Grumble Begs the Question: ‘What if John Constantine was Howard the Duck?’

Tala’s mother had told her plainly, if you’re ever in trouble, find Eddie. He can help you. So, she did just that when she was pursued by the S’Taera -- interdimensional beings who believed Tala did not properly observe the “purity” of magic. Tala found Eddie hustling cards and embarrassing himself. Maybe mother doesn’t always know what’s best?

Tala and Eddie’s plight shakes out in a new series from Eric Powell’s Albatross Funnybooks, available for preorder on August 22. Grumble #1, arriving in stores this November, is an ongoing series chronicling Tala and Eddie’s adventures. Written by Rafer Roberts and drawn by Mike Norton -- reuniting after a popular Archer & Armstrong run at Valiant -- Grumble is a raucous adventure story featuring all of its creative team’s strengths: humor, family drama and pugs!

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Roberts and Norton discussed poor role models, creator-owned work, the actual greatest Marvel film and Baltimore being more than The Wire with CBR.

“I think magic has just been on my mind lately,” said Norton. “After I came close to drawing Hellblazer last year (I didn’t end up doing it for scheduling reasons), I was thinking to myself… ‘What if John Constantine was Howard the Duck?’ And Grumble was born.”

Rafer Roberts agreed with Norton’s take on the series origins. “For me, it was when Mike asked if I’d be interested in writing a book about an amoral, magic-using conman who gets turned into a pug by an evil wizard, and his psychic, take-no-nonsense sidekick!”

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The creative partnership between the two dates back only a few years, but the synergy in their pairing pushed them to want to collaborate again. “Since the end of our Archer & Armstrong run a few years ago, we had talked about working on something else together but nothing seemed quite right,” said Roberts. “We wanted to capture that same sense of character-driven anarchy, that chaos with heart, but it wasn’t until Mike pitched me Grumble that we found ourselves a winner.”

When readers and Tala first meet Eddie, he’s gotten himself into a pickle with a group of gamblers who don’t take kindly to chiselers. It makes a reader wonder what kind of story connects Eddie to Tala’s mom, because he’s not the type of guy most mothers suggest you hang around.

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“Eddie and Tala are definitely in a Paper Moon kind of situation with Tala’s mom out of the picture," said Roberts. "However, Eddie’s relationship with Tala’s mom isn’t as clear-cut as her simply being an old flame. As the series progresses, we’ll get more details about Eddie and Tina (Tala’s mom) and how they both loved and hated each other. Between fending off evil wizard attacks, escaping from alien bounty hunters and mob bosses, and avoiding large feline hitmen, Eddie and Tala are gonna have to settle some unfinished business."

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