Late last month, writer Charles Soule told Newsarama that he was planning on making DC’s Red Lanterns a comic version of Sons of Anarchy. Well, now the real deal is coming in to do it themselves.
Boom! Studios announced late in June that it was launching a six-issue comic series tying into the rough-riding FX series, which follows a California-based motorcycle gang that has to deal with problems both inside and outside their group. Some people have called the television series “Hamlet meets Harley Davidson,” but however you want to phrase it this motorcycle club is going to be showing up in your local comic shop come September.
But just how will they fit in? Series writer Christopher Golden says perfectly.
“Sons of Anarchy has the perfect combination of character and action,” the writer of multiple Hellboy novels explains. “There are regular doses of violence and bloodshed and intrigue, plus the iconic imagery of the American motorcycle gang, but none of that would work if not for the tension that the show creates out of the conflict in the show between personal desire and the honor of the club (and fealty TO the club).”
The show centers on Jax Teller, the son of one of the motorcycle club’s founder and the heir apparent to take over the group. But despite his blood (and because of it), he knows not all can be trusted inside the MC.
“Like Michael Corleone in The Godfather, Jax was born into this world, but when he grew up and took a hard look at it — especially when he became a father — he realized that it wasn't what he saw for his future,” says Golden. “But also like Michael Corleone, just when he thought he was out, it pulled him back in. I love that these are characters who know without a doubt that they can absolutely, without reservation, trust the rest of the club to have their backs...right up until that moment when they can't.”
In this standalone six issue comic series, Golden and artist Damian Couceiro will be pulling back the curtain on an untold chapter from SAMCRO’s past that bleeds into their present day.
“The comic book’s story is called "The Whistle Blower" and it ranges up and down the west coast,” reveals Golden. “It's about loyalty conflicting with business, about human monsters, about hired killers, and about grief. It's about keeping one young woman alive because it's the right thing to do, even when it's bad for the club. It's about Tig and his pain and an old friend who would've been a good sounding board for him...if he'd been alive long enough.”
The young woman in question is a new character in the Sons of Anarchy story named Kendra, a niece of an early SAMCRO member. But unlike other MC relatives such as Jax that was born and raised in the club, Kendra’s life took was outside the boundaries of Charming but those family ties – both literally and figuratively – find her back at the doorstep of the Sons’ house.
“Kendra’s uncle was a member and he always told her that if she was ever in real trouble, the Sons would help her. She's in real trouble,” Golden says bluntly.
That help comes in the form of the Sons and primarily of the club’s former Sergeant-at-Arms, Tig – played in the show excellently by Kim Coates.
“Once upon a time, Tig was her uncle's best friend in the club. Once upon a time, they wanted to kill each other. Now she needs help and comes to him...unaware that he's just lost his daughter and may be less stable than ever.”
Tig’s daughter Dawn was killed by the ganger Damon Pope in the opening episodes of last year’s fifth season, and the Sons of Anarchy comic is set squarely in that time period – prior to the upcoming sixth season. And with that, the comic promises to show more than just familiar faces like Tig.
“We’ll be seeing most of the significant characters along the way,’ Golden promises. “Gemma has a role to play, as does Jax, of course. I'm enjoying visiting with Tig, Chibs and Happy quite a bit, too.”
Even if you’ve never tried to join a motorcycle club, you can imagine how difficult it could be. When asked about acclimating to the world of SAMCRO, Golden, who also worked with Mike Mignola on the Baltimore comic book series, draws some comparisons with the demonic world of Mignola’s Hellboy.
“I'm a huge fan of Sons of Anarchy.” Golden admits. “When I love something this much it doesn't take a lot of acclimation. I'm deeply invested not just in the fates of these characters, but in who they are and how they see themselves. In real life, we have a perception of ourselves that is, in some ways, the most important thing we own. That perception drives us, informs all of our decisions. It can endure a lot, but that doesn't mean it can't be shattered. What amazes me is how far some people will go to justify their behavior to themselves, just to preserve that self-perception.
“Normally I wouldn't say there's much comparison to be drawn between Hellboy and Sons of Anarchy, but here's one — Hellboy and Jax both spend their lives trying to be better than the destinies they were dealt, one with significantly more success — thus far at least — than the other.”
After the wild success of Sons of Anarchy into six television series (and counting), the idea that this Sons of Anarchy comic series could live on well past this first miniseries is more than just wishful thinking. Although he couldn’t go into too much detail on what that might entail, Golden did hint at some threads from the television series he wants to chase down if given the chance.
“Belfast, baby. Belfast.”