|“Poison the Cure”|
The Earth is dying. Aliens are looking at us with little more than vague curiosity, wondering what has happened to the world. Looking back, we begin to see the pieces that would lead to the empty Earth.
Sound grim? That’s the world The New Radio‘s “Poison The Cure” sci-fi action-comedy romp by Alex Cahill and Jad Ziade that may not be as grim as all that after all.
The alien explorers are in fact just a bunch of working stiffs. While researching the aftermath of humanity, they joke with each other and show a real, well, humanity. And while the action that comprises the main plot may be hard and heavy, it comes with generous doses of humor and absurdity.
CBR News spoke with artist/co-creator/co-writer Alex Cahill about “Poison The Cure,” big, fat comics, and the benefits of being awarded the prestigious Xeric Grant for self-publishing.
“Poison The Cure” is kind of hard to categorize, how would you describe it?
I would describe it as what a small group of explorers find when they come across a desolate planet and try to piece together how life there ceased to exist. “Poison The Cure” as butt-kicking fiction for people who like to work when they read. It’s sci-fi and there’s action, violence, political intrigue and all that, but this story takes its time. We’ve said to a lot of people already that when our 400 pages are done with you, you’re not going to feel as if a lot of things have happened, but you’ll feel as though all the things that did happen had a big impact.
What inspired this story?
The original inspiration was mine. Not the inspiration for the story, which was mutual, but the inspiration to work together on a book with Jad. He had a story that he didn’t have an artist for and I was working away on my silent comics, and I just felt like it was stupid for us to be partners in our publishing enterprise and not working together on a book. We got together with two separate ideas for a story and Jad successfully melded the two very different ideas into the script for “Poison The Cure” #1. I was seriously impressed.
You’re publishing it as four really big, virtually trade paperback-sized issues. Why that rather than your normal 22 or so pages?
We always envisioned a big 300 to 400-page story, but it wasn’t until I was deep into drawing the script for the first part that we realized that all by itself it was about 100 pages. We thought of a few different things, but we immediately liked the idea of big, 100-page, saddle-stitched chapters. We think they’re unique and we think they’re beautiful. We’ve caught flack from stores already because the 104-page #1 issue is $9 and isn’t perfect-bound, TPB-style, but whatever. This book looks exactly the way we wanted it to look, and at $9 it’s a steal.
How did you and Jad Ziade first start working together?
Jad and I had been friends for a while and when another friend of ours who was going to make comics invited Jad to drop what he was doing and move in with us to make comics, Jad hesitated at first but took us up on it. Before long, our buddy kinda dropped out of the picture to work on other things, and so The New Radio was just Jad and I. It’s been like that since.
You were awarded a Xeric Grant for “Something So Familiar,” how has that changed your comics career?
It was a great start. I love the Xeric Foundation and there’s nothing else out there like what they do. It’s love. It’s giving back. I wouldn’t have the momentum or the modest measure of (dare I say it?) reputation that I have at all without them, and it’s nice to be recognized for having gotten the grant.
Indie Comics is rough going, what advice do you have for newbies trying to make a go of it?
No advice, but plain common sense from the inside: unless you’re going to work for someone else, you’re going to lose a lot of money for a long time before you make squat. Plan accordingly. Indie Comics is a broke, broke industry saturated with all the kids who are trying to live their dream. Be ready to fight and stay or just work for someone else.
Speaking of which, how did you get into comics to begin with?
Dude, years of superhero comics. I was a DC kid, loved “Aquaman,” “JLA,” “Legion of Super Heroes.” I even ran an international Justice League fanclub for a while, during the Grant Morrison and Howard Porter days. In fact, I got Howard Porter to do the cover of our ‘zine once. Good times. But it was David Lapham’s “Stray Bullets” and Jason Lutes’s “Berlin” that showed me that you could make a freaking comic about anything at all. That stuff blew my mind. From there my tasted changed and just I started thinking of what I wanted my own work to be about.
What’s next for The New Radio?
Three very aggressive issues of “Poison The Cure” and a big finish in the last one. We’re staying on track with this book, putting out our 100-page chapters every nine months. When it’s over we’re gonna consider how and when to do the trade. But after “Poison’s” done there are a lot of things Jad and I may do, and it’s too soon to know which will happen first. I have plans for a big ongoing series and there are a couple of books I wanna write for other artists. But Jad and I are also going to work together on another big project that is so insane we’re not even sure we can do it. We’ll see how it goes down.
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