Tag Archives: ether

An Early Look at Ether: Copper Golems #1 Out this May

Ether: Copper Golems #1

Matt Kindt (Writer), David Rubín (Artist, Cover Artist), Paul Pope (Variant Cover Artist)

Matt Kindt! David Rubín!

From New York Times bestselling Mind MGMT creator Matt Kindt and Black Hammer‘s David Rubín comes this fantasy adventure about a science-minded hero intent on keeping the balance between Earth and a magic world!

Portals between Earth and the Ether begin to crack open unleashing devastating magical fury on our planet and only adventurer Boone Dias can seal the breaches. In order to put an end to this chaos, Boone recruits a powerful team of mystical beings including a grumpy, spell-writing fairy; a bickering, lavender gorilla; and a bull-headed, motorcycling spell-hacker. These heroes set off on a journey taking the reader through the center of volcanoes, deserts full of living mummies and sphinxes, and a bizarre fairy forest in an effort to save both worlds from complete destruction!

Underrated: Ether Vol. 1: Death Of The Last Golden Blaze

This is a column that focuses on something or some things from the comic book sphere of influence that may not get the credit and recognition it deserves. Whether that’s a list of comic book movies, ongoing comics, or a set of stories featuring a certain character. The columns may take the form of a bullet pointed list, or a slightly longer thinkpiece – there’s really no formula for this other than whether the things being covered are Underrated in some way. This week: Ether Vol. 1: Death Of The Last Golden Blaze.



ether vol 1.jpgSomehow Ether slipped through my radar back when the first issue was released in November of 2016. It wasn’t until the comic shop I frequent had a copy of the trade paperback on the counter that I noticed it. I asked the clerk what the book was about, and he spent a good twenty minutes selling me on it. He could have saved himself nineteen minutes a forty odd seconds with the words “Matt Kindt wrote it.”

It’s usually a safe bet that anything written by Matt Kindt (and Jeff Lemire, honestly) I am going to try. So what’s Ether about?

Taken from Dark Horse’s website, the blurb for issue one reads: “A science-minded adventurer gets mixed up in the mysteries of a fantasy world in this charming new adventure from an award-winning creative team. Boone Dias is an interdimensional explorer, a scientist from Earth who has stumbled into great responsibility. He’s got an explanation for everything, so of course the Ether’s magical residents turn to him to solve their toughest crimes. But maybe keeping the real and the abstract separate is too big a job for just one man.”

If that sounds cool, well, that’s because it is. Using modern science to explain magic provides a wonderful story idea, but it is the human story beneath the fantastical exterior that will pull you in. Boone Dias is a man who has devoted his life and professional career to the magical place known as Ether, but his scientific background gives him an almost godlike reputation among the less scientifically inclined denizens of the Ether. The driving factor of the plot in the first volume is a murder mystery within the Ether that only Boone seems capable of solving – despite the fantastical elements of the world, there’s a relatablility to the detective work and the process that’s followed. This gives the book a wonderful dichotomy that is further enhanced by David Rubin’s near psychedelic mindfucking attack on your eyes.

Ether is the rare book that exemplifies the comic book medium. It is a murder mystery story, a genre that could, and has been told in a multitude of mediums,  and adds a special dash of comic book magic that makes this ideally suited to the sequential art style of story telling.

There’s a reason Matt Kindt got nominated for an Eisner this year. It wasn’t for this book, but you can get a great feeling for his talent with Ether. It doesn’t hurt that David Rubin is also fantastic.


Join us next week when we look at something else that is, for whatever reason, Underrated.

Review: Ether Vol. 1 TP

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MINOR SPOILERS BELOW

Ether Vol. 1: Death of the Last Golden Blaze is the first collected volume of a fantastic comic book from Dark Horse. The book is penned by the multi-talented writer/artist, Matt Kindt whom you may know from MIND MGMT, Dept. H, or so much more, and pencilled by David Rubin who draws the hell out of this book, balancing the feeling of Who Framed Roger Rabbit? with Steamboat Willie.

The world of Ether is fun, weird, vibrant, and sometimes scary. It is full of rich characters like the primate guide, Glum, the evil creepy old man, Ubel, as well as a large cast of oddities like a bird who sings that will make you sick, screaming bullets, giant metal golems, and so much more. Their world is not like our own. A minute in their world is a lot longer in ours, so the longer you stay there as an Earthling, the older you get in a short time. We learn that by following the goofy, yet brilliant, Boone Dias who visits the Ether in search of who killed The Golden Blaze. The plot unfolds over time, and while we learn things as Boone does, we also get glimpses into his and other characters pasts that explain the world, and the context of everything much better.

About halfway through this book, or maybe a bit more, we get to see more of Hazel, Boone’s former lover and partner. Here is where the story turns on its axis a bit, and delivers us a lot more information about the world, Boone, and their relationship. We see Boone as a loner, aside from his working with Glum in Ether, but here we can see a man so obsessed with this world and it’s secrets, it changes him in the process. Kindt does an excellent job at storytelling through flashbacks, as well as bits dropped by some of the other characters about what happened in the past.

20170718_171118031_iOSRubin really shines on the artwork, and gives this book so much personality. From Glum, the fairies, Ubel, Hazel, Boone, and the other ridiculous things we see, everything looks like stills from a cartoon. Now I know that sounds like any comic book can be, but I can’t help but imagine this book in motion, and wanting it immediately. Give me an Ether animated film, and I will be a happy man. Either way, this book is enough of that to make me smile with each page turn. I tip my hat to Rubin, especially when Kindt is such a good artist himself. That shows the confidence in Rubin that Kindt has. I mean it, this book is absolutely beautiful.

20160705_155406000_iOSI read the comics as they came out each month, but I would highly recommend this book in this collected volume. This is an exciting page-turner that is truly so much fun. It’s light hearted, but can also be touching at times when you least expect it. The creators have crafted a rich deep world with interesting characters, and mysteries. I always want to read more Matt Kindt, and now I want to see more David Rubin, and honestly, I want to see more of them on this book. Sometimes, it is best to leave something when it is good, and not deliver too much of a product, but I think the world of the Ether still has a few stories left to tell.

Story: Matt Kindt Art: David Rubin

Story: 10 Art: 10 Overall: 10 Recommendation: Buy

Dark Horse provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Graphic Policy’s Top Comic Picks this Week!

Wednesdays are new comic book day! Each week hundreds of comics are released, and that can be pretty daunting to go over and choose what to buy. That’s where we come in!

We’re bringing back something we haven’t done for a while, what the team thinks. Our contributors are choosing up to five books each week and why they’re choosing the books.

Find out what folks think below, and what comics you should be looking out for this Wednesday.

Joe

Top Pick: Ether Vol 1 Trade Paperback (Dark Horse) – The very funny and out there story that is part Doctor Strange and part detective whodunit story has collected the first arc. The world in Ether reminds me of Roger Rabbit, while the art style channels a style long forgotten like Steamboat Willie. I highly recommend this, and I think most everyone will find something to enjoy, smile, and laugh at.

Curse Words Vol 1 Trade Paperback (Image) – This book is a collected volume of the hilarious first arc of the adventures of a Wizard named Wizord who was sent to do something terrible, is trying to do something good, but also keeps doing something terrible. He becomes a hipster and realizes he loves our planet. You also have a talking koala sidekick, and so much more.

Peter Parker: Spectacular Spider-Man #2 (Marvel) – This book penned by the jokester writer/artist extraordinaire Chip Zdarsky is a return to the down on his luck Spidey we all knew and loved. It’s a sister book to ASM, and will focus on the comedic side of things, and a more lighthearted jumping on point for old and new readers.

Aquaman #26 (DC Comics) – This has been a great run, but #25 cranked the volume (unintentional water reference) up to 11! The art is some of the best you will find in a comic, and the story is setting up something massively epic.

Batman #27 (DC Comics) – We return to Batman’s past again for the War of Jokes and Riddles. King has crafted an interesting (if somewhat polarizing) run that I’ve enjoyed. I cannot wait to see where this goes, as it’s been a blast so far.

 

Alex

Top Pick: Secret Weapons #2 (Valiant) – A team made up of people with useless powers? Check. A writer who is incredibly talented? Check. An artist whose layouts are beautifully simple yet packed full of details? Check. A genuinely exciting comic? Oh yeah.

Rapture #3 (Valiant) – What do you get when a man who refuses to believe in magic has to travel to a land where magic is incredibly prevalent? You get Ninjak in Rapture, and reading his fish out of water among the other, more comfortable, characters. The story is another example of Valiant delivering a solid miniseries that reads very well as an introduction to their characters and the universe as a whole.

Review: Ether #2

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Boone Dias believes that there’s a scientific explanation for everything—even the impossible murder of the Blaze, protector of the magical realm known as the Ether. But as he gets closer to solving the mystery, he’s realizing just how much he doesn’t understand about the Ether. And the more time he spends in another dimension, the more his life on Earth falls apart.

Writer Matt Kindt manages to make the world of Ether even stranger in the second issue. Thankfully, this issue delves a little more into the make character Boone Dias’ backstory. Based off of what is shown, I imagine there is much more to be revealed. Kindt delivers and reveals just enough to keep me intrigued to find out more in the next issue.

Like the previous issue, the artwork by David Rubin is colorful and psychedelic. Everything artwise works together as this issue introduces us to and showcases another place in the Ether, Cockaigne. That location change is a massive shift from the cityscape seen in the first issue. Rubin ties everything together with a solid small black and white flashback.

A solid issue that mixes magic and science into an exciting world that begs for more.

Story: Matt Kindt Art: David Rubin
Story: 8.5 Art: 9.0 Overall: 8.75 Overall: Recommendation: Buy

Dark Horse Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Review: Ether #4

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Twelve-year-old Hazel loves spending summers at her grandmother’s house. Granny’s magical stories of adventure in the Ether are unlike the stories and fairy tales Hazel finds at the library. And then, one summer, Hazel gets a little too curious and discovers the source of those stories. When she falls through a well into a magical dimension, she learns that there’s a dark side to the Ether that her Granny never told her about.

In Ether #4 the tale of Boone’s wife is finally revealed. The issue manages to connect it in a surprising manner given the cliffhanger style ending of the last issue. Yet, her tale does explain some things and at the same time, writer Matt Kindt leaves some questions unanswered for now.

The art by David Rubin manages to convey a unique view of the Ether through a young child. That view helps contrasts how Boone sees the Ether. It helps reveal a few unseen aspects of a person’s first trip into the Ether.

Four issues in and the series continues to build a magical world that sucks you in more and more.

Story: Matt Kindt Art: David Rubin
Story: 8.5 Art: 9.0 Overall: 8.75 Recommendation: Buy

Dark Horse provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Review: Ether #3

unnamed.jpgI have not been disappointed by an issue of Ether yet, and I doubt that is going to happen, especially when it’s a miniseries. The excellent storytelling by Matt Kindt is complimented by some fantastic art by David Rubin. It is a great thing when creators click like these two do. Matt Kindt is no slouch as an artist, but it is nice to see his writing paired with another artist who gives a very different style and perspective to the story. Ether marries cartoons with the psychedelic and creates something that is beautiful. There is also the hint that there is something dark to this world of faeries, screaming bullets, and magic, The credit belongs to Rubin as much as Kindt for that. It feels like the world of Ether is like a Disney movie that time forgot. It reminds me of Roger Rabbit, and it is a very cool concept for a comic book, especially one steeped in mystery, featuring a lovable and clumsy detective like Boone Dias.

The only complaint I have is that this book will soon be finished. I hope there will be a second season, or an ongoing, because this world is far too cool to leave with just five issues. I want to know more about Glum the talking primate, the technology behind the steampunk mechs, and more about Boone’s past. Heck, after this issue, I would settle for a prequel showing the mess Boone caused in the Faerie kingdom that he and Violet alluded to. What I am saying is, Ether is too good to end, but I will try to focus on the positive. We still get two more issues, and in those I expect things will ramp up, and we will learn more about Boone’s past, Hazel, and what is really happening here.  I want to see the other places on the map, like the Abandoned City of the Lost Souls, or The Enchanted Farmland, or the Monsters Sea. You get the idea, the fantastical world of the Ether is awesome, and I would love to spend more time in it.

unnamedKindt is really proving he can write almost anything at this point. Ether #3 is just more proof that there is a reason his name is attached to books from different publishers, and the list keeps growing. The comedy in Ether is sharp, and the mystery is interesting. The world is so much fun, and while we haven’t gone that far into the lore or species, it feels like there is something very deep there. I would absolutely recommend this book in single issue or trade form when the issues are collected. If you do not want to wait, see if your local comic shop has the first two issues, grab this, and then the final two as they come out. As I have said before, if you like Dr. Strange, or a fun lighthearted book with a charming and sometimes goofy hero, then this is the book for you. It’s about magic and science, but it never takes itself too seriously.

Story: Matt Kindt Art: David Rubin
Story: 9.5 Art: 10 Overall: 9.5 Recommendation: Buy

Dark Horse provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Graphic Policy’s Top Comic Picks this Week!

4-kids-walk-3-6Wednesdays are new comic book day! Each week hundreds of comics are released, and that can be pretty daunting to go over and choose what to buy. That’s where we come in!

We’re bringing back something we haven’t done for a while, what the team thinks. Our contributors are choosing up to five books each week and why they’re choosing the books.

Find out what folks think below, and what comics you should be looking out for this Wednesday.

Joe

Top Pick: 4 Kids Walk Into A Bank #3 (Black Mask Studios) – You know you’re onto something when you wrote two issues and people are begging you for the next issue. Rosenberg has taken 2016 by storm and it shows. After the success of this awesome comic, and Civil War II: Kingpin, he will now be writing ongoing titles at Marvel for Rocket Raccoon, Secret Warriors, and Kingpin. Find this comic, with the first two issues if you can. It is one of the top books of the year, from one of the best writers of the year.

Ether #2 (Dark Horse) – After a fantastic first issue, I cannot wait to continue the adventures of Boone and the crazy world of Ether. Fans of Doctor Strange and even Sherlock Holmes will love this quirky original book.

Batman #13 (DC Comics) – The last issue was controversial, and I loved it. Now that Tom King has let us know what “I Am Suicide” is about, I want to see where he takes us to end this arc. I love what he has been doing with the character. Will he break Bane’s back this time around?Black Hammer #6 (Dark Horse) – It feels like it has been forever since I’ve read this book, but maybe it’s because I want it to come out every week. This comic has such an original and refreshing way to tell super hero stories and turn the tropes on their head.

Black Hammer #6 (Dark Horse) – It feels like it has been forever since I’ve read this book, but maybe it’s because I want it to come out every week. This comic has such an original and refreshing way to tell super hero stories and turn the tropes on their head.

Dept. H #9 (Dark Horse) – Will we get some answers on who’s sabotaging the base? I love this slow burn of a book that builds its slow tension with each issue. So far so good from the Kindt duo. One of the best books of the year!

 

Alex

Top Pick: Divinity III: Stalinverse #1 (Valiant) – When this year started I hadn’t read Divinity. Then I went on vacation and had time to read the first trade, and after scraping my jaw from the floor I realized that Divinity II was just about to drop in stores, which meant I had to scrape my jaw up again. Needless to say, I have my jaw scraper ready as we head into the Stalinverse.

Black Hammer #6 (Dark Horse) – Narrowly missing out on my top spot this week is this underrated gem from Jeff Lemire. There has been a lot of scene setting over the last five issues as Lemire takes his time to really delve into the story of the missing heroes turned civilians. It’s such a fantastic journey that I’m not at all concerned we haven’t really done too much more than set the stage right now. Miss this at your peril.

Bloodshot USA #3 (Valiant) –  While there may be some debate over whether or not this should have been a separate miniseries or a continuation of Bloodshot Reborn, the end result is pretty fantastic. I’m stoked for this issue (or I would be had I not already read it – review spoiler: it’s good).

Harbinger Renegade #2 (Valiant) – After I read the first issue of Harbinger Renegade I went back and read the first Harbinger series. I still haven’t read Imperium yet, but I will. I have the issues and some time off over the holidays, so I’ll be making a dent in the next chapter of the Toyo Harada and Peter Stanchek story. As for this issue? I’ll add it to the pile to reread once I finish Imperium.

Klaus And The Witch Of Winter (BOOM! Studios) – I loved the Klaus miniseries released last year, and somehow I missed the announcement that this was coming out. Needless to say, I’m excited about it.

 

Elana

4 Kids Walk Into a Bank #3 (Black Mask Studios)4 Kids Walk Into A Bank is back! 4 Kids Walk Into A Bank is back! It’s like a Coen Bros movie meets The Goonies but with a female protagonist and more diversity. Which means it’s actually better than The Goonies. Yes I SAID IT. It’s charming and funny and insightful caper comic and I’m going to make everyone read it goddamnit.

 

Shay

Top Pick: Harley Quinn #10 (DC Comics) – It’s Harley! It’s holiday short stories! It’s going to be awesome, dark and deranged! If you’re looking for a gateway comic for your non-comic book friend this holiday season, this might be the one!

Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 11 #2 (Dark Horse) – Buffy and her teams are trying to put San Fricisco back in one piece and that might be harder to do with the start of a magical powered “human” registration act. This season should be interesting because we all know how well registration of people with powers works in the other comic book universes.

Dead Inside #1 ( Dark Horse) – A new comic with a female lead, murder, and corrupt county jails. It’s like all of those murder shows and docs you love in comic book form.

Justice League vs Suicide Squad #1 (DC Comics) – The Justice League has found out about our fave group of bad guys and are out to shut them down. This is going to be the best damn six-episode series ever and I can’t wait to see how it all shakes out. Time to root for the bad guys!!!

The Punisher Vol. 1: On Road TP (Marvel) – Frank hits the road after a bad raid and Condor and Face are waiting to scoop in and take him out . Time to cheer on one of your favorite bad good guys! Let the battle royal begin!

Honorable Mention: Throwaways TP Vol. 1 (Image Comics) – It’s the fist collection of this new comic book. It’s had some bumpy clunky issues but, overall it’s been an interesting reads I think that being able to have all of the early ones in one package might bring it all together.

 

Brett

Top Pick: Divinity III: Stalinverse #1 (Valiant) – The second volume ended with an interesting hint as to what was to come (but we already got the announcement of this series) but who knows how it’d all shake out. The first two volumes of this series have been amazing and this third which has a Russian take on the Valiant universe has me beyond excited.

4 Kids Walk Into a Bank #3 (Black Mask Studios) – The first two issues we damn near perfection and I’ve been waiting for this third one. Hopefully, the wait pays off, but this series is one of the best things to come out this year in comics.

Justice League vs. Suicide Squad #1 (DC Comics) – The exact silly fun I’d expect it to be.

Warhammer 40,000: Will of Iron #3 (Titan Comics) – It’s been a while since I was regularly paying 40K, but this series has got me wanting to dive back in. Fans of the Games Workshop game should absolutely check this out.

Hook Jaw #1 (Titan Comics) – It’s a story about a giant shark… and some scientists… and the CIA… As a fan of Jaws, sign me up.

Around the Tubes

ether-1-1It’s a new comic book day tomorrow! We’ll have our picks in a few hours, but until then, what are you all looking forward to? Sound off in the comments below!

While you decide on that, here’s some comic book news and reviews from around the web in our morning roundup.

Around the Tubes

Kotaku – Former Conan Rep Calls Out Hit Board Game’s Depiction Of Women – Very interesting. A game we looked at while at conventions, but not very closely.

New Brunswick Today – Highland Park Hosts Live Readings of Comic Books by Local Creators – This is pretty cool.

 

Around the Tubes Reviews

Talking Comics – Ether #1

Talking Comics – Slam #1

Talking Comics – Yakuza: Demon Killers #1

Matt Kindt Talks His New Comic Series Ether

ether-1-cvr-bcA science-minded adventurer gets mixed up in the mysteries of a fantasy world in this charming new adventure from an award-winning creative team. Boone Dias is an interdimensional explorer, a scientist from Earth who has stumbled into great responsibility. He’s got an explanation for everything, so of course the Ether’s magical residents turn to him to solve their toughest crimes. But maybe keeping the real and the abstract separate is too big a job for just one man.

Ether is the latest creator-owned comic from writer Matt Kindt who is joined by David Rubin on art.

The first issue is fantastic (the second as well) and I got a chance to ask Kindt some questions about where the idea came from and the difference between working with an artist and doing the art and writing himself.

Graphic Policy: Where did the concept of Ether come from?

Matt Kindt: Well, like most ideas I think it came from a place of boredom and hatred (laughing).

I’ve never been a big fan super natural and magical stories. Ghosts and spirits and that kind of thing never really appealed to me. So creatively, I think I’m a little bit of a masochist. I want to take the harder road. I like setting up rules and obstacles to sort of shake up the way I think and approach stories and characters. It’s pretty easy to fall into a comfort zone creatively after a while. You figure out how to do things in a certain way that is successful and then you end up repeating that because you know it works. That’s where the boredom comes in. So I feel like I’m constantly trying to avoid that with every new project.

I always felt like the magic was too convenient. Ultimately it ends up being a way to cheat the story or it’s so grounded that magic wielding ends up like using a gun or a sword in physical combat…so why bother with magic. But that got me to thinking – if someone made me write a comic about magic, or with magical elements, what the heck would I do? How would I handle it?

ether-1-cvr-bc-variantGP: How did David Rubin come on board the project?

MK: Ether was on my list of projects I wanted to do next. I’ve been drawing a lot of really grounded stuff lately which has been giving me a hankering to draw some crazy stuff. I share a studio with Brian Hurtt and he’s always drawing nutty stuff in The Sixth Gun and it looks like so much fun. Sowhen I was writing Ether, I purposefully seedes a ton of really fun oddball visuals into iit because I was looking forward to drawing all of it. But, as a creator, I have a problem. Creatively, I’m like a starving man at an all-you-can-eat buffet. I want ALL of the food – but the reality is my stomach is only so big. And my time that I can dedicate to projects is limited as well. I can’t draw more than one monthly comic (Dept. H) which is going to keep me occupied for the next couple of years. But I really was excited to get Ether going anyway. And David was available. I am a huge fan of his work. His book “Hero” is just amazing. He’s an artistic genius. And honestly, his availability convinced me to give up the idea of drawing Ether myself – since I knew what he was turning in would be better than anything I could do. The choice was easy.

GP: You’ve done a lot of series where you’ve written it and done the art as well. What’s different in your process when you’re working with an artist as opposed to just on your own?

MK: It’s different every time. Even when I’m drawing it for myself. Each book I’ve worked on is completely different and always driven by the content. I sometimes wish I had it “all figured out” process-wise. And I’m aware that there are formulas for this kind of stuff – but it’s so boring that way. Half the fun of taking on a new project is that adrenalin and terror I feel right before I’ve figure it all out and all the pieces fall into place. It’s the difference between figuring out a puzzle or riddle on your own or just googling the answer and finishing it. If you cheat and look up the answers you don’t get that thrill of discovery – which is honestly the best part of writing and making comics.

When you introduce an artist that’s not yourself into the mix – it makes it that more interesting. Now you’ve got a new personality and talent in the mix. So it become more like a team effort – and playing/writing to the strengths of both of us. I love working with someone as talented as David – so that the scripts I end up writing become more like suggestions rather than dictates.

ether-1-pg-04Since I’d initially planned on drawing the entire thing, I had character sketches and ideas for some of the look of the characters that I sent that to David after asking him if he wanted to see ‘em. I hesitated – I didn’t want to sort of poison his creative well you know? But he was interested so I sent them along with the pitch and outline for the series and he took it on himself to draw over twenty pages worth of set designs and characters and other elements that we could weave into the story. David’s imagination is boundless really. He’s one of those rare artists that writers get to work with, where they just take an idea and run with it – making it visually bigger and crazier than anything you’d been picturing.

GP: The worlds and how they work seem to be pretty thought our. How much have you sketched out and put together about the magical world? Are there rules you’ve created with how things work as an example?

MK: It’s pretty well mapped out. That was a lot of the fun and attraction of creating this series – the world building. Getting to come up with a new world completely from scratch which is something I haven’t gotten to really do before. I’ve re-worked our Earth in MIND MGMT in some fun ways – but it was always based on an existing sort of architecture. With Ether, I got to play creative god in a lot of ways. But it’s not all just arbitrary.

There aren’t necessarily rules for all of Ether – instead – each little pocket and neighborhood in Ether has its own set of rules. Ether is really based on every myth that’s ever been written or imagined. That’s how the entire Ether was created – sprung out of the minds of all humanity from all of history. So this is where all the afterlife’s reside…all of the mythical beasts and creatures – but they’re all sort of relegated to their own neighborhoods. They can meet and mingle – and at the edges, that’s where the friction in the Ether happens. When opposing cultures and ideas sort of butt up against each other. There’s not a lot of “made up” ideas or creatures or characters in the Ether – everything in it is based on myth and folklore and things that we’re all kind of aware of or read about or have seen in fairy tales and that kind of thing.

ether-1-pg-05GP: Something I’ve loved about your work is the amount of small details you put into the comics. Mind MGMT had all of the items in the margins and added so much to the series. The end of the first issue had the creature guide at the end, but do you have ongoing plans for the series?

MK: For sure. You know I love a good plan! That said, each issue sort of dictates what the “extras” are going to be. A lot of times I’d leave the back covers or inside illustrations until last – so I can stand back and see what that particular issue is really about. Then I can go in and use the extra stuff, the back covers, the inside front covers – the little details – to shade the issue – to give the reader a new insight into it or make them feel a little differently about what they’ve just read. Or give them an epiphany when they go back and look at it again. It’s really fun to plant those little mental time-bombs at the beginning or at the end and have them go off after you’ve read the issue. So yeah, we’ll have maps and diagrams and excerpts from books and all kinds of crazy things seeded into each issue. I really want every issue to be a kind of strange art-object/artifact. That’s what keeps the monthly issues vital to me. Making that single issue experience unique.

GP: As a writer, having a magical world where you can literally do anything, how do you keep it focused and not go over the top?

MK: Characters ground the story – which allows me to go over the top on everything else. I think one thing that doesn’t change when I write a story – from project to project is my general overall approach. And maybe that’s the thing, they way that I found my voice as a writer…is this approach…and it’s really just one question I constantly ask myself when I’m writing. “What if this happened…but for real.” It’s a sort of mental exercise that I do after I’ve got the “big idea” or concept for a story. I go back and attack from the POV of it actually happening. These characters become real and I put myself in their shoes. A simple explanation of how this works with my writing would be this: If you play video games, the next time you play a first-person shooter, or a jumping game – or anything where you control a “character” – approach that game as if you have only one life and if you die or miss your jump…it’s going to happen for real. Try it once and see how that makes you feel. It completely transforms the experience. I think a lot of writers end up writing and they’re writing like they have unlimited lives and can just reboot and they’re playing the same game over and over again…and I think that gets boring. It’s the same with that video game – as soon as you go in and approach that game as if you only have one life and it’s “for real” it completely changes your experience. It gives everything seemingly real stakes.

ether-1-pg-06GP: The first issue feels like it turns into a murder mystery. Was there a reason you went with this genre for the story specifically? You’ve also done a few of them, Dept. H is one. What draws you to that genre?

MK: Mysteries are like genres to me. They’re the hook to get you in to the story. The thing that keeps you motivated to turn the pages and it has to be good. It’s what I need as a reader and it’s fun to write, but ultimately, this story isn’t as much about the mystery as it is about the journey of Boone and his sort of growth as a human being that thinks he has an answer for everything being placed into a world that doesn’t necessarily want to be answered or classified or labeled. It’s what makes Sherlock Holmes such an enduring character. It wasn’t the fantastic nature of the mysteries he was solving that made the stories so great. It was the characters – the interplay between Watson and Holmes and his clients that makes the stories enduring.

GP: When creating the world, it feels like almost a Dr. Seuss vibe about it. Are there any influences on the series?

ether-1-pg-07MK: I can’t speak for David – but I completely get a Seuss vibe to it. And at first it really caught me off guard. The pages David was turning it were…they were just sheer FUN. I was writing what I thought was going to be this dour and dark meditation on obsession and loss. Really dark. And then when David’s art started coming in and I saw how his fun sort of cartooning and character design meshed with my words…it honestly shocked me. It’s like hearing a melody and then the harmony starts joining in and makes the song into something different and bigger and more powerful. I’ve never had a collaborative experience catch me off guard like that and surprise me. What Ether turned into is a testament to David’s personality and style.

GP: Any hints as to what we can expect?

MK: I’m not going to spoil it – but Boone has already lost a lot by the time we catch up to him. There’s a terrible twist to the entire story which relates to how the Ether works on its visitors…it’s definitely going to break your heart in a sucker-punchy kind of way. Hopefully (laughs).

But also fun!  – we’re going to see…a wizard giant, a 12-year-old-girl who happens to be the most dangerous  magician/scientist ever — and Boone’s worst nightmare. An army of oxidized copper robots, a city of insane, perverted immortals, and a mythical Manhattan at the center of the earth. And a grumpy, talking, purple ape – which no story is complete without!

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