What is The Bunker? A brand new comic from the writer of I, Vampire, The Ultimates, Tumor and last week’s Hunger that is guaranteed to get your mind racing. Fancy getting early access? Read on…
The clock has been counting down the days, hours, minutes and seconds until launch, implicitly promising a mystery about to be solved, and explicitly stating that our future will end. The creator names, Fialkov and Infurnari, emblazoned across the page will be familiar to those who have read Occupy Comics – #1 featured the story “Homestead” from the pair, which stole my attention almost completely. The rough scratchy lines of Infurnari infusing the story with real human emotion, while exploiting the capabilities of the medium in order to establish that their Occupy story set in 1892 was not only the tale of the everyman, but directly connected to us today.
Fialkov of course has been on my radar since I first picked up I, Vampire #1 before working backwards to pick up everything else and keeping up with the writer since that series was erroneously cancelled. To say that The Bunker piqued my curiosity would be quite the understatement – so thank goodness that I was given a sneaky peak at the first two issues!
Let’s look at the preview images first (click to enlarge):
The Bunker then is literal, discovered by five friends (Grady, Billy, Heidi, Daniel and Natasha) when they go to bury a time capsule in the Angeles National Forest. Digging down, Grady uncovers a rusty metal door in the ground. A door that improbably has all of their names already engraved upon it. The friends investigate, thinking that it has to be some kind of a prank while joking about Lost. The preview ends as the door is opened.
And you’re hooked, right?! I’m hooked, completely, and believe me that if you think those four pages are intriguing then you ain’t seen nothing yet! What the friends find down there, and what it means for their past, present and future is… well, you’ll see.
I love Infurnari’s artwork here, his traditional style is in such contrast to the digital delivery and the reader will see later in the story that his approach is different for further scenarios and…. Argh, no spoilers. Regardless, everything from the shadowy forest to the CHNK and hand swipe motion are fantastic, alongside the five faces that are so easy to immediately tell apart.
We’re plunged right into the story but the exposition is subtle and feels real. Billy being corrected by Grady for his stupid language is a brilliant touch – because this happens all the time in real life! – and also tells us a great deal about those two characters alone.
There are two main reasons that I always pick up a Fialkov book without hesitation. The first is that his dialogue is always seamless and completely believable. People bicker, joke, express love and fear, criticise, rebuke and natter. There are comics with clever writing, and then there are comics with realistic conversations – Fialkov always seems to manage to blend the two so well that you follow the conversations as if you were there yourself, never snapped back to reality by an erroneous word or misplaced monologue.
The second it that his work is so very character driven. Regardless of the grand scale of what’s going on, whether that be vampire war or a hungry big purple dude, the appeal always lies with the characters that the reader has almost immediately become invested in. I’m pretty sure this is the case with all top writers, and it’s certainly something I’ve noticed with the likes of Kieron Gillen or Brian K Vaughan, but it’s definitely rare enough that it stands out. Like Gillen and Vaughan, Fialkov also has very diverse casts of characters, with women who are people first, and an understanding of just how and why comic fans can feel like their comics don’t include them.
The non-mentioned third reason is of course, that they’ve always been bloody good! The Bunker is no exception here and I’m absolutely dying to discuss it once it has been published. I also really hope that The Bunker goes on to have a long and happy life because I have so many questions that I want to see answered or unraveled as we go along this epic journey.
You might have noticed that The Bunker is being published digitally, and that it is completely created owned. Fialkov and Infurnari are in good company here, with Brian K. Vaughan and Marcos Martin’s Panel Syndicate, Greg Rucka and Rick Burchett’s Lady Sabre & The Pirates of the Ineffable Aether, and the popular MonkeyBrain Comics and Thrillbent (and Aces Weekly and Madefire) providing further platforms. While digital has been around for a while, it does seem as if it is now in a position to really benefit creators. We hope!
The Bunker will be available through ComiXology and the main website.
I mentioned before, cheekily, that Ballistic was perhaps the new Saga. You can put The Bunker up there with them, I guarantee it.
And if you want to get in on the action first, I can reveal that:
Early access to the comic will be given to subscribers to the Bunker newsletter. Sign up now at www.whatisthebunker.com
And you might want to do that NOW. Like before tomorrow now.
The Bunker launches August 5th. And I’ll have an exclusive interview with Fialkov for your delectation then too, as we unravel The Bunker.
Laura Sneddon is a comics journalist and academic, writing for the mainstream UK press with a particular focus on women and feminism in comics. Currently working on a PhD, do not offend her chair leg of truth; it is wise and terrible. Her writing is indexed at comicbookgrrrl.com and procrastinated upon via @thalestral on Twitter.