01 March 2010

Image of Success: CHOKER by Ben McCool and Ben Templesmith

We briefly mentioned Ben Templesmith and Ben McCool's Choker in our last blog, but our adjectival use of 'excellent' barely suffices to describe the comic's cool factor - or its quality - or it's fun.  

In a nutshell, Choker's a gritty and dark, noir-ish police drama, set in the  dystopian future life of former policeman turned private dick Johnny Jackson. Jackson's new profession is his own private hell and punishment,  but he's about to be offered a dangerous redemption - locate and bust an escaped,  notorious drug dealer that he'd somehow succeeded to apprehend during his time on the force when all others had failed.  Of course, Jackson's determined - but desperate, and a pale shade of his former self.  In a very Blade Runner -esque Shotgun City, where drugs enable junkies to become vampires and mutant humans are society's dirty, lurking underclass, Jackson's decision seems to promise him not success , but certain suicide. 

But -- how good (or fun or cool) is Choker? Ultimately, that's for you to decide -- but, as Christopher Butcher points out on Comics212Choker's first issue  (of what will be a six-issue limited series) was promoted with an unprecedented six-page preview by its publisher, Image Comics.  That should tell you something; we'll let you check it out for yourself:
Choker is artistically reminiscent of one of our other favorite Templesmith-drawn series, Fell, also from Image and written by the ever-awesome Warren Ellis.  But Ben McCool's writing differs in flavor and tone from Ellis' - equally intelligent yet more straightforward in approach, and superbly paced throughout.  Having no previous exposure to McCool's stuff, we are impressed. As a recent transplant from the UK, McCool chose the life of a freelance writer after setting down in the US, and between Choker, an original Superman tale hitting the stands on Saint Paddy's Day, and possibly a few other projects, 2010 looks like its going to be a very McCool year.
Templesmith and McCool are kicking off the year - and Choker's February 2010 launch - with a Choker Tour. Beginning last weekend in the New York City area, the pair are at A Comic Shop in Orlando tomorrow, then get a short reprieve before hitting Seattle's Emerald City Comic-Con during the ides of March.  The Tour schedule is at the top of the blog and more information can be gleaned on Choker's own website HERE. If you're anywhere near these locations or plan to be in Seattle for the Con, abbracadabble your way to see these guys pronto -- and pick up a copy of Choker on the way.  (Or order it through the mail from Midtown Comics HERE.)
Ben Templesmith's blog [ben1]
Ben McCool's blog [ben2]

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