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Fell


The NZA
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Lotta talk about this one. Its only a few issues in, but im rather enjoying it - im not as big a fan as others of Templesmith's art, but its working here. Newsarama got Ellis himself to talk about the book, so im gonna post that, then some sample pages.

 

The first thing I want to talk about is the format. Fell is a 24-page single, that contains 16 pages of full color comics and several pages of what's called back matter -- text stuff, sketches, background material, perhaps even audience emails as we get going. And it retails for $1.99 American.

 

Further; each issue is a self-contained story. If you read them all, yeah, you'll see ideas and relationships develop. But there's nothing stopping anyone entering the series at any moment, understanding the set-up and getting a complete experience out of it. It's no harder to walk in on than any episode of Law and Order.

 

Self-contained, as densely packed as Ben and I can manage, with extra reading material in the back, for a buck less than most books of its type.

 

Why? Well, I don't know about you, but I remember being poor. I remember the difference between (the local equivalent of) a dollar ninety-nine and three bucks being the difference between buying a comic or missing a meal. And for that purchase price, I wanted value -- a complete experience that I'd want to replay again and again.

 

I write for an early-adopter audience who likes reading the chapters of serialized graphic novels as they're completed. But I also write for people who want to go into a store with pocket change and come out with a complete story, what Alan Moore once called "a real slab of culture". That's why I did Global Frequency and the Apparat books. And that's why I'm doing Fell. Give me your pocket change and I'll give you a full whack of story.

 

And it's a story I like a lot. Richard Fell, a police detective who's happy in his lot, suddenly transferred through mysterious circumstances from the big shiny city over the bridge to Snowtown, a collapsing urban district. It's becoming what sociologists are now calling "a feral city"; public services are collapsing, the fabric of society is getting thinner and more frayed every day, and things are getting ugly, weird and tribal. Snowtown's sole police precinct house has exactly three and a half detectives -- one has no legs -- and has pretty much given up on coping with Snowtown's slow slide into the stone age.

 

Rich Fell, a smart, easy-going guy fascinated by psychology and tells, is thrown in at the deep end. The place and the people make no sense to him. The only time he has a handle on things is when he's working, applying the one thing he knows to be true wherever he is: everybody's hiding something.

 

It's the story of Richard Fell working cases and trying to find his balance in a place where everything's too weird to be true, while falling ass-backwardly into an awkward, difficult relationship with a local bar owner who has her own problems and secrets. And, for the people who follow it issue by issue -- it's the story of what he did that saw him transferred out of the city. Because even Richard Fell is hiding something.

 

I started with the format, and half an idea. Mentioned it on my email diary, noting that it'd never happen because an artist would have to be insane to produce 16 dense pages a month for no money (we're doing it at Image, where all the money is on the back end -- I'll have written six or seven scripts for no payment at all by the time #1 is released).

 

And Ben Templesmith emailed and said, hell, I'll do it.

 

Which surprised me for several reasons, not least being I thought his soul was owned by The Steve Niles Corporation.

 

He was perfect for the sort of thing I wanted to attempt: something accessible, with clear storytelling, but full of the visual experimentation found in the envelope-pushing comics of the 80s, when people like Bill Sienkiewicz and Jon J Muth were on stage.

 

With Ben, I know that if I want to cut out three panels of exposition and just stick a bit of map down with routes and placenames scrawled on it, I know Ben is there. I know that if I need a one-panel flashback of Fell as a kid looking up at his dad, Ben will execute that child's perception. His work is a perfect mix of Sienkiewicz/Storey American experimentation, manga cartooning and European perspective. It's a unique-looking book, and writing for someone like Ben is like having eight different artists -- there's nothing I can write that won't be illustrated eight times as well as I imagined.

 

So it starts in September, and it costs pocket change. If you like the sound of it, tell your local comics store that you're going to want a copy.

 

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  • 11 months later...

Shit, i feel bad for knocking his confusing action panels, then. Were you at Megacon at all last year? I actually went looking for you at your booth on saturday.

Anyway, Scottie Young was a gentleman and a pimp, but that Josh Middleton was indeed a cunt.

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Nah, I didn't end up going to MegaCon last year.

 

I actually quit the magazine March 1st last year, which was pretty much right after the con.

 

Skottie's alright. Sanford Green is down. Never met Middleton, so I'll take your word that he's a douchebag.

 

The first MegaCon we worked, I got to meet Michael Lark and had a full-on fanboy moment, 'cuz I LOVED his run on Gotham Central. Needless to say, I'm pleased as punch that he's working on The Man Without Fear now. If Maleev can't do it, Lark's the man.

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  • 8 months later...

I read Fell every month until it dropped off the face of the Earth.

 

Around issue #6, either my local comic store stopped carrying it, or it stopped shipping altogether, which sucked, because it was pretty much the only book I'd been regularly picking up once all of this Identity Crisis/Civil War bullshit began.

 

I figure it was majorly delayed, for whatever reason, rather than canceled, because that book was selling out like fuckin' mad. Delays are something of an Image tradition, anyway. :D

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  • 5 years later...

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