The talented Mr. Mike Wolfer lends his time to avatarpress.com to talk about GRAVEL, his upcoming series with Warren Ellis and Crecy artist Raulo Caceres. Based on William Gravel, the lead character from Ellis’ Strange Killings epic with Avatar Press, this ongoing series launches with the specially priced GRAVEL #0 in January available for only $1.99. Both #0 and the full-size monthly, which begins in March, feature the talents of creator Warren Ellis and co-writer Mike Wolfer, and the artwork of Raulo Caceres (Crecy, 2001 Maniacs.)
Here’s Mike with more details:
William Gravel was originally the lead character in a one-shot mini-series, STRANGE KISS. To tell the horrific tale of a bizarre Elder God and its intended domination of the Earth, the story’s “villain” needed a worthy foil, thus, the Combat Magician, William Gravel was born. It was a tale of irony, hidden agendas and paranoia, a quick-and-dirty little shocker. But Gravel himself became a lightning rod of fan interest; he was far too intriguing to be disposed of after only three issues. Over the course of five years, Gravel continued to sporadically appear on store shelves, each time bringing with him new and disturbing adventures, but even so, we still know very little about the man. I suppose that is part of his allure, so we won’t be exposing everything about him in the GRAVEL ongoing series, just providing tantalizing new details and new mysteries on a more consistent shipping schedule.
It seemed like a natural evolution, launching an ongoing monthly GRAVEL series, based on the incredible response the character’s previous tales generated with both fans and critical reviewers. Maybe it was all about timing, a proper alignment of the stars, or available breathing room in all of our schedules… Or maybe it was Garth Ennis’ suggestion. Whatever the impetus, everything fell into place with surprising ease. William Gravel has been around for years, and has generated quite a following of die-hard fans, who have eagerly awaited the next disturbing chapter in the STRANGE KISS/KISSES/KILLINGS series. They have been loyal, and quite vocal and at last Warren Ellis, Raulo Caceres and I are able to deliver what the fans have asked for, for the first time in full color and with no punches pulled. This is the Gravel we all know, the same lovable bastard, only delivered in monthly installments.
I’m thrilled to once again be working with Warren Ellis, to assist with the refinement of Gravel’s tales. As co-writer, I take Warren’s 7 to 8-page, detailed plot breakdowns that include key passages of dialog and expand upon that, fleshing it out for artist Raulo Caceres. It’s an exhilarating experience, to receive these incredible story pitches and add my own artistic sense of visual pacing, to take what Warren has provided and polish it into a finished product with Raulo’s help. It’s a unique co-mingling of creative energies that results in stories that take the best of what each of us can provide; we build on each other’s strengths to produce a unique comic that, in my opinion, stands apart from everything else on the shelves.
I don’t think we could have chosen a better replacement for me than Raulo Caceres. His attention to detail is extraordinary and it is that sort of immersive environment that I tried to instill in my art when I was working on the previous series. I have to admit: I’m a bit protective of William Gravel when it comes to his visual representation, as until now I have been the only artist to draw him on covers or interiors. But Raulo’s got the goods and he draws an excellent Gravel, full of the same grimness that is his trademark and the heaviness of Raulo’s inking provides the perfect, dark mood that has pervaded Gravel’s adventures through all of the various mini-series.
In the past, we’ve concentrated on showing how William Gravel interacts with the world around him, utilizing his Combat Magic to bring about desired results that, at the end of the day, usually only benefits himself. In the GRAVEL ongoing monthly, we’re going to more closely examine that world of magic of which we’ve only seen glimpses in previous mini-series. We know what Gravel can do, but we don’t necessarily know why or how he does it. Although GRAVEL #0 is not the beginning of some drawn-out origin story, it is the starting point of a new perspective, a side of Gravel that has remained hidden since his first appearance in STRANGE KISS.
For more information about Strange Kiss and other collections featuring William Gravel, the new ongoing series, and the creative team behind GRAVEL follow the links below:
A talk with series artist Raulo Caceres.
Original Strange Killings epic (6 TPBs.)
Local comic retailers are now preparing their orders for GRAVEL #0 and Avatar’s January 2008 releases. When visiting your store this week please use our handy checklist to let your retailer know of what Avatar comics you are interested in purchasing.