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Next month (August 3 to be exact) marks the release of writer Philip Gelatt and artist Tyler Crook‘s original graphic novel (published by Oni Press), Petrograd. To mark the upcoming release, Crook was kind enough to do an email interview with me. You might also recognize Crook’s name and work, given the fact he started his high profile role as Dark Horse’s B.P.R.D. artist this month. We discuss both projects. But before the interview begins, here’s Oni’s description of Petrograd: “During the height of the first World War, a reluctant British spy stationed in the heart of the Russian empire is handed the most difficult assignment of his career: orchestrate the death of the mad monk, the Tsarina’s most trusted adviser and the surrogate ruler of the nation. From the slums of the working class into the opulent houses of the super rich, he’ll have to negotiate dangerous ties with the secret police, navigate the halls of power, and come to terms with own revolutionary leanings, all while simply trying to survive.” Once you’ve read the interview, be sure to also visit CBR’s Petrograd preview.
Tim O’Shea: Were you interested in Russian history at all before tackling Petrograd? Once you got involved with the project, how much research did you have to do, on a variety of subjects, including the British Secret Service?
Tyler Crook: I was only interested in Russian history a little bit before this project. But mostly I’ve been interested in Russian Literature. Mostly Gogol and Dostoyevsky. Reading that stuff requires a little bit of history knowledge but I only ever figured out enough to get by. Phil Gelatt, the writer, did most of the heavy lifting when it came to doing the research. I read a couple books about the Soviet Revolution and scoured my local libraries for book with photos of Russia during the time period. I tried to use Google sparingly. The hardest part was finding photos of regular people doing regular things.