Interview with Chris Condon Writer of That Texas Blood

by Wes Greer on June 30, 2020

Chris Condon Interview
Writer of That Texas Blood
Image Comics

Last week, the comic world got taken by storm as That Texas Blood #1 hit store shelves. I had the honor of covering the book for the site and after reading the first issue, I immediately took to social media in an effort to make sure as many of my readers as possible were sure to add it to their pull lists or to pick up a copy on New Comic Book Day.  I have read a lot of first issues from essential now writers in the comic world, but none have had the impact that That Texas Blood had on me. As I was reading along, I felt like I was reading a book written by a writer who had written dozens of comics before and was a master at his craft. Well, it turns out that writer Chris Condon is essentially new in the world of comics but is in fact a master of his craft so I was half right. I have had the honor of speaking to Chris a little bit back and forth and I was lucky enough to have him agree to do an exclusive interview with me so I could introduce you guys to the writer behind that incredible book I forced all of you to pick up. So, without boring you guys half way to death, lets get to the real reason you clicked on this link!

WG - Who is Chris Condon?

CC - Well, Chris is me. Or, rather, me am Chris.

I’m from the east coast, originally hailing from a small town in New Jersey called Metuchen. Early life was fairly normal, I think - lots of action figures, movies, comics, etc. I was always steeped in stories in that way, I guess.

WG - Were you into comic books as a kid? If so, what was your go to books?

CC - I was always into comics, yes. Loved them. Before I realized others were better at it than me, I wanted to be a comic artist. I didn’t know how to do it professionally, but it was something that really struck me – the graphic dynamism of it. I think my first books were Batman books – I remember getting some old dollar comics from the 60s and 70s from my local shop, a Mask of the Phantasm adaptation, and of course Hush when that hit. The big ones for me were Batman, X-Men, and Daredevil. I didn’t even know it – but I was reading that Frank Miller run pretty early on. For me there was just something about his artwork and storytelling that attracted me. Now, of course, I know it as one of the great runs of comics. I still read these books today (to some extent) and its funny to think of how long they’ve stuck with me. A lot of people treat things from their childhood as a thing of the past but for me it was building the foundation for who I would become as an adult.

WG - When did you decide you wanted to be a writer? Was there any particular reason or did it just happen one day?

CC - I wrote and illustrated a book that was in my local library when I was 7. It was called “The Great Fishing Adventure.” I do not fish. I have never fished. I do not know why I wrote this book called “The Great Fishing Adventure.” I also wrote a fairly comprehensive illustrated book about the Titanic that I made 20 copies of at the local Kinkos. This, I understand, as I was very much obsessed with the Titanic as a child. However, the sales sunk just like the ship.

So, to answer your question, I’ve always written. I don’t know why. But I always gravitated to it – both words and pictures.

WG - Did you go to school for writing or for anything else of that nature?

CC -I studied both film and the English language in school.

WG - I saw that you have loved cinema since you were young and that is where you started your career. what made you want to go that route?

CC - I don’t really know. I figure it’s my blood type. Blood type A-Cinema. It seems like the perfect confluence of all of the artforms. It’s got words, it’s got pictures, it’s got music, it’s got artistry in the form of visual effects and lighting and acting.

WG - What made you want to try writing comics after writing for cinema?

CC - I always was interested in comics as well as the cinema. One never outweighed the other. For me it was a fork in the same highway that would come back around together eventually. You either go this lane or you go that lane. Either lane is fine, in my mind.

WG - What was the transition like going from writing cinema stories to comic books?

CC - Easy. The only real difference was in formatting. I would never use narration in a film (despite my love of noir and Billy Wilder) but I would in comics, so that’s an interesting change in my style of writing based on the format.

WG - How did you start to get Brutal Dark published? What was the process like?

CC - Well, that was basically a result of the pandemic. I pitched Jacob the idea of doing shorter installments since our other book was then on hold, and he liked it, so we basically just ran with it. It’s all self-published so it’s pretty simple for us in terms of that. We’re in charge of the whole shebang.

WG - After Brutal Dark, when did you start to the process of creating That Texas Blood?

CC - Oh man. TTB was years before Brutal Dark. I think I pitched Jacob for BD in March or early April of 2020 – we released the first issue in early May. Quick turnaround, for that one!

WG - Based on the themes of both stories, it seems you have a passion for western style Noir books. Why did you decide to go that route vs the super hero route?

CC - I love superheroes. But yeah, I tend to gravitate to the dark stuff. I love noir. I love westerns. But, again, I love superheroes, too! I do have a great idea for a B’wana Beast comic. I love that character because I feel like he’s never really been given a chance. Grant Morrison tried. But I would love to treat him like a Lee Falk Phantom-esque hero, just set him on a globe-trotting adventure with his, admittedly, ridiculous power. Will I ever get to tell that story? Who knows? I also have a pretty cool (I think) Scarecrow-centric Batman tale. But again, that story is just there, gestating. So, for me, I have ideas for superhero stuff, but it always goes to the back of mind. Probably because I don’t own them. But I do tend to gravitate towards the darker stories – I feel like we can really explore the human psyche that way, much like noir did in the postwar 40s and 50s. It helps to exorcise demons.

WG - I know you worked on Brutal Dark with Jacob Phillips as well as That Texas Blood so how did that partnership come to be?

CC - It just happened. No great mystery. He was drawing the backups for Kill or be Killed and I loved that book. I was looking for a concept artist to draw up some designs for me, so I reached out and asked him if he liked the script, maybe he’d want to work with me. And he did. So, we’ve been working together ever since.

WG -Was there a reason why you decided to go with Image vs another publisher?

CC - Image was the only one who picked us up. But we sent it to a lot of places. I should be clear – nothing was certain. I even sent an email to Jacob before I sent our stuff to Image and said, “we probably won’t get them, but let’s try anyway.”

WG - What was your inspiration for the story of That Texas Blood?

CC - Really, the inspiration was Texas and its people.

WG - Why Texas?

CC - Texas has a thing about it, especially West Texas. I can’t really quantify it. I feel like TTB issue one kind of nails my feelings. But I think it’s in the vistas and the slow-paced life of the place. I love it.

WG - What was the process like getting That Texas Blood from your head to final published comic book?

CC - Well, it was pretty interesting to start with a screenplay and have that transform into the first issue. It took a while to work things out. At first there was no casserole dish and there was no dream sequence. The first half of the comic wasn’t there. I first wrote the ending. Then built upon that. Like plants, ideas take time to grow.

WG - What is the dynamic like between you and Jacob?

CC - We’re very much on the same page. Our emails usually consist of us going, “what do you think?” More often than not, the response is: “sounds good to me.” Jacob and I just kind of get it. It’s hard to describe – but you see it on the page. He’s an incredible artist.

WG - How has the partnership between the two of you developed since Brutal Dark? Do you feel like you two have a deeper understanding of each other’s processes going into your second story together?

CC - I think so. Better yet - I hope so!

WG - One of the biggest things I’ve seen fans love is the casserole dish. Is there an event or something that happened in your life with a dish that was the inspiration for that being what this whole story revolves around or was it just a wild idea you had?

CC - Nope. I wish there was a better story for this. I just sort of wanted something to help propel Joe Bob to the conclusion of the short story. How do I get him there? Well, he’s looking for his wife’s casserole dish, that’s how. It’s such a ridiculous little thing, so insignificant. I think its insignificance lends it weight and levity at the same time as you reach the final climactic scene of the comic. I think the final close up panel (without ruining the ending) of Joe Bob would be perfect with the Seinfeld bassline overlaid on it. The first issue is that kind of episode.

WG - How has the response of the first issue made you feel?

CC - I’m still a little overwhelmed, honestly. I thought maybe 2,000 people might read it and maybe a handful of those would like it. To have THIS happen is nuts. I never expected it. I’m just hoping I don’t let them down. It’s really humbling.

WG - Did you ever imagine creating this story that it would become as huge as it has or was this more of a shot in the dark story?

CC - Definitely a shot in the dark. I wanted to start the series with a one-shot short story. I liked the idea of setting the tone through that. But, yeah, I definitely never expected we would sell out! Or that the reaction would be so positive.

WG - What was it like hearing the news that issue one sold out its first week?

CC - Again, it’s nuts. My reaction was this: WHAT. My reaction today is still WHAT.

WG - Did that make you feel like you had “made it” with the first issue?

CC - In some way, sure. I think I still have to prove myself though. What if people feel like we’ve missed the mark with issue 2? I hope that’s not the case.

WG - I know we are only on issue one, but what can readers expect going forward with this series?

CC - The darkness of this first issue plays a part in later events. But this isn’t a book like Batman or even Brutal Dark, where it’s a continuing story, chapter to chapter. There’s a continuing theme, yes, but not a story. We do follow Joe Bob pretty closely, but he’s not always the lead. TTB is essentially an anthology series in a way, like the Stephen King universe of stories. People show up in other stories, but it won’t be their story necessarily. However, things will coalesce into a whole later on down the road. I can’t wait to get there. I hope readers will feel the same way.

WG - Do you have any-other stories or projects you are currently working on right now?

CC - Yes! Always. I am working on two projects right now that I love. One is called “Far Down Below…” which is a spin on those 80s Amblin adventures. The other is a horror story set in Iowa (which also stars a character who will appear in issues 7-9 of TTB!) called “Meet Mister Madness”. I’ve been writing this story since 2006 in various incarnations. The only thing that has stood the test of time is the title!

WG - Is there anything you would like to say to the readers?

CC - THANK YOU. And please, continue supporting your local comic shops if you can. Great ones would include Main Street Comics in New Jersey, House of Secrets in California, and OK Comics in the UK!

But I must repeat this – THANK YOU.

WG - Will we ever find out what happened to the casserole dish?

CC - Oh, yeah. But you’ll have to be patient.

WG - I ask this to all the creators I interview because I love it but in 5 years from now, where do you see yourself?

CC - In 5 years? Probably in a mirror.

I can’t thank Chris enough for taking the time to do this interview for us here at Comics the Gathering and after talking to him, I have found he truly is a man after my own heart. We share a lot of passions that got us into comics and our sense of humor is almost identical. He truly is such a great guy to speak with and one of the humblest guys I have ever interviewed. If you have not had a chance to read Chris’s new series, That Texas Blood, do yourself a favor and go pick one up if you can find one. If not don’t worry because there is a second print on the way. I wish Chris all the best of luck and hopefully we can do a new interview and see how much different thongs are in his life. I’m almost certain at that point ill have to introduce him as Eisner award winning writer. All the best Chris and I can’t wait to find out where the casserole dish is!

-Wes Greer

Pick up Texas Blood #1 here.