Multiple Warheads is a classic love story. Except with organ smugglers, werewolves and set in a futuristic Communist Russia.
Last year Prophet writer Brandon Graham released the miniseries Multiple Warheads: Alphabet To Infinity following the love-sick pair of Sexica and Nikoli, and this week he goes back to where it all began. In this week’s Multiple Warheads: Down Fall, Graham has pulled together earlier stories of the duo that have been published across the comics landscape that have been out of print for years as well as a new story Graham created exclusively for this volume. Multiple Warheads follows Sexica and Nikoli as they crisscross a fantasy version of Russia chock-full with organ smugglers, radiation slugs, dream monsters and people out to get them. Although Graham’s become best known for his work on Prophet and King City, Multiple Warheads can in many way be seen as the spine of his comics career reaching from his roots in porn comics to his entrance into the mainstream. Don’t worry though, Graham’s sense of humor and sight gags are intact.
Newsarama spoke with Graham about this collection, as well as how it sits on the bookshelf next to Prophet and King City, and his plans for the future of Sexica and Nikoli.
Newsarama: This week’s Multiple Warheads: Down Fall collects the out-of-print original Multiple Warheads stories that came out before 2012’s Multiple Warheads: Alphabet to Infinity. What led you to dust these off and put them out?
Brandon Graham: I was going to put all of the Multiple Warheads comics I'd done in the first collection, but I like the idea that people who bought all the issues wouldn't have to buy them again to be able to read the older stuff.
Multiple Warheads is a weird series for me because it's extended over so much time since the first short I did. And it's still kind of becoming what I want it to be. Work in progress comics I guess.
Nrama: In addition to collecting this rare earlier material, you’re also doing a new story in the back. What’s it about?
Graham: It's a short about the main Multiple Warheads lady, Sexica picking up magic organs to smuggle back into the Red City she works out of.
In the early stuff I drew her running across radioactive wastelands in a mini skirt-- It wasn't the most thought out idea, so I wanted to play with that show her during an actual run for the 1st time. She's got this Hazmute suit that keeps her invisible and protects her from radiation --and changes her bodies shape when she needs it to.
Nrama: The other three pieces in here are older stories from anthologies and a one-shot you did at Oni. Can you tell us about those stories?
Graham: Yeah, Multiple Warheads started when I was doing porn comics for a living when I had the freedom to do comics about anything as long as I could fit enough sex in there. As insane as it sounds it was like my commentary on living in post 9-11 New York or at least my reaction to all the security checkpoints and armed soldiers. Mostly it's about a lady who sews a wolf's penis onto her boyfriend.
I liked the set up and character so I did more shorts with them. Alternative Comics published a collection of my short stories called Escalator that I did a new Multiple Warheads story for that about Nikoli dealing with having the old Wolf's memories when he became a werewolf. and then the one shot at Oni I did about Sexica and her werewolf having to leave their home.
Initially I was going to do more with Oni before I got so tight with Image. And certainly nothing against the fine folks there, I just felt like with everything Eric Stephenson and Image have done for me with King City and Prophet, I wanted to the work that was most important to me there.
Nrama: When re-publishing older material, there’s always that temptation to touch up or refine the work before it sees print again. Did you have any temptation to do that, be it tweaking the letters all the way to redrawing portions of the stories?
Graham: For the most part I always try to think of my older work like a time capsule for the time in my life I was working on it. I fixed a couple minor things in this. I changed a really minor line of text and fixed some weird faces. One breast drawing too.
Nrama:Timeline wise, how does this fit in with Alphabet to Infinity?
Graham: It's all before the Alphabet to Infinity stuff. I think each short story in this is set six months or a year before the last one.
Nrama: With this new printing of this 2003-2007 work and also your Walrus book over at PictureBox, what’s it been like looking back at your work and presenting it to your modern audience who knows you primarily for Prophet and King City?
Graham: I hadn't thought about it like that. I still think of King City as like the gateway book into what I do. and then people can see how restrained I am from awful puns in Prophet. It's an ongoing fight. Today my misses found an old man hair growing out of my ear that she got rid of-- and then had to listen with me explaining how it was named Amelia Earhair and how much we all would wonder what happened to it for years.
Nrama: Seeing you do this leads me to ask – any chance you might reprint your even older work like October Yen or perhaps your adult comics from Sizzle and elsewhere?
Graham: I don't think October Yen is worth reprinting. I was a teenager when I did that, and I managed to break my back falling off a telephone pole in the middle of it. So the working conditions weren't ideal either.
But yeah, I want to reprint a lot of my older work, Escalator and Universe So Big (that the 3rd issue never got printed) and all the old porn stuff too. I wanted to call that collection "Fuck comics" and Image was cool with it, I just wonder how that would work out with comic shops ordering it.
Nrama: Last question – with this now seeing print, do you have more plans for Multiple Warheads in the future?
Graham: Yes indeed, I am working on new pages of that today. The next Multiple Warheads book is called Ghost Town. Like I was saying earlier I feel like Multiple Warheads is kind of a work in progress. I think with both it and Prophet how I feel about the quality of the work as a whole will depend on if I can pull off what I have planned next. It's both exciting and scary.