Kickstarter Interview: PI Charles

Comic Book Kickstarter Project PI Charles: Volume One is a 60+ page graphic novel featuring five short stories about a New York City robot private eye. The Kickstarter project is now in its final week.

Word of the Nerd had the opportunity to interview creator Joshua Sherwell about his Kickstarter project PI Charles.

 For our readers, please provide a brief synopsis of PI Charles. 

PI Charles is about a robot private eye, trying to make a living in present day New York. Charles is a good detective despite the fact, being a robot, he is unable to comprehend the emotions behind the crimes of passion he investigates. He adopts the habits people expect of a PI, so is never far away from a smoke or a glass of whiskey, in a failing attempt to blend in better.

Pi Charles Cover art by Joshua Sherwell
Cover art by Joshua Sherwell

 How did PI Charles arrive on the scene back in 2013? 

PI Charles was first in the, now sadly defunct, anthology comic magazine ‘VS’. There were some great comics in there, I was very lucky to be in it! PI Charles actually started 2012, for another project.


What comics, music and movies inspired you to write a character like PI Charles?

I watched loads of Film Noir (Double Indemnity is a favourite) and read most of Raymond Chandler’s Philip Marlowe books, which is probably where some of Charles’ attitude comes from. I try not to let the comic get too uber-noir though.


If funded, The Kickstarter project will result in a 60+ page volume with five new PI Charles stories. How did you select the writers and artists for this project? 

I’ve admired/been jealous of these guy’s work for years! The writers and artists are all friends of mine, most who I met through arts college/university. I mostly wanted to keep the book ‘in-house’, since the character is quite precious to me.

Pi Charles Interior art by Joshua Sherwell
Interior art by Joshua Sherwell

What have you learned about the Kickstarter platform as a marketing tool for your publication so far? 

It’s quite hard work and a lot of (shameless) self-promotion, since there’s so many other comic Kickstarter projects. It’s usual best if you already have a bit of a fan-base, which we did with The Kill Screen, but not so much with PI Charles. It’s good for getting it in front of people who wouldn’t normally see it, though.


If PI Charles meets its goal, do you have future projects in mind for PI Charles or other books? 

I called it PI Charles Volume One because I’m an optimist! I plan on making PI Charles comics for as long as possible. I’ve also got the next series of ‘The Kill Screen’, which I co-created with Mike Garley, to start late summer, which should be a lot of fun.


There are about 200 comic related Kickstarter projects. What would be your elevator pitch to someone who asks you “In a crowded comic book marketplace, why should I back your project PI Charles?

I think the strength of Charles as a character is his outsider nature, he’s not one of us and is almost detached from everything. There’s still something charming and likable about him though! The comic also features some really strong storytelling and great art, I’m incredibly proud of the work everyone’s done. The book’s also very subversive of the genre, hopefully making for a fun read.

Learn more about Joshua’s Kickstart Project here.  If successfully funded, backers at the $14 level receive a PDF and print copy of the graphic novel planned for release in June 2016.

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About the author

Christopher Calloway

Christopher Calloway is the small press and idependent comic creator editor for Word of the Nerd. He is long-time comic book reader and collector who is passionate about comics and their creators.


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