Without Fear

Ryan K Lindsay – Writer

Tag: Comics

EIR – Meet Your Next Comic Cover Team

EIR is an all ages sci fi one shot comic from Alfie Gallagher and myself coming to Kickstarter Nov. 01 – all basic details here.

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In our bid to raise a little capital for all of us in the EIR Corp Building, we are offering a very special pledge level, exclusive to 1 [one], and it’s of particular interest to those making their own DIY comics. Yes:

Meet Your Next Comic Cover Team

For $180 [Aussie dollars], you can work with Alfie Gallagher on inks and Triona Farrell on colours, to get a gorgeous cover for your own comic, and Alfie will even send you the OG inked artwork in the mail.

Putting together a DIY comic is hard, then getting it noticed is sometimes harder. Having a legit A+ cover helps that, and you can see from above, Alfie/Tree are a dream team. Need more convincing? here’s a cover style pin up they’ve also done for EIR:

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There are other opportunities to buy or request art from Alfie through the campaign, so scope his style here.

Our Kickstarter launches Nov. 01 @ 4pm EST [Australia] so set your alarms for that moment because I know this pledge will not last long, and it’s the sort of thing that will take your comic to the absolute next level, and also gets your office wall a superb slice of ink featuring your own character.

To consider Alfie’s level of cover game, just feast your eyes below. And prepare your November budget, because you will want this one, and want to get it quickly.

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EIR – all ages sci fi comics for everyone, on Kickstarter, Nov 01.

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EIR – First 24 Hour Backer Rewards

Oh, wow, do we have some good news for you! You like free comic PDF downloads of stupendously fantastic all ages comics, right?

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EIR is our all ages sci fi one-shot comic from Alfie Gallagher and me, launching on Kickstarter Nov 01.

Remember that day, because for every backer that comes in for the first 24 hours at the $3 pledge level or higher, well, we’ve got a crazy treat for you – there are going to be some amazing bonus downloads given to you that very night.

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screenshot-2016-09-06-22-18-34We believe in EIR, and we believe in all ages comics, and we believe in the power of Kickstarter [this is my fourth rodeo], and so we believe in support. Most importantly, supporting those who support us.

EIR is the story of Sasha, a young girl who wakes up with a sentient sci fi helmet in her room who promises intergalactic adventures, as well as a moment’s peace away from her hectic family. You should totally buy it for yourself, but maybe also buy it to give to a little friend, email it to your kids, or tell an extension writing group that it’d make good reading and they should get their pledge on. This book is for everyone, with wild and weird aliens as well as some super-grounded emotions and themes.

You need this book in your life, so to make the decision quick for you, we’re going to offer one day only downloads for the following comics for the grand people who back the campaign in the first 24 hours at the $3 pledge level or higher – and the $3 level means you are getting the deluxe and massive EIR PDF with art process, the script, a mammoth essay, and lots of other fun stuff. And then you will now also get access to the PDFs of:

THE INTREPIDS #1 from Scott Kowalchuk and Kurtis J. Wiebe

CAPTAIN ULTIMATE #1 from Boy Akkerman, Ben Bailey, and Joey Esposito

ORC GIRL, a one-shot, from Thomas Boatwright and Paul Allor, and

CLOWN FIGHT, a one-shot, from Ger Curti and Rob Harrington

This means just $3 in the first day and you’ll get 4 whole comics that night, as well as our deluxe/huge one-shot at the end of the month, too. And these 4 downloads are here for a reason, because they represent some of the best of what I think has come out in all ages comics in a while. These are Certified Awesome. And all yours, just for being punctual.

C’mon, that’s a bargain you can’t ignore, right?

Set your alarm klaxons for Tuesday November 01, 4pm EST [Australia] and get ready to have your week’s reading sorted just because we love you. You have one week to be prepared.

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EIR – Meet Sasha and Eir

Sasha is the young female lead character of the $1 all ages sci fi one-shot coming to Kickstarter in November with Alfie Gallagher on art, Triona Farrell on colours, Ryan Ferrier on letters, Dan Hill on edits, and me writing.

Eir is the eponymous sentient helmet she wears.

You can get all the entry level details for the campaign here – click link

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Today, we want you to meet Sasha:

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Sasha wakes up one morning to find a sentient sci fi helmet on her windowsill. It’s offering to facilitate a little fun, and she’s looking to get away from her family downstairs.

Naturally, she’s instantly zooming across the galaxy into all kinds of mischief.

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For an all ages sci fi story, I wanted to create an interesting female lead to guide us through the wilds of space. I wanted a character who could handle everything that was thrown at her, and want to dive into more. Sasha’s sense of adventure is a guiding light, but it’s her sense of higher purpose that really shows who she is through her actions.

Considering this romp is also a deconstruction of personal acceptance, exploration of self, and understanding of place with others, it made sense for us to create a flawed hero who wasn’t going to stop when things got tough. Sasha is determined and hilarious and committed and still a child.

She’s the sort of thing I want my two children to read in a comic, so here she is. I hope they dig her.

As for Eir, well, it’s a sentient helmet. Who likes to offer adventure. And advice. It was always going to be more than just a central prop, or a narrative conceit. Eir is something you come to know, and appreciate, and also feel for.

Eir might be the boss paint job and white wall tyres, but Sasha is the chassis forged in fire, and the engine that doesn’t know how to stop.

EIR comes to Kickstarter on Nov. 01 and we hope you check us out, and maybe snag a copy for the kids in your life, too.

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ymmv .12 – #366stories

I’ve been writing down a story idea a day for every day so far in 2016 and it’s one of the craziest and wildest and most fun resolutions I’ve ever made. It’s also getting me to pump out a tonne of dreck, so that’s fun too. I wrote about it in the latest ymmv over at Loser City so I could boil down how the process is working, why it matters, and what I came up with in the first 10 attempts.

ymmv .12 – #366stories [LINK]

This column is a fair bit of a process insight, which was fun, and I hope you get something out of it, and maybe you’re even doing the #366stories thing on your own, and if so then it’s hats off to you, lemme know how it goes for you.

Enjoy.

Order NEGATIVE SPACE tpb and CHUM #1 now!

Please :]

Screenshot 2016-01-23 16.02.33NEGATIVE SPACE gets a tpb collection of the whole mini from Dark Horse, feat. my writing, Owen Gieni’s art, and Ryan Ferrier’s letters. It’s the entire story for $14.99 the order code is JAN160171 and I think you’re going to like it. Hell, you might even love it.

NEGATIVE SPACE made the Best of 2015 list at Comic Bastards and Loser City, and reviewers have said:

Greg Silber at Adventures in Poor Taste gave us 9.5/10 [LINK], saying “Negative Space is the most promising new science fiction series I’ve encountered since Saga.”

James Ferguson at Horror Talk gave us 4.5/5 [LINK], saying “Negative Spaceis a damn near perfect first issue.”

Jason at Brutal Gamer gave us 9/10 [LINK], saying “Dark Horse’s newest foray into the world of horror and the supernatural comes along with one of the most interesting main character’s and plot lines that I’ve read pretty much ever.”

Raisa at Florida Geek Scene gave us 9.7/10 [LINK], saying “One of the most engaging, creative, and well-executed books I have read to date.”

Ian Dawe at Sequart stepped in with some love [LINK] saying “I’ve rarely seen a braver book about depression.”

Austin Lanari at Comic Bastards gave us a mighty 5/5 [LINK] saying “I can’t think of another book where the art is this unique and aesthetically pleasing.”

Emma Houxbois at The Rainbow Hub gave us 9/10 [LINK] saying” What they seem to understand better than most is that truly effective horror storytelling isn’t about succumbing to nihilistic impulses, it’s about how harrowing it can be to resist them.”

Gregory L. Reece at Pop Matters gives us 9/10 [LINK] saying “In the midst of all that sadness, however, I find myself laughing through the tears.”

I’m wildly proud of this book, it’s probably the best thing I’ve ever done, and I hope you can get out there, tell your LCS how good it is, or how much you dug it, or how much you want it, and that would be greatly appreciated.

And if you want to know more about the book in detail, scope these interviews about it:

I chat with leo Johnson at Multiversity Comics [LINK]

I chat with Cardner Clark at CBR [LINK]

I chat with Polo Lonergan at Nerd Underground [LINK]

I chat with Alexander Lu at Comics Bulletin[LINK]

We also scored an ace interview with James Leask over at Comics Alliancewhere I got asked some very on point questions, enjoy [LINK]

And remember:If you are suffering from depression, please hit THIS LINK to see the access you have to support. No one has to suffer alone. We are here to help you.

Screenshot 2016-01-21 15.22.04CHUM #1 begins my surf noir miniseries at ComixTribe with Sami Kivelä art, Mark Dale colours, Nic J Shaw letters, Dan Hill edits, and a reg cover by Sami with a variant cover by Vic Malhotra —>

It’s a 22 page debut issue, with back matter by me, for $3.99 and the order code is: FEB161340

This book is my ode to old Gold Medal crime paperbacks and the sort of things Phillips/Brubaker, and Swierczynski do so well.

Summer Stanwyck is trapped. She tends bar on the island she grew up on, the local cop is about to become her ex-husband, and she’s wasting time screwing the local reefer kingpin. But when a bag full of cash and drugs appears, she sees a way out… and anyone who gets in her way is shark bait.

CHUM is “Pulp Fiction on the sand,” a surf noir story straight off the drugstore paperback rack that will ruin your faith in people.

If you are curious enough to check out more about the book, you can download a Preview Digital Ashcan that’s 24 pages of CHUM glory, feat. 7 story pages, all the covers from Sami, some process pages about inks, and other fantasticality that’ll prove you need this book in your life.

DOWNLOAD THE CHUM PREVIEW ASHCAN NOW – LINK

Plus, and let’s get personal here, ComixTribe is a nascent publisher, and one with a quality foot in the door with AND THEN EMILY WAS GONE… and OXYMORON: THE LOVELIEST NIGHTMARE and EXIT GENERATION among their back catalogue. I’m excited to forge ahead with them, and make new ground, and if we do things right I stand to become the best selling ComixTribe book in history. Please help me make that happen.

Get on the horn to your LCS, tell them that ‘surf noir’ is an insta-buy for you and your mates, show them pages of Sami+Mark on art and make them understand this is some pretty business. Or just preorder your book which gives your LCS enough information to know that if one person like it enough to preorder then 2 might dig it on the rack, so they order up.

Indie comics are a game of small numbers, and every damn reader on this book matters to me, so have a think, a cup of tea, and then know you will want this story of a femme fatale doing anything to get off this island.

LITTLE MAN IN THE BIG HOUSE – BIG Free to Read/Download

Just a quick blast to let you know that I’ve got a 12 page short on the Challenger Comics website with glorious art from Paul Tucker [of the recent TET with Paul Allor at IDW] and an Eric Zawadzki cover [my co-pilot on HEADSPACE at IDW], with Ryan Ferrier letters from a script by me.
And it’s free to read and download right now.
READ AND DOWNLOAD ‘LITTLE MAN IN THE BIG HOUSE – BIG’ NOW

Inline image 1The story is about Macbeth, once a superhero with the ability to manipulate size, now he’s a guard at a prison for supercriminals, and on his first day he has to quell a cell block riot. It’s a grand slice of grindhouse fun and shower beatdowns.
This comic/character have been brewing for a while and Paul brings it all to life in such a glorious manner. This comic is just fun, pure fun, and I hope people dig it [especially that one splash, whooo-boy!].
And Macbeth will be back, there’s another 12 page short being illustrated by another artist right now, so hopefully you’ll see more soon.
For now, I know short comics are little game, but I will say you should noodle around the whole site because there are some AMAZING shorts on there.

ymmv .08 – Writing Something That Goddamn Matters

I’m proselytising from my high horse, wearing my high hat, once again. It must be the second Tuesday.

ymmv .08 – Write Something That Goddamn Matters [LINK]

In which I discuss how the recent AIRBOY and TOKYO GHOST are books about things and how you should try to sometimes write stories that have a core that’s about something. And something that’s actually important.

I’m still working on doing this myself, but this isn’t a ‘do as I say and do column, this is just me blathering. Hey, like I said, ymmv.

NOIRVEMBER 012 ~ Kraven’s Last Hunt

It is a sad indictment of my admittedly shameful comic fu that it was not until 2015 AD that I read and imbibed KRAVEN’S LAST HUNT. I feel like had I read this eons ago it would have been as big a game changer as THE DARK KNIGHT RETURNS.

I always knew about this book. I’ve always loved Kraven. But coming up in the game, as a pre-teen, it was hard to track down back issues but whatever was at the local newsagent was fair game. So when I started running the streets, spending a Saturday morning covering 20-30kms on my bike with my brother scouring all the four colour peddlers for their goods, all I found were a tonne of MAD Magazines [which were rad] and most stores wouldn’t stock the new Venom comics but they’d always have some Spidey. My earliest true hunting memory is getting drawn in deep to the MAXIMUM CARNAGE storyline and absolutely needing to get all 1 million of those issues. It was arduous and while I’ll always have a soft spot in my heart for Carnage and that pretty woeful storyline all it will make me think now is I missed KRAVEN’S LAST HUNT and everything else put in my path was mere webbed distraction until I could find this. This masterpiece.

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Before I enter into the dark void this comic is, I want to ensure anyone who stumbles across this missive out there in space understands that KRAVEN’S LAST HUNT is some particularly amazing comic storytelling. I’m going to wager a strong amount – the sort of coin your parents bought and sold whole houses with – that this is the best Spider-Man story there is or ever has been. I say this because my mind is filling with good stuff, the aforementioned Carnage, the whole Venom-to-Carnage affair, the Clone Saga, those Ditko issues, Slott, Spider-Island, and nothing touches this story. Perhaps I’m missing something and if I am, GREAT, because that means there are even more phenom comics out there waiting to tickle my whiskers. But until then, I want to fill a bath, tear up twenty trades of this storyline and have the pages steep in the warm broth, and then soak until morning, ahhh.

J.M. DeMattis is a writer who I know I’ve read but his name has never stuck in my brainpan. I’ve certainly not sought him out. And it would seem I’d mentally blocked that it was the blessed Mike Zeck on art, and that I should have remembered and should have aggressively tipped me over the line years before. Though I never would have expected what we get in this story because it’s always sat in my head somewhere around maybe THE DARK PHOENIX SAGA, which for me means it’s wickedly good, it’s super enjoyable, it’s a touch dated, but the overall quality will make up for it despite it being something that maybe wouldn’t quite land today as strong.

Hell, no, KRAVEN’S LAST HUNT could drop in 2015 and people would lose their minds over it. It’s a comic about important things, that’s very very well made, and features a bare-chested Russian losing his mind. I can’t imagine what other check boxes the Eisner committee have in their clipboards [though they probably use Wunderlist on their tablet as they read through the nominees now]. This storyline has and does it all, no pretending, it will cross new paths in your brain and unlock visions.

With that promised, now let’s get onto the juicy stuff: this mainstream Marvel story is a noir masterpiece. Kraven hunts and kills Spider-Man in the first act and that’s the first marker that we aren’t following our webbed friend on this ride. No, this is Sergei Kravinoff’s ride and we are just strapped in to view it until it hits the last station in the line and blasts right through it in black flames.

The mental descent of Kraven is one of the most shocking ways to chart a villain’s downfall in a comic based around arguably the most wholesome superhero in the world. Superman might be safe but Spidey is downright alluring and yet this comic is intense and really resonates on an adult level. Perhaps this is because of the way Mike Zeck brings gritty determination to the page. Or maybe it’s the layered structure DeMattis plays the narrative through, making us work for it, thus making us think about every piece on the board and their moves.

There is no doubt Kraven is the antagonist of his own downfall. He’s trying to understand the American dream, he’s wrestling with it, trying to best it. In the end, he sees the hunt as the show of power, but once he kills Spider-Man he obviously feels he must become him. He should now own the American dream. But what he finds is wholly unsatisfying. What he finds is that his spirit is lacking for the job. In order to chase this seemingly unattainable perfection, he had to change himself to best hunt. The person he subsequently became was not ideal to represent that which he sought for so long. He spoiled himself and there was nothing to be done but accept this, hand it all back, and take himself off the board. It’s a sad indictment of how people chase glory and what it does to them.

Kraven is so single-minded that he never considers others and yet all Spider-Man ever does is consider others. His whole existence is for others, which is why it sucks to be Mary-Jane, especially in this book. But Kraven can’t quite handle this, he’s been working hard for number one all his life, his background, his struggle, it’s all been for number one. That realisation must’ve stung having come from a Communist location and essentially conformed to the capitalist ideal. He has become the antithesis of what his whole family did when they arrived on US soil.

Hubris is such a great accelerator for a noir narrative engine and here you see Kraven believe he’s right for the job and after inner scrutiny understand he’s not the man for the gig. So if he’s not for that, and his default position is as a man who fights for that, this storyline leaves him nothing and nowhere. Unlike when Wonka tells us about the man who got everything he wanted, this time it only serves to hold up a dark mirror in front of him and box him in with his ghastly reflection. Kraven places the gun in his mouth and we see his youthful portrait sullied with blood, because a visual can represent the entire noir theme of a man’s life.

KRAVEN’S LAST HUNT is a deliciously nasty analysis of what happens when a villain, who believes he’s the hero of his own story, suddenly realises his heart has been pumping black blood this whole time. It is also a deeply meaningful reminder to us that we should care for the context of every life lost, because it’s always a tragedy.

NOIRVEMBER 010 ~ Green Wake + Pisces

The fact I love GREEN WAKE so much says a great deal about me as a person, I feel. This sad green book from Riley Rossmo and Kurtis J Wiebe is the comic equivalent of having your head held underwater and all you can see tangled in the reeds below are all the things you love.

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I dunked my own head every month on this book and would do it again in a heartbeat if it were ever to return [which it no doubt will not, just yet another sad ending for it all]. The premise is that Green Wake is a town where people wake up to stew on their sins in life. It’s a melancholy purgatory and when murders start happening then Morley Mack and his offsider Krieger look into the affair.

From a pared down PI framework, to the sketchy and muted visuals from Rossmo, GREEN WAKE wore its depression on its sleeve. Rooted in grief, and self-reflection, Wiebe was open in admitting the book was therapy for him, a way to work through certain questions his mind couldn’t align. Or didn’t want to. Coming from that place to inform a town of murder and uncertainty is something that fascinates me because it’s real, it’s raw, and it means the story has meat on the bone. You don’t follow the pretty lines and then allow the story and pages to quickly fade from your mind like you scrawled them into your brainpan in invisible ink. No, GREEN WAKE stays with you because it’s so visceral, so poignant, and so very very damn well done.

You see, everything about this book screams that it’s going to be a weird, messed up, pseudo-psycho sci fi noir and that’s something that’s been done before. But with Rossmo’s art we instantly get something fresh, something brutal, and using that connection to the audience Wiebe manages to do the ultimate noir move and make us care. So when he pulls the rug out from under us we topple over and know we’ll never be able to stand again. It sucks because Mack’s noir spiral is as much about all of us as it is about him. The central concept of Green Wake is so universal that you walk away thinking about yourself, your life, and where you are going just as much as you consider this poor four colour bastard on the page.

That idea of how grief hollows you out, what it takes to overcome its firm and clammy embrace, and the realisation there is no ‘victory’ to be had or found over it sucks. You so desperately want it to be another way but there it is, right in front of you, and you knew it, you knew it all along, but you hoped. To fall from hope is to pack weights onto your shoulders before stepping off the tower’s top.

Ugh.

Sometimes the best noir let’s you think you’ll be the special one [because through the main characters we so often project ourselves and Morley Mack is a great lead for this]. You see that finish line and the crossing line is rotted and razor sharp and there’s nothing but empty space after it to drift off into but you still think you’ll be running more on the other side and you’ll eventually find happy bright land under your feet. You really believe, and then it switches.

The great realisation of GREEN WAKE is that Mack gets out, he manages to set himself free, he wins. But the whole reason he was there is because he wasn’t dealing well with his grief at all, his self-hatred for the car crash he caused that took the life of his wife. He fell within himself and landed in Green Wake. But then he got out, he forgave himself. The end, right?

Remember that question; can you ever truly forgive yourself? The real answer in so many of us is a flat firm ‘no.’ You might have good days, but you’ll have bad days, and in the end your heart is soured. You’ll fall back because you are broken and while you might look fixed from certain angles, and you might even still be able to serve your purpose, the truth is that you are broken. So Mack ends up back in Green Wake and that’s the eternal struggle.

You’ll never stop fighting yourself because you’ll never actually set down your tools.

GREEN WAKE was bold enough to know this and to show it, and the result is a book that’s mesmerising, and difficult at times, and so very incredibly important as a one-man noir.

INTERMISSION

Back in the day, I used to sling words about comics and I fell hard in love with GREEN WAKE and you can scope the following things:

An interview with Kurtis J Wiebe about GREEN WAKE Part I [LINK] + Part II [LINK]

Another interview at the end of the first arc [LINK]

Dan Hill’s OPENING CONTRACT column looked at the first panel of the first page of the first issue. It’s golden stuff [LINK] and you can buy Dan’s entire ebook of that column, with extra creator interviews alongside it all here [LINK], and trust me, you should pick this book up, it’s one of my prescribed must read books about comics.

And if you’re a tight ass, you can actually read all of GREEN WAKE here online like a webcomic [LINK] – spoilers, it also includes an issue I wrote that never made it to print but I collaborated on it with Nathaniel Ooten just because I really loved the script and he knocked it out of the park. My issue, a one-shot, is also very much about the chase down the spiral. Enjoy.

ADDENDUM

PISCES

This here is a comic hitting shelves right now and you need to be reading it. Written by Wiebe with art from Johnnie Christmas, coloured by Tamra Bonvillain, it feels like the spiritual follow up to GREEN WAKE and I’m all signed up to walk down the path into damnation with this story and team.

pisces

This comic has only begun this year so it’s fun to analyse the pieces we have so far and postulate how and where we are going to be led, or dragged. The first issues do not spoonfeed you so you can only nudge forward based on gut instinct. I like this. It assumes intelligence in the reader, it allows surprises, and it builds character and emotion when done well and this is doing it all very well.

PISCES is like HANNIBAL in the way it builds on the tone of scenes before anything else. We are following our lead, Dillon, a Vietnam vet struggling to settle back into the real world, and inexplicably we are segued into a weird sci fi body horror where everything is metaphysical and so the dread seeps into your bones. It’s gloriously unsettling.

Seeing into his days in ‘Nam, we see where Dillon has come from, and how disturbed warfare can be. It’s the perfect way to break a person into small pieces and then it’s a crapshoot which shards will survive. With this context built, we catch up with Dillon back home and you know it’s all no good and so it becomes a matter of discovering how bad it is, where he’ll go wrong, and for me I can’t stop wondering if it’ll all be his own fault. I mean, the world kicks us hard, so it’s never only our fault, but we each get moments, opportunities, and we take responsibility. So observing Dillon’s case, as this game can feel at times, is hard to do and made harder by these space-helmeted interludes where Dillon has no idea of what’s going on and we get few hints about time, place, or reality. It’s a four dimensional mystery and there’s no goddamn chance at all it’ll end well.

Some men are born to fade to black and watching them hold on can sometimes pain us more than the final blip at their end. PISCES is a study in us holding fast as we watch and wait for the inevitable, whether it’s in his past, his present, or this ethereal future.

NOIRVEMBER 006 ~ Casanova

CASANOVA from Gabriel Ba/Fabio Moon/Matt Fraction [and now Michael Chabon] is one of my favourite comics of the past decade. It’s this pop spy comic about being cool and flipping through realities while flipping reality the bird. It’s very modern, with very psychedelic old stuff inspiring the actual core of it. It’s just so goddamn good.

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The book is currently in its fourth volume, of which I believe there will be seven, and each volume is dominant for its own specific and varied reasons, which in itself is an insane feat of artistry and skill.

The first volume is LUXURIA and it introduces us to our hero, Casanova Quinn, and his world. This arc is impossibly cool, the characters wild and spectacular, and the structure is just introducing one gonzo thing after another and threading a line that is Cass’ circulatory system. He travels to another version of reality and teams up with his superspy family to take down the bad guys. The chassis of the narrative could almost be clean if it weren’t for the detritus of experimentation and fun the creative team layer into every moment.

Volume 2 was GULA where we followed a broader case across each of the issues and we got a real build to a climax that certainly wasn’t telegraphed, and was something that brought integrity to the title and our lead. If Vol 1 set ‘em up, this volume hit ‘em so hard they split the stuff inside atoms.

These two arcs are stupendous things, really truly great comics, and I could bang on all day about it but I’ll never say it better than Tim Callahan did over seven years ago so instead I’ll link to his essay “Why ‘Casanova’ Matters” and hope you dig [LINK]

Buy, y’see, the book then took a long break, where everyone in the creative team dispersed to create anything from books with Tony Stark to stories about life and love and truth. It was heartbreaking but these were the financial realities of Image books way back when. But then, because providence is real and it loves us, the book was given a chance to return. Something that happens so rarely and so very much needed to happen here. And so we, the few who tune in, were gifted:

Volume 3 – AVARITIA, which put Cass into a new mission and really formalised his place with his story nemesis, Newman Xeno, as they build a Ying/Yang dichotomy. Intertwined, sharing good and bad. Cass tries to wipe him out on all the different realities, and naturally that kind of one-man genocide takes its toll. Here, we got a sense of the true larger scale of all of this, which is fun because the first two arcs certainly weren’t closed door mysteries.

Volume 4 is ACEDIA and it’s playing out now and it’s stripped Cass back a bit and we watch him build back up. Considering AVARITIA had quite a large climax it makes sense to reset Cass a little, take his memory away, and see if he rebuilds in the same way again.

Which brings us to what is to come – because this isn’t a recap, this is a crystal ball into which we might dare to gaze. I can merely postulate, but knowing that Fraction has mapped the story against the seven deadly sins, and he’s burnt through lust, gluttony, greed, and now sloth, this means he has superbia, invidia, and ira to go [pride, envy, and wrath]. In what order those will come who knows, though they say pride cometh before the fall, and noir is the ultimate fall, so I have to ponder:

Is the tale of Casanova Quinn going to be a noir?

I say yes.

Cass is a character who has been built up and shown to make terrible choices. He’s a broken man, not quite doing what’s right, but doing what he wants to think is right. Manning the ship a hard north on a compass he knows won’t ever work quite right. As a noir lead, we desperately want to see Cass succeed but he’s going to need to overcome himself before that will work.

To consider the alternative, could we stomach an ending to the whole mess that’s Cass getting his happily ever after? Would that suit Cass, has he deserved this, and would he even let it happen? You get the sense Cass knows he’s spiralling and he just wants to take a few key players down into the void with him.

I could see Cass sacrificing himself to redeem Newman Xeno, and then even that doesn’t yield a positive result, making his move pointless. There’s a nihilistic streak in Cass and one he uses to his advantage, because if you believe in nothing then you are set free. Cass is so free he spreads his wings and soars through galaxies. And we could, each of us, wonder a variety of ways Cass could ruin his own life/story/world but then there’s always the angle that he’s left fine, and he ruins it all for someone else.

Ultimately, the noir end I feel is coming from Ba/Moon/Fraction, it’s going to be something that I know will happen, I feel must happen, but I get that sense of impending dread that it’s going to crush me just that little bit. It’s not going to be easy and that’s how you measure the quality of your noir. If it lays out simple, it’s dead before it hit the ground. If it’s on its back, sputtering blood into the air, gasping out as you watch, well that’s magic.

CASANOVA is a study in how to look damn fine even in your death throes.

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