So with mere days left in the kickstarter campaign I’m finally able to put words on the page and talk to you about the original graphic novel “Ashes”.
Set in Brooklyn New York Ashes is the story of a young firefighter who suffers a traumatic and career ending injury on the job. I read the 18 page preview and the story really resonated with me. Having lost a young friend early in his firefighting career, James Bohan was lost in 1998 along with two other firefighters (see the memorial page here), and growing up with a Grandfather who suffered a similar injury to our main character this story pushed all the right buttons. But surprisingly it’s not the drama or the shared experiences that really drew me to want to read the whole book.
The friendship that creator/writer Mario Candelaria has forged between the two main characters was refreshing. We often see hints of it in the cape and cowl books of the big two but in Ashes in feels completely genuine. Terwillegar and Lopez are buddies, and if you grew up like I did you know that between buds the constant insults, jabs, and slurs are par for the course. And the easy conversational tone of the banter really shows off Mario’s comedic chops. But this isn’t some buddy cop film, there’s real drama here.
The opening pages bring us right to the action, there’s a pretty hairy situation and our boys are right in the thick of it. The concern not only for the people they’re helping but for each other literally pours off the page. Pages seem to turn by themselves carrying you rapidly toward the tragedy you know is coming. And when it hits and you think things will calm down Mario keeps the pace tense, fraught with emotion. He has really crafted a taut, intense first chapter to this story, I can only imagine what he has in store for the rest.
As you probably know from reading my other articles I don’t try to describe art that often. Karl Slominski has a unique style that I really dig, his attention to detail and use of negative space really focus the reader on the drama, I really feel pages speak much more clearly than I ever could. Here are some to whet your appetite.
The rest of the 18 page preview can be found here.
This is a really intense, beautifully drawn graphic novel. I hope you’ll drop by and support the project.
We need more books about real heroes.
We need more independent comics.
Oh did I mention one of the characters is named “Lt. Palmiotti”? Gotta love it!