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Hall H Show - Tony Fabro - Three Panel Crimes

Ep. 97 – Tony Fabro (Three Panel Crimes)

Tony Fabro, writer of the Instagram based web comic, Three Panel Crimes joins the Hall H Show! Episode 97 is also available on Google Play, Apple PodcastsStitcher, iHeart Radio and Spotify. The Hall H Show is hosted by Aaron Nabus and Alex Benedicto and is the “Voice of Independent Creators.”

Show Notes:

Hey there Hall H Show listeners!

Aaron Nabus here and I hope you are all safe and healthy during this pandemic. I know my mask collection is starting to grow, as well as my hair!

For episode 97, we feature another pre-pandemic conversation with writer Tony Fabro, the mastermind behind Three Panel Crimes on Instagram. Not only do we talk about Three Panel Crimes, but we discuss some of his book recommendations like Stephen King’s, On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft and Ed Brubaker’s comic book, Criminal, which I have been reading the last few days. It’s now become one of my favorites!

He also shares some great resources like Khan Academy’s “Pixar in a Box” an online class, that has lessons on the art of storytelling, animation, lighting and more. It’s also free!

If this is the first that you’ve heard of Three Panel Crimes, you are in for a treat!  Each strip in this series is a crime that takes place in three panels, with no dialogue.

These are usually like comic haikus, and meant to make the reader look back and forth through the three panels at the details to understand the crime taking place. Some are straight forward and some you definitely need to look over more than once.

I first met Tony at Golden Apple Comics in Los Angeles at an event back in October of 2019 and I wanted to get him on the podcast to discuss what a genius idea Three Panel Crimes is.

I enjoyed getting to know Tony, and I know you will too. Tony, if you’re reading this, hope we get a chance to meet up for some coffee in the near future (after the pandemic is behind us) so you can tell me some of your crazy stories. Thanks again for coming on the show!

A Few of the Topics Discussed:

  • Moving from Canada to the United States.
  • Tony’s love for Meltdown Comics and their community and classes on creating comic books.
  • How shows like Quantum Leap and Twilight Zone influenced his appreciation for non-episodic and anthology type storytelling.
  • Learned the importance of failing faster from a Lars Martinson video about spending 13 years drawing a graphic novel.
  • That besides Three Panel Crimes, Tony is also working on two other longer form projects.
  • How he tries to write at least two Three Panel Scripts a day (then tries to reach out to illustrators). So far there have been at least 150 different illustrators that have created the artwork for his scripts.
  • Why humans became storytellers and how it was our first virtual reality during the prehistoric times (and how helpful it was for survival and the development of languages).
  • How crime fiction made an impression on him.
  • How Instagram’s carousel posting option helped pave the way for Three Panel Crimes.
  • His first time being on a panel at San Diego Comic-Con 2019.

A lot of it has been asking people for help. The worst words that could come out of my mouth would be ‘Yeah dude, I know.’ If I already know everything, then I can’t learn. That doesn’t work for me. Sometimes the best idea in the room doesn’t have to come from me.

Tony Fabro

Examples of Three Panel Crimes:

Thunder Round Questions:

  1. What word would you use to describe yourself?
  2. If you could recommend a book or movie to your 15 year old self what would it be and why did you choose that book or movie?
  3. If you could go back in time and change an event, what event would that be (this is a one way trip)?
  4. If a movie was made about your life, what kind of music would be on the soundtrack?
  5. If you were President of the United Stats, what artwork would you hang up in the oval office?
  6. You are leading a trip to Mars, what four other people would you bring with you?
  7. What’s one thing your fans would be surprised to learn about you?
  8. What statement would you have Bart, from the Simpsons write on the chalkboard?


Comic Books:
Crime Does Not Pay (by Charles Biro and Bob Wood)
Criminal (by Ed Brubaker and Sean Philips)

Frankenstein (by Jungee Ito)

The Command To Look (by William Mortensen and George Dunham)
On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft (by Stephen King)
How to Read Nancy: The Elements of Comics in Three Easy Panels (by Paul Karasik and Mark Newsgarden)
Wired for Story: The Writers’s Guide to Using Brain Science to Hook Readers from the First Sentence (by Lisa Cron)
Gods’ Man: A Novel in Woodcuts (by Lynd Ward)

Authors and Other Creators:
Laird Barron (horror, noir, and dark fantasy author)
Scott McCloud (cartoonist and comics theorist)
Will Eisner (creator of the comic book , The Spirit)
Lynn Ward (created wordless novels using wood engravings)
Sean Philips (Illustrator and co-creator of Criminal)

Khan Academy (Pixar in box)
Lars Martinson: 4 Time-Saving Tips (from a guy who spent 13 YEARS drawing a comic) – (YouTube video)

Follow Three Panel Crimes:


Thank YOU:

Thank you so much for tuning into the Hall H Show podcast, where we love showcasing independent creators like Tony Fabro.

If you believe in our mission to be the voice of independent creators, please leave us a comment and rating (hopefully five stars) on Apple Podcasts. You can also find this podcast on Google Play, Stitcher, iHeartRadio and even Spotify!

Peace, cheers, and remember that representation matters. If you would like to recommend a guest that you feel deserves more attention, please reach out to us on any of our social media accounts or the contact form on our contact form.

Aaron Nabus

Aaron Nabus

After crash landing on Earth, Aaron Nabus grew to enjoy watching anime and Godzilla movies, reading comic books, eating kimchi, and playing 80's and 90's arcade, Nintendo and SNES games. When not roaming the galaxy, interviewing talented creators, he is a Graphic Designer, Brand Ambassador for the International Mobile Film Festival, founder and organizer of FilAm CreatorCon and a #ComicConFit motivator.

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