Back to the Beach: David Hahn on 'Private Beach'

Like the semi-charmed star of his comic, David Hahn's "Private Beach" has a cool and unassuming life on the hip side of the street. Nominated for a 2002 Eisner Award for Best New Series and the Ignatz Award for Outstanding Series, it won neither, but continues to quietly build word of mouth and critical acclaim. This week, Hahn fires off another shot of post-modern cool, with a new issue.

"I like to say that 'Private Beach' is an on-going story of a young woman, Trudy Honeyvan, who lives a hair's width beyond an ordinary life," Hahn told CBR News on Sunday.

The book is a fairly eclectic one, telling slice of life stories in a universe David Lynch fans would recognize.

"I'm trying to tell stories that have a weirdness to them that could seem 'real' and be easily explained within the context of the story. If you've ever had a synchronicity in your life where, say, the name of an obscure actor, like Marjoe Gortner, somehow pops up in conversation three times in one day, well, that's pretty strange. It makes you think that somehow there is some Great Plan that has already been designed and our lives are meant to follow it. That's how I feel, anyway, when things like that happen to me and that's the feeling I'm trying to convey in PB. That bizarre events are meant to happen for a reason. The humor is there to try and reel it in a bit and make it palatable as an entertaining comic. And so I don't seem like I am full of myself like I may seem now."

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The first post-Eisner awards issue of "Private Beach" should be in stores this week.

"Issue # 6 ships from Slave Labor Graphics on October 16, and issue #7 should hit stores end of November, beginning of December. In #6, Trudy decides to crack open her Magic Eight Ball and see if the die inside really says 'We are watching you.' In doing so, Trudy moves up a notch in her awareness level of her place in the universe. And issue #7 is the first of a three issue story arc that puts Trudy, Sharona, and Siobhan on a cross country road trip."

The original Antarctic Press run of "Private Beach" was republished this summer in a single trade paperback, "Fun and Perils in the Trudyverse." In the book's notes, Hahn notes that the characters and situation don't entirely mesh with the current incarnation of the series, although much of that can be explained by the passage of time. While Hahn evinces some nervousness as to how the book would be received in the book, readers seem to have taken the apparent inconsistencies in stride.

"Most of the e-mail I've gotten and reviews I've read indicate that readers see the TPB as a separate story that can stand either inside or outside of the current continuity. All comments I've seen show that despite the crudeness of my old art, the story still stands up and the characters ring true to their current incarnations. Many people have asked why the big change between the old Sam Murphy and the new one. I plan on devoting an entire issue dealing with 'What happened to Sam?'"

And look for characters from the older "Private Beach" run to return as well, starting with Violet Drumm.

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Visitors to the Private Beach Web site will see a cryptic reference to Hollywood interest in "Private Beach." Hahn elaborated on exactly what that means.

"It means that I have representation with an agency down there that seems to think they can sell PB as a movie, possibly a TV show. I would certainly love for that to happen, because I think it would be popular and successful. I really do."

Fans of Hahn's clean art style will get another does of it in 2003, when he takes up the art chores for a collaboration with writer Sam Kieth.

"Ah, yes, I am really looking forward to working with Sam on his project called 'What Chico Knows.' Sam is doing the writing and I'm doing the penciling and inking. The story is glimpse in to the lives of a cast of characters as seen through the eyes of one character: a dog named Chico. What makes it unusual is that because we see the story through the eyes and mind of a dog, what we see will be impartial, and non-judgmental, or perhaps judgmental in a way that makes sense only if you are a dog. As of this writing, it will be a four issue mini-series published by Dark Horse next spring, I think."

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