While Garth Ennis may not be synonymous with the word “romance,” his most popular works such as Preacher and The Boys were built on it. And now, he’s putting it front and center.
This October, Dynamite will debut A Train Called Love, a romance series by Garth Ennis and Mark Dos Santos wherein a lovelorn “lunatic” finds the man of her dreams – and two gangsters out to kill him. Although Ennis’ trademark gunplay and violence is at play here, the writer says that he’s putting the romance front-and-center.
“People keep asking me about doing a romance comic, and I think it was that particular genre’s turn,” Ennis tells Newsarama. “I've been working my way through various ones in the last few years: war, horror, crime, dogs, even sci-fi. I suppose that just leaves sword and sorcery, God help us.”
A Train Called Love kicks off when a woman, Valerie, begins getting dirty phone calls and goes out for revenge.
“Valerie is a complete lunatic with a somewhat tenuous grip on reality, who's been secretly hoping that her humdrum life will someday turn into an action movie. So good news for Val,” said Ennis.
In pursuit of that revenge, Valerie meets Myles and two gangsters gunning for his life.
“Myles is a very nice chap on an extended vacation from England, whose appearance in Valerie's life supplies the aforementioned action movie,” Ennis adds. “It really isn't his fault, although I ought to say that his time in New York has involved a number of unfortunate contract killings.”
Valerie and Myles’ lives get even more complicated with the influx of relatives, best friends, Germans, and even the Ku Klux Klan. Hard as it might be, the scene-stealer is a new Ennis creation called Mr. Fluffy.
“Mr. Fluffy is a big white rabbit who just wants a carrot. His name is an accurate reflection of his appearance, but not of his personality,” reveals Ennis. “In fact he's a bad-tempered bastard who just wants to be left alone, but for some reason people keep picking him up and cuddling him.”
"Bad-tempered bastard"? That's not too uncommon for Garth Ennis stories, but he reminsces with Newsarama on some of his most memorable romances leading up to A Train Called Love.
"Jesse and Tulip from Preacher are up there, definitely. Hughie and Annie in The Boys, Tommy and Tiegel in Hitman- although they just fought all the time," says Ennis. "Nick Fury and Shirley in Fury MAX: My War Gone By, if you're into doomed romance. The Wanker and his right hand in Dicks, that was one for the ages. But overall I think it would have to be Billy and Becky Butcher, just because of how great they were when they were together, and what a difference she made to his life."
As for how Ennis convinced Dynamite to let him tread new ground with a romance series like A Train Called Love, the writer describes the negotiations with CEO Nick Barrucci as pretty quick.
"'Nick, I want to do a romance comic,' I said," Ennis tells Newsarama. "Nick said, 'Sounds good to me.'"