropriate) could be excited for and feel a part of. Or relate to it. Or learn something from it. Or start a conversation. As for myself, I want to always shatter and dismantle any sort of “template” programmed into my brain, of what a comic should be, or how I make comics.
DF: How has it been working with Devaki on this series?
Ryan Ferrier: Working with Devaki and creating this book, these characters, this world together, has been nothing short of incredible. Devaki is so, so talented and hard-working, and her vision and craft is just awesome. It’s been totally phenomenal, Devaki is going to have a long, impactful career.
DF: The designs for The Fever are off the chart! Did you work with Devaki on these or was she given descriptions and artistic license?
Ryan Ferrier: One thing that I love in particular about Devaki’s work is her sense of design. She’s also a clothing designer! Devaki and I talked about each look, which was really important to developing everyone, and once we figured out how this character is, and how they would present themselves, Devaki worked her magic and absolutely transformed them all into fully-formed, visually amazing characters. I truly love working with collaborators who just click, and we understand perfectly how this new world works.
DF: If warranted, would you like to see Curb Stomp go to a sequel?
Ryan Ferrier: That would be very, very, very cool. I think there’s a lot that can be done in and around that world. I think more importantly than The Fever characters themselves, there’s even more to explore tonally, and thematically. I would love to continue this kind of story, and I think we’ve really only touched the tip of the iceberg. So, we shall see.
DF: Ryan, are there any other projects current or near-future you would like to discuss?
Ryan Ferrier: Totally! D4VE2, which is the second volume of D4VE, is coming out monthly from IDW. It’s been mine and Valentin Ramon’s passion for quite some time now, and we’re so happy to continue telling the story. D4VE2 concludes in issue #4 which is out in December, and then Valentin and I are most likely joining forces on something big once again.
I’ve also got a brand new creator-owned series with BOOM! Studios launching in February called Kennel Block Blues, from myself and artist Daniel Bayliss (Translucid). Kennel Block Blues will be unlike anything we’ve ever done—hell, it may be unlike anything I’ve ever seen. It’s part musical, part prison thriller, and all with animals. It’s totally bonkers, and Daniel’s art is going to blow peoples’ minds.
Beyond that, I have a couple of more new things waiting to be announced, a couple of things I’m revisiting, and a couple of things that haven’t found homes quite yet. I’m already incredibly excited for how my 2016 is shaping up, it’s going to be great, and I’m so fortunate and grateful to be able to work with some truly incredible people.
Dynamic Forces would like to thank Ryan Ferrier for taking time out of his busy schedule to answer our questions. The Curb Stomp TPB hits stores in January 2016!
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