Luke Fleishman: Tales from the Noisy Water

by Raleigh Davis

The world of comics is a vast one. With endless droves of superheroes and zombies dominating the scene, it may seem hard to break through with something original in the comic biz. That doesn’t concern local author Luke Fleishman though. Whether he knows it or not the young author is shaking up the norm with his collection of crime comics “Tales from The Noisy Water.” Fleishman is discarding the normal comic book tropes with his Whatcom County-set adventures of seedy law-breaking. Eschewing the normal fantasy fare, Fleishman is crafting gripping and gritty realistic tales that will have readers on the edge of their seats.

With a life-long passion for story telling, Luke Fleishman’s journey to bring his stories to the world started early. “I’ve been writing probably since around 5th grade, and I think the main thing was that I wanted to be like my brother who’s four years older than me and wrote his own stuff. I started out with a lot of Lord of the Rings fan fiction, then onto Star Wars and eventually my own short stories,” he said. “In high school I became a real film buff and got into writing screen plays and it wasn’t until around 18 or 19 that I decided to try writing comics. Honestly I was a little intimidated at first, but out of all the mediums I think it’s the most fun to write.”

The passion for film is apparent and shines through in Fleishman’s work. His comics read more like a Tarantino movie than a traditional comic.

“My comics are probably more influenced by film and television than comics themselves, and superheroes kind of take up the bulk of the medium, though I think that’s changing. But, I watch stuff like The Wire, Breaking Bad, Twin Peaks, Fargo, Pulp Fiction and I’m like ‘this is so cool, I want something like this as a comic,’ and that’s what I’m trying to do. Superheroes are overdone, zombies are overdone, and I just wasn’t interested in tapping in to those genres. But I love crime fiction, and I think grit and realism are so much more interesting than a guy who can fly.”

The seeds of inspiration for “Tales” were planted during an Emerald City Comic Con visit in 2013. “You go there looking for tips and pieces of advice and everything came down to, ‘make comics’, so that’s what I decided to do,” Fleishman said. “The universe of ‘Noisy Water’ itself had already been something in my head for about a year and half… I had been working on basically a long form ‘Tales From the Noisy Water,’ titled simply ‘Noisy Water’ and I had a first issue complete and wanted to make it this 60 issue crime saga, but I realized that you gotta start off a little smaller. So I thought, why not just build the world, and have multiple stories that interconnect and also eventually connect to this much larger story.”

With two issues under his belt Fleishman seems to be well on his way. While the two available stories are stand alone tales, there are hints at something bigger and more connected lurking beneath the surface. Each release seems to be more confident as Fleishman is quickly acclimating to the world of comics.

Bellingham and Whatcom County might not be your first idea when it comes to finding a setting for a crime anthology, but for Fleishman it just made sense.

“One of the most repeated pieces of advice you’ll get as a young writer is, ‘write what you know’, and I’ve lived here my entire life. Specifically with ‘Tales’, it was the idea of bringing that gritty crime underworld and putting it in the suburbs and small towns of America. I grew up watching The Godfather, Goodfellas, Heat, all these amazing gangster crime films, and so I’d write stuff that all took place in these big cities, but the thing was I had never been to any of these places, and sadly still haven’t,” explained Fleishman. “So, I took those tones, ideas, imagery and put them in a new setting that I could understand, and hopefully created characters that are a little more at home here in the Northwest, rather than some concrete jungle. I wanted to get down to the idea that everywhere has some darkness, something perhaps ugly beneath it, and that crime, drugs, murder, all these things we don’t exactly like to acknowledge are all here.”

Looking to the future Fleishman doesn’t plan on slowing down any time soon. He’s a man with a lot of irons in the fire with multiple issues of “Tales” coming out soon, a TV pilot he’s reworking, and finally getting the big city experience. “I’m moving to New York within the year to hopefully help achieve my goals and network like crazy, but Whatcom County and Bellingham will always be my home and that will always show through in my writing. Coffee, rain, and green forests will forever be my calling cards.”

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Published in the September 2014 issue of What’s Up! Magazine