If that “Rumble” in the distance sounds strange, it’s because John Arcudi and James Harren are behind it.
The creative team, which has impressed with a sly, bloody blend of horror, humor and action in Hellboy-related titles at Dark Horse, is launching its first creator-owned series at Image Comics in December – one that writer Arcudi says is set in a “fantastic and grotesque world” full of “big fighting behemoths, or living berserker scarecrows, or borderline psychotic skinheads” — and humans too.
What to make of it?
Image bills the series as “a scarecrow-Conan fighting in a Louis C.K. TV show directed by David Fincher.”
Asked to explain that never-before-uttered chain of concepts, Arcudi told Hero Complex in an email interview that he and Harren want “to keep the mix of humor and terror and action as natural as possible, hence the ‘Louie’ comparison…. Of course the difference is, there will be some monsters and big fights, and creepy stuff — hence the Fincher comparison.”
It started with a concept from Arcudi, who in conversations with Harren found that the artist’s suggestions brought the story’s world to more vivid life.
Harren, whose art makes fantastical, grotesque creatures look right at home in the world while still being, well, fantastical and grotesque, says doing a wholly original book offers the chance to “to fully express my weird.”
Readers shouldn’t expect the book’s look to mimic the duo’s issues of “B.P.R.D.: Hell on Earth” and “Abe Sapien: The Devil Does Not Jest” and “B.P.R.D.: Hell on Earth: The Long Death” miniseries (all set in the world Mike Mignola created in “Hellboy”), where the duo discovered it had similar storytelling sensibilities.
Harren plans for a different visual atmosphere, albeit not out of displeasure with those past works.
“There’s a jauntiness, or dare I say, humor I’ve wanted to include in my work that I don’t always get the opportunity for in ‘B.P.R.D.,’” he says.
As for that scarecrow character in the teaser image, the team isn’t revealing the name yet, but Arcudi describes him as someone who was really somebody in another life but is now on the margins, “just an angry scarecrow with a chip on his shoulder. And a sword on his other shoulder.”
The existence the character inhabits involves an economically struggling city that, like him, “had a former glory, a mythology,” Arcudi says. And there are two parallel worlds that “sort of collide in our scarecrow character and about half of the rest of the cast.” The first five issues will reveal that even more is at work.
Arcudi had been playing with some concepts for a while, but “Rumble” coalesced in conversations with Harren.
So, other than creating real comedy, horror and drama in a fantastical place, what else do the creators want “Rumble” to do?
Well, be fun, Harren says, but also, “at its loftiest, demonstrate how diverse and fascinating this medium can be.”
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