In honor of the upcoming release of Scoop Vol. 1, our newest Insight Comics title, we sat down with the author, Richard Hamilton, to learn more about how this new comic was created!
1) How did the idea for Scoop come about?
Honestly? It all started during my summer internship at CNN’s Miami bureau. I was a film student in college, but didn’t have any luck getting onto the big Hollywood productions that were shooting around Florida at the time. Fortunately, I was able to get the CNN gig through a friend of my parents, and it turned out to be WAY more interesting than anything I would’ve seen on a movie set. My first day as an intern happened to be the day Gianni Versace was murdered in front of his mansion in South Beach. Literally twenty minutes after I showed up, CNN sent me to an active crime scene, and the rest of my summer revolved around the manhunt for the killer, Andrew Cunanan.
2) What motivated you to write this story?
Veronica Mars. My wife and I loved that show — it’s still our favorite series ever. When it ended, I felt like I had a void in my life that used to be filled by this intelligent, inventive mystery about a girl who was capable and human and imperfect and who refused to back down. So, over the years, I tried to make my own — but as a comic, since that’s my preferred medium — and that’s how Sophie Cooper was born. I think Soph has since evolved into her own person, especially when I started digging into my own background to ground her. And all of the sci-fi elements that are unique to Scoop were inspired by the comics I’ve enjoyed since I was a kid.
3) You mentioned that Scoop is a very personal story, and it reflects a lot of your own experiences growing up in Miami, FL. Can you discuss this in more detail?
Well, the name “Richard Hamilton” doesn’t exactly scream diversity, but I’m half Cuban. My heritage means a lot to me, and I try to reflect it as much as I can in Scoop. I think making Sophie similarly bi-cultural gives her a unique perspective on the world. She identifies with the traits she shares with some groups, but is cognizant of the differences that keep her apart from others. To me, that level of self-awareness and observation is what makes Soph a great investigative reporter. And if I can just say one more thing about my hometown — Miami is such a cool city, with so many influences, from Calle Ocho to the Miccosukee reservation. I can think of no better place to set a mystery where the hero is trying to discover the truth and discover herself.
4) What was it like working with Joseph Cooper to bring your characters to life?
Our editor, Mark Irwin, once said that Joe’s art elevates Scoop, and I can’t agree more — or thank Mark enough — for bringing Joe onto Scoop in the first place. Because I’d been developing this story for, like, the past twenty years, I definitely had certain expectations of how it’d look. But then Joe came along and blew every single one of those expectations out of the water. His “acting” makes each character, even the background ones in the WMIA 7 news crew, feel like a real person. When I see Sophie, I see her thinking and, again, that’s all due to Joe’s talents. Plus, his storytelling has such a clarity and energy to it, which I feel is so important in selling the emotion, stakes, and the fun of this mystery. This has been such a rewarding collaboration for me, personally, and I’m really gratified that Joe and will I get to continue it.
5) What do you hope your readers will take away from the story?
Mainly, I hope they enjoy our graphic novel enough that they want to come back for more. We worked real hard to make sure Scoop feels like a complete story that’s worth the cover price (and then some), but with an open enough ending to set up volume 2. Beyond that, I hope readers respond to our themes about thinking critically and the importance of family. Look, we now live in a world of “fake news” and click-bait headlines. So, it seems more crucial than ever for all of us to be able to separate fact from fiction. And my family is the most important thing in my life. We can always rely on each other to get through hard times, and Sophie’s family will need to do the same thing if they’re gonna survive all the weirdness her internship uncovers.
6) What can you tease about Scoop vol. 2?
I don’t think it’s too much of a spoiler for volume 1 to say that Sophie gets a tip from one of her sources to “dig deeper.” And that’s exactly what we do in volume 2. Readers will see Soph’s relationships deepen with some characters, while other people in her life take on different roles. We’re also introducing a new “real world” crime for WMIA 7 to investigate that’s based on another crazy thing that happened in Miami. And Sophie discovers a new lead in the conspiracy that ties the allegations against her dad to all the paranormal phenomena in the Everglades. This means Joe gets to draw all kinds of crazy new sci-fi stuff and that Sophie will finally get some of that truth she’s been after — which turns out to be the worst thing in the world for her family… So, all of this, plus dance-offs, high-speed chases, and more Hall & Oates references than you can shake a news camera at!