The Negative Zone #004: King City, Prophet, and Multiple Warheads by Brandon Graham

THE NEGATIVE ZONE #004: BRANDON GRAHAM

by Andrew Neal

You know who I love? I love Brandon Graham. Well, I love his comics. I don’t know him very well… yet. If you know me from the comic industry, either as my customer or as another comics professional, there’s a really good chance you know how hung up I am on Brandon Graham’s stuff.

But check this out: I’m writing a column for a science fiction magazine now, so it’s chance to preach, not only to a ton of folks who don’t know how much I love Brandon Graham’s comics, but who might not even know who he is! Let’s fix that situation right now.

First, let’s talk about King City: the main character is a martial artist whose weapon is his cat. That would be enough for me to want to read it, but in case you’re not one of those high-concept people, I’ll give you a little more. Graham’s art is light and airy, inspired by graffiti, manga, European comics, and probably a bunch of other influences I’m not even picking up. His backgrounds are full of visual (and verbal) puns. As for the story, it reminds me of a more R-rated Scott Pilgrim, if only in that it sits precariously on the line between being a series story and being a joke. The characters in King City have real emotions, but there’s also a part where the protagonist looks through his cat’s butt and sees out his mouth. There’s a paperback collection of the complete King City. It’s 400 pages, twenty bucks, and larger than your standard American comic. That’s a bargain.

Next up is Prophet: Prophet is an ongoing comic series which was created by Rob Liefeld in 1993 and ran for 20 issues spread out over a few different series And seven years. Liefeld hired Brandon Graham to relaunch the series this year picking up with issue #21, and the results are amazing. Graham is co-writing the comic, and handling the art on occasion, though for the most part, he’s working with other artists. So far, we’ve seen art by Simon Roy, Farel Dalrymple, Giannis Milogiannis, and Graham. They’re all fantastic artists with different styles which complement each other very well.

The story in Prophet is fairly different from the story in King City: Graham has described it as being like Conan in space, and it’s tough to get away from that description, because it’s so apt. This is science fiction, but not hard Arthur C. Clarke stuff. This is Thousands of Years in the Future Pulp Science Fiction. It’s full of monsters and mutants, and John Prophet eats a lot of them. Monster meat has a lot of protein! This series is ongoing now, and the first six issues are collected in a full color paperback for just ten bucks. Another great value.

Wait, there’s one more comic I want to talk about. It’s called Multiple Warheads: Alphabet to Infinity. It’s not out yet, but it will be at the end of October. This one is about an organ smuggler named Sexica with a werewolf boyfriend. Graham is writing and drawing, and this one should be more similar thematically to King City than Prophet. There was actually a Multiple Warheads comic several years back. It is unfortunately out of print now, but you won’t need to have read it to jump into this series.

Right now you may be asking yourself, “Where will I get these fine comics and graphic novels over which Andrew is going completely bonkers?” and that’s when I slap you with some cold hard knowledge: BAM! I have a comic book store in Chapel Hill, and not only that, my comic book store will be hosting a signing for Brandon on October 27, from 5pm until 7pm (That “yet” in the first paragraph wasn’t just hopeful)! We’ll have copies of Prophet, King City, and Multiple Warheads (including an exclusive Multiple Warheads Launch Tour cover) as well as some of Graham’s previous work.

That’s right. I just co-opted my science fiction review column to tell you about a signing at my comic book store. It’s like I’m getting paid to advertise for myself. Is this the finest example of synergy to be found in the annals of Bull Spec, or just an example of how I have absolutely no shame in my game? It’s both, y’all.

But seriously. Even if you don’t live near my store, you should hunt these comics down. I love them, and I bet a lot of you will as well.

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Andrew Neal sells comicswrites, and draws. He’s also having a big Brandon Graham signing. Oh, did he mention that already? Wow, he really is shameless.
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