Vaughan & Chiang's "Paper Girls" Builds a Familiar Yet Disconcerting World
Written by Cullen Bunn and Shawn Lee; Illustrated by Matt Kindt
Equal parts Hellboy and Hulk, The Tooth is the story of a young man named Graham Stone who inherits a spooky old estate from his grandfather, Ezekiel. While looking over the place, Graham discovers a room full of “occult esoterica,” a collection of dangerous artifacts that Grandpa Zeke spent a lifetime accumulating. Unfortunately, Graham doesn’t understand how unsafe the stuff really is and grabs an amulet designed to control a mystical, yellow tooth.
Who does understand the significance of the collection is Caleb King, evil mage and one-time arch-nemesis to the late Ezekiel Stone. But when King gets rough with Graham, the supernatural tooth forms a humanoid body and grows to fightin’ size in order to protect his new… well, “master” doesn’t seem like the right word, but the relationship between Graham and the Tooth is hard to define.
Graham doesn’t command the Tooth, but it is attached to him, sometimes quite literally. In between battles with King’s monsters, the Tooth shrinks down and implants itself in Graham’s gums. Graham acts as a reluctant host for the creature who in turn defends the young man. The relationship between the mild-mannered protagonist and the uncontrollable monster brings classic Hulk comics to mind, while the Tooth’s occult origins and the evil wizard who seeks to exploit them are reminiscent of Hellboy.
Welcome to Food or Comics?, where every week we talk about what comics we’d buy at our local comic shop based on certain spending limits — $15 and $30 — as well as what we’d get if we had extra money or a gift card to spend on a “Splurge” item.
If I had $15, I’d first do a two-fisted grab of this summer’s big event series Flashpoint #2 (DC, $3.99) and Fear Itself #3 (Marvel,$3.99). It’s required reading if you’re writing about comics like I am, and as a reader I’m intrigued by both. Two questions come out of this: 1. I wonder which one jiggered their release dates to come out the same week as the other event book, and 2. I guess DC will have to take off its “Holding The Line at $2.99” logo, or at least add some fine print. Next up would be Uncanny X-Force #11 (Marvel, $3.99); Rick Remender and the artists here have made this the best x-book on stands, hitting me right between the eyes by revisiting older storylines and characters and giving them a modern spin. Lastly, I would get Turf #5 (Image, $2.99), because I’m one of the biggest Tommy Lee Edwards fans out there.
I’m a great admirer of Matt Kindt‘s work. Honestly, I’m an even bigger admirer of Kindt’s ingenious nature. Case in point, for his latest book, 3 Story: The Secret History of the Giant Man (published by Dark Horse and released in late September), he has developed a Giant Man Mini Comic – Spy Capsule and Giant-Man 3-D Postcards. Before we get into our email interview about 3 Story, I have to reiterate what I said in last week’s What Are You Reading that (in addition to checking out Kindt’s latest work, of course) you should pick up Strange Tales 2 (featuring Kindt’s Black Widow tale). Here’s a bit of Dark Horse’s background on the tale (before stepping into the interview): “Craig Pressgang’s life is well documented in his official CIA biography, Giant Man: Pillar of America, but the heroic picture it paints is only half the story. The continuous growth caused by Craig’s strange medical condition brings a variety of problems as he becomes more isolated and unknowable. Told in three eras by three women with unique relationships with Craig, 3 Story follows his sad life from his birth to the present.” Be sure to visit the Dark Horse site for a seven-page sample of the book.
Tim O’Shea: A three-fold question of sorts (pun intended): Which came first, the idea to build your latest book as three stories in one, or the fact that the lead character was three stories tall in height or that you wanted to tell the story from the perspective of three women?
Matt Kindt: I wanted to tell the story from three different generations’ perspective — that was first. Then the idea for the title. I’m usually terrible with titles. It takes me forever to come up with something and then I usually go back to the working title anyway. Super Spy started out as my jokey working title and then it grew on me so I just left it. A friend accused me of naming it 3 Story so it would be filed on the bookshelf next to my other book 2 Sisters — completely unintentional. But I’m thinking my next book might be called “4 Shadows”. (kidding)