ORIGIN OF THE SPECIES
I recently finished an article for THE COMIC READER #3 - due out in September or maybe October at the rate things are going - about the Gorilla series, TELLOS. I like the book a whole lot. Got to reread it two or three times in researching it. But a big roadblock went up when I realized that the article I was writing in June wouldn't see print until September. This was a problem because I had taken notes on all sorts of story points I wanted to discuss in the article. But by the time the article comes out, another issue or two of the series may be out, and some of the surprises would be solved already.
So what's a guy to do? Simple: Run that material on the web, the medium without a lead-time. =)
TELLOS - THE CUT SCENES
The series has a bunch of little mysteries running through it, some of which are pretty danged obvious, some of which are left a little subtler. They're bits and pieces that don't scream out, but might leave an astute reader wondering, "What happened to -- ?"
The following is some speculation based on my readings of the book and interviews with Todd Dezago and Mike Wieringo. Obviously, you can consider the rest of this column to be fairly spoiler-intensive. If you've never read the series before, then I guess I'll just bid you a good weekend and see you back here in this very space on Tuesday. =)
Where did Jarek come from? When we first meet him, he's running through the streets of Jeffsport with Koj. But no mention so far has been made of his parents, any potential siblings, or his past before he came to know Koj. In fact, not much is even known of what their partnership was like before the events in TELLOS #1. Jarek is, by DeZago's admission, probably somewhere around 13, but the mystery of his parents is still untold. Subtle clues may be gathered from a scene in the third issue, however. In it, Jarek appears to be in a dazed state, as he witnesses a quarrel between a wine maker and a puppeteer. Their carts have just crashed, and Jarek is focused on three distinct puppets that lie in the wine. The wine could be easily seen as blood. The first two puppets, one male and one female, would be Jarek's parents. The third puppet, complete with blond hair and blue clothes, would be the substitute for Jarek.
What is Hawke's big secret? If you've read the TELLOS PROLOGUE offered by Dynamic Forces, you'll know part of this answer. The question to ask next is, "Does this secret have parallels elsewhere in Tellos?" Koj gets picked up and saved from falling off a Dragon by a bunch of winged creatures at one point. Is that to be seen as a similar thing? Or just coincidence?
Who is the traitor within the group? Malesur mentions an insider he has amongst the group of protagonists that feeds him information. Just about everyone is a suspect. How much do we really know of Brad? Is Tom working for both sides, as part of some potentially misguided effort? Or, more likely, is it Dani, the mail delivery girl? Take a look at the last page of issue #7. Note the way things are handled. Tom is interrupted from his discussion about the traitor when - Dani flies in and cuts him off. She seemed pretty friendly with Serra, however, in the second issue when she first appeared. Her abrasive boss may be a more likely suspect, with Dani being unwittingly duped.
For what it's worth, DeZago told me that he was surprised by how much interest the traitor thread captured the interest of TELLOS' readership. If he had known the level of interest in this part of the storyline, in retrospect, he might have punched it up a bit more.
Who will survive this first storyline? DeZago answers: "Some characters just aren't gonna be around for the Award Ceremony..." Someone, or some ones, won't be around for issue #11, unless it's in flashback mode. Care to lay odds? I tried to figure it out, but there aren't too many disposable characters. (Of course, the last time I said that, Fabian Nicieza offed Jolt. I still hold, however, that she's not dead. She'll be back out of that test tube shortly. But the series is weaker without her.)
Koj, Jarek, and Serra seem to be the core of the series. I can't imagine one of them being felled. Hawke and Rikk are possibilities. I'd miss their wonderful humorous conversations, but maybe Rikk was always fated to be the one to give his life to save all of TELLOS. That could be the pump that was primed in the SECTION ZERO story…
What's a "hinder"? Malesur makes reference to Kaj, Jarek, et. al. throughout the series as "hinders." That's not short for anything. They are hindering his progress, so that's how he refers to them. The use of a preceding apostrophe in the third issue was a typo in the script that made it to print. This usage was recently borne out in the TELLOS preview story in SECTION ZERO #1.
Some oddball notes from the fifth issue:
- Isn't it neat how every issue has a summation of the events so far that doesn't feel redundant? Usually, it's a different character doing them summarizing.
- The big fight scene ends with an attack from the movie MAGNOLIA's monsters. =)
- What scars Koj, exactly? Is it the airboat that lands on his head, or the sword that he gets cut with? Shortly after the airboat incident, there's a scar seen on his face. It disappears after that, only to come back after the sword attack…
One web note: The Worldoftellos.com web site has been more or less merged with the main TELLOS.com website.
There's so much more to consider: Why do the birds save Jarek? Is the shadow mask a neat little visual manifestation of his plotline? What's this about Serra's back scar showing a familiar formation to Rikk in issue six? Is she going to sprout wings next? Is it some sort of mark from Malesur? What exactly are Tom's powers? What's the connection between Serra and Malesur that is hinted at in the seventh issue? Why do the French pictured in one issue wear San Diego Comic Con shirts? (OK, that I can answer: Dezago told me that they wore a different con's shirt each day.)
In any case, I highly recommend TELLOS as a series that's both well written and well drawn. The next issue should be out the first week of August. There's a trade paperback of the first three issues now available, also.
[Editors Note: We messed up! We never put Augie's Day Three coverage of San Diego online! You can read it now by clicking here. We apologize for any inconvenience - J]