An Entirely Healthy Obsession

You like mystery? Sci-fi? Kickass lady characters? (Kickass lady characters of color, no less!) Queer characters who aren’t sexless tokens? Gorgeous art? Sharp world-building?

Read this.

(Storm Dogs #2 by David Hine and Doug Braithwaite)

This month’s installment of Storm Dogs was “CSI meets Firefly at the Mos Eisley Cantina” in the best way. The mystery of why a team of highly skilled professionals would be sent out to poke into the murders of a bunch of nobodies at the ass-end of the frontier deepens, the team’s anthropologist/diplomat gets her classroom assumptions about the noble space-natives slapped down to reality level, and we get brainy, queer Jews In Space. (Sorry, couldn’t resist.)

I’m really enjoying the character pieces at the end of each issue, even if it does go a bit against the Show, Don’t Tell rule. With only six issues of story available, I want to know everything I can about the cast before this thing wraps.

Storm Dogs #1 preview at CBR (more pages at link).

The first issue by David Hine and Doug Braithwaite is due out this Wednesday.

Awesome art, writer I trust, and a sci-fi murder mystery prominantly featuring multiple female characters? And multiple female characters of color at that?

Aw, Universe, it’s not even Christmas yet…♥

Cool Newsarama interview with David Hine about his upcoming series “Storm Dogs”:

Nrama: What’s the basic premise of the story as readers start this journey with the characters?

Hine: On the edges of the known universe, there’s a planet called Amaranth. It’s home to a couple of intelligent native species called the Elohi and the Joppa. They have a sophisticated social structure but are not technologically advanced, so they have protected status. That means no highly advanced technology can be used on the planet, so when there are mysterious deaths among the miners working on Amaranth, the Federal Union that polices the member states sends in a specialist crime investigation team who have to fall back on primitive techniques to solve the murders. Once they start digging they find that there are all kinds of dirty secrets waiting to be unearthed and that no one is innocent.

Nrama: So you’re basically stripping these characters of their accoutrements. Is that symbolic, since, knowing you, I have a feeling they’ll be “stripped” psychologically too?

Hine: The story is set way into the future and clearly the technology would be so advanced that if this crime had happened on a more advanced planet the whole story would have revolved around the science. What interested me was to take this group of people out of their comfort zone and force them to rely on their wits. You’re quite correct in guessing that this will remove a lot of the protection of being part of a universal community and force them to ruthlessly examine themselves.

Nrama: You’re working with several female characters. Why that choice? Was writing them a challenge? And what does it bring to the story?

Hine: I’ve been doing this thing for a while now, when I’m creating new characters for a story, where I try swapping their gender, race, sexuality to see what happens to way the character is perceived and what will open up the most potential for the characters to develop. I did a lot of that with this cast of characters and this gender mix is what I ended up with. I’ve never felt it too much of a challenge to write specifically female characters. Decent fiction writers don’t write only what they know from experience. Who wants to read about a white male, comic-book writer living in cosy domesticity in South London? If you have a good imagination and empathize with other people’s experiences, you should be able to put yourself into the skin of a character no matter what their background or gender. It’s a wee bit tougher to get into the head of an alien, but on the other hand who’s going to say I’ve got it wrong?

What I do hope I’ve succeeded in doing is avoiding stereotypes. These are all unique individuals. There may even be scenes where two or more women are discussing something other than men.

comicswillbreakyourheart:

DAVID HINE - CWBYH 5

Download link (right click and save).

Alternate download (via Mediafire).

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At the download links, or the above stream, you’ll find our interview with David Hine. We cover a breadth of topics — his 30-year career in comics, his interest in U.S. pop culture and the world’s junk culture, some thoughts on influence in art and writing, and much more.

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DAVID HINE ON THE WEB

@twitter

David’s blog.

Bulletproof Coffin on Amazon.

Strange Embrace on Amazon.

David Hine has more of Doug Braithwaite’s character designs for Storm Dogs up on his blog, along with news from Kapow!

Is it October yet?

David Hine and Doug Braithwaite have a new sci-fi series coming out from Image this October:

The initial story sees a team of futuristic space police (yay) called in to investigate a series of murders on a rural, backwards planet. But because the people there have decided to protect themselves from technology, and the growth of science, they ask that each member of the team hand in all their equipment before they hit the surface. So what we’ll be seeing is a group of four highly advanced, technology-reliant officers having to fall back on their wits, common sense and reasoning in order to investigate the case.

Hine: I describe the series as science fiction noir. It’s something I’ve been wanting to do for ages – one of those things which sat around for years. It’s got all the elements I like in comics – genres being mixed together, a focus on characterisation. We worked very hard on developing the world, the society, the perspective of the characters. Doug spent a lot of time agonising over getting everything right, from the costumes to the landscape and characters.

Another interesting twist to this already interestingly twisted story is that the majority of the team are female, giving Hine and Braithwaite the opportunity to write things from a different perspective to the usual noir tone. Rather than the laconic, chain-smoking, alcoholic lone hero, here we have a team of four, and three of them are women – and as you can see from the images scattered here, Braithwaite has really let his imagination run.

Sci-fi murder mystery with major representation by female POCs? Hine on writing? Braithwaite on art?

How fucking much do I want this book?

From David Hine’s blog, Waiting For Trade:

Recently the numerically challenged One Million Moms pressure group launched a campaign to stop Toys ‘R’ Us selling the same-sex marriage issue of Archie comics.

Here’s part of what they have to say on their web site: “Unfortunately, children are now being exposed to same-sex marriage in a toy store. This is the last place a parent would expect to be confronted with questions from their children on topics that are too complicated for them to understand. Issues of this nature are being introduced too early and too soon, which is becoming extremely common and unnecessary.”

As a service to the membership of One Million Moms, here are some excerpts from “Jenny Lives With Eric And Martin” by Susanne Boshce, with photos by Andreas Hansen, originally published in Denmark in 1981. If your children would like to know more about same-sex relationships you may like to use this as a visual aid. The book is currently out of print but available from sellers on Amazon.

More pages at the blog post. If only all the grumpy Mrs. Jones’ out there were permeable to logic…

The first issues of David Hine’s Strange Embrace and Bulletproof Coffin (with Shakey Kane on art) are free to read online, and Bulletproof Coffin: Disinterred is on the racks now. None of the above series should be taken with alcohol or read within an hour of bedtime.

HINE: Contrary to what some people have suggested, I don’t see my work for the Big Two as hack work in the sense of hacking it out without due care and attention. Quite the opposite. I work twice as hard to make these mainstream books as good as I can make them. The last thing I want to do is alienate readers. Nothing makes me feel worse than reading a review from a disappointed reader. Every comic should be a pleasure to read and I do everything possible to get to the heart of the characters, keep their integrity and respect the continuity of existing stories. But I also want to insert something of my own into those stories, maybe even subvert the form a little. I’m not a great believer in the superhero as an archetype, so I will always chip away at their image as far as I can. And I’ll avoid the big final smackdown whenever possible, though there are times when I have been literally ordered to write fight scenes.

Still love this guy. The trade for Bulletproof Coffin came out this week — it’s well worth a look.

I know a man has to pay the bills, but it is still my opinion that David Hine is wasted on superhero work. When I think of him writing titles for the appendix of the Bat-verse when in any sane world he’d be getting paid to turn out more stories like Strange Embrace or Up On the Roof, I need to go have a cup of tea and a sniffle. (And yes, I did like FVZA, but that was a very pretty guilty pleasure.)
So I’ve been enjoying the hell out of Bulletproof Coffin, a six-issue mini from Image by Hine and Shaky Kane. The Fourth Wall was not just broken in this mini, it was reduced to rubble that would make its unlamented Berlin cousin wince, and then the bits not ground to fine powder were used to construct the bolthole where Hine and Kane held up and did nothing except ingest questionable substances, and read Golden Age comics and old issues of 2000 AD until they came out the other side with vague memories, fresh shame, and this book.
This is the sort of book good for three-to-six broadly-grinning “You bastards!” per issue, and you don’t have to make the distinction between the hero, the villains, and writers when you aim those, because they’re likely to all be the same target. The book is mocking, reluctantly affectionate, self-deprecating, winking and cynical about itself, its creators, and its audience from panel to panel, and it’s quite a trip.
I’m really not sure there’s any one page I can post from this story that will work as a selling point, but here’s the first issue at Bleeding Cool. For my part, I think I held up all right until I hit this page in issue 6, at which point I lost  it a tad and giggled my way through the rest of the final issue.
If you can find the singles, I’d say snatch them, because I’m not sure if this one’s going to get a collection or not, and it’s so worth the read.

I know a man has to pay the bills, but it is still my opinion that David Hine is wasted on superhero work. When I think of him writing titles for the appendix of the Bat-verse when in any sane world he’d be getting paid to turn out more stories like Strange Embrace or Up On the Roof, I need to go have a cup of tea and a sniffle. (And yes, I did like FVZA, but that was a very pretty guilty pleasure.)

So I’ve been enjoying the hell out of Bulletproof Coffin, a six-issue mini from Image by Hine and Shaky Kane. The Fourth Wall was not just broken in this mini, it was reduced to rubble that would make its unlamented Berlin cousin wince, and then the bits not ground to fine powder were used to construct the bolthole where Hine and Kane held up and did nothing except ingest questionable substances, and read Golden Age comics and old issues of 2000 AD until they came out the other side with vague memories, fresh shame, and this book.

This is the sort of book good for three-to-six broadly-grinning “You bastards!” per issue, and you don’t have to make the distinction between the hero, the villains, and writers when you aim those, because they’re likely to all be the same target. The book is mocking, reluctantly affectionate, self-deprecating, winking and cynical about itself, its creators, and its audience from panel to panel, and it’s quite a trip.

I’m really not sure there’s any one page I can post from this story that will work as a selling point, but here’s the first issue at Bleeding Cool. For my part, I think I held up all right until I hit this page in issue 6, at which point I lost it a tad and giggled my way through the rest of the final issue.

If you can find the singles, I’d say snatch them, because I’m not sure if this one’s going to get a collection or not, and it’s so worth the read.