|"The Cross Bronx" #3|
"The Cross Bronx" tells the story of Detective Raphael Aponte as he investigates the mysterious slayings of several gang members in the Bronx. The investigation quickly takes a turn to the bizarre and brings Aponte face to face with the supernatural world in the form of a revenge-seeking ghost called Santeria. The revelation that a ghost is responsible for the slayings forces Aponte to question his core beliefs and also threatens his very life. "Our main character is having a crisis of faith, both in justice and in God, and he's going to need at least both of these to get out of the situation he finds himself in," Oeming told CBR News.
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The genesis of this complex thriller was actually something very simple - a street sign Oeming saw on a trip to New York and the neighborhood that would eventually be the home of "The Cross Bronx" story. Oeming was inspired by what he saw around him and couldn't wait to start working. "My wife and in laws are from the Castle Hill area of the Bronx, that section of the highway is called the Cross Bronx. Every time I saw that sign visiting them, new ideas just popped into my head," said Oeming.
After the initial story began to take shape, the city continued to provide inspiration for Oeming. "A lot of the aesthetics of the Bronx are the influence," said Oeming. "It's a city of contrasts. Good and Bad areas, Catholics and Pagan, Santeria, community groups, gangs, cops, families, slums, trees, nice homes, buildings and parks. It's a small world unto itself."
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The working relationship between Oeming and Brandon on this project is somewhat typical in that they both share the writing chores while Oeming draws the book. However, there are some elements of their collaboration that are unique to Oeming and Brandon's talents and style. "Mike will make more changes in the actual art stage than you're likely to see from a more traditional collaboration… we're both constantly shifting things up til the end, whereas usually things are more firmly bolted down early on," said Brandon.
Oeming added, "After ping-ponging the script, I'll draw it and allow it to be very organic. I don't change scenes, but pacing will change and I'll do minor adjustments to the script because of that, and then Ivan does more changes now that there's new art and dialogue and (then) he takes over the entire production end."
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Brandon was able to sum up his feelings on ghosts and the supernatural much more simply, "For the right price, I'll believe anything."
So, whatever you may believe about God, revenge, ghosts or the supernatural, "The Cross Bronx" delivers a compelling story, interesting characters, fantastic visuals and shocking revelations sure to please the most demanding comic book fan.