WAILING BLADE #1 Rich Douek – Joe Mulvey – Chris Sotomayor – Jules Rivera – Taylor Esposito
This brutal tale of kick ass is brought to you by the ComixTribe. It should be no surprise that this Heavy Metal-esque poetry of punishment comes from this outfit. Yes, you know ComixTribe … they brought you the creator owned favorite SINK! If ever a title was perfect for a publisher, this is it.
HOLY $#!^ … This IS sci-fi fantastical wonderment! I cannot help but be transported back to 1980 something watching a gruesome post apocalyptic tale riddled with harsh circumstances and even harsher realities. As I read through each page I was just giddy with the brutal, metal nature of this tale. What’s more, is that the book opened up with a sequence reminiscent to the opening montage of an industrial tragedy that fills you with dread and hopelessness in the face of what you’ll have to eventually come to deal with. The executioner and his blade are iconic in both look and feel.
Beyond the heavy metal exterior there is a very fine tale of actions and consequences. The root cause of bad things happening is almost always us, as people. Now, the current situation isn’t given much back story but there are hints to where this world has come from. Man has fallen from the stars and the blade itself is a remnant of technologies that existed before. Something pretty tragic had to have happened for the oppressive ruler Tyrant to have his heavy hand suffocating everything and everyone. The setting though, adds the backdrop for the razor thin margin of living. This allows us as the reader to feel the gravity of the error made by Tychon (son) as he goes against the advice of Auros (father). It isn’t just a simple set up, but rather, a grand illustration of the dire plight facing everyone in the pages of Wailing Blade.
The story has given us plenty already and very clearly defines that there is MUCH MORE going on. The best illustration of this, to me, is the revelation we get in regards to the Executioner. Yes the one that wields the blade is everything the legend speaks to, BUT the eyes under the mask tell a much deeper tale. Of course, the last panel of the book makes it very clear that we’ve only just begun. I can’t help but wonder about the grander tale behind all of this. The crafting that has been done in bringing this world to life is very clearly large in scope. The way the narrative is driven is rather point blank while remaining careful not to rush just to get from point to point. Every scene within the panels is treated with care and details are everywhere. You don’t do this if you’re just writing an arcade button masher of a book (though it would still be glorious if this were the case). From the line art to the colors this world is crafted with care. There’s a focus and point to have certain things stand out (the blade, the executioner, the remaining technology) but not so much that they feel out of place or unbelievable in the setting we’re given. All of the details are woven together to create something special. The lettering doesn’t just lend to, but purposefully injects building blocks into the world (the wail of the blade being a part of the blade itself). The pieces stand on their own before coming together to make a perfect final product for the brutal, blunt force tale being told.
I could go on, but quite honestly you need to see it for yourself. Go over to Kickstarter and look over the project. Of a rather BIG NOTE on this project the price/reward structure is flat out astounding! You are going to get some serious swag bang for your buck.
Q/A WITH RICH DOUEK
Q – Ok, where in the blue perfect hell did this story come from? What was the birth of all of this?
Douek – It pretty much started when one of my favorite classic sci-fi authors, Jack Vance, passed away in 2013. When I heard about it, I reread his Dying Earth books, which are a really cool blend of fantasy and science fiction, and it inspired me to start working on a story in a similar setting; a point so far in the future it’s almost unrecognizable as our own world. There were a lot of other infuences, and things I added on my own, but that was the seed.
Q – Immediately upon seeing the images I was thrust back to my childhood. 80’s sci-fi and post-apocalyptic movies mashed up all sorts non-sensical pieces to make an underbelly genre that worked. Wailing Blade thrusts me right back to being a kid for all the right reasons. Was the environment of WB built specifically or did it grow around the story as it came together?
Douek – Part of it grew organically, but I grew up on 80s sci-fi and post apocalyptic stuff too, so that stuff is definitely in Wailing Blade’s DNA. I think a lot of my influences for this came from classic sword and sorcery, stuff like Conan and Elric, but also from crazy 80s cartoons like Thundarr the Barbarian, and Masters of the Universe. A bit of Mad Max, too, though you won’t see many cars in this world!
Q – The Blade itself. I mean come on. Just, how? Symbolic or intended to be the the “IT” factor. Sure, the book is named for it but did that come about as it grew or was that the aim all along?
Douek – Tough one! Because I’m not sure I can explain the origins of the blade without giving away things about the story I’d rather keep secret for now. I will say that yes, it was always a part of the story I wanted to tell here, and it is meant to be symbolic in a way. We kind of touch on in the first few pages why it wails – or at least why everyone in that world thinks it does. But, in the story, the blade has been around for centuries, and has accumulated as many legends about it as lives it has taken. And there’s definitely a reason the title is centered around the blade, and not the person wielding it.
Q – The only thing I’ve read recently that even comes to mind as being close to this is Atomahawk. Even that isn’t the brutal, over the top, full metal awesome that Wailing Blade is. As the story unfolded was there a goal to make it as unique as possible or was that just a very happy end point of the project playing itself out?
Douek – Wow! That’s a really nice comparison. I love Donny Cates’ work, and Atomahawk is totally up there for me as an example of the kind of over-the-top action we’re going for. As for the question of uniqueness, I’d say that for sure, it’s something we were striving for. I know that when I started talking to Joe about his designs for the book, one of the things he stressed was that he wanted everything – from the costumes right down to the trees and bushes, to look unique to this world, and unique to comics in general. So that was definitely the intent, and as we worked together, and with Chris Sotomayor and Taylor Esposito, we kept feeding off each other and trying to make everything look unique and dynamic.
Q – This is a very big book with a bold scope. Just how big is the Wailing Blade universe? Is the hyper focused first issue setting the stage for a much broader arena?
Douek – Not going to lie, it’s pretty big. If you look at the map we included in the first issue, you’ll see that the Tyrant’s empire spans an entire continent. And there’s a whole world, and universe beyond that. We have a story in mind that will carry far, far beyond this first series, and, if we are able to financially, we could keep this going for years and years. Just a small example of what I’m talking about – the Wailing Blade and the Headtaker are the most famous of the Tyrant’s executioners, but they’re not the only ones. We’ll meet a second one before this series is done, but there are even more than that, and they all have a part to play in the tales we want to tell in this world.
Q – I have to give you recognition for the absolutely insane reward/price point structure on the Kickstarter campaign. There is some excellent swag regardless of how much, or not, you’re able to kick in as a backer. How were you able to do this?
Douek – For that, I have to give all the credit to Tyler James, our publisher at Comixtribe. Tyler’s practically made a second career of studying what works, and what doesn’t when it comes to comics and Kickstarter. He runs a podcast called Comixlaunch where the whole focus is on strategies creators can use to make sure they run a campaign that’s great for them, and their backers – so there are a ton of lessons he’s learned over the years that we applied to this. But a big part of what you’re talking about is a commitment from all of us to provide a great experience to everyone who picks up the book, no matter what format they’re reading in, or how much they kick in.
THERE YOU HAVE IT FOLKS! Click below to go straight to the campaign and get on board!