INTERVIEW: "Batgirl and the Birds of Prey" Hunt Rebirth's Oracle
Danger Club, the teen-superhero miniseries from writer Landry Q. Walker, artist Eric Jones and colorist Rusty Drake, earned acclaim upon its debut in April 2012 for its blend of classic comic-book archetypes and decidedly darker sensibilities. It’s a violent mix of Teen Titans, Watchmen and Lord of the Flies, with young sidekicks — both heroes and villains — left to their own devices after their mentors head into space to face a cosmic threat, and then never return.
However, just as the Image Comics miniseries was kicking into high gear, it was derailed by real-world concerns when the fourth issue was delayed after one of Drake’s children was struck by a car. That contributed to a domino effect, with Issue 5 arriving in April 2013, after which Danger Club went on hiatus.
However, that changes late this month, when the eight-issue series returns for its final leg: Issue 6 goes on sale Jan. 28, followed by Issue 7 on Feb. 25 and Issue 8 on March 25.
Independent comics are vastly different from comics published by the likes of Marvel and DC in one major way: Fill-in creators are rarely, if ever, an option. If a creator cannot make his or her deadline that month, the issue is delayed. The creative team of Image’s Danger Club — writer Landry Walker, artist Eric Jones and colorist Rusty Drake — recently announced an upsetting and reasonable cause for the delay in the release of the fourth issue. As detailed on Walker’s blog: “Several weeks ago two of colorist Michael (Rusty) Drake’s kids were hit by a truck while riding their bikes home from the store. The short version is that they are both okay. The longer version is that Rusty’s son suffered a brain contusion and his daughter an injured ankle. This meant several days of stress and uncertainty. Things are better now, and both kids are home from the hospital and receiving continued treatment.”
While fortunately the children are recovering, Drake’s need to focus on his children’s care has not only delayed Issue 4, but has created a domino effect on the production of subsequent issues. The creative team is struggling to get back on schedule, and when I learned about the situation I offered to help them get the word out with an interview. Drake, a freelance creator with a full-time job and family demands, was unable to participate, but Walker and Jones were happy to discuss the delay and why there was never an option to proceed without Drake’s involvement in Danger Club. Also, while I had their attention, I decided to learn a little bit more about this dark series (a departure for the creative team) in which all the heroes left Earth for space to battle a horrific evil and never came back, leaving the teenage sidekicks to face the approaching danger.
But before diving into my questions, Landry wanted to stress one thing: “I should mention that Issue 4 is 100 percent complete. I haven’t been told the date it will be released, but it should be only a few weeks, tops.” The creative team clearly appreciates the readers’ patience. As an outside observer, I hope this interview gives some perspective on the delay, as well as the struggles independent creators face.
This week brought the debut of a new creator-owned comic from Landry Q. Walker and Eric Jones, the creative team behind DC’s Supergirl: Cosmic Adventures in the 8th Grade and SLG’s Little Gloomy. While the duo have made a name for themselves doing kid-friendly titles, Danger Club #1 is definitely not for kids. The comic’s premise is that all the world’s superheros left for space a few months back to battle an alien threat, leaving their sidekicks behind to fend for themselves. Things fall apart, to say the least.
So what did folks think of the first issue? Here’s a round-up of opinions:
Erika Peterman, Girls Gone Geek: “Writer Landry Q. Walker sets a fast pace and doesn’t waste a lot of time with setup or character introductions. This is an efficient, action-packed story that makes the most of the comic’s premise. Left to their own devices, a bunch of agitated, powerful youngsters are fighting among themselves, jockeying for position and abandoning their ideals. With apologies to The Who, the kids are not alright. I’m thinking ‘Lord of the Flies,’ only with teleportation, giant robots and sonic blasts. Walker has created quite an interesting cast of characters to develop.”
Doug Zawisza, Comic Book Resources: “Eric Jones won me over from the start with a fun flashback-style recap/history page seemingly torn from a comic we haven’t seen yet that leads into this story we hold in our hands. That page is two panels, drawn a little more cartoonishly by Jones and colored by Michael Drake to invoke the feel (and darn near smell) of an older comic recently rescued from its bagged and boarded prison. It also acts as a nice contrast to the hyper-detailed modern-day tale that follows.”
Awards | Chicago’s Columbia College has announced it will bestow the 2012 John Fischetti Lifetime Achievement Award on Jules Feiffer. What is it? “The Fischetti Lifetime Achievement Award honors an outstanding career of editorial cartooning, work skewering cultural mores, misguided public policies and self-important people.” [The Daily Cartoonist]
Comics | As workers begin cleaning up the mess left by a flooded warehouse full of comics, officials at Pittsburgh’s ToonSeum are appealing to the public for donations to help replace the lost works. [Post-Gazette]
Creators | Gerry Alanguilan posts his rejection letters from Marvel and DC Comics from the days when, as a young artist, he sent in samples of his work. He also tells the story of how he blew his first big chance, which should prove inspirational to others in the same boat. [Komikero]