Becky Cloonan’s artwork is one of the most distinctive, energetic, and pleasing styles in comics. We chat here a bit about process. As a cartoonist myself, I appreciate the “controlled chaos” of laying down lines of ink on paper. For a casual reader, that means an expressive line with the marks hitting where you want them to hit. This fluidity only comes with practice. As a top professional, Cloonan can modulate that line as needed.
For some comparison, in “The Mire,” a work that Cloonan both wrote and drew, she turns up the volume a bit on her brush work. Another great artist who loves to play with process is Paul Pope. There are so many to name. And they all have tons of fans who appreciate that playful linework. If you’re new to comics, you will instinctively know what I mean. For her art in “The True Lives of the Fabulous Killjoys,” published by Dark Horse Comics, she provides a line that, as we say in comics, is more “clean.” There are flourishes too and an overall boldness. Cloonan goes on to offer that the clean line here serves the narrative as we navigate through various characters.
From the back of the newly released trade paperback to Killjoys:
Written by Gerard Way (The Umbrella Academy) and newcomer Shaun Simon and beautifully rendered by award-winning artist Becky Cloonan (Demo, Conana the Barbarian), The True Lives of the Fabulous Killjoys foretells a not-too-distant future where fear reigns and freedom fails.
You can find more details by visiting our friends at Dark Horse Comics right here.
Groucho Marx is the master of the non sequitur and few can come close to match him. Alan Alda, the star of the TV classic M*A*S*H, gave it a try as did Woody Allen. A non sequitur is a quip gone haywire where the joke is more in the telling than what’s said. It’s such an odd form of humor where the actual words don’t matter that much, like a jazz improvisation. That said, you’ll find plenty of non sequiturs in this comic. But, if you’re a fan of Gerard Way, you know what to expect and love it.
“The True Lives of The Fabulous Killjoys” is pretty lovable. But what’s love got to do with it? Ah, you see how easy it is to veer into non sequiturs? It’s fun, no doubt. There’s an internal logic at play as you bounce from one idea and then detour into another idea. The trick is not to let it get so messy that you lose your way, as in Gerard Way, ha, ha. And he holds his humor pretty well. You’ll find a lot of the nonsense coming from an ongoing narrator DJ on the radio. There’s method to the DJ’s madness. Amid the gibberish, he’s providing some colorful background information and stuff. And it’s not always ha-ha funny:
And it looks like our two minutes of morning static is almost up. This slaughter-matic mouth needs to hit the red before I end up DJ’ing for the dead.
So, yeah, not so much ha-ha funny, as off-kilter ironic funny.
A lot of this first issue is about filling in the background and it’s done with style and a lot of good chemistry between the writers, Gerard Way and Shaun Simon, and the artist, Becky Cloonan. Coming on the heels of a recent Comics Grinder look at some of Cloonan’s recent solo work, it is really nice to see her working with kindred spirits. Well, she always has, hasn’t she? But, with Gerard Way’s silliness and spontaneity leading the way, Becky Cloonan is an excellent match.
For all you who have been patiently waiting these last four years for more of the same comics goodness as “The Umbrella Academy,” you can feel confident about “The True Lives of The Fabulous Killjoys.” Once again we have My Chemical Romance’s Gerard Way writing his little heart out. This time he’s accompanied by Shaun Simon and that appears to be working out rather well. And this time is the best time of all with artwork by Becky Cloonan. The thing is that Cloonan revels in improvisation as well. In this game of free association, the shape of a nose can heavily influence the pose of a cat reclining nearby. Why is that? Well, there is no explaining it other than to say it was meant to be.
Gerard Way and Danger Days: The Future Lives of The Fabulous Killjoys
As for the story, in all the fun, it can be sort of set to the side. We know, like Camelot, that for once there was such a glorious group as The Killjoys but now they are gone, or so it would appear. And, from the cover alone, you can see that a young girl plays a vital role in what happens next. But what happens next? Well, we know a few things that we’ll know a lot more about as we go. This is a strange world we are in. Post-Apocalyptic? Well, definitely post-something or other.
From all the riffing on this witty thing and that, we appreciate that kings and queens once ruled and those kings and queens were you and me but, for now, things are not nearly as much fun. Will The Killjoys somehow return and make matters right? Let’s hope so.
“The True Lives of The Fabulous Killjoys #1” is already out, pardner! It’s been out since July 12. But there’s a very, very, very good chance you can still pick up a copy, whether it’s a second or third printing, it’s all good. Visit our friends at Dark Horse Comics and raise some hell.