Crime comics are something that are usually popping around in the background of the direct market, but usually only one or two takes hold at a time. In recent years, Vertigo held the crime candle, but their line of original graphic novels folded and Scalped came to an end. Today, Dynamite is announcing their plan to step into that void with a formal line of crime titles.
Their first title will be called “Red Team” written by Garth Ennis and drawn by Craig Cermak (recently seen on Voltron: Year One). The title concerns what happens when a NYC Major Crimes Task Force decides to Murder a suspect.
I had a chance to ask Ennis a few questions about his new book.
Q: While the SF/F and horror genres have been alive and well in comics, the detective/crime genre has really only popped up here and there in the last 20 years with any heat behind it. Ms. Tree, Stray Bullets, Sin City, 100 Bullets, Scalped. Where do you see the crime genre fitting in with comics?
A: It seems a very natural fit, particularly for mature readers stuff. But instead it survives from project to project, as you say. This is largely because the industry is dominated by superhero titles, and all talent is encouraged to work in that genre to the exclusion of all else. This will continue indefinitely.
Q: What’s the difference between writing the Punisher, a clear decedent of Mack Bolan/Executioner pulp crime novels, and writing something in the vein of The Wire?
A: You’re that one step nearer to the real world. That said, the closest thing I’ve written to Red Team would indeed be my run on Punisher Max. Less military-style action- at least at first- but the same focus on the darker side of life.
Q: Since The Shield was mentioned will Red Team have anti-heroes as the leads?
A: No, they’re all essentially pretty decent people. The fickle finger of fate has them doing some pretty indecent things, however.
Q: Do you have a certain number of issues in mind with Red Team, as with Preacher or the Boys?
A: Seven issues.
Dynamite is proud to announce that Garth Ennis will write a new series – Red Team. Joining Garth is Dynamite up-and-coming artist Craig Cermak. Red Team is the first in a series of books of a new crime books from Dynamite Entertainment.
Red Team is the story of a Major Crimes task force unit in the NYPD, four of New York’s finest- and smartest- who decide to murder a suspect. Very soon, the worst possible thing that could possibly happen… happens. And that’s just episode one. Seven issues of hardcore crime drama in the tradition of The Wire and The Shield.
“Earlier this year, the four members of the NYPD’s elite strike unit Red Team decided to murder a suspect,” says writer Garth Ennis.
“And the worst possible thing that could happen…
“It’s such a huge honor to work with someone as high caliber as Garth Ennis on a brand new series,” adds artist Craig Cermak. “Dark and moody are what I think some of my strong points are artistically, and that is what this series has. Interesting characters, a great premise, and hard situations. Being able to step into this world is such a treat to draw and I’m pushing to really deliver the quality it deserves.”
“Garth has built his fan base and reputation on holding nothing back,” adds Dynamite Editor Joe Rybandt. “Red Team continues that tradition, and tells an open and accessible story for old fans and new.”
“We’ve been working on putting together a line of crime books for quite a bit of time, but needed to ensure we had the right caliber of creators. We’ve had conversations with multiple creators over time, and as luck would have it, in the last few months, quite a few were coming to fruition. The timing to announce and launch Garth Ennis’ Red Team seems ideal with the end of The Boys nearing. And this is a huge project for Craig (Cermak), one in which he’s earned. This is the first of multiple titles in our crime line-up that are being announced this week. The excitement will build with tomorrow’s announcement featuring a high-profile writer whose exclusive contract has recently ended and will be working with Dynamite for the first time.” – states Dynamite President Nick Barrucci.
Todd Allen wears a lot of hats. At various times he’s been (alphabetically), a bouncer, college professor, humor columnist, Internet producer and an NBA/WNBA Beat Writer, among other things. He’s the author of Economics of Digital Comics. You should probably read it.