Interview: Christina Blanch of Source Point Press’ The Damnation of Charlie Wormwood

The Damnation of Charlie Wormwood

The Damnation of Charlie Wormwood

Christina Blanch is a writer, educator, and comic retailer. Her thrilling series, The Damnation of Charlie Wormwood, is collected in a new graphic novel by Source Point Press. She gives Westfield’s Roger Ash the lowdown on this volume.

Westfield: What’s the origin of The Damnation of Charlie Wormwood?

Christina Blanch: I taught college courses in prison for a long time. After the program was cancelled (which was a shame!), my colleague Chris Carr and I would meet for coffee just to catch up. We reminisced about our time behind bars and decided we should write them down somewhere because we didn’t want the stories to become lost. Coincidentally, I am a comic book scholar and felt that in order to use these comics and talk about them, I should at least have written one, published or not, to see the process. So, I pitched to Chris that we write our story in graphic form. He enthusiastically agreed! So, we wrote up a pitch and decided to send it in. I pitched it to, a newly formed digital site, and they loved it. They were great and helped us to find an artist (the most amazing CHEE!), a letterer (the terrific TROY PETERI!) and (down the road) put the book together. Chris and I wrote the first few installments and then, life got in the way a bit. Chris got a job that took SO much of his time plus he had two kids and a big property to take care of so I just wrote it and we consulted when we could. We are both so proud of this story!

Westfield: What can readers look forward to in the story and who are the main characters they’ll meet?

Blanch: Well, it’s not a happy story even though there are moments of happy. I mean, it is called the DAMNATION of Charlie Wormwood, not the Happy-go-lucky life of Charlie Wormwood. So, you meet Charlie and his son, who is sick. Charlie’s wife, Michelle comes in pretty early on as does Barnum, a “student” of Charlie’s that gives him some options in a life in which Charlie seems to be failing.

Westfield: How much research did you do on prisons in preparation for the story?

Blanch: Every day teaching in prison was research so I guess we did a lot of research. I had to send Chee pictures of US prisons as he is out of the country. Many of the items, like the chit board, had no pictures to reference because who would have a picture of something so mundane and it’s not like we could take cameras into prison. I “drew” a version of it for Chee and he made it real. In fact, one of my friends uses this book in her criminal justice classes to show some of the more mundane aspects of the prison itself. I love that! Besides researching prison there was much more to look at…in fact I really hope people can’t see my search history during a couple of the arcs. I may be on a list somewhere.

Westfield: What can you tell us about your collaborators on the story?

Blanch: My collaborators are the best. Chris Carr and I came up with the idea together. He is the inspiration for Charlie being an English literature teacher and when we would decide what book Charlie would teach next, we talked and talked to come up with the stories that our students had told us that would work with the story. Personally, the swamp donkey story is my favorite. Anyway, Chris is a topnotch human and is so talented with woodworking! Chee is, in my opinion, the reason the book works. His art is amazing and I cried the first time he made my characters come to life. In fact, he was going to have to stop being on the book at one point due to other commitments and we made the story shorter just so he could stay and finish the series. This is TRULY a collaboration and every member is integral. Chee also has the cutest twins! Our letterer Troy Peteri is the best and if you have read a comic in the past 10 or so years, I almost guarantee you have read something with his name on it! He has been a lifesaver so many times. AND he has hair just like Han Solo in A New Hope (that hurt me to type that as I still call it simply Star Wars). Mark Waid was the original editor and really helped to assemble the book in making the jump from digital to paper. Source Point Press’ own Josh Werner put the book together with a fresh take on the design and I think the flow is MUCH better. And Travis McIntire is the one who wanted the book, so I am gonna credit him, too. This is the best team and I love good comic book creator teams!

Westfield: How did this new collection come about?

Blanch: I was a guest at Gem City Comic Con in Dayton – a great show – and I was introduced to Travis McIntire of Source Point Press by a mutual friend. We started chatting and had a great conversation for like an hour! I had heard great things about this publisher so I took him a copy of The Damnation of Charlie Wormwood ashcan and a copy of my recent Tales from the Crypt. The next day he came over and said he would like to publish the trade of Wormwood. We chatted and now, on May 29th, the collection is coming out. I am so excited to be a part of Source Point Press. They have an amazing stable of creators and it is truly a family.

Westfield: Any closing comments?

Blanch: Please buy this book. Ha! 232 pages for $19.99 is a bargain! But seriously, if you like Breaking Bad type stories, this is for you. I am proud of it and extremely proud of and honored to work with Chris, Chee, and Troy.


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