Issue #24

Holy smokes has it been a loooong week since this column and the previous one. Sorry about all that. I've got no less than ten excuses but really, who cares? I don't want to bore you so let's dive right into it.

This week I want to talk about one book: "Brit, Volume One: One Soldier."

"Brit" came about because when Tony Moore and I pitched "The Walking Dead" to Image in November of 2002, Image decided they wanted to hold the book and ship it in October 2003. We wanted to put it out in March, but were told it would sell better if it coincided with Halloween. Back then, "Invincible" was about to get cancelled and none of my books really sold for crap - so if they thought it'd sell better, we'd wait.

But because my books weren't selling much, we didn't want to keep working on "The Walking Dead" and have 12 issues done when we got the sales figures for issue 6 and found out we couldn't afford to print the other issues - which could have happened. Had we known the book would have been a hit, we probably would have kept working.

So to fill the months before we needed to be working on "The Walking Dead," we did "Brit." "Brit" was just a gritty, ultra-violent superhero book, something slightly mature, but at its core it's a classic action-packed superhero romp. We finished "Brit" and put it out in July and started working on "The Walking Dead" again in May or so.

By October, we had four issues done. Again we didn't know how long the book would last and at the time Tony was drawing pretty fast. We had really enjoyed doing "Brit," so when we saw the we were a bit ahead on "The Walking Dead," Tony and I decided to do a sequel called "Brit: Cold Death." It took place in the snow so Tony wouldn't have to draw a lot of backgrounds - I'm always thinking.

By then I was hooked on Brit - he was a hoot and a half to write.

For the third book, Tony was hard at work developing "The Exterminators" for Vertigo and "Fear Agent" with Rick Remender for Image and a book called "Five Dead Men" with B. Clay Moore for Image - so I called on comics superstar Cliff Rathburn. Cliff and I had done a book called "Reaper" together (still in stock and ready for your special order!) and I think he's a great artist. Cliff can do it all. He's penciled and inked "Brit," "Reaper" and "Fantastic Four: Foes," inked "Invincible" and "She-Hulk" and colored "The Walking Dead" covers and gray-toned "The Walking Dead" and "Brit." He's a comic book renaissance man.

So in the end, Brit was three 48-page one-shots. It's a little more than six issues of material, all black and white. It even ties in a little bit with "Invincible" continuity, if you're into that sort of stuff.

The along came Val Staples.

Over the last year Val Staples has been tirelessly (really, he's got no tires) working on coloring the three Brit one-shots so we can put them all in one nice, big color trade paperback.

Val has done a stunning job, as you can see here in the plethora of jpegs I've graciously bestowed on you, the readers of my column.

One thing of note I would like to point out is that this is the first time Tony Moore has done full-color superhero work. Tony's not huge on superheroes. He'd rather draw Lobo or Jonah Hex or The Punisher than Captain America or Superman - and while Brit doesn't exactly wear a costume, seeing these books in color makes me long for a Tony Moore illustrated Thor run or some X-Men or something creator-owned, which could be cooler. Just something superhero, just a little bit, because I think he'd be good at it.

The part Cliff drew makes me want to see Cliff drawing more "Brit," something I think we can probably remedy in the near future. Hint, hint.

And the part Val colored makes me wish he could get those "Battle Pope" reprints out on time. wink

So anyway, this full color TPB will be in stores sometimes in January - I would guess late January and it'll have a bit of extras in the back, sketches, unused covers and the like and will be retailing for $17.99, which is good for 176 pages (I swear). So if you like "Invincible," "The Walking Dead," "Ultimate X-Men," long walks on the beach or puppies, you'll probably like this book. So give it a shot.

Of course, if this one isn't your cup of tea, there's plenty more out there with my name on it that you might enjoy. I don't really care which book it is - as long as you BUY MY BOOKS.

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