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Tephlon Funk Interview: 90s Street Life Comes to Dark Horse

Interview by Troy-Jeffrey Allen

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The first hit is free. The second will cost you...

Arriving this November from Dark Horse ComicsTephlon Funk! (JUL220446) introduces readers to an “action-packed thought-provoking narrative amid the beautiful backdrop of New York City in the mid-90s.” At the center of this crime-drama are four denizens of the city that never sleeps...and one drug called “Tephlon Funk.”

Hitting comic shops for the first time, this online sensation has already been hailed as the dopest story out there! We hung out with Tephlon Funk! writer Stephane Metayer and artist Nicolas Safe and David Tako to get hooked.

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 Firstly, for those not familiar with the comic, what is Tephlon Funk! about?

Stephane Metayer: Tephlon Funk! is a story about four people from different backgrounds that are somehow all connected to each other. I took a lot of influence from 90’s NYC hip hop and anime. I don’t want to say too much for the sake of spoiling the rest of the narrative.

David Tako: Tephlon Funk! Is a story about growing up in the NYC 90’s, where under pressure teenagers, have to deal with street life, violence and drugs. In the end, Tephlon Funk is about choices they make, questioning the thin line between good and evil.

Nicolas Safe: We follow Inez, a young girl from the projects whose life is shaken by the encounter of a goofy stranger named Gabriel and “Tephlon Funk,” the brand-new drug taking over the streets.

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David and Nicolas, how did you get involved on the project?

David Tako: A while back Stephane contacted me on internet, looking for an illustrator for Tephlon Funk! He wanted me first to design the characters for his project. Once done and the collaboration doing great, he asked me if I was interested in drawing the comic. I was very excited to make it, but I immediately thought that I would need someone to help, especially for the storyboard and backgrounds. That’s when I thought about my bro Nicolas, ‘cause I knew it would fit perfectly to him.

Nicolas Safe: Well, I knew David was working on a cool comic project. One day he just calls me and he’s like: “bro, you wanna give me a hand to draw backgrounds on a manga? It’s perfect for you, it’s a NYC 90’s era Hip Hop style’s street life story telling. You on? Come by my yard, I’ll cook some ramens and tell you more about it!” And here I am!

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Tell us about Inez, Gabriel, Cameron, and Giselle. Why do we follow them through the story?

Stephane Metayer: I really wanted fans to love and care about these characters. So, I did my best to flesh out their backstories and let the audience learn more about the struggles they deal with in their daily lives.

What medium/tools do you use for drawing the comic?

David Tako: We usually meet to discuss about the staging of each issue, then we draw it together on flying sheets.

Nicolas Safe: After that, we use computer and drawing tablet, on the software « Clip Studio Paint.

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This book takes place in the 90s New York. Artistically, how do you go about authenticating that?

David Tako: First of all, we grew up in this era, so we personally already had a lot of visual memories from American movies and hip-hop video clips, that we loved so much.

Nicolas Safe: Because we’re Frenchies, Stephane sent us a lot of his own references, like photography of places he wanted the comics to take place in. But those being recent, I had to retake them, adding a lot of graffiti, throw ups and tags, like it was during the golden age of hip hop in NYC.

David Tako: We also try to represent that era with the clothing, haircuts and also many details and Easter eggs in the backgrounds, that we let readers the pleasure to discover.

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This has been described as a coming-of-age tale, but what else can people expect? 

Stephane Metayer: A fun, exciting story with a few laughs as well as cool little Easter eggs that I believe readers will enjoy. I did my best to make the dialogue between the characters come off as organic as possible.

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What helped make the decision to join Dark Horse Comics?

Stephane Metayer: I took a very long time to join them, I had been a fan of their works. However, I wanted to make sure they were a good fit for Tephlon Funk!’s brand. So I asked a few friends I knew in the comic and publishing industry. Everyone had nothing but good things to say about Dark Horse.

I honestly underestimated how big of a deal it was to have a publisher like them genuinely interested in this indie comic. We were just so busy working on TF and didn’t think anyone in the industry was watching us.

Article ImageWhat do you hope fans get out of the series?

Stephane Metayer: I really look forward to having this comic available to more people. As I myself was very protective with who and where I would sell the comics. Which ironically made fans want it even more.

I mostly want them to have a fun time reading something that is not only entertaining but thought provoking in terms of creativity. How you can take an idea and expand it into something bigger than yourself.

David Tako: I hope fans will just feel what I felt while reading and building Tephlon, follow a group of individuals trying to evolve in a tough environment. I hope they will cry, smile and laugh, seeing the characters fighting, struggling and goofing around in that very moving story that Stephane wrote.

Nicolas Safe: I hope they will get out of it with something real, gathering, that talks to them, without being nor fantasized nor moralizing and questioning real society issues. Same shit, different place, we just hope they feel the search for peace and love behind it, expecting unity in our communities. Most of all, I hope they’ll have a lot of fun reading it.

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Tephlon Funk! (JUL220446) is available on November 16, 2022 at comic shops. Reserve your copy today using PREVIEWSworld Pullbox!

Keep an eye on PREVIEWSworld.com's TwitterFacebookYouTube, or Instagram for more from BOOM! Studios. 

DARK HORSE COMICS
TEPHLON FUNK TP
(W) Stephane Metayer (A) Nicolas Safe (A/CA) David Tako
Since the death of her parents, fourteen-year-old Inez Jozlyn can't catch a break. Still, she's determined to make a better life for herself. After a mysterious man helps her out of a tough spot, she finds herself in the middle of a drug conflict. Along with her strange new friend, Inez will work with a young female cop with a strong sense of justice and a sword-wielding bartender to protect the streets of New York from the new drug that's like nothing else on Earth.

Tephlon Funk! is more than a comic, it's a cultural movement! Writer Stephane Metayer with artists David Tako and Nicolas Safe bring an action-packed thought-provoking narrative amid the beautiful backdrop of New York City in the mid 90s. Tephlon Funk! is the dopest story out there, and it's unlike anything you've seen!
In Shops: Nov 16, 2022
SRP: $19.99
PREVIEWS Page #141

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Troy-Jeffrey Allen is the producer and co-host of PREVIEWSworld Weekly. His comics work includes MF DOOM: All Caps, Public Enemy's Apocalpyse '91, Fight of the Century, the Harvey Award-nominated District Comics, and the Ringo Award-nominated Magic Bullet.

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