Daring Yourself Not To Be Dead Inside

by Vince Brusio

Life just one big bummer and you feel like throwing it all away? Envision yourself taking a long walk off a short pier? Maybe you can identify with John Arcudi’s Dead Inside Volume 1 TP (APR170080). You might think that it’s not your fault that there’s a black hole in the pit of your stomach: it’s the emptiness around you that makes life so pointless and bleak. And if that’s the case, what do you do about it? In this PREVIEWSworld Exclusive interview with creator/writer John Arcudi, you’re going to see that Sheriff Detective Linda Caruso might be the role model to emulate when you try to crawl out of a hole. She’s the kind of person that doesn’t base success on what happens after she opens the door. What she understands is tha tthere’s always another door. Life isn’t prison.

But what happens when ... it is?

Dead Inside Volume 1 TP (APR170080) is in comic shops August 16.

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Vince Brusio: Dead Inside #1 (OCT160024) seems to be the kind of crime story we don’t want to see: a story that shows cops are just as corrupt as the criminals in cages. Is that a fair and accurate description for the fingerprints we’re going to find in this murder mystery?

John Arcudi: I don’t want to give anything away, but that’s not exactly what’s going on here.  What readers will see is that the police in Dead Inside are human beings who work at jobs, and their jobs have as many limitations, as many challenges as any job.  Whether or not anybody is cutting corners you’ll have to wait and see for yourself.

Vince BrusioDead Inside is a brutal title. It infers that a monster walks among us in a skin suit with a fake pulse and heartbeat. What fascinates you about this human condition? Are you drawn to those who can just turn off their feelings at the flick of a switch?

John Arcudi: Readers might learn that to be the case, but more importantly the title reflects the desperation of Linda Caruso, our protagonist and principal investigator — as well as the dead men inside the prison walls.  She’s a Sheriff’s Detective who has been broken by the system around her and now she’s faced with a challenge that appears to be beyond her capabilities.  You would think that such a case would deepen her apathy, her emotional morbidity, but actually it’s just the catalyst that finally breaks it.

Vince Brusio: Tell us about the characters in this story. Their psyche. What makes them tick? Who should we pity? Who needs to be killed first? What makes them objects of hatred?

John Arcudi: There’s Linda Caruso, of course, and her boss, Lieutenant Eleanor Payton who, it would appear, is at odds with Linda.  You see, in this story Jail Crimes Division is a low priority department.  As you might imagine, most crimes in prison have obvious perpetrators.  In Dead Inside, that’s not at all the case.  On Linda’s side is a prison social worker, Leo Aaron and one of his patients, an inmate named T.Z. Gerena.  They know something’s going on beyond the obvious narrative that Warden Hallas is presenting — and that the Sheriff’s department is buying.

Vince Brusio: Who or what went under the microscope to help you formulate the story and scenery for Dead Inside? What helped fuel your muse? What helped fuel Toni Fejzula’s muse? And how did you and Tony get along and threaten each other at the same time during production?

John Arcudi: People. People in general, I mean.  You watch them and you understand what drives them, what scares them, what stops them.  Beyond that I’ve been aware of the various Jail Crimes investigatory programs out there for some time and have studied what I could about them.  It’s something that’s interested me for years.  As for what drives Toni… I couldn’t be positive, but I think that the variety of settings intrigued him as an artist, and the way we unpack this mystery intrigued him as a storyteller.

Vince Brusio: Let’s go free style on this last question. What would you like to say about this book that we haven’t touched on yet? What detail have we overlooked? Tell us what’s behind door #3, and why we’ll be compelled to open it?

John Arcudi: There’s another story you don’t know behind door #3 — and every door.  Just like in prison.

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Vince Brusio writes about comics, and writes comics. He is the long-serving Editor of PREVIEWSworld.com, the creator of PUSSYCATS, and encourages everyone to keep the faith...and keep reading comics.

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