Lincoln Green – Chris Fildes Interview
I try to spotlight all the Kickstarter projects I can and I actually backed this one. The concept is so interesting so I had to ask Chris Fildes all about it.
Lincoln Green is a Robin Hood story. What about the character of Robin Hood appeals to you and tell us a little about the angle you’ve taken?
Lincoln Green is set in a world where Robin is a friend of strange spirits that live in Sherwood Forest. In particular Herne The Hunter, who is another British folk legend. This is something that was touched upon in the 1980’s TV show ‘Robin Of Sherwood’ a show I loved growing up. I wanted to lean into this a little but do something different with it.
So our jumping point is the death of Robin Hood and what happens next. His killer returns to his paymaster (the Sheriff of Nottingham) to claim his reward. But the angry spirits of the forest are not going to let this go. They have a plan – you may think it’s just revenge but it’s actually something else entirely. So although this starts off as a Robin Hood story it reframes it as part of something much bigger. It’s a one-off tale but when you read it hopefully you’ll want to explore this world a bit more. I know I do!
The book is a big departure in tone from your other recent work. What made you go in a darker direction?
It’s a bit of a swerve for my published work for sure. Though readers of my previous two comedies will have noticed the dark edge they both have under the surface in some moments. In fact most of the things I’ve written (or started to write in most cases) are usually a bit darker. It’s just I chose to focus on the more humorous work a few years back as I was going through some bad times. Incidentally, my two favourite tv shows growing up were Doctor Who and Twin Peaks both which balance humour and horror. I think there’s a very fine line between comedy and horror.
With Lincoln Green the truth is it just happened. I was actually in the middle of writing a comedy in March 2021. One evening I was watching the end of a Robin Hood movie and my mind started to wandering about how bland they had made the story. Where was the supernatural angle I’d enjoyed so much in ‘Robin Of Sherwood’? The idea of Robin Hood being killed came to me first, inspired by that show which memorably killed him off. That night I couldn’t sleep. The overall story idea came to me almost instantly and it started to form. It felt like it was poured into my head like a dark treacle. Over the next few hours the story unfolded. I knew I had to pass the story on.
Donna Black is drawing or should I say painting the book. I love her stuff and can see why you chose her for the book but can you go into that decision?
I had seen Donna’s work on Twitter before starting work on the book. I just loved it. The dreamy, abstract style really fitted the way the story originally came to me. This was an opportunity to visualise it in a similar way I had first experienced the story myself.
You have a couple of other artists involved. Can you go into their contributions?
Firstly Damian Connelly has done a variant cover. For those who may not know him, he released a series last year called ‘You Promised Me Darkness’. This was a big smash over in the US. I had seen Damian’s work a bit before this came out and we chatted about Lincoln Green and he agreed to do a cover. I’m really, really happy with it. I hope to work with Damian on something else. Maybe something set in the world of Lincoln Green…
We also did an early bird special with Andy Bloor for backers in the first 24 hours. As it was an early bird special I decided to use that as the theme so Andy drew a horrible crow eating poor Robin Hood’s plucked out eye one morning. Yuk! Well it IS a horror comic.
Edward Bentley is an artist I’ve worked with on my last two books. I know how much he loves drawing grotesque characters so I commissioned him to do a rendition of a scene from the book in which The Sheriff is having a banquet with his awful friends. It’s a stretch goal but it looks great so far and I really want everyone to get this!
Finally, Dan Gruitt is the designer of Lincoln Green as well as my previous books (and many, many more indie comics). I decided I wanted to do an oversized hardcover edition of the book to show off Donna’s art. I wanted this to have a different style cover entirely so Dan has designed something beautiful. I really can’t wait to see this hardcover edition. It’s going to look so good and I think it’s the best way to experience the story.
I don’t think I’ve seen something like this before (people can correct me on that) but you have commissioned a soundtrack for the book. Can you tell us a bit about that?
I’d like to say it was an original idea but I got the idea from Jordan Thomas’ Frank At Home On The Farm campaign which also has a soundtrack.
I really only wanted to have some music for my Kickstarter video. When the idea to Lincoln Green came to me that night I mentioned, a tune went around in my head as well. A repetitive folk tune that got more and more intense as the night went on. I thought it would be great to commission someone to bring it to life. So I chatted with John Vallely, an Irish composer who actually did the Frank At Home On The Farm soundtrack.
As we chatted, I decided not to mention my own tune and to just see what he came up with. I loved it and after talking some more we decided to do a full soundtrack as well as the theme. So each of the acts will have its own score.
It was really important to me to offer all my backers something extra, so I decided that they would get the soundtrack as well as the book. I think it will really add to the experience and set the mood. It’s a fantastic piece of work on it’s own too regardless and I can’t wait for people to hear it. As well as the music, John is also working on creating a video that sets the score to the book panel by panel. This is going to be so wonderful. I think these two things are really special rewards – and everyone who backs the book will get them.
You’re getting closer to that funding goal (fingers crossed as I’ve backed you). What are some of the stretch goals that are looking to get to?
Thank you so much for backing me. At the moment the only stretch goal is Ed Bentley’s as mentioned. If we did reach that I’ll have to think about something else. Fingers crossed!
A little off topic with this final question: you’ve come into the Irish scene from the outside. I’d be interested in hearing what you think of it?
It’s really the only comic scene I’ve known. I’ve only been writing for a few years and came to Dublin from London in 1997! Princess Diana had just died, it was that long ago! So I don’t feel I’ve come from the outside, just that I’m a late starter.
Everyone I’ve met or interacted with has been so friendly. The pandemic put a stop to any events during most of the time I’ve been working on my writing but I sought out a few creators I’d interacted with online at ThoughtBubble and then the last DCAF.
I’m absolutely awful at communication on social media. It just doesn’t come naturally to me at all and I find it really difficult to get involved in conversations online. I think it shows. So when I have a book out I feel awkward reaching out to other creators as I haven’t interacted much. So I try to support Kickstarters and to retweet and like as much as possible at the very least. I’m so much better in person so I’m really going to be making an effort to meet more people going forward which is my comfort zone.
There’s quite a few people I’m very keen to work with as well in the future. There is such great work out there.
The Irish comic scene is so vibrant and friendly and I’m really pleased to be a part of it.
Lincoln Green on Kickstarter: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/iamchrisfildes/lincoln-green