Saturday, February 27, 2010

Killing Mario Acevedo's Cobra

In May, we’re launching a new miniseries called KILLING THE COBRA: CHINATOWN TROLLOP. It’s written by novelist Mario Acevedo, who is bringing his vampire P.I. character, Felix Gomez, to comics with this series. Gomez has been the star of five novels by Acevedo: THE NYMPHOS OF ROCKY FLATS, THE UNDEAD KAMA SUTRA, X-RATED BLOODSUCKERS, JAILBAIT ZOMBIE, and WEREWOLF SMACKDOWN (in stores next Tuesday, March 9, and reviewed by Publishers Weekly here).

Felix Gomez is, as mentioned, a private eye, as well as an ex-soldier who became a vampire while fighting in Iraq. In our series, KILLING THE COBRA, scripted by Acevedo himself and illustrated by Alberto Dose (with Dose and Pinturero on covers), the story spins directly out of THE NYMPHOS OF ROCKY FLATS (which Barnes & Noble selected as one of the best fantasy novels of the past decade). In the series, Gomez takes on the ruthless heroin merchants, the Han Cobras, and has to bring his new vampiric powers to bear to protect his lover (the titular “Chinatown Trollop”) and himself from these vicious gangsters.

Most of that information will be available in the solicits, though. I thought that I’d do something different than just give show a few pieces of art here. Since this is Mario’s first comic-writing effort, and likely many peoples’ first exposure to Felix Gomez, I’d ask Mario a few questions that tell you a bit more about he and characters and give you a good look at the series.

1. Felix Gomez, the star of Killing the Cobra, will soon appear in his fifth novel, but for comic fans unfamiliar with the character, can you tell them a little about what makes him special?

Felix is an Iraq war vet turned vampire. Currently he works as an undead enforcer for the Araneum, the world-wide network of vampires. His assignments pit him against government assassins, renegade vampires, werewolves, and alien gangsters. Felix is a macho badass with a skewed moral compass.

2. Your novels feature slightly salacious titles—which I’ll admit is what originally caught my eye when I saw them in the Sci Fi Book Club flier—yet the books themselves have more of a hard-edged noir feel to them than the Cinemax soft-core book I was expecting. The subtitle of the comic series, Killing the Cobra, is Chinatown Trollop. But in the case of this series, that title is more than an attention-getter. Who is the Trollop, and how does she fit into Felix’s story?

The Trollop is the beautiful Qian Ning, the love interest in the story. She is a former prostitute who runs a shelter for refugees from the sex trade. Qian is also a chalice, the term given by vampires to the humans who serve them. Though she lacks supernatural powers, Qian is a tough cookie and can handle Felix.

3. You’re writing the full comic book scripts yourself, telling an all-new Felix story, rather than farming out the comic-writing like some novelists. What’s been the biggest challenge in turning from prose to a more collaborative medium like comics? Had you always intended to try your hand at comics or was me approaching you a big left turn for you

Here’s the big reveal. I’ve been toying with an idea for a graphic novel for many years. I like to draw and paint, in fact I was a soldier-artist for the US Army in Operation Desert Storm. But as I write full-time, I couldn’t make the opportunity to draw as I wanted to. I was in the process of finally knuckling down--studying a bunch of comic how-to books and Frank Miller’s Sin City series--and work on my graphic novel when IDW contacted me.

The biggest challenge has been conceiving of a plotline that carries well in the comic book format. It’s been interesting learning how to balance the visual, dialog, and exposition. I enjoy writing the scripts very much.

4. You’re gifted with Alberto Dose on art. My past experiences with Alberto shows me how fully he immerses himself in a story and its environment. He brought 1950s Cuba to life in our Scarface prequel, and he made the old west of Desperadoes feel dusty and real, too. And now he’s doing the same for Hong Kong with this series. What was it about Alberto’s style that initially grabbed you?

Alberto’s samples embarrassed me to think that I wanted to try a similar comic venue. He is an artist with few peers and can render faces, figures, and perspective with amazing skill. His style makes for expert use of choreography so that the reader’s eyes are led through the story in a compelling manner. Then when I saw how he interpreted my script into comic pages, I honestly felt tears in my eyes, his work was that extraordinary. Alberto has the ability to take my ideas and run a mile beyond my concept.

We need to also mention Pintu, the cover artist (seen above). His design and use of color make for real eye-grabbers.

5. Finally, in addition to this comic debuting in May, you’ve also got the fifth novel starring Felix Gomez about to drop, too. What’s this latest Felix tale about?

In WEREWOLF SMACKDOWN, Felix gets trapped between rival lycanthrope clans in Charleston, SC, and the impending rumble could doom the supernatural world.

6. Finally… STEAMPUNK BANDITOS. An all-new series that we're talking about now. Should we tease readers at all with a few words about this one…?

The year is 1902 in an alternate universe of distorted political geography, fantastic steampunk technology, and a world struggling in the aftermath of terrible plague. Gunslinger Ernesto Zaragoza is hired by the notorious Chinese crime boss, Wu Fei: the Dragon, to find his daughter. Zaragoza’s assignment takes him on a horrific journey filled with treachery, murky agendas, and bizarre medical experiments.

Stop by my Web site on March 23 for the special two-day promotion of WEREWOLF SMACKDOWN, as well as my blog, co-written by the fabulous vampire author Jeanne Stein. Happy fanging!

Alberto Dose's variant cover for issue #1:

Alberto's page 1 pencils:

Next up, his inked page:

And the finished, colored pages (colors also by Alberto):

Look for May's KILLINMG THE COBRA: CHINATOWN TROLLOP #1 (Diamond order code MAR10 1011) in the March Previews catalog!

And a little Mario/vampire bonus for you:


Jackie said...

Seriously cool! Mario rocks out loud!

Jeanne Stein said...

Big time, baby!! Now how do we preorder?


Chris Ryall said...

You can pre-order at any comic book store, using the Previews catalog they have there (or just telling the retailer to order and hold a copy for you). We'll also be selling the book through the IDW site after it's in stores in case there are no comic book stores nearby.

Jeanne Stein said...

Thanks, Chris. I want to post this on our blog--


Luke H said...

Wow, what a great blog post Chris! I am not familiar with Mr. Acevedo's work but it is always great when not only is the actual author adapting his own work but also actually creating NEW stories for the comic medium. It seems like, for many publishers, the standard is to almost be as deceptive as possible as to what actual involvement the author is actually having in the adaptation; it's great that, in this case, IDW has the opportunity to truly celebrate Mr. Acevedo's huge level of involvement.