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Death of Love Gets a Trade this August

The complete Death of Love miniseries—the irreverent action-comedy from writer Justin Jordan, artist Donal DeLay, colorist Omar Estévez, and letterer Rachel Deering—will be collected into trade paperback and available this August.

Love sucks, and Philo Harris—self-avowed “nice guy”—is going to do something about it.

The Cupidae, a cabal of doughy little cherubs that are usually invisible, are responsible for making love work. And after Philo makes a particularly bad drunken decision, he can suddenly see them, clear as day. What’s a perpetually single guy to do? Well, according to Philo, he grabs a chainsaw and goes to war with love itself.

Death of Love (ISBN: 978-1-5343-0507-6, Diamond code: MAY180066) hits comics shops on Wednesday, August 22nd and bookstores on Tuesday, August 28th.

Review: Death of Love # 1

Philo Harris is a man in love with the owner of a local coffee house. He buys her gifts, listens to her gripe about her boyfriend and occasionally pet-sits for her cat. Philo is a “nice guy” and not in a good way. After a night of hard drinking with some friends,  a mysterious stranger offers him some red pills to help his love life. Philo takes them and the next thing you know he’s in the bathroom staring down a very pissed off looking cherub with a bow and arrow.

Writer Justin Jordan is no stranger to gallows humor. It runs like a black thread through much of his catalog but Death of Love is the first time, to my knowledge, that he’s attempted a straight up satire and it works pretty well. While a lot of the laugh out loud moments are in-jokes for those who follow him on social media, Jordan has a fine grasp of the dark absurdity baked into his scenario and produces a piece of work that is more akin to the Coen brothers than it is to the Farrelly brothers. While it wears its point of view on its sleeve, the characters are fleshed out and compelling enough that it never feels like a polemic.

Artist Donal Delay is a relative newcomer to mainstream American comics but he’s the perfect collaborator for this project. His work here recalls Rob Guillory’s early issues of Chew with just a dash of Venture Brothers thrown into the mix. There’s a quiet confidence to his line and his layouts are interesting to look at in themselves without ever being distracting from the story. The first two page spread is also one of the most inspired pieces of mayhem I’ve seen for a long time: equal parts Quentin Tarentino and Chuck Jones. I predict we’ll see a lot of big things from him in the next few years as more people take notice of his obvious skills.

The colors (by Felipe Sobreiro and Omar Estévez) really help to set the scene. A different palette is used for every venue, and this is used to great effect to quickly ground the reader in the particular ambience of what is going on. Letterer Rachel Deering adds a touch of much needed subtlety with a few understated sound effects that actually force you to pay more attention to the edges of every panel lest you miss something. It’s a nifty trick and something I’ve never seen used by a letterer to help the artist.   

In a time when toxic masculinity has become a subject of regular discussion and female creators across all media come under regular attack for daring to even point it out, Death of Love is both a cogent and relevant critique of sexual relations wrapped up in what promises to be a brilliant (and bloody) farce. It is at once a great big middle finger in the face of Gamergaters, MRAs, “nice” guys and a valentine for everyone who despises them… or for anyone who just wants to see some angels cut down with a chainsaw.  

Story: Justin Jordan Art: Donal Delay
Color: Felipe Sobreiro and Omar Estévez Lettering: Rachel Deering
Story: 8.0 Art: 8.0 Overall: 8.0 Recommendation: Buy

Image Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review.

Advance Review: Death of Love # 1

Philo Harris is a man in love with the owner of a local coffee house. He buys her gifts, listens to her gripe about her boyfriend and occasionally pet-sits for her cat. Philo is a “nice guy” and not in a good way. After a night of hard drinking with some friends,  a mysterious stranger offers him some red pills to help his love life. Philo takes them and the next thing you know he’s in the bathroom staring down a very pissed off looking cherub with a bow and arrow.

Writer Justin Jordan is no stranger to gallows humor. It runs like a black thread through much of his catalog but Death of Love is the first time, to my knowledge, that he’s attempted a straight up satire and it works pretty well. While a lot of the laugh out loud moments are in-jokes for those who follow him on social media, Jordan has a fine grasp of the dark absurdity baked into his scenario and produces a piece of work that is more akin to the Coen brothers than it is to the Farrelly brothers. While it wears its point of view on its sleeve, the characters are fleshed out and compelling enough that it never feels like a polemic.

Artist Donal Delay is a relative newcomer to mainstream American comics but he’s the perfect collaborator for this project. His work here recalls Rob Guillory’s early issues of Chew with just a dash of Venture Brothers thrown into the mix. There’s a quiet confidence to his line and his layouts are interesting to look at in themselves without ever being distracting from the story. The first two page spread is also one of the most inspired pieces of mayhem I’ve seen for a long time: equal parts Quentin Tarentino and Chuck Jones. I predict we’ll see a lot of big things from him in the next few years as more people take notice of his obvious skills.

The colors (by Felipe Sobreiro and Omar Estévez) really help to set the scene. A different palette is used for every venue, and this is used to great effect to quickly ground the reader in the particular ambience of what is going on. Letterer Rachel Deering adds a touch of much needed subtlety with a few understated sound effects that actually force you to pay more attention to the edges of every panel lest you miss something. It’s a nifty trick and something I’ve never seen used by a letterer to help the artist.   

In a time when toxic masculinity has become a subject of regular discussion and female creators across all media come under regular attack for daring to even point it out, Death of Love is both a cogent and relevant critique of sexual relations wrapped up in what promises to be a brilliant (and bloody) farce. It is at once a great big middle finger in the face of Gamergaters, MRAs, “nice” guys and a valentine for everyone who despises them… or for anyone who just wants to see some angels cut down with a chainsaw.  

Story: Justin Jordan Art: Donal Delay
Color: Felipe Sobreiro and Omar Estévez Lettering: Rachel Deering
Story: 8.0 Art: 8.0 Overall: 8.0 Recommendation: Buy

Image Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review.

It’s the Death of Love for Valentine’s Day

Writer Justin Jordan teams up with artist Donal DeLay, colorist Omar Estévez, and letterer Rachel Deering for the least romantic Valentine’s comic ever: Death of Love.

Love sucks. And Philo Harris is going to do something about it.

After a particularly bad, drunken decision, Philo gains the ability to see the Cupidae, the creatures responsible for all the love in the world, and declares war on love itself. With a chainsaw.

Death of Love #1 (Diamond code: DEC170601) hits comic shops Wednesday, February 14th. The final order cutoff deadline for comics retailers is Monday, January 22nd.

10 Questions: The Gathering Edition – Donal DeLay

We continue our interview series with members of The Gathering and GrayHaven Comics. We’ve put out the same questions to numerous individuals and can compare their responses. A hopefully intriguing interview series.

Check out our previous interviews.

George Amaru Victor Gischler Travis M. Holyfield James O’Callaghan
Elena Andrews Andrew Goletz Nathan Lee James Chris Page
Arcadio Bolaños Doug Hahner William Levert Amanda Rachels
John M. Coker Erica J. Heflin Marc Lombardi Jason Snyder
Marc Deschamps Gary Hogan Glenn Matchett Sam Tung
Nick Francis

Up next is artist Donal DeLay.

Graphic Policy: How did you get started in the comic book industry?

Donal DeLay: A group of writers and artists got together on the Brian Bendis message board back in the day to put together a small studio called Ronin Studios, which later became Dial R Studios. I worked on a couple anthologies and one-shots. Why? I couldn’t tell you, because I absolutely sucked at drawing. Still do, which is why I question Doug & Andrew’s tastes.

GP: Were you a fan of comic books before?

DD: I was and still am, but my tastes have changed. I was heavily into superhero comics, and 90% of Image comics. Now, I’m mostly an indie guy. The most mainstream book I’ve purchased in the past 5 years has been Hellboy.

GP: Do you read comics now? If so, what are some of your current picks?

DD: I read a lot of old school Sunday funnies stuff. E.C. Segar, Winsor McCay. Some Ketcham, Watterson, and Schulz. Franco/Belgium guys like Peyo, Franquin, and Maurice Tillieux. Hellboy has been fantastic, as always, and I’m really looking forward to reading Punk Rock Jesus by Sean Murphy. His art is gorgeous.

GP: How did you get involved with The Gathering?

DD: It’s a bit of a blur, because I was asked to work on a couple different short stories by a couple different writers, but I’m pretty sure it was Doug Hahner’s 2pg story about his cancer discovery. It was a really personal story, that I absolutely loved drawing that I’m both proud of and wish I’d done half as good as it deserved.

GP: Each issue of The Gathering has a theme, how did that factor into the comic creation?

DD: I’m not sure I can answer this one very well since I’m too cowardly to really write for myself or submit a story myself to an issue. I’m sure it’s got to be tough to have to conform to a set theme and page count, but I just draw what I’m asked to draw and I’m okay with that.

GP: What advice would you give to independent creators just breaking into the business?

DD: If it’s not something you’re willing to do for free then find something you WOULD be willing to do for free. Make comics because you have stories to tell. Tell the stories YOU want to tell.

GP: What’s the most important lesson you’ve learned through your experiences?

DD: Learn when to say no. I’m a big ol’ softy, and have a hard time saying to no to someone, but sometimes it’s necessary. You’ll want to take on everything offered to you because you want the exposure, or maybe even the money, but if you don’t have time then you don’t have time. TELL people that. Sometimes they’re willing to wait, but everyone in the indie business understands the concept of being swamped.

GP:  Do you think it’s easier today for creators to get published?

DD: Absolutely. Not only do you still have POD sites, but now there’s Kickstarter, making it infinitely easier. Not to mention the internet makes it 100% possible for anyone and everyone to get their stories in front of readers.

GP: How do you think technology like social networking or crowdfunding sites like IndieGoGo or Kickstarter are impacting comic book publishing?

DD: They’re impacting comics publishing in a MAJOR way. Because the beauty of a place like Kickstarter is not only does it allow you to get a project funded, but funded by a guaranteed audience. That’s not publishing money from a company hoping people will buy it, that’s money from people ALREADY buying it. The days of relying on companies, and pitches to get published are almost completely gone, if they aren’t already.

GP: What can we expect from you next?

DD: I’m finishing up my first webcomic, The Legend Of Tanin, which has been a HUGE learning experience in the making of webcomics. I’m working on a one-shot with Doug Hahner, about a day in the life of his family, called My Geek Family, and after that I’ll be getting another webcomic together for the start of next year that I hope Andrew Goletz will want to publish on the site, as well as continuing to work on a 300+ page digital OGN.

10 Questions: The Gathering Edition – Douglas Hahner

We’ve got our third entry of interviews with The Gathering and GrayHaven Comics team! You can catch our first and second interview which we ran earlier.

Up next is Doug Hahner, one of the editors at GrayHaven Comics.

Graphic Policy: How did you get started in the comic book industry?

Doug Hahner: It started for me when Andrew, GrayHaven EiC, posted on an internet message board “Who wants to make a comic?”  I responded that yes I did want to make a comic, but didn’t think anything would come of it because many many people on comic book boards think it’s a good idea to make their own comics.  Some even get an issue together, but Andrew had some publishing experience so he knew what needed to be done.  Now over 2 years later we’re still going having published many books already and we have about a dozen books at different stages of completion ready for publication.

GP: Were you a fan of comic books before?

DH: Oh dear God yes!  My parents’ attic is full of all the comics I purchased over the years, and now my wife has to deal with my obsession.  Fortunately I have been able to drag her into my madness (thank you Neil Gaiman’s Sandman and Mike Mignola’s Hellboy), and now she reads books too.

GP: Do you read comics now? If so, what are some of your current picks?

DH: I don’t think I will ever stop reading comics.  Right now my favorites are Mind MGMT by Matt Kindt (Dark Horse), Batman by Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo (DC), Saga by Brian K Vaughn and Fiona Staples (Image), and I look forward to anytime Dark Horse puts out a new Blacksad HC by Juan Diaz Canales and Juanjo Guranido.

GP:  How did you get involved with The Gathering?

DH: It started with the comic message board.  It has always been a dream of mine to be a comic book writer, and Andrew gave me that opportunity.

GP: Each issue of The Gathering has a theme, how did that factor into the comic creation?

DH: We try to pick themes that are open enough to interpretation that we don’t hinder the writers and artists, but the stories can still be placed in that theme.  For example one of the future volumes we’re working on is War.  This book can feature historical stories, modern stories, stories about the war on drugs, futuristic war stories, or anything a writer or artist can think of dealing with War.

GP: What advice would you give to independent creators just breaking into the business?

DH: Listen to your collaborators.  Everyone is just trying to help make the story better.  On the second story that I wrote, I had a major story point happen in one panel of a 9 panel grid.  The artist I was working with, Aaron Bir, said he would draw it the way I wrote it, but it might work better as a splash or half splash.  It really made me think about the story visually, and I did a complete re-write cutting panels left and right, and ended with a much more open script that let the art breathe, and Aaron did an amazing job on the finished story.  Now if I’m writing a story and I have more than 6 panels on a page I feel weird.

GP: What’s the most important lesson you’ve learned through your experiences?

DH: Take advice from everyone.  Don’t just show your script or art to your girlfriend or mom, they’ll like it no matter what.  If your editor or artist have questions on your script, don’t just blow them off thinking they just don’t get your work.  If they don’t get it, maybe you didn’t explain it well enough.  That doesn’t mean your story is bad, just that it could be clearer.

GP: Do you think it’s easier today for creators to get published?

DH: Depending on what you define as published, yes.  Creating a web comic is pretty simple now, and there are ways of self publishing through Amazon to get your work out there.  Now if you mean breaking into the Big 2 (Marvel and DC) or even the Big 5 (Marvel, DC, Image, Dark Horse, and IDW) then it is still very hard to do.  Not to say it is impossible, but it is not easy.

However just getting your work out there for the public to see is not that hard.  You just have to be really good at marketing yourself to help people see it.  Social media helps with that, but it’s a very fine line between marketing yourself and spamming your followers.

GP: How do you think technology like social networking or crowdfunding sites like IndieGoGo or Kickstarter are impacting comic book publishing?

DH: I won’t lie, Kickstarter has been very kind to Gray Haven Comics.  It has certainly helped us publish as many books as we have.  I think sites like Kickstarter and IndieGoGo are helping many creators who need the help.

GP: What can we expect from you next?

DH: Coming down the pipe I edited GrayHaven’s Western and Romance 2 issues.  Both of them will be out before the end of the year.

Writing wise I have a story coming in our Tales From the Abyss book drawn by the amazing Leigh Walls, and something I’m very proud of, My Geek Family.

My Geek Family is a one-shot that I wrote that is a kinda/sorta sequel to the story I wrote for volume 1 of The Gathering: Hope.  While the Hope story was kind of heavy with a true life cancer scare in my life, My Geek Family is a typical Saturday in the life of my immediate family.  We are all geeks in our own ways about different things.  Should it prove successful I can certainly expand the cast to show how everyone, in every family, is geeky about something in their life.

My Geek Family will be drawn by Donal Delay.  He drew the story I wrote for Hope, and it is incredible to be working with him again.  He is such a great cartoonist on his own I’m thrilled that he’s willing to draw something that I wrote.  You can check out his web comic, The Legend of Tanin, on Gray Haven’s website at: http://www.grayhavencomics.com/category/webcomic/legend-of-tanin/