by Steve Morris

There were only a few new announcements from the major publishers at this weekend’s Kapow Comics Convention in London, but Image publisher Eric Stephenson was on hand to offer us yet another new title to bolster the company’s increasingly spectacular 2012 line-up. Coming in October, writer David Hine will be collaborating with artist Doug Braithwaite for a new sci-fi detective story called Storm Dogs, and he kindly sat down to explain about what readers can expect from the series.

The initial story sees a team of futuristic space police (yay) called in to investigate a series of murders on a rural, backwards planet. But because the people there have decided to protect themselves from technology, and the growth of science, they ask that each member of the team hand in all their equipment before they hit the surface. So what we’ll be seeing is a group of four highly advanced, technology-reliant officers having to fall back on their wits, common sense and reasoning in order to investigate the case.

I describe the series as science fiction noir. It’s something I’ve been wanting to do for ages – one of those things which sat around for years. It’s got all the elements I like in comics – genres being mixed together, a focus on characterisation. We worked very hard on developing the world, the society, the perspective of the characters. Doug spent a lot of time agonising over getting everything right, from the costumes to the landscape and characters.

Another interesting twist to this already interestingly twisted story is that the majority of the team are female, giving Hine and Braithwaite the opportunity to write things from a different perspective to the usual noir tone. Rather than the laconic, chain-smoking, alcoholic lone hero, here we have a team of four, and three of them are women – and as you can see from the images scattered here, Braithwaite has really let his imagination run. These aren’t the characters you usually see in this style of story.

We’re in this for the long haul. We’ve put so much thought into developing this world that we don’t want to see this end after six issues. We’re really going for a European look to it — the pacing, the visuals, we’ve both been really inspired by French, Belgian comics while creating this book.

Storm Dogs, while having elements of science fiction and crime, will also have a lot in common with the classic-style western (a genre which always did have a lot in common with the noir style). So what we’ll be getting here, at least initially, is a western sci fi noir detective thriller set in a remote rural futuristic planet somewhere in the heart of deep space.

It’s good to know that David Hine is never going to change, isn’t it? The first issue of Storm Dogs is scheduled for publication this October.