One of the several new Image Comics titles announced Thursday at Emerald City Comic Con is a new miniseries titled Death of Love. Luther Strode's Justin Jordan and Felipe Sobreiro are teaming with artist Donal Delay on a unique reponse to being heartbroken - killing Cupids.
Newsarama spoke with the trio about this red-heavy bloody action comedy, the opportunity it gives for the art, and some possible real world connections to Jordan's own life.
Newsarama: "Death of Love" is quite a title. What does it mean?
Justin Jordan: Cupid Murder.
But, the basic gist of Death of Love is that a supposedly nice guy, bummed about his inability to get the girl, ends up with the ability to see the Cupidae that make love possible. And after he tries to interrogate one things get... slightly out of hand. This where cupids versus chainsaws comes in.
Nrama: Drawing blood, guts, and murdered Cupids seems interesting. What's it like for you?
Donal Delay: As of now, I'm nearly done with issue one, which sets up the story, so there isn't a lot of violence yet, but I'm excited to draw cupid guts. Justin is good at writing action packed comics - anyone who has read the Luther Strode books will vouch for that - so I'm sure it's going to be a blast to draw.
Nrama: Felipe, this book is about love and murder. A lot of red coloring for this? What's your approach for this book?
Felipe Sobreiro: People tend to always comment that I must really love the color red because of how often I use it, especially in Justin's comics. But I swear I just have no other choice! Justin's comics just have a lot of red in them, be it actual blood or gross carrion-like Spread monsters, or in this case, cupid brutality. Stylistically, we're going with more textured brushes and less cel-shading in Death of Love - I think it fits both the vibe of the story and Donal's art.
Nrama: So this “nice guy” is Philo Harris - who is he?
Delay: He's a jerk. He’s the “nice guy" that sexualizes women. He's the kind of guy that gets mopey because he's "in the friend zone" and can't have a relationship with a woman that doesn't benefit him physically. The kind of guy that acts like a shoulder to cry on so he can cop a feel or stare at cleavage.
Jordan: Philo is our… well… hero isn't the right word. Protagonist. He's a more or less regular guy when we first meet him, with one major problem: his love life is nigh on non-existent. This can't possibly be because of anything that's his fault, so he tries to find a reason why that is. And he gets an answer, that puts him at war with the supernatural forces of love.
Nrama: This is comedy through and through, but what are the real stakes involved?
Jordan: Well there's the possible death of all the characters (and if you've read my books, you know I ain't kidding - I've killed before, I can do it again) but Philo also manages to throw a pretty big money wrench into the system that makes love happen, which they need to try and fix before it messes up basically the whole world.
Nrama: Who else is in this book?
Jordan: In addition to Philo and the Cupidae, we've also got Bob, his best friend, and Zoe, his love interest. Well, he's interested in her love, although he's not receiving what he wants, anyway. There's also a couple of gods.
Nrama: How did you connect with Donal DeLay for this?
Jordan: Well, the book exists because of Donal. And I don't mean that in the sense that is always true, because comics are a collaboration. Basically I'd posted a Facebook post that was something along the lines of "I had this image of a dude attacking cupids with a chainsaw” and Donal sketched that as his warm-up and I saw that and was like "yeah, we should do this"… And so we have.
Which is all true, but it leaves out that I'd been watching Donal for a bit and thought his stuff was really cool, so when it looked like we could do this, I jumped on it.
Nrama: Donal, you've done some small press work before this, but Death of Love seems your big break, with Image Comics no less. What made this specific story something you wanted to do?
Delay: Image is where I started as a reader, and it's the one place I've always wanted to work, so I'm incredibly happy. Death of Love came together pretty much because my buddy Matt Krotzer suggested me to Justin. Justin will sometimes post an elevator pitch for a random concept, and one happened to be for Death of Love. I thought it was a rad idea, and ended up doing fan art of it. Justin liked it, and I mentioned it was something I'd love to draw and we took off from there. The concept, which could fit a tweet, just sounded like it would be funny and have lots of ultra-violence. Two things I enjoy drawing.
Nrama: And you're re-teaming with long-time colorist Felipe Sobreiro. Can you describe the bond you two have, and why you come to him for your coloring work from Luther Strode to Spread, and now this?
Jordan: Felipe is a really great colorist, and a very versatile one - I don't think, for instance, you'd necessarily know that Felipe was the same colorist for both Strode and Spread if you didn't know, because the approaches and palettes are very different. But because he's so flexible, and because we've worked together a lot and well (I've worked more with Felipe than any one person in comics - we're at forty or so issues together) he's my go to person.
Delay: I know Felipe's work. His colors on Strode were brilliant and enhanced everything on the pages, and his work on Spread has been just as fantastic. I see Death of Love as a low budget grindhouse flick in comic form, and when I get the first set of colors back from Felipe, it fit that mentality exactly. So I stay out of his way and let him save my butt.
Sobreiro:It's my first time working with him and I'm excited! The process with a new artist on a series, unless he or she has a very specific coloring style in mind, before we start working on the first issue - is for me to color initial sample sketches, pinups or even pages, send them to the guys and see if we're all OK with the direction it's going, make adjustments, etc. Once that initial trial period is done, I'm basically left to my own devices to color the issues (of course, following closely the script and whatever opinions both the writer and the artist may have). If we sort out overall elements of style early on, the process flows without a lot of need to edit or redo stuff.
Jordan: For this project I was pretty sure his stuff was going to mesh well with Donal's line art, which proved to be 100% true. Felipe's also done the logo and ad design, and it is awesome.
Sobreiro: It's very smooth. Justin is very easy to talk with, despite being a nonstop idea machine he's always flexible and open to have the artists also speak their minds and take some of the creative reigns of the projects!
Nrama: What are your big goals for Death of Love?
Jordan: Man, I just want people to read the book and have a good time. Anything else is gravy. But if enough people buy it so we make a little cash, I won't complain.
Delay: I just want to make the best comic I possibly can, so I can work with these cats again and make more.
Nrama: Last question, then - Philo mentions a cat named Bob Dylan. You have a cat named Tom Waits. Both musicians, so how deep is this pulled from your own life - not counting the murdering of cupids?
Jordan: It's similar but not the same. Honestly, I hope I'm not too much like Philo, because he's kind of a douche. I think I'm more like Bob, but that might just be wishful thinking. But otherwise it's not too ripped from the Jordan headlines. It's mostly based on seeing a lot of people making the same mistakes over and over.