Faerber & Asrar on "Dynamo 5" #25

Tue, August 18th, 2009 at 11:58am PDT | Updated: August 18th, 2009 at 12:00pm

Comic Books
Josh Wigler, Staff Writer
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"Dynamo 5" #25 on sale September 30

As promised and teased by writer Jay Faerber and artist Mahmud Asrar, change is certainly coming to the pages of Image's "Dynamo 5" as the book reaches its milestone 25th issue. While the status quo of "Dynamo 5" is undergoing a dramatic overhaul, the most surprising change could be on the production side of things, as issue #25 marks Asrar's departure as regular interior artist. CBR News caught up with Faerber and Asrar for a look back on their time with "Dynamo 5," the reasons behind Asrar's departure, and an exclusive look at the mysterious future of the series.

It's impossible to know just how well a comic book is going to perform before it's unveiled to the public, but in the case of "Dynamo 5," Faerber had plenty of faith in the superhero title's potential. "I felt confident that Mahmud and I had put together a good book, but that's never a guarantee of success," Faerber told CBR. "We knew going in that chances were slim that we'd be an overnight hit, so we were prepared to wait for readers to find us. And that ended up happening. Our first issue sold out, and then our second issue sold out, and then stores were able to adjust their orders a little more accurately."

Faerber certainly had cause for his confidence. While "Dynamo 5" is on the cusp of its 25th issue, the writer has already taken his series "Noble Causes" through similar milestones, including its finale in "Noble Causes" #40 last year. According to Faerber, his experience on "Noble Causes" has certainly helped him throughout "Dynamo 5." "It gave me the opportunity to learn from every single mistake I made with 'Noble Causes,' and there were a lot of them," Faerber said. "But it's always good to learn from mistakes, right? I think 'Dynamo 5' was a much stronger book from the very first issue because of everything I learned with 'Noble Causes,' and I'm talking less about writing and more about publishing. I think all the different miniseries formats really hurt 'Noble Causes,' because in the long run, it made it really complicated for people to figure out how to read the book in back issues, assuming they were reading in singles and not trades. So with 'Dynamo 5,' we were much more committed to staying the course [and] keeping the numbering consistent."

Even though the book got off to a better start than "Noble Causes," Faerber says there's always room for improvement. The writer explained that such a boost in quality occurred around issue #16, when he decided to change the format of his scripts. "Instead of blocking everything out panel-by-panel – the 'full script' style – I laid entire sequences out in very broad strokes – 'Marvel style' – and this is where Mahmud really took the ball and ran with it,” Faerber said. “His layouts and sense of pacing really knocked me over, and he kind of sealed his own fate, since I started doing that more and more and letting him choreograph entire scenes, sometimes the majority of the issue."

"Issue #16 and onwards was a big step forward for us," Mahmud Asrar told CBR. "The way we collaborated evolved into a better status and I guess it was reflected in our work. Jay put more trust in my work, which resulted in me enjoying the work much more than I already did. From that point onwards I think the book turned into a true collaboration."

"Dynamo 5" #25 teasers

"I think the book has always looked great, but Mahmud brought more of himself to it starting with issue #16," Faerber elaborated. "That's not to say he was phoning it in before that – far from it. But up until that point, he was working under my direction in terms of panel count per page, fight choreography, that sort of thing. So to the reader, they probably don't notice any difference, but I sure do!"

Still, the enhanced comfort level between the writer and artist of "Dynamo 5" will only last a little longer. Following issue #25, Asrar will no longer be the regular interior artist on the series. "There were several reasons for the departure," Asrar explained. "The primary reason was to get to work on different projects so that I could grow as an artist and at the [same time] also get more recognition for my work. This was a decision that was really, really hard to make on my part as 'Dynamo 5' has been such a big part of my life for the past two to three years. I have been thinking about doing this for a while and came to the conclusion that it’d be best if I do it at the right time, and what better time to do it than at issue #25? It is a milestone issue and conceptually a good time, since it’s the issue where 'Change is Coming.'"

"I can assure you we're parting on very good terms,” Faerber said. “Mahmud and I have become friends during this partnership, so I'm incredibly happy that he has other opportunities available, and I want nothing but the best for him. I feel lucky to have worked with him for as long as I have."

Even though he's leaving the interiors, Asrar plans to remain involved in the series. "Truthfully, I can't imagine leaving 'Dynamo 5' completely, so I will be staying on as the regular cover artist as long as I can," Asrar said. "Being a co-creator on the book, I'll also be doing character designs and so on. In short, I'll try to be as involved with the book as time allows."

That's not to say that there aren't some mixed emotions as Asrar approaches his final issue as interior artist. "It is indeed sentimental in a way," Asrar admitted. "It seems like it wasn't that long ago that we were planning on what to do after we reached issue #12, if we ever reached it at all. Now, we have four trade paperbacks worth of issues. I always felt so comfortable working on 'Dynamo 5,' that it was a platform where I could always improve on my work. This issue being my final one, at least for a while, is intimidating in a way. With each issue, I really want to top what I did in the previous one, but this issue is something else in that sense. It will be an issue people will look back on and remember both as a milestone issue and the final issue I drew, and I want them to do that in a positive way. I wouldn't want them to go and say, 'Man, I'm glad that hack left the book!' So I'm a little anxious about that."

Following Asrar’s departure, "Dynamo 5" will go on a brief hiatus. "With Mahmud leaving with issue #25, we're going to take a break while the new [yet-to-be-announced] artist gets up to speed," Faerber explained. "We're going to be more careful about when we solicit issues, so while 'Dynamo 5' will continue to be an ongoing series, it may not always be a monthly series."

"Dynamo 5" #25 teasers

The term "milestone issue" isn't being tossed around lightly, as Faerber explained that issue #25 contains some very interesting obstacles for the Dynamo 5 squad. "We've been saying that 'Change is Coming' for a while now, and when you read issue #25, you'll see that we weren't kidding," teased Faerber. "I can't go into specifics, of course, because I want to preserve the surprise for readers. But it's a pretty big change, and one that would be tough to do – with any lasting effect – at Marvel and DC."

"Issue #25 is where some questions will be answered that have been around since the first issue of the series," Asrar added. "So, longtime readers will be hopefully feel rewarded and satisfied. All the while, the book still remains very accessible to anyone to who wishes to jump on. However, the main thing that happens is that there really is a big change happening in this issue and it’s no joke. The teasers hold clues to what’s coming."

The teasers in question depict five characters that look suspiciously similar to the main Dynamo 5 cast, but each of them sports unusual appearances and codenames. Exactly who are these characters? Faerber wouldn't say, but he offered a few clues. "You may remember at the very end of issue #1, Maddie guns down two villains in cold blood and says, 'Kind of makes you wonder what else I never told [Dynamo 5], doesn't it?' Well, in issue #25, we finally see just what else Maddie never told the kids – and it's a doozy," Faerber teased. "[The teasers] appear to depict five characters in Dynamo 5 costumes of some kind, and some of the characters look kind of familiar. Do they have a connection to our heroes? I can say that they do… sort of. The five characters depicted in these teasers will play hugely important roles in the future of 'Dynamo 5.' And it all starts in issue #25."

"Dynamo 5" #25 hits stands on September 30, 2009 from Image Comics.

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TAGS:  dynamo 5, jay faerber, mahmud asrar, image comics

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