Jay Faerber has been going his own way for a while now. The writer who got his start penning "Generation X" stories for Marvel before moving on to "Titans," "New Warriors," "Robotech" and more has spent the last several years focusing on creator-owned books like "Noble Causes," "Dynamo 5" and "Near Death." As announced at Comic-Con International in San Diego, Faerber adds another brand new book to his repertoire come October 10, this one a four issue miniseries from Image Comics called "Point of Impact."
The series is a murder mystery that follows a trio of people trying to figure out who killed their friend, Nicole. As they each unearth various details about what happened, the reader sees it all and gets the fuller picture of what went down. Faerber enlisted up-and-coming artist Koray Koranel to draw the book, which is printed entirely in black and white, including the ads and covers. CBR News spoke Faerber about joining forces with Koranel, the challenges involved in telling such a multifaceted mystery and why he chose to develop a much shorter story than he usually works with.
CBR News: Most of your comic work has been either ongoing or six-issue minis. Was it difficult working within the parameters of four issues for "Point of Impact?"
Jay Faerber: Not really, no -- we knew from the get-go that this would be a four-issue series, so it was just a matter of pacing the story out to fit in the allotted space. The series was fully plotted before I began scripting it, so I was able to use each issue to its full effect in terms of covering the necessary plot ground, set-ups, pay-offs, cliffhangers, etc.
Was having everything plotted out ahead of time a change of pace from your longer form work? Were there other differences on that end?
The only difference is that, because this is a finite project, I made sure to plot the whole thing at once, rather than have a rough idea of where I'm going and fill in the blanks as I go. I wanted this to be a tight mystery where everything pays off, so I plotted it as one cohesive story as opposed to four stories.
Koray Koranel is a relative newcomer to comics. What was it about his work that made the right artist for this book?
Koray -- who was introduced to me by our mutual friend, Yildiray Cinar, who drew "Noble Causes" for a while -- is a phenomenal storyteller and that's something this story needed. While there is action in the book, it's not what I'd call action-packed. I needed someone who could handle the quieter, character-based stuff; the nuance of a slow scene. Koray really went above and beyond the call of duty. There's a sequence in the fourth issue that's just dazzling. And yes, issues #1-3 are fully drawn, and Koray has already pencilled issue #4, so we're way ahead of schedule.
How important was it for you guys to get most of the issues in the can before announcing the series?
It was very important, because Koray was working on this alongside his "day job" of storyboards and commercial art. We've been quietly working on this for quite some time until we got to a point where we could solicit it and know that we'd hit all our dates.
You and Koray are working with stark black and white -- was that the idea from the beginning?
When I first pitched the book, I think Eric Stephenson suggested we maybe do greytones, so I had a colorist tone a few pages, but it just didn't add anything. Koray and I wanted the book to be black and white, so he drew the pages with that in mind. Some black and white books just look like pages that haven't been colored yet, but these pages really take advantage of straight black and white -- to the extent that adding toning didn't really work, since the artwork wasn't designed with that in mind. It wasn't a good fit.
The story revolves around a woman named Nicole Rafferty, or more specifically, her death. What is it about her that kicks things off?
You said it yourself -- it's her death. We open with her death. That's the "inciting incident," in pretentious writer-speak. But she's not just a cypher -- through the three people investigating her death, we get to know her. But it's all through the lens of these three people.
What else can you tell us about this trio of Mitch, Boone and Abby other than they're each trying to solve the mystery of Nicole's murder?
Mitch is Nicole's husband, and he's an investigative reporter. I've always loved the idea of the reporter as the hero in a mystery. "All the President's Men" is one of my favorite movies. Abby is Nicole's friend and is a homicide detective. Boone is having an affair with Nicole, and he's an ex-soldier. To me, these are three interesting archetypes in crime fiction -- the investigative reporter, the cop and the outsider; whether he's actually a PI, or someone with no official job, he's an independent operator. I thought it'd be fun to have these three archetypes investigate the same crime from three different perspectives.
One of the hallmarks of the procedural or who-done-it story is that many different people hold pieces to the true story of what happened to the victim. Is that something you wanted to play with in this series?
Yes, but while I'm hardly the first person to approach a story this way, I think most often, mysteries have a single investigator -- there's one guy, or a pair of people, or whatever, investigating the crime in tandem. I really wanted to play with the idea of three people -- who don't know each other, but are connected by their relationship with the victim -- investigating the same crime, and each of them uncovering different pieces. Eventually their paths will intersect -- or perhaps even collide -- but for the most part, they operate independently.
Do you think having three leads each gaining their own part of the story but the reader seeing it all gets the reader more involved in the mystery?
I hope so. I think it makes for a more interesting story, following three separate lead characters. They each have different methods, different approaches. Because the three characters are so different, the way they investigate -- and the way they deal with the people they encounter along the way -- is different.
Were there any other noir or mystery conventions you wanted to play with while working on this book?
I don't think this is a noir or mystery convention, but I wanted to explore the way we behave differently when we're with different people. This woman, Nicole Rafferty -- she meant different things to Boone, Abby and Mitch. They could each argue that they knew her well, but did they know everything about her? Probably not. And as these people investigate her death, they learn things about her life that surprise them. I just find that sort of thing interesting.
"Point of Impact" from Image Comics, writer Jay Faerber and artist Koray Koranel drops on October 10.