The Secret History of D.B. Cooper is a new ongoing series from Brian Churilla and Oni Press, set to invade comic book stores everywhere this Wednesday, March 14. So get it on your pull list now! Also, if you are in Portland, OR, don’t miss the release party with creator Brian Churilla at Floating World Comics. But if you live in other parts of the country, you can always read this interview Patrick did with Churilla instead. (But even if you’re in Portland you should still read this interview!) -Editor
Brian Churilla is my kind of creator. He’s an artist that cut his teeth on various creator owned projects such The Anchor and We Kill Monsters with various collaborators and even created his own book The Engineer. However all those books were either limited series or came to their natural conclusion some time ago so I was eager to find out what his next project would be. And then when it was announced that he would taking up the writing and art dutys on a new ongoing series from Oni Press that positioned itself to tell the untold story of the infamous plane hijacker and thief D.B. Cooper I knew this was going to be a book that would have a spot on my pull list before the first issue even hit. I managed to interview Churilla via email to pick his brain on the project and found that he brings a very unique passion to the project and I hope that after reading what he has to say about the project you’ll check the book out too.
Spandexless: So why D.B. Cooper? Was there something in particular about the now legendary hijacking that drew you to him as a character?
Brian Churilla: D.B. Cooper is an iconic NW folk hero. The impetus for my involvement with this project was the government’s unrelenting campaign of disinformation regarding the case.
S: And it looks like you took that disinformation and crafted your own version of the events surrounding D.B. Cooper, what made you think to connect Cooper and Cold War mental warfare with this story?
BC: D.B. Cooper was a Cold War-era, dimension-hopping assassin working for the CIA, plain and simple. That’s the account put forth in the book. The skyjacking was a story invented by the federal government to cover its tracks. All witnesses who have corroborated this fallacy are either CIA plants or under the direct psychic control of CIA agents. This masquerade was concocted to get the whole country on the hunt for Cooper. $200,000 is a lot of money, more so in 1971.
S: Are there any particular influences your drawing upon in the writing of this story?
BC: It’s a very intuitive process. If anything I’m much more influenced by others in regards to my drawing style, rather than my writing style, if I even have one at all. I did my best to put forth the information in the most clear and concise way possible.
S: I first became familiar with your work through books like We Kill Monsters and The Anchor, both of which involved heavy use of knock down drag out monster fighting. And from what little I’ve seen of Secret History it looks like that continues in this book as well. Is there anything in particular that draws you to creating books about monsters?
BC: It’s fun to draw monsters. I hope every book I ever do has monsters.
S: As an artist is there anything in particular you’re drawing upon with the mental realm Cooper operates in?
BC: I draw on my experiences with various hallucinogens, particularly DMT, psilocybin, and peyote.
S: With this being an ongoing series are there any particular themes or ideas you want to build on over the course of the story?
BC: The overarching theme is the duality of man.
S: Can you reveal anything here about just why the CIA turned on Cooper and why he went on the run?
BC: Due to the dangerous levels of psychotropic compounds he was exposed to, he became harder to control.
BC: You know, I’ve never even thought about that. I’d be fearful that it would be some sort of rouse perpetrated by the CIA.
S: Secret History is slated as an ongoing series, Do you have a definite end point or are you taking a more organic approach and seeing where the characters take you?
BC: I have a definite plan for the series, and it does end, very conclusively.
S: And what’s the deal with that one eared bear?
BC: It all gets revealed, don’t worry. The ear thing is revealed in issue two, for instance.