The Golden Age Is Over in C.O.W.L.

September 23, 2014

Superheroes face change in 1960s Chicago in new graphic novel

The Chicago Organized Workers League once stood as the embodiment of the Golden Age of superheroes — a union for Chicago’s best hopes against the scourges of organized crime and supervillainy. But in C.O.W.L. VOLUME 1: PRINCIPLES OF POWER by Kyle Higgins, Alec Siegel, and Rod Reis, it’s 1962, and everything has changed. The last of the supervillains has been defeated, the public is cynical, and scandal and corruption plague the once-irreproachable organization.

In this Fall graphic novel from Image Comics, C.O.W.L. must re-invent itself for changing times — but will it survive the process?

Co-writer Higgins, who made his name in comics writing Batman and Nightwing at DC Comics, commented on the difference between writing about his own superheroes and writing for company-owned characters in an interview on Image Comics’ website.

“Our characters can change,” he said. “As much as I love writing guys like Batman and Nightwing, there’s a very set standard when it comes to who they are and what they can do… how they’re allowed to react to certain things and what decisions/mistakes they’re allowed to make. We don’t really have those limitations in C.O.W.L., which means being able to explore these heroes as real people, watching them grow and change… for better and for worse.”

Artist Reis’s retro, stylish art on C.O.W.L. has been widely hailed as perfectly conjuring the early ‘60s, as does Higgins’ and Siegel’s story, which depicts a once-static organization adapting to the rapid cultural change of its time.

C.O.W.L. VOLUME 1, specially priced at $9.99, will be in comic book stores on October 29 and bookstores on November 11. It is available for pre-order now.

C.O.W.L. VOLUME 1: PRINCIPLES OF POWER by Kyle Higgins, Alec Siegel, and Rod Reis, cover by Trevor McCarthy

  • ISBN 978-1-63215-111-7
  • Diamond Comics code AUG140586
  • 128 pages, paperback, full color
  • $9.99
  • Rated Mature
  • Collects C.O.W.L. #1-5
  • In comic book stores 10/29; bookstores 11/11

Praise for C.O.W.L.

“A down-and-dirty Mad Men meets Heroes in ‘60s Chicago.” –Entertainment Weekly

“It’s a gorgeous book, and the story is just as captivating as the art.” –Oliver Sava, The A.V. Club

“There's a touch of Mad Men's style and sex appeal as well as Watchmen’s serious approach to heroes.” –Rich Barrett, Mental Floss

C.O.W.L. is a unique and beautiful study of the power of politics in a world where the rules for super-heroism are being redefined. A period drama with more modern relevance than many other books out at the moment, Higgins, Siegel, and Reis have created a colourful comic-book world that is obsessed with the shades of grey between right and wrong.” –Stephenson Ardern-Sodje, Multiversity Comics