Richard Fairgray Talks Writing Scary Stories for Children, Queer Rep, and More!
New Zealand-born writer, artist, and overall creative talent Richard Fairgray is behind numerous scary stories. His latest offering, Black Sand Beach Issue 2, just came out. I got to talk to Fairgray about his inspirations, when he realized he wanted to get into the comic book business, and so much more.
Black Sand Beach Issue 2: Do You Remember the Summer Before? is a graphic novel featuring a creepy story about a group of kids trying to survive strange occurrences in Black Sand Beach. While primarily meant for kids, I shared in my review how the story can be enjoyed by adults, too. That’s because Fairgray’s unique take on writing horror involves focusing on the “disturbing” and creating a chilling mystery rather than outright predictable scares.
Not only that, Black Sand Beach Issue 2 also features a queer character. Chook Molchuk is non-binary and goes by they/them pronouns. When it came to creating Chook, Fairgray talked about the gender binary media tries to put on monsters.
I do agree with his opinions. When you look at horror content in media, male monsters tend to come across as huge and muscular while female monsters, for some reason, always have a certain level of sex appeal that caters to the male gaze. Not only that, in certain stories, if a female monster is to be made scarier, she’s given masculine features and her being big and “like a man” is what’s used to portray her horridness.
With Chook, Fairgray wanted to create a character that’s different from the type of monsters showing up in Black Sand Beach. Chook actually wants humans to stick around because they like things like music, fishing, etc. And while the main cast of kids is off having their own scary adventures, Chook’s also playing a role in keeping the world safe.
According to Fairgray, Chook’s supposed to be the most relatable character in the book. And while Fairgray won’t be diving too deep into queer themes (yet), it’s important for him to have his stories feature queer characters in some capacity.
Fairgray’s top-selling comic book series Blastosauraus has Richard Green as one of the main characters. He’s a kid modeled after Fairgray and thus being written as a young queer 12-year-old who gets to serve as a sidekick to a six-feet tall mutant triceratops and going on adventures involving robots, interdimensional chickens, and so much more!
Here’s my interview with Fairgray where we talked about the things mentioned above and other fun stuff.
Fairgray clearly has a lot to tell in his Black Sand Beach series. So, fingers crossed he gets to continue as long as he wants.
His upcoming work includes Cardboardia: The Other Side of the Box with Lucy Campagnolo. The premise involves a group of kids gaining access to a parallel world through cardboard boxes.
You can get to learn more about Fairgray and his published titles by visiting his official website.
Black Sand Beach Issue 2: Do You Remember the Summer Before? was released on May 4, 2021. It’s available wherever books are sold.
Feel free to share your thoughts with us.
Farid has a Double Masters in Psychology and Biotechnology as well as an M.Phil in Molecular Genetics. He is the author of numerous books including Missing in Somerville, and The Game Master of Somerville. He gives us insight into comics, books, TV shows, anime/manga, video games, and movies.
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