Tag Archives: euthanauts

Tini Howard is Now Exclusive with Marvel

Announced at the “Women of Marvel” panel at C2E2, Tini Howard has signed an exclusive agreement with Marvel.

Howard is writing the current Age Of Conan: Belit, Queen Of The Black Coast limited series, the Thanos six-issue series beginning in April, and also has a story in June’s Guardians of the Galaxy Annual #1. She will also be writing the new Death’s Head series teaming up with artist Kei Zama.

She made her Marvel debut with September’s Captain America Annual #1. You can hear her talk with us on Graphic Policy Radio.

Howard broke in to comics with 2014’s Magdalena: Seventh Sacrament after winning Top Cow’s talent hunt. She also current writes Glow from IDW, The Forgotten Queen for Valiant, and Euthanauts for IDW’s Black Crown imprint.

Preview: Euthanauts: Ground Control

Euthanauts: Ground Control

Tini Howard (w) • Nick Robles (a & c)

Death is like space: a seemingly unknowable, terrifying blackness, that yields incredible discoveries and truths—if only you’ve got the right kind of rocket ship.

What if suicide isn’t a desire to die, but a desire to be somewhere else?

What if there is a place we can go after death, but we have no way to phone home about it?

What if the Freudian death instinct is not destructive… but discovery?

After a near-death experience, lonely funeral home receptionist Thalia Rosewood is recruited into the Euthanauts, a select group of psychonauts, sick folk, and other intrepid explorers who pass over willingly to determine What Lies Beyond. Tini Howard combines her trademark black humor and grounded, realistic storytelling with an otherworldly and mind-expanding exploration of the one thing we all have in common in this collection of the first five issues. TPB • FC • $19.99 • 136 pages • ISBN: 978-1-68405-404-6

Preview: Euthanauts #5

Euthanauts #5

Tini Howard (w) • Nick Robles (a & c)

Thalia has learned that you don’t get to the afterlife without breaking a few eggs and planting a few seeds. In this issue—people die. Some of them stay quiet about it. When the ego is destroyed, what remains? Find out in the final issue of our first arc, Ground Control.

FC • 32 pages • $3.99

Euthanauts #5

Preview: Euthanauts #4

Euthanauts #4

Tini Howard (w) • Nick Robles (a & c)

No Mercy, No Quarter. With the absence of Dr. Wolfe, the Euthanauts must get their hands on the things that were left behind. Thalia must become a huntress in search of another daughter—Diana.

FC • 32 pages • $3.99

Preview: Euthanauts #3

Euthanauts #3

Tini Howard (w) • Nick Robles (a & c)

There’s nothing worse than someone coming into your life and solving all your problems. The mess of inheritance burdens Thalia with the ghosts of Mercy’s past while Indigo presents the future. Saga meets The Sandman in a series that explores death, dynasties, and psychonautic mindspaces.

FC • 32 pages • $3.99

Preview: Euthanauts #2

Euthanauts #2

Tini Howard (w) • Nick Robles (a & c)

The dead speak. Grant them Mercy. We learn who is alive and who is dead (for now). And who is the boy who burns things so brightly? A look at the very first Euthanaut. Funeral home receptionist Thalia Rosewood’s life has just changed forever in this provocative new series.

FC • 32 pages • $3.99

Review: Euthanauts #1

STL086173.jpegThe day my great-grandmother died was the closest I have felt to an out of body experience. It had been two weeks coming with Louise Risko stubbornly holding onto staying on this plane of existence as she did with most things in life, but I still couldn’t prepare for the sudden chestpunch of knowing she was fully gone. My dorm suddenly felt like a box I couldn’t escape from. I didn’t know who to call or who would even want the full brunt of this sudden wave of grief. When I went to bed that night, it felt like my soul was trying to escape my body. As if it wanted to chase after her.

I hadn’t really felt that feeling again since that day. Not even when my grandfather died two months later. Tinges of it came back listening to ‘Lazarus’ by David Bowie on repeat shortly after he passed and I certainly felt the same anxious buildup the day Prince died and it ended up compounded with Finn Balor losing the NXT championship that I just sort of ended up screaming in my kitchen. Maybe it was less of a “hadn’t” situation, but more that I didn’t want to. Not all the way.

But Euthanauts #1… It’s the only comic that has made me want to revisit that feeling.

Euthanauts #1 is the latest Black Crown book from writer Tini Howard following her hilarious and poignant shoot ‘em up mini-series Assassinistas with Gilbert Hernandez. I wasn’t certain if I should review this book because I do consider Tini a friend and we certainly did talk a lot about this book at MomoCon this year while I helped her with her table. But I couldn’t not know what it was about after spending a weekend hyping it up to people, parroting her spiel about it and hoping that it stuck in people’s minds. Finally reading it though, I think I was underselling it.

The issue follows funeral director Talia Rosewood on possibly the strangest day of her life when she encounters Dr. Mercy Wolfe, a “dead woman walking” out to dinner on her last day alive. Talia admits that death is all she can ever think about and “…in some way, I felt like this woman was calling me out for that.”

Talia would end up right about that, but probably not in the way that she thought.

Most of this issue is getting to know Talia as a protagonist as she gets immediately thrown into the deep end of her adventure and it’s a credit to Tini that I feel like Talia is someone I’ve known for years. Not in the sense that I can see the shreds of Tini in her, but in the sense that she’s someone in my friend’s group I’ve known for years, but haven’t really had a chance to hang out with. Somehow though, we inevitably end up having super deep conversations at parties probably because of that disconnect. And that’s probably the same reason Mercy picks her to be her tether as well.

Nick Robles is on art for this series and I have to say, while I wasn’t familiar with his work before this series, he makes a hell of a first impression. The way Talia exists so casually and so fashionably as a curvy protagonist is amazing in of itself in a way that it shouldn’t be in comics, but as soon as that oxygen canister makes contact with Talia’s head and she starts questioning what was real and what wasn’t, Robles’ art truly comes alive as we get our first look into Death Space. The digital review copies we receive are often just fine for reading and reviewing, but I desperately wanted to rip this one from my screen and somehow dive into it. To experience how that world glows and breathes.

After being away from comics for a while, Euthanauts #1 is one of the most engaging first issues I have read in a while. While the story does throw you into the deep end right away, it gives you the tools you need to begin to breathe and understand what it’s going for. Much like Talia, it stays rooted while beginning to look deeper into itself. While Tini Howard and Nick Robles’ story is ultimately rooted in something that is inevitable and terrifying, the fact it can make me look back at one of the worst days of my life and wonder just what exactly happened when I tried to sleep that night is a book that is definitely worth re-reading.

Story: Tini Howard Art: Nick Robles
Story: 9.5 Art: 10.0 Overall: 9.75 Recommendation: Buy

IDW Publishing provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Preview: Euthanauts #1

Euthanauts #1

Tini Howard (w) • Nick Robles (a & c)

Death is like outer space—a seemingly unknowable, terrifying blackness that yields beautiful discoveries and truths—if only you’ve got the right kind of rocketship. Thalia Rosewood has had a lifelong obsession with death, keeping her from living her life to the fullest. Mercy Wolfe has a brain tumor the size of a billiard ball, and a need for a new recruit before her next journey begins. Inigo Hanover is a reluctant tether to the world beyond, seeking to continue a cycle that exploration would halt. Go toward the light. Then go beyond. EUTHANAUTS.

FC • 32 pages • $3.99

C2E2 2018: Writer Tini Howard Talks Assassinistas, Euthanauts, and More

Tini Howard is one of comics’ most exciting new writers. She has worked on licensed properties like Rick and Morty: Pocket Like You Stole It and a series of Barbie graphic novels and has breathed new life into classic Image characters like Cassie Hack in Hack/Slash Resurrection and Magdalena in Magdalena Reformation. However, the main subject of this interview was Howard’s creator owned work for IDW’s Black Crown imprint where legendary editor Shelly Bond has kept the spirit of 1990s Vertigo alive in 2018.

Graphic Policy: So, you currently have two series at Black Crown. You’re sort of their flagship writer. Why has that imprint been such a good place for your recent projects?

Tini Howard: I’m a big fan of Shelly Bond’s work. I’m a huge fan of her sensibilities and taste. I’m a huge fan of Philip Bond. I was at a place in my career where I wasn’t sure what I was going to do next. Skeptics was my first creator owned work, and it was a gauntlet making that book so I learned a lot about making comics. I was like, “Man, when I do my next creator owned series, I wish someone would call me up on the phone that has experience and say, ‘I want to help you make this book.'”

Shelly Bond was that person. I couldn’t believe it. I couldn’t believe that she found my work independently of me begging her to like it. She reached out to me, and Black Crown is great. They have lot of support from IDW because the company very much trusts in Shelly’s sensibilities. So, I get to work with two of the all time greats in comics [with Bond] and Gilbert Hernandez as well.

One of the Black Crown sayings is that “We have an old guard and a new guard” so with Euthanauts, I’m part of the old guard so I get to bring someone new in with Nick [Robles].

GP: I love the philosophy that they have. Another thing I like about Black Crown is its intersection between music and comics. What have you been listening to while writing Assassinistas and Euthanauts?

TH: The Assassinistas playlist is a lot of grrrl punk. A lot of X-Ray Spex, a lot of The Go-Go’s, all the way up to Paramore and Natalia Kills. It’s angry girl music throughout the ages is the background of Assassinistas along with some little things. Like I’ve got some Pansy Division on there because Taylor’s super into queer punk.

Then, Euthanauts is Bowie, Bjork, Massive Attack. It’s dream pop, it’s weird, and death-y. Some VNV Nation going back to my Wax Trax! Goth kid days. It’s also got some weird meditative music on there, and then I’ve got “Rocket Man” by Elton John on there. That’s a song I connect a lot to Euthanauts. 

GP: When you’re writing Assassinistas, how do you find the balance and pacing between these super stylized action sequences (Especially the flashbacks.) and the tender mom/son, boyfriend/boyfriend kind of scenes?

TH: For me, everyone is multitudes. Even when I’m “on” at a con, I’m still internally feeling the things I have to deal with. As a writer, you’re like “A character is doing one thing”, but no one is ever really just doing one thing. We’re all doing one thing on the outside and feeling other things on the inside. For me, it’s remembering these people have experienced pain and are trying their best to connect while also doing really stressful things.

As anyone who’s ever done a comic convention, anyone who’s ever planned a wedding, anyone’s who done a move, stress heightens all your familial tensions. Moving is one of the most stressful things for a family. I think they only say that because most families aren’t assassins. Maybe doing an assassin job is one of the most stressful things. It’s also interesting because despite these women being contract killers, what they’re there to do isn’t murder. It’s not a bloody book full of people dying. That’s their past. This is their future.

GP: My personal favorite part of Assassinistas is this budding romance between Dominic and Taylor.  What do you have in store for them going into the second half of the miniseries?

TH: The thing I love about Dominic and Taylor is that Taylor, in a lot of ways, is like the audience character because Taylor was not raised in this world. He’s kind of curiously looking at it the same way that we as the audience are. So, Taylor’s really important to me. He’s got the heart of someone who was raised in a supportive, normal environment, and that’s part of why Dominic loves him. It’s like “Look at you. Look at how normal we can be.”

Dominic craves normalcy, and to a lot of people, dating a boy with a pink mohawk is not normal, but it is his normal. It’s who he is. He loves this kid, and when Dominic looks at Taylor, he sees a white picket fence and them having 2.5 kids together. He gets a business degree, and Taylor has his awesome gender studies degree. He gets a job teaching and is a professor like his parents. When Dominic sees Taylor, he sees normalcy and sees something that’s not like his life.

Having a person that is the normal oasis from crazy family life being brought into his crazy family life, and having that person think it’s really cool is a nightmare for Dominic.

GP: The fights in Assassinistas are really, I guess, funky is the best way to describe them. What is your process like plotting out the fights with Gilbert Hernandez?

TH: The Hernandez Bros can draw anything because they’re great, but they’re not exactly known for these superhero style action scenes. Frankly, I don’t love writing long fight scenes without a purpose. I’m not the person who gets off on writing 18 pages of gory punches. For me, a fight is a reason to do something else. It’s a way to get a character somewhere. It’s a way to start a conversation. I love the way that Beto and Rob Davis on colors are doing the art for these pages. They almost remind me of old Batman ’66 fights. Bam, pow, yeah! We’re there for the kinetic moment, and what it draws.

Beto really understands it. Neither of us are people that love violence and want to make a hyperviolent book. Beto is in Vegas. That’s a place that has seen a lot of trauma. We’ve had moments where we’ve talked about it before. We have these people walking around with automatic weapons and have had that talk. Neither of us are fans of violence for violence’s sake. That’s a big touchpoint.

GP: Moving on to Euthanauts, which I’m really excited for. So, I grew up a Protestant with Heaven, Hell, the afterlife being a big part of my upbringing. What is your vision of the afterlife in Euthanauts, and how does that connect to your own beliefs about death and the afterlife?

TH: I’ve always been scared of space. I’ve also always been scared of death. I think it’s for the same reason. There’s nothing out there. It’s formless and unfriendly. I grew up watching the same VHS copy of Apollo 13 a thousand times, and it terrified me every time because you have duct tape and Saran wrap, you’re in space, and you have to get home.

So, I kind of started of contextualizing it and asking, “What if there’s an afterlife, and it’s not heaven, it’s not hell, it’s not even populated.” When most of us die, we just die. You die, and your spirit goes to that unwelcoming cold place and just fizzes out. Back before we knew what happened to you in space, we used to think people would explode in space or something. We didn’t know what happened to you out there.

That’s what I’m working with in Euthanauts. That’s a frontier. These people are pioneers. But death only goes one way for most of us. It gets into that Egyptian, or in some ways that Christian idea, of living life for the afterlife. Living your whole life just to prepare for the afterlife. For a Euthanaut, that’s what it takes. It takes a massive amount of preparation.

The three main characters we have all view the afterlife in different ways. [There’s] Natalia, our main character, who works in a funeral home. The way I describe her, if you’re a Six Feet Under fan, is she’s a Fisher. She’s very normal. She doesn’t talk about her feelings. She works at a funeral home. She’s a recovering Goth girl. She’s got a lot of anxiety about death and the afterlife, but she buries it deep down and has a very American view of the funeral. When death happens, we shunt it out of our vision and look at someone who’s made up and put them in a box in the ground.

Then, we have Mercy, who is kind of her foil and the lead Euthanaut. Mercy is very scientific. It’s true that in the beginning of the 20th century, you can look at college grants to study the afterlife. Because to this day, we don’t have understanding of if something is there. Mercy is a researcher of that. She’s very much [into] the 21 grams of the soul, moment of death, and trying to understand consciousness and maintain that consciousness into the beyond. That’s really what the core is about.

Then, we have Indi, or Indigo Hanover, who is Nick’s favorite, and was supposed to be a tertiary character, but then became our third protagonist because we loved him so much. Indi is a radical fairy. He was raised by two lesbian witches. He grew up in that whole world. The book opens on him preparing his mother for her funeral, which is a beautiful, joyous event. He believes in reincarnation and the cycle of life and death. Indi doesn’t like the idea of going somewhere else and breaking that cycle. To him, that’s a little upsetting. He kind of gets conscripted into the Euthanauts.

GP: How did you end up working with Nick Robles on Euthanauts, and how does his vision of the afterlife mesh with yours?

TH: Nick is an artist that everyone in comics has their eyes on right now. He did Alien Bounty Hunter at Vault and is so talented. His first Black Crown work was that he drew a piece of Kid Lobotomy fan art, and Tess Fowler saw it was good that she gave up a cover so he could do a cover. (They already had a variant cover.) So, Nick’s fan art of the titular character from Kid Lobotomy became the cover for issue 6. From that, he was just on our radar hardcore. Shelly suggested him, and I said, “Absolutely”. I’m just a big fan of Nick’s work.

Nick loves pretty boys and loves drawing them. A lot of reason for Indi as a character is because of Nick’s instant affection for him. Nick draws him so beautifully and all the characters so beautifully, which is great too because we have some characters, like Mercy, who are not conventionally beautiful. Mercy is sick. Her appearance is that sh’es clearly dying in public. We first see her because she looks so unnerving and scary. But everything is beautifully rendered for Nick even the scary stuff.

GP: Yeah, I saw the first preview, and there were all these blood and guts and viscera going around.

TH: He’s very talented with that. He’s coloring the first issue too. Every time I post art, everyone is like, “Who is the colorist?” And I’m like, “It’s Nick.” He’s a legend in the making.

GP: I actually have a quick Rick and Morty question. How does the fandom missing the whole point of the show with the whole Szechuan sauce debacle affect your writing and working on it as a licensed property?

TH: I was very lucky to engage with the show before I was aware of the fandom at all. I have a really personal connection with the show. It touched me in a lot of ways. I grew up reading hard sci-fi so a lot of tropes they use are ones I’ve thought about. Humor aside, Rick and Morty is some of the best sci-fi around because it takes those tropes and makes them personal. That was good sci-fi does.

Rick and Morty does that while at the same time being gut bustingly hilarious. I always try and engage and touch what I like about the show rather than trying to please any part of the fanbase. I’ve been really pleased with how people respond.

GP: I have one last question, and it has to do with death. What does the Tarot card, Death, mean to you?

TH: That is such a good question, but I can’t really tell you why yet… Death is about change, death is a transference of energy. That is something I say in Euthanauts again and again. Death is not just a transference energy, it’s a state change. So, to the Euthanauts, death is the equivalent of boiling water and making steam. The only difference is that they haven’t figured out how to put the steam back in the water.

With death, it’s one way. And the whole thing about the Euthanauts is let’s say you die, and there’s something you want to write home about, how do you write home from the afterlife. And that’s where our tethers, Natalia, Mercy, and Indi, come up, and that’s their importance in the story.

 

Assassinistas #4 is currently out, and you can buy it here. Rick and Morty: Pocket Like You Stole It is available here. Euthanauts #1 is set to be released in July 2018

Follow Tini Howard on Twitter.

 

Black Crown Announces Two New Series Euthanauts and House Amok

The Ruling Class of creator-driven titles continues its reign this summer as Shelly Bond’s band of miscreants continues to grow in numbers and talent. The Editor of Black Crown has set her sights on the imprint’s next two series and they are as original as the first wave of titles currently out in the wild.

Writer Tini Howard is taking no prisoners with her current run on Assassinistas (with artist Gilbert Hernandez) and will be diving into the great beyond with Euthanauts, her second Black Crown title. She’ll be joined by artist Nick Robles to answer the ultimate question: What happens to us after we die?

Two women aim to find out in this series which combines classically intrepid explorers with our anxieties about death and the beyond — with psychonautic mindspaces to match. The first arc will kick off this July.

As if that weren’t enough to entice you, Black Crown dares invites you to enter House Amok. From the creative powerhouse team of Christopher Sebela and Shawn McManus, this 5-issue miniseries is equal parts bloody reality, dark conspiracy, and magical fantasy. Delve into a character-driven study of a damaged nuclear family as we follow twin sisters in a claustrophobic, high-speed American road trip from Portland to the east coast.