Genre19, the writer-artist team of Geoff Thorne and Todd Harris, is set to launch its latest high-adventure series with "Prodigal: Egg of First Light," which ships as two 96-page issues from Ape Entertainment beginning in February. The series stars the savvy and dangerously unpredictable Pae Mei Jacinto and fighting powerhouse Byron Lennox, also known as the Prodigal, as they hire themselves out as thieves, bodyguards - whatever their high-rolling clients require. In "Egg of First Light," the clients are a pair of monks, Brothers Agget and Vault, who have survived a vicious assault on their sanctuary, during which attack the titular Egg was stolen. CBR News spoke via email with the creators, who answer as one unit in their Genre19 persona, about the project and other titles to come from their studio.
"Here's the story: Monks have Egg. Monks get Egg stolen from them by bloodthirsty thieves. Monks hire retrieval specialists to get Egg back. Chaos, magic, mayhem, more chaos and asskickery ensue," Genre19 said of the series. "The Egg of First Light is... well, it's a fantastically important spiritual object, maybe the oldest such object in the world. It's something people have been willing to murder each other over for centuries."
The monks who come to our heroes for aid are the last survivors of their sect, after ninja of the Cult of the Cold Fire massacred their ranks in pursuit of the Egg. CBR asked Genre19 if the Egg is such a venerated and holy object, might better security have been in order? "The monks have good reasons for doing what they do in the way that they do it. Very good reasons, thank you very much," the artists said. "They haven't got this far by just blabbing all their secrets to folks like us." As to whether Brothers Agget and Vault might not be telling the whole story, the creators said, "If we didn't have lies, we wouldn't have drama or guys with giant swords trying to cut people in half."
Genre19 describes "Prodigal: Egg of First Light" as "neo pulp," which they say means the book is "heavy on the globetrotting, over-the-top action and adventure and fun, not so much with the spandex, over-complex plotting, and secret identities."
"The fun of the old pulps and serial heroes - Doc Savage, Flash Gordon, Terry & the Pirates, all those guys - is that, though they set a lot of the ground rules for modern superhero comics, they didn't necessarily follow them," the artists said. "They were following older traditions, ones that had worked for centuries. We like that. 'Worked for centuries' is a good place to start.
"The British Invasion jump-started the resurgence of this... er... genre," they continued. "Warren Ellis, James Robinson, and, of course, Alan Moore were the first ones to really kick that door open again, and we wanted to walk through. So, to us, Neo Pulp isn't so much a back-to-basics as it is 'how do we apply what was done in the '30s, '40s, and '50s to modern tastes and expectations?'
"'Prodigal' is our first answer to that question. We hope there will be more."
On the subject of their Genre19 monicker, the artists said, "How do we explain that? It's catchy (we think). It's a bit obscure. It sounds like the codename for some formula from one of the old Masked Avenger radio shows or a Stan Lee secret organization. 'Beware the coming of Genre 19! Beeeeewarrrre!'
"Genre19 is two guys, Geoff and Todd, who love comics and wanted to make some fun ones together," they continued. "We wanted a sort of brand that tells you what you're getting as soon as you see it." As to who performs which duties on their comics, the team said, "the short answer is that Todd handles the pictures and Geoff handles the words, but it's just slightly muddier than that."
Beyond "Egg of First Light," Genre19 are working on further "Prodigal" adventures and other original works that are "not like 'Prodigal' at all," as well as contributing a story to Robert Roach's "Menthu" series. Outside of comics, Genre19 told CBR that "Todd's doing storyboards and pre-visualization for movies and video games and Geoff is writing for a TV crime show that he prefers not to name at this time. We're dipping our toes into some animation stuff, too."
As to "The Red Line," an older project that has stalled in development at publisher Ludovico Technique, Genre19 said its fate may rest with the Egg. "Here's what to do about seeing more (or any) of 'The Red Line:' buy lots of issues of 'Prodigal: Egg of First Light.' That might light a fire under the publishers of 'The Red Line,'" the artists said. "Bottom line: All the scripts are written and sitting in a drawer somewhere and Todd is a fantastically better artist now than he was then (and he was kicking ass then)."