** Explicit Sexual Language and Stuff (Obviously!) If you’d prefer something less sexual, check out my interview with Plaid Klaus of Image Comics’ Void Tripright here **
I often dive into the first issues and first trades at Image to taste test new series, new voices, new art styles, new genres. I also find it interesting to look at pairs of series as foils to one another.
It isn’t that one series is created in response to another, or that they’re even in the same genre, although often the are; it’s sometimes cool to read across themes.
Recently, I read The Pervert and Unnatural from Image. I was intrigued by what the series were saying about sex and sexuality, not only individually, but when taken as a pair of works.
Many people know Gerry Duggan from his long run as the writer of Deadpool, or possibly as a TV writer on Attack of the Show. He’s recently paired with artist David O’Sullivan, colorist Mike Spicer and letterer Joe Sabino on Analog, a future noir action comedy Image comic set in a world where internet communications are not secure. The first trade is coming out soon, and a feature film adaptation is in the works at Lionsgate with the director of the John Wick trilogy, Chad Stahelski.
In the world they’ve created, computers and internet are no longer secure, so valuable corporate information must be carried by private couriers, who go armed and anonymous.
Jack McGuinness is one such courier, who has to fight his way through a lot of resistance to deliver his packages. His larger problem is that NSA’s surveillance function is also adapting to the analog world and he’s part of their answer. I managed to catch up with Gerry and David for an e-interview.
This May, Image Comics will be collecting the five issues of Void Trip, by Ryan O’Sullivan and Plaid Klaus. I took advantage of the chance to interview Plaid. Here’s the description for Void Trip:
Meet Ana and Gabe — the last two humans left alive in the galaxy. They’re low on fuel, they’re low on food, and they’re low on psychedelic space froot, but they’re still determined to make it to the promised land: hippy-paradise super-planet Euphoria. VOID TRIP is the story of their journey, the friends and enemies they made along the way, and how the universe responded to those who dared to live freely within it. “VOID TRIP aims to answer the question: ‘how can we be free in a universe that will always course-correct to limit us?’” said O’Sullivan. “This isn’t your typical adventure comic, with violence as the solution to every conflict. It’s a road trip story. Its main concern is exploring the human condition. It’s Jack Kerouac and Hunter S. Thompson meets Herman Melville and Cormac McCarthy. Expect laughter, tears, and existential dread in equal measure.”
Image Comics is soon releasing the first trade paperback of Kyle Starks’ Rock Candy Mountain, collecting issues 1-4. The original solicitation runs as follows:
Eisner-nominated comic creator Kyle Starks would like to invite you to enter the magical world of hobos. The world’s toughest hobo is searching through post-WW2 America for the mythological Rock Candy Mountain, and he’s going to have to fight his way to get there. Lots of hobo fights. So many hobo fights. A new action-comedy series full of high action, epic stakes, magic, friendship, trains, punching, kicking, joking, a ton of hobo nonsense, and the Literal Devil. Yeah. The Literal Devil.
Who could turn down a description like that? I had a chance to catch up with Kyle for an e-mail interview about this fiesta of fisticuffs and the hobo code of honor.
Regular readers may notice that I try to sample a lot of different comic series. I like individual comics, but I also try to understand the field and its sub-genres. Crime fiction has a long history in comics. Its modern incarnations include titles like Brian Azzarello’s 100 Bullets, Ed Brubaker’s Gotham Central and Criminal, among many others.
The premise was catchy: Eden is a town entirely populated by criminals laying low or getting new identities, completely off the grid. And the main character of the story is Mark, the mayor’s son who works as Eden’s postman and who has Asperger’s.
Last fall, Image released a new comic book series by Jim Zub (Wayward and Thunderbolts) and Djibril Morissette-Phan (The Ultimates, All-New Wolverine) called Glitterbomb, a horror story about fame and failure.
The first four issues are out, and a collected trade paperback of those 4 issues is hitting comic book shops and book stores in March. I read Glitterbomb, really enjoyed it, and got a chance to talk with the creators.
Here’s the synopsis:
Farrah Durante is a middle-aged actress hunting for her next gig in an industry where youth trumps experience. Her frustrations become an emotional lure for something horrifying out beyond the water…something ready to exact revenge on the shallow, celebrity-obsessed culture that’s led her astray. The entertainment industry feeds on our insecurities, desires, and fears. You can’t toy with those kinds of primal emotions without them biting back…
Sometimes in the course of growing as a writer, you fluke into a success before you grow the skills to consistently hit that success. My second-ever fiction sale was to Asimov’s Science Fiction in 2008 and over the following two-and-a-half years, I collected nothing but rejections from them.
My 2008 story had accidentally included enough good elements that it made it into the magazine, but I didn’t understand what those science fictional elements were or how to use them properly until about 2011.
I think the same thing happened to me with a story called “Dog’s Paw.” I thought I’d been writing a lit story when in fact, I had included horror elements that eventually got it published in a horror anthology, Ellen Datlow’s Best Horror of the Year, and a superb audio version at Pseudopod.org (British people make everything sound extra-good). After my experience with my 2008 Asimov’s story, I was under no illusions that I was a competent horror writer, just a lucky one.
This spring, I decided to try to write a horror story. Knowing my weakness, I deliberately tried to figure out what goes into a good horror story. And when I want to analyze story structure, I go first to movies, because I find it easier to see the moving parts.
On November 4th, Image launched a new comic series called Monstress by Marjorie Liu and Sana Takeda. Liu is already well known as a New York Times Bestselling novelist, and from her work on Marvel titles such as Wolverine, X-23, Dark Wolverine, and Astonishing X-Men. I had a chance to interview Marjorie about Monstress.
Derek Kunsken: I read Monstress, and I have to say I was absolutely floored by how beautiful it is. I’ve seen Sana Takeda’s work with you on X-23, but it seems like all the stops were pulled out here. Not only that, the setting is original and the theme of inhumanity reminds me of Scott Snyder’s Wytches.
Marjorie Liu: You’re so kind. I’ve also been floored by Sana’s work on this book. I had a vision, I knew what I wanted Monstress to look like — but Sana took those ideas and just made them explode on the page. Her character designs, too, totally altered the story. I had one idea of what the book was going to be about — and then I saw what the monster looked like — and everything changed in that moment. For the better.
The revelations in the world of Monstress feel both fast and slow, drinking from the firehose, but piling up the questions on the side. Maika seems to be neither fully human nor Arcanic. Can you talk about Maika as an outcast character?