by Scott Michael Dunn @scottmdunn
B. Clay Moore has spent the last ten plus years working his Hawaiian Dick formula and finally, after all the effort, it looks like these comics are about to hit Prime Time.
After years of writing and promoting, a recent pitch to NBC has met with the first level of Prime Time success. As stated by Moore, “Right now the writers, Dave Elliott and Paul Lovett, are working on the pilot script, and progress seems positive.” Positive indeed as the pitch was made possible with the combined efforts of Moore and producer Eric Gitter. As we all look forward to the developments of the pilot episode, there is more to share. A 100 page graphic novel was launched on Kickstarter and raised $20,794 with 684 backers. With all of these exciting developments, we decided to be dicks ourselves and investigate the man behind the comic.
As a child, Moore moved around a lot and developed a fondness for comics at an early age. While this seems no different than the likes of many children, Moore had a special talent for farce; he was enough off-kilter that he gained reader interest at an early age. He continued to develop this craft until finally, as a college student in Kansas City, KS, Moore found himself at a proverbial crossroads while studying journalism. He was battling the realization that his dream of producing comics was far-fetched and humility was in order. However, he decided his creative and entrepreneurial venture deserved one more chance and reached out to Joseph Torres.
According to Moore, the selection of comics at that time was a poor replication of the art and the industry was slowly creeping to a halt. While Moore was disappointed with the comic industry at that time, he was inspired by the work of J. Torres (known recently for “Teen Titan Go”). As it turns out, their chance encounter was a comedy of errors. Moore was expected to do graphic work for Torres and ended up editing the entire book, “Comic Book Tales.” Torres was impressed with his work, which created a long-standing relationship. In the mid 90s (post college), Moore resorted to sales to stay afloat. He was talented and gained attention, but he was not willing to sacrifice his ideas for success. His goal was to be different enough to garner attention, yet remain in the mainstream in order to entertain the masses.
Moore spent a number of years with Image Comics in and out of production with his Hawaiian Dick comic ideas. Since Image Comics was not changing comics to fit the industry, they were hard pressed to find quick success however, Moore became a big part of developing their successful brand. This led the author to New Line Cinema in early 2002, and the two entities (New Line Cinema and Moore) struck an agreement to bring Hawaiian Dick to life on the silver screen. The project was ready for a green light, but New Line Cinema began experiencing financial difficulties so the movie was unable to be produced. However, when the plans for the movie were moving forward, Johnny Knoxville was secured as the star. Even though that project didn’t see completion, Moore knew that, with the big name agreeing to portray his star character, he definitely had a marketable product.
That product has now developed into a potential TV series that NBC is interested in airing. Incidentally, if the pilot is picked up, Knoxville will still be cast in the starring role. We asked Moore to highlight his career in comics and he shared these thoughts: “The immediate success of Hawaiian Dick was hard to top. It was the first thing I’d done on my own, and its extremely positive reception really motivated me. Beyond that, having the opportunity to write characters like Superman and Batman was fun. I don’t know what writer wouldn’t love to tell at least one story for each of those guys. But I find creating my own worlds and characters to be the most enjoyable aspect of what I do. I’ve recently had the chance to introduce some new characters to existing comic book universes, and that’s been a lot of fun, as well.”
So who exaclty will Johnny Knoxville be portraying? The original “Hawaiian Dick” comic was a reflection of Hawaii circa the 1950s. Hawaii was gaining interest as a popular destination and there was a specific culture that began to develop during this decade. After watching a film about a band of apparitions that moved around and danced to drum beats, the author was also inspired to add a supernatural aspect to his writing. However, he was hell bent that Byrd was not to become a cliché ghost hunter. Byrd is a sort of dim-witted private dick that tends to muck things up as well as he solves mysteries (enter the quintessential Johnny Knoxville characters we know and love).
Moore attributes his growing success to his followers, and is humbly grateful for the contributions to his Kickstarter campaign. When he was determining how to set a pace for the release of “Big Hawaiian Dick,” “Aloha, from Hawaiian Dick,” and the TV series, he decided to use Kickstarter to launch the marketing for all of his Hawaiian Dick endeavors. This campaign brought all of these projects together by building a single platform, which launched him directly onto his current path. “Big Hawaiian Dick” is a compilation of unpublished material, art, and original work from the “Hawaiian Dick” comic. This 100 page book has collectable artwork and never before seen content. The crowd-funding marketing concept seemed to align with his ideas for simultaneously promoting his work.
Obviously, it was the right decision with the amount that was raised and the number of backers he received. The Great Big Hawaiian Dick graphic novel will not be available anywhere else according to Moore. He merged exclusively with Kickstarter in order to streamline his process. Rather than an overload of pricey merchandise, the collaboration is only offering this 100 page content driven representation of his comic. When asked what Moore thought of his decision to launch this campaign on Kickstarter, he said, “I’m very gratified. There aren’t a lot of high dollar rewards as part of the campaign, so reaching our goal so quickly felt great. The main thing I wanted to do was get the book into people’s hands. As of right now, we have just over 500 backers, with the rest of the week to go.”
After discussing his success on Kickstarter even further, Moore had this to share: “I think it’s a fantastic way to put things directly into the hands of readers and consumers. You know the book is going to be read, and you know how many people are going to read it. In this case, we won’t be overprinting the book by much, and won’t be reprinting it in this format, so this is honestly the most likely way for people to buy the book.”
Moore’s public is excited to see the series and is anxiously awaiting the partnering comic, “Aloha, from Hawaiian Dick.” Considering Moore has been creating this series of comics for many years, he had a huge amount of content to work with. He decided, rather than start a whole new series that may or may not take away from the original, he would create a sister project entitled “Aloha, Hawaiian Dick.” The idea for the Aloha series was to hold hands with the original “Hawaiian Dick” and be more of an attributing story rather than a fresh one.
Moore currently resides in Kansas City, KS and spends his time developing new projects while keeping up with the Comic-Con scene. He is launching “Aloha, Hawaiian Dick” into production with artists like Shawn Dove and Greg Smallwood, the artists who are working on the covers. Moore shared that “Southern Bastards,” a recent release for Image Comics, is his favorite book on the market right now.
In a recent discussion with Word Balloon, a comic book conversation show, John Siuntres interviewed Moore and he shared another project he launched in 2013 called Bad Karma, which is a 200 page hardcover comic. With all the hype for Dick and Aloha, Hawaiian Dick, Bad Karma is gaining lots of support too. 615 supporters pledged $36,262 towards the project. It seems that Moore is on top of his game and gathering steam along the way. Do not be surprised to read, hear, or see B. Clay Moore on the forefront of entertainment news and Comic-Con events.
If you like this article check out our interview with Troy Little who adapted the Hunter S. Thompson classic Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas into a graphic novel.