A new ongoing sci-fi series and a quirky crime thriller
Gabriel Hardman’s (Hulk, Planet of the Apes) previously-digital-only series collection KINSKI, both written and drawn by Hardman, will be coming to print from Image Comics this November. Hardman announced a second project at Image Expo, to be executed with frequent collaborator Corinna Bechko (HEATHENTOWN, Savage Hulk, Star Wars: Legacy). Described as a gritty sci-fi series, INVISIBLE REPUBLIC explores the secret history of one man's rise to power after an unspeakable act of violence elevates him to folk-hero status on a war-torn planet seeking independence.
KINSKI promises to be a quirky crime thriller about Joe, a down-on-his-luck salesman who finds a cute puppy. The thing is, this puppy already has a home. What starts as a simple rescue mission from neglectful owners quickly escalates into a righteous crusade as it becomes clear that Joe will do anything to keep this puppy safe.
Hardman talked about his influences and inspiration for his forthcoming KINSKI. “I set out to tell a crime story with all the elements of the darkest noir (obsession, self destruction, having the fickle finger of fate pointed at you for no good reason) but about a guy stealing a puppy,” he said. “It’s a quirky story with a sensibility not unlike that of the Coen Brothers, where the stakes may seem low at first but when you’re in the middle of it every ounce of suspense, drama and goofiness is milked from the situation.
“The storytelling in KINSKI is really stripped down. It’s black and white, on a six-panel grid, nothing flashy to distract you from the tale I’m telling. No narration, overwrought exposition, no charts and graphs – this is the equivalent of guerilla filmmaking. It’s just paper, ink and a story.
“While in a lot of ways KINSKI is a very simple story, it has undercurrents of loyalty, hubris, serious ethical questions and yeah, I’ll admit it, even a bit of heart.”
Switching gears, Hardman went on to talk about his series with Bechko. “INVISIBLE REPUBLIC, is first and foremost a sci-fi, action-adventure story. My background as an illustrator and storyboard artist for films like Inception and the X-Men movies means that designing exciting action sequences is what I do,” said Hardman. “That said, the kind of stories Corinna and I tell are always human-scale. They’re point of view driven, not spectacle driven. Serialized comics, especially creator-owned comics, are the perfect medium for telling stories with real stakes where anything can happen. Any character can die. The audience can’t trust that everything will be happy in the end. Comics are perfect for telling stories that take narrative risks and reward close attention, in short, everything that works so well on cable television dramas now.”
Conceived as the epic history of the rise of an empire, INVISIBLE REPUBLIC is nonetheless told on an intimate scale. While hunting for a human-interest story during a humanitarian crisis, reporter Croger Babb uncovers the four-decade-old journal of Maia Reveron, detailing what she knows about the legendary Arthur McBride. Maia has been erased from all the official histories, but she alone knows what Arthur is really capable of.
Bechko added: "Maia Reveron is a woman who has been expunged from the history books but who knows many secrets. This may be science fiction, but this is hardly an unknown phenomenon in our own world. It's rare that those in power give much thought to the people who could reveal their own 'secret histories,' especially if the people holding the secrets happen to be female. And sometimes, they overlook them at their peril. Gabriel and I have always enjoyed writing 'poli-sci-fi' and here we have the chance to imbue Arthur and Maia's story with all the drama, pathos, and adventure we've been dying to unleash."
“In case you haven’t noticed, Gabriel Hardiman has quietly been establishing himself as one of comics’ best new talents over the course of the last few years,” said Eric Stephenson, Publisher at Image Comics. “Whether working on his own or with his Invisible Republic collaborator Corinna Bechko, Gabe is masterminding some of the most exciting new work out there, and it’s real honor to welcome him to Image at long last.”
KINSKI is coming to Image Comics this November 2014. INVISIBLE REPUBLIC will launch in 2015.