|"After the Cape II" #1 on sale in November|
It's easy to be a substance abusing superhero if you're a dashing, unmarried billionaire who answers to no one but yourself, but what about the street-level hero who's both husband and father? What happens to him when he gets older, the money gets tighter, and the bottom of the bottle is nowhere in sight? What would he do to take care of his family?
Those questions were asked of Ethan Falls, aka Captain G, in Image Comics' hit "After the Cape." Produced by Jim Valentino's Shadowline imprint, the three-issue miniseries depicted for readers a powerful and emotionally honest story of a superhero fallen on hard times, a hero who made the choice to turn to crime to provide for his wife and children. On sale now in a collected edition, "After the Cape" was just the first part of the tale of Ethan Falls, a saga that continues in November's "After the Cape II." CBR News spoke with writers Howard Wong & Jim Valentino and artist Sergio Carrera about the new miniseries and what's next for the disgraced superhero.
Six months after the events of the first volume, "After the Cape II" #1 finds Ethan in worse shape than ever and with even more on the horizon. Trouble is on its way in the form of the Russian Mob, with whom Ethan became entangled previously, as well as his former teammates from the United Heroes, a group he alienated deeply when they discovered how low he'd sunk. Worst of all, Ethan's wife Ellen and their children have left him, and she's determined to move on.
|"After the Cape II" #1, pages 1 and 2|
Co-writer Jim Valentino agreed, saying, "If we could say that the first series involved actions , then it can be said that this second series involves consequences . Everyone who was introduced in the first series comes back. How they move forward and what happens to them is what the second series is all about. We see this as a character-driven book and this second series is going to have a lot of very shocking twists, turns and consequences."
"After the Cape" is by most standards an indie comics success story. Then an aspiring writer, Wong placed an ad online in hopes of finding someone to illustrate his story. Artist Marco Rudy answered the call, and their collaboration in-progress caught the attention of Image co-founder Jim Valentino, who worked closely with the pair of first-time creators to fine-tune their project into a three-issue miniseries that exceeded all parties' expectations.
|"After the Cape II" #1, pages 3 and 4|
"In our estimation, that's like a home run."
"As a newcomer to the industry, it was a wonderful, surprising shock how people responded to it," Wong remarked.
Joining Wong and Valentino for "After the Cape II" is Argentinian artist Sergio Carrera, who like Wong and Rudy before him, is debuting his first American comics work at Shadowline. "Sergio is one of the finest new talents I've ever worked with," Valentino declared. "His sheer drawing ability is amazing-great staging, great acting, beautiful rendering in the Noel Sickles/Milton Caniff chiaroscuro style, which he pulls off masterfully. He's fast and he takes direction beautifully. I cannot say enough good things about Sergio and what a pleasure he is to work with."
|"After the Cape II" #1, page 5|
"Sergio's professional, understanding and passionate about his work," said Wong. "You can see the attention and care he puts into his art, which I know people will appreciate. It's been terrific working with him. I'm very happy he's part of the team."
Carrera's emotive, ultra-crisp, ultra-high-contrast style maintains the striking look the "After the Cape" title has made all its own, and it's an image Jim Valentino feels is integral to the story of Ethan Falls. "'After the Cape' really isn't about a superhero in the same sense that, say, an issue of 'Iron Man' (which also dealt with alcoholism) or 'Superman' or 'whatever' is about a superhero. It's about a man who has made all the wrong choices in life-choices which affect his livelihood (his job being a superhero), his home and his family. It is those things that, I believe, resonate with the readers. This series concentrates on the more human than super-human element, thus the chiaroscuro style fits it far better than a standard superhero style."
|"After the Cape" volume 1 on sale now|
"It is very easy for me to work with Howard and Jim," continued Carrera, who is looking forward to working on more projects in the American comics industry. "Since the beginning, they have shown a great confidence in my work, and they give me so much freedom! And when I make mistakes, Jim is there for me, being sincere and teaching me how to be the best. I'm learning a lot on 'After the Cape.'"
If "After the Cape II" mirrors the success of its predecessor, fans can expect a third and final volume in Ethan Falls' tumultuous odyssey. "If we take my descriptions of the arcs above as canon, then it should be fairly easy to figure out the theme for the third series," hinted Valentino. "If we end it with only these two series then the reader will still have a very satisfying conclusion. The story is not meant to go on indefinitely. More like manga, we're presenting a story with a beginning, middle, and end. A novel approach for an American comic, I know."
|"After the Cape II" #2|
"For myself, I'm currently working on a second issue of 'Drawing From Life,' and as soon as I'm done with that, I intend to do a short story for Erik Larsen's Golden Age 'Next Issue Project.'"
"After the Cape II" #1 ships November 7 from Image Comics, and Howard Wong says, "For those who have read the first series, they should find it very involving, and for the new reader, it's a great character exploration."
Jim Valentino added, "If the first series surprised you, this one will kick your ass."
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