Noted writer / creator J. Michael Straczynski is relaunching his funny book imprint Joe's Comics this May published through Image Comics. The first title, Ten Grand, has JMS working with Ben Templesmith (Welcome to Hoxford, Fell, 30 Days of Night) to tell the story of mob enforcer Joe Fitzgerald. After meeting Laura, Joe intends to quit the mob life after one last job. You can probably see where this is going. Of course, that last job turns out to be a big one that doesn't go exactly as planned. His target was into demonology and survives Joe's attempt on his life. In return, he kills Laura and leaves Joe for death. It's here that an angelic force swoops in to make Joe an offer: He'll be returned to life over and over again to work for them and in exchange, every time he dies, he'll be with Laura once again...for five minutes at a time.
"The temptation to bring back Joe's Comics has been very powerful over the last few years,” said creator J. Michael Straczynski, "but I really wanted to wait until I had a collection of stories that I absolutely had to tell, that, like Midnight Nation, wouldn't let me go until they were told. Stories that could be dark, funny, deeply personal but also played out on a large stage in terms of action. As those started to show up over the last few years – often in the middle of the night, which is why Joe's Comics bears the slugline 'where it's always five minute to midnight' – I began to pull them together until I felt I had what I needed, and made the deal with Image to move forward.”
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"How could I say no to working with the guy that created Babylon 5, that fairly well shaped how I think about science fiction and long form TV?” Templesmith said. "It was an honor to be asked and I can but hope to rise to the occasion.”
JMS is making Ten Grand extra special by including a QR code in the back of the first issue. When scanned, readers will be led to an audio performance of the book's dialogue by some big name voice actors including Babylon 5 alumus Robin Atkin Downes, Yuri Lowenthal, and Tara Platt.
The first issue of Ten Grand is due out on May 1st. A convention variant will be unveiled the week before at C2E2 in Chicago. The first two issues will also feature variant covers by Bill Sienkiewicz plus Phantom variants. Like other titles under the Joe's Comics imprint, Ten Grand will run in twelve issue installments with a two to three month break between each segment used as a catch up period.
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Joe's Comics has been responsible for some big titles in the past such as Midnight Nation and Rising Stars. I can't speak on the former, but the latter was one of the comics that got me back into the medium and still ranks as one of my favorite books of all time. I'm excited to see JMS returning to this territory as I haven't been that impressed with his licensed work. I recently re-read his run on Amazing Spider-Man and was pretty bored. Plus, he made Superman walk across the country for some reason. Anyway, Ten Grand sounds pretty cool and with Ben Templesmith's involvement, I'm in. In many ways, Joe Fitzgerald reminds me of Cal MacDonald from Criminal Macabre which Templesmith drew as well so this is a good fit.
What do you think of the return of Joe's Comics? Are you excited for Ten Grand? Would you fight for the angels in exchange for five minutes with the love of your life?
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