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Preview: Quantum and Woody! (2017) Vol. 2: Separation Anxiety

QUANTUM AND WOODY! (2017) VOL. 2: SEPARATION ANXIETY

Written by ELIOT RAHAL
Art by JOE EISMA, FRANCIS PORTELA
Cover by ARIEL OLIVETTI
On sale May 8th, 2019
$19.99 | 192 pgs. | T+ | Full Color | TRADE PAPERBACK | ISBN: 978-1-68215-295-9

The world’s worst superhero team has to save the planet. No pressure, right?

Plus, the world’s worst due attempts to join the world’s most powerful superhero group, Unity. Good luck with that, guys.

Enjoy the wild ride in a story that Comicbook.com calls “One of the best comics on the stands.” Collects QUANTUM AND WOODY #6-12.

QUANTUM AND WOODY! (2017) VOL. 2: SEPARATION ANXIETY

C2E2 2019: Interview with Daniel Kibblesmith

Daniel Kibblesmith is a true dual threat, who has written for The Late Show with Stephen Colbert and The Onion News Network as well as comics like Marvel’s Lockjaw and Valiant’s Quantum and Woody. He also has a hilarious Twitter account. At C2E2, I had the opportunity to chat with him about the connections between comics and comedy, his work on Black Panther vs. Deadpool, and his upcoming picture book, Princess Dinosaur.


Graphic Policy: Is it harder to be funnier in comics or prose, and why?

Daniel Kibblesmith: I think it’s harder to be funny in comics because everything has to serve the story and the characters, and in most mainstream cases, the action. So, when you’re funny in comics, I think it has to either have information in it that moves the story forward, or it has to be an icing on the cake. If you’re writing capital “C” comedy, then the comedy is the end that you’re trying to get to.

In narrative stories, it’s one of the tools in the toolbox. I think with superheroes it works really well. It’s one of the reasons the Marvel movies are so popular. They do a great job using humor to explain things and to break tension and to make exposition a little more interesting. So, it’s always a bigger, more diverse project when I have to write something that’s a story instead of writing a humor column, or in the case of Twitter, a million bad jokes.

GP: Do you find parallels between writing for a famous comedian like Stephen Colbert and writing stories in a big, shared universe like Marvel or Valiant?

DK: I think that, at the end of the day, you’re a collaborator with a person or a brand that people have an emotional relationship with so the audience is expecting a certain thing from that person or those characters. You want to make sure that you know their voice inside and out, and that you can deliver what the job requires. In a weird way, I think it can be similar at times. But the subject matter is so different so who can really say?

GP: Let’s talk Black Panther vs. Deadpool. I know Deadpool has these team-up books that pop up every now and then. Was there already a “Versus” story set up, or did you pitch it?

DK: My editors, Wil Moss and Sarah Brunstad, brought the project to me. We had just finished Loki and had a really good time. They were looking for another project to put me on, and in 2018, given how many “Deadpool Vs” titles there were, it seemed weird there wasn’t a Black Panther one. So, it seemed like a project we could get everyone to buy into very quickly from both a behind the scenes and audience perspective.

It was really easy to get excited about this. It was always going to be Black Panther vs. Deadpool. I think the other big decision we made was giving Black Panther top billing because, one, we could make jokes about it, and Deadpool always gets top billing in these. Which I guess we made jokes about it. I think Hawkeye got top billing in one of these though.

GP: That was my favorite “Versus” series.

DK: I really liked the Hawkeye one. I really liked the Gambit one. I read all of them coming into this. For “research”. Because it was Saturday. I had a blast reading all of them, and everyone’s take on Deadpool is slightly different. I loved seeing all the interpretations. I think people think he can be very one note, but if you look into all the different writers, there’s a lot of variation there.

GP: One thing that I found interesting about Black Panther vs. Deadpool was that you decided to focus on T’challa more as a scientist than a superhero. Why did you decide to do that?

DK: It wasn’t really a decision. To me, that’s the character. I grew up reading Silver Age comics from my dad’s collection, and T’challa’s first appearance is when he sends a fake out siginal to the Fantastic Four, hands them their asses with his traps, and he defeats them as a scientist and as a king. I love Black Panther as a superhero. But I think that the Black Panther superhero adventures I really like are when he’s doing stuff in Wakanda that’s either pertaining to being a king or a deposed king, or he’s in Manhattan. Then, he’s much more of a conventional superhero.

But, to me [the scientist] is Black Panther. He’s as much Reed Richards as he is a Daredevil type.

GP: So, Black Panther vs. Deadpool was actually a serious story about curing death. How do you balance the fourth wall breaking jokes with the heavy stuff like death, mortality, and legacy?

DK: People have asked me that a lot, but if you read the [Jonathan] Hickman stuff that I’m a big fan of, Black Panther is King of the Dead. And Deadpool has “dead” in his name. These are two characters who are obsessed with mortality and legacy and indestructibility. Deadpool literally, and Black Panther needing the project the image of being more than a person.

I think all good comedy has an emotional core where the stakes are very real. Whether that’s as dark or sad as I took it or just something human you can relate to. But [both Deadpool and Black Panther] needed to be coming from a real emotional place. And it’s a “versus” title where they’re both protagonists so they both had to 100% know they were in the right even if Deadpool’s version of “in the right” comes with a healthy layer of denial.

GP: Deadpool has been written so many ways. Some write him as a kind of hero, and some as completely amoral. Do you think that he can ever be consistently written as a hero and change, or is he completely set in his ways?

DK: So, my book is about two men. One who is resistant to change. One is desperately pursuing it and is terrible at it. You can guess who’s who. My point of view is that the whole underlying philosophy of superhero comics is that they’re all on a very slow path to change. It might take 75 years.

Because the whole point of serialized storytelling and making sure you stay true to the characters, hitting the beats fans want, and doing it cyclically is that there all protagonists in a story on a journey. They’re looking to change. Or solve some unsolvable problem. Or repair the damage from their childhood.

I definitely believe that Deadpool could be a full-on hero, but it’ll take a minute because of the things people like about him is that he’s relatably flawed. I don’t think Deadpool will ever be Black Panther, but I think he might be a better Deadpool.

GP: I had a lot of fun reading the interplay between Black Panther and Deadpool in this comic. What do you like most about writing “mismatched” heroes?

DK: I realized that I had just finished doing Quantum and Woody. I just realized I had done another odd couple story where one of them was really straight laced and by the book while the other was this criminal wild card. It didn’t even occur to me until I was deep into the Black Panther vs. Deadpool scripts.

I think what’s fun about these characters in particular is that we all know them so well. When you pick up Black Panther vs. Deadpool, you know what it’s like for them to be in a room together. So, as their writer, I got to put them in the room together, and let would naturally happen happen and allow the conversation that I assume would happen to unfold.

I liked getting to bounce them off each other, and getting to test their limits a little bit like getting T’challa to bend a little bit and crack a joke here and there. He’s kind of softened to Deadpool a little bit. Then, the same with Deadpool to express some real melancholy and uncertainty and let his vulnerability show.

GP: I was definitely getting some Gerry Duggan vibes from the way you wrote him.

DK: I’m a huge fan of all of Duggan’s Deadpool. I read so much of it even before I got this gig. What I wanted to is synthesize what I liked by other writers. That’s the fun of writing characters that came before you.

GP: That are icons.

DK: The fun of writing icons is that you get to come in and be like “
I know what Black Panther would do if he had this problem because he’s the Black Panther.

GP: I had one last question about your upcoming picture book, Princess Dinosaur. What are some of the challenges of doing a picture book versus a story for adults or even an all ages comic?

DK: I would say in some ways that a picture book is easier because it’s not necessarily sequential storytelling. There’s less directing. But the artist of our two picture books, Princess Dinosaur and Santa’s Husband, is my friend Ashley Quach, who is just a master illustrator. She does this incredible cartooning in watercolor, and she has done a lot of comics. I think that she and I speak the same language about what we’re going for, and how we’re able to tell jokes with body language and facial expression.

The biggest difference is probably the audience. Princess Dinosaur is aimed at toddlers. So, you want everything to be boiled down to its simplest, most archetypal ideas. But, in a weird way, that’s not that different from comics with these big characters that embody their themes. People who are representative of who their characters are on the inside.

In some ways, it’s really similar because you’re writing these iconic character whether they’re capital “I” iconic because they’re created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby, or they’re instantly recognizable, self-contained archetypes.

Follow Daniel Kibblesmith on Twitter.

Review: Quantum And Woody #12

QW2017_012_COVER-B-(EXTREME-ULTRA-FOIL)_SHAWThe major leagues are calling!

Now that Eric and Woody Henderson know they have what it takes to save the day, they finally have a shot at going pro – and they’re in luck, because UNITY might just be making a comeback! But the brothers aren’t ready for primetime just yet…they still have to audition for their spots, under the watchful eyes of G.A.T.E. and X-O Manowar!

Look, I won’t try to deny I am genuinely saddened that this is the final issue of Eliot Rahal‘s run on Quantum And Woody, let alone that it’s also the final issue of the current series for the two Henderson brothers. But I’m at least happy to see the series go out on a high note. A very high note. High enough to shatter the glass in your hand, if you want to take the analogy a little farther.

Francis Portella‘s art is coloured by Andrew Dalhouse, and captures Rahal’s swan song story with ease. With the story focusing on the brothers’ heavily encouraged audition for Unity, Valiant’s premier superhuman team, the story focuses on X-O Manowar putting Quantum and Woody through their paces in an amazingly understated work of art. Portella’s work here is super clean and easy to read, his judicious use of blank space an effective way of highlighting the emotional turmoil and internal conflict of certain characters within the comic. The grid work and panel layout are as simplistic and exciting as you would hope – often in the same dynamically constructed page. There are splash pages, traditional grids and enough eye catching imagery to give the reader a spectacular experience.

Yes, it’s the final issue, but I’m still trying to be vague so as to avoid spoilers for those wanting to go into the comic blind.

Somehow, with the last issue of the series, Eliot Rahal has demonstrated his amazing knack for getting into a character’s head and using that understanding to deliver some of the best comics you’ll read. He’s done it for Valiant before with the Archer and Armstrong Divinity III tie in, and once again with the finale of Quantum And Woody. Rahal questions what it is to be a hero, and the various shapes of heroism present in a costumed adventurers daily life – do you need to be constantly saving the world to earn your hero badge, or do you need to save somebody’s world? That Rahal is able to question the nature of superheroism whilst giving us a compelling single issue story is perhaps the highlight of the entire twelve issue run. It also has the benefit of being a brilliant introduction to the characters within the comic, which leaves me in a fairly unique position. It doesn’t matter that this is the final issue in the series, because it is such a fine example of comic book creativity it demands to be read by any and all with an interest in the medium.

When it comes to Quantum and Woody Valiant certainly saved the best for the last, and it’s a shame to see the series end on such a brilliant story. All I wanted after finishing this issue was to count down the days to the next issue – but that, ultimately isn’t going to happen. Like I said, it’s a shame.

Story: Eliot Rahal Art: Francis Portella
Colours: Andrew Dalhouse Letters: Dave Sharpe
Story: 9.1 Art: 8.8 Overall: 9.0 Recommendation: Buy

Valiant provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Preview: Quantum and Woody! (2017) #12

QUANTUM AND WOODY! (2017) #12

Written by ELIOT RAHAL
Art by FRANCIS PORTELA
Colors by ANDREW DALHOUSE
Letters by DAVE SHARPE
Cover A by AJ JOTHIKUMAR
Cover B (Extreme Ultra-Foil) by GEOFF SHAW
Variant Cover by JIM MAHFOOD
Pre-Order Edition by MATT HORAK

The major leagues are calling!

Now that Eric and Woody Henderson know they have what it takes to save the day, they finally have a shot at going pro – and they’re in luck, because UNITY might just be making a comeback! But the brothers aren’t ready for primetime just yet…they still have to audition for their spots, under the watchful eyes of G.A.T.E. and X-O Manowar!

Start stretching now, ‘cuz you don’t want to pull a muscle when rising star writer Eliot Rahal (The Paybacks) and fan-favorite artist Francis Portela (FAITH) begin tryouts for the biggest and best superhero team around in this sensational one-shot finale!

$3.99 | 32 pgs. | T+ | On Sale NOVEMBER 21nd

Review: Quantum & Woody #11

QW2017_011_COVER-B-(EXTREME-ULTRA-FOIL)_SHAWQuantum and Woody are having a pretty terrible day so far – their atoms were dissolved in the middle of a nationwide disaster; they faced down their personal demons in “The Otherverse;” and now they’re responsible for bringing a malicious entity back with them! These guys can’t even finish a jigsaw puzzle without losing a whole bunch of pieces – how are they gonna put all of reality back together?

The basic set up for this issue is that Quantum and Woody have to save the world because the real heroes are unavailable. Eliot Rahal doesn’t hide the fact that neither Henderson brother is particularly sought after in the hero circles. His conveyance of this message is both overt and subtle. The obvious is done through the dialogue surrounding the brothers, from Colonel Jamie Capshaw and other G.A.T.E. officers, where as the subtle is in the wonderfully lettered interludes curtesy of Dave Sharpe and through Joe Eisma‘s art. The brothers never really feel like they’re going to be enough to tackle the threat, and yet we still root for them. It’s within this underdog tone that Rahal has created one of the most compelling runs in a comic series I’ve read in a long time.

Quantum & Woody #11 is one of those comics that you can, sort of, just pick up and enjoy with minimal confusion (the recap page that Valiant open the story with will more than help you here), but if you’ve been reading the book since Rahal took over then it’s an issue that rewards you with some brilliant moments in comics. It may sound like hyperbole, but this issue had me grinning from ear to ear as the brothers found a determination that I’ve seldom seen from both of them (granted my Quantum and Woody knowledge isn’t the best). There were also other emotions felt, but the less said about that the better (because spoilers, not because I want to hide that I have emotions).

What we’re given with this comic is an issue that pokes fun at itself and the title characters whilst simultaneously providing an excellent example of the type of super hero comics that will hit you right in the warm spot. That spot that triggers a really satisfied and complete feeling from you when you read or listen or watch something that moves you. Because this comic did that for me.

Ultimately with only one issue left in the series (and that issue being a one-shot story), Rahal is on pace to end his tenure with the Henderson’s on a high note. A very high note.

Story: Eliot Rahal Artist: Joe Eisma
Colours: Andrew Dalhouse Letters: Dave Sharpe
Story: 9.2 Art: 9.0 Overall: 9.1 Recommendation: Buy

Valiant provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review.

Preview: Quantum and Woody! (2017) #11

QUANTUM AND WOODY! (2017) #11

Written by ELIOT RAHAL
Art by JOE EISMA
Colors by ANDREW DALHOUSE
Letters by DAVE SHARPE
Cover A by KYLE SMART
Cover B (Extreme Ultra-Foil) by GEOFF SHAW
Interlocking Variant by JOE EISMA
Pre-Order Edition by RYAN LEE
$3.99 | 32 pgs. | T+ | On Sale OCTOBER 17th

Situation Normal All Klanged Up!

Quantum and Woody are having a pretty terrible day so far – their atoms were dissolved in the middle of a nationwide disaster; they faced down their personal demons in “The Otherverse;” and now they’re responsible for bringing a malicious entity back with them! These guys can’t even finish a jigsaw puzzle without losing a whole bunch of pieces – how are they gonna put all of reality back together?

Rising star Eliot Rahal (The Paybacks) and Eisner-nominated artist Joe Eisma (Morning Glories) give the world’s worst superhero team some much-needed closure as SEPARATION ANXIETY draws the two brothers closer than ever before!

Preview: Quantum and Woody! (2017) #10

QUANTUM AND WOODY! (2017) #10

Written by ELIOT RAHAL
Art by JOE EISMA
Colors by ANDREW DALHOUSE
Letters by DAVE SHARPE
Cover A by KYLE SMART
Cover B (Extreme Ultra-Foil) by GEOFF SHAW
Interlocking Variant by JOE EISMA
Pre-Order Edition by PAULINA GANUCHEAU
$3.99 | 32 pgs. | T+ | On Sale SEPTEMBER 19th

When most people go on a journey, they bring back a souvenir…but most people usually stick to t-shirts and keychains, not unearthly creatures like the ones Quantum and Woody brought back from the “Otherverse”! Now, a giant monster is wreaking havoc on Washington D.C., and another anomaly – known only as “The Screaming Man” – is slowly getting acquainted with our reality. Is the world’s worst superhero team going to do anything about it? Hopefully, or this would be a really weird comic!

Red-hot writer Eliot Rahal (The Paybacks) and Eisner-nominated artist Joe Eisma (Archie) attach themselves to the underdogs of the Valiant Universe as “SEPARATION ANXIETY” reaches new heights!

Review: Quantum & Woody #9

QW2017_009_COVER-A_FOWLERFor Eric and Woody Henderson – adopted brothers, partners, and the erstwhile superhero twosome known as Quantum and Woody – the world has just turned upside down! Usually, they can’t stand to be near one another… Now, they literally can’t be – or their powers go on the fritz! That definitely makes being a “duo” difficult, especially when a perilous new threat is teaching you just how bad you are at superhero-ing solo!

Look, I’m going to dispense with the usual review blabber, and just straight up tell you that this is a book that you’re going to enjoy. There’s something here for everybody, of any kind of superhero persuasion, and it’s all done with a remarkable smoothness and accessibility. You like the overly complicated alternate dimension stuff? Great, Quantum and Woody have just returned from an alternate dimension they went too after they died, along with Quantum’s wife and a mysterious Other, and now the brothers Henderson  have two sets of conflicting memories that they are dealing with in totally different ways – one of which, oddly, is kind of sensible. You like the street level stuff with a hero trying to save something important to him? Check. You’d rather a city ending threat? Check. You’d rather see two heroes going about their daily business? Check.

Emotional drama? Yup. Comedy? Of course.

There are a lot of reasons why this book should feel like a disjointed mess, but only one why it doesn’t: Eliot Rahal. The writer dangles numerous different threads and plot devices in front of you without ever seeming like he has lost control or that they’ve been forced into the story. Quantum & Woody #9 feels like a love letter to whatever your favourite part of the superhero genre it represents with a story that is surprisingly deep with its underlying core questions: how do superheroes deal with the reality altering trauma? Why are they any more prepared to ace something like this than your average Joe?

Speaking of Joe’s, Joe Eisma has a style and pinach about him this issue that couldn’t be more in sync with the story had it been written and drawn by the same person.

Quantum & Woody was  a good series in the hands of its first creative team, but with Rahal spearheading the direction now, the series is dangerously close to becoming one of my favourite Valiant series.

Story: Eliot Rahal Art: Joe Eisma Letters: Dave Sharpe
Story: 9.3 Art: 8.8 Overall: 9.0 Recommendation: Buy

Valiant provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Preview: Quantum and Woody! (2017) #9

QUANTUM AND WOODY! (2017) #9

Written by ELIOT RAHAL
Art by JOE EISMA
Colors by ANDREW DALHOUSE
Letters by DAVE SHARPE
Cover A by TOM FOWLER
Cover B (Extreme Ultra-Foil) by GEOFF SHAW
Interlocking Variant by JOE EISMA
Q&W Icon Variant by SEAN CHEN
$3.99 | 32 pgs. | T+ | On Sale AUGUST 22nd

Breaking up is hard to do!

For Eric and Woody Henderson – adopted brothers, partners, and the erstwhile superhero twosome known as Quantum and Woody – the world has just turned upside down! Usually, they can’t stand to be near one another… Now, they literally can’t be – or their powers go on the fritz! That definitely makes being a “duo” difficult, especially when a perilous new threat is teaching you just how bad you are at superhero-ing solo!

Acclaimed writer Eliot Rahal (The Paybacks) and Eisner Award nominee Joe Eisma (Archie) divide the world’s worst superhero team in two as “SEPARATION ANXIETY” continues!

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!

Each week our contributors are choosing up to five books and why they’re choosing the books. In other words, this is what we’re looking forward to and think you should be taking a look!

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

Alex

Top Pick: Ninja-K #9 (Valiant) – Why? Because my favorite Valiant character might come back to life here, and I can’t wait to see Gilad Anni-Padda again!

Quantum and Woody #8 (Valiant) – Eliot Rahal has been flawless since taking over from Daniel Kibblesmith on writing duties, and now that he’s added a new Klang-less dynamic to the duo… I’m looking forward to seeing where he takes them.

Immortal Hulk #3 (Marvel) – I don’t remember the last time the Hulk was this genuinely scary – or this good. If you’re not reading this, you’re missing out.

 

Brett

Top Pick: Transformers: Optimus Prime #21 (IDW Publishing) – This is more a curiosity of how this will end. We have a big event that has started taking place after this series wraps up. I want to know how we get from A to B badly!

Aphrodite V #1 (Top Cow/Image Comics) – The imprint has been relaunching their big characters and I’m intrigued to see what they do with this classic of theirs. There’s a lot of potential to update things to modern socio/political times and say a lot.

Batman #51 (DC Comics) – This is on the list for the same reason you stop to see a car wreck. Catwoman left the Bat, I want to see what’s next.

Fence #8 (BOOM! Studios) – This series about fencing has been absolutely amazing with every single issue. Beyond fantastic.

Life of Captain Marvel #1 (Marvel) – A new direction and spin on the storytelling… I’m in.

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