I “first” came across Tim Hamilton‘s work, at least in a way that I was consciously aware of it, as a back-up in Copra #25 (I turned 36 yesterday, so you must forgive my youthful lack of creator knowledge from my childhood). He had a fairly long career in superhero comics, for those of you who grew up on early 90’s Green Lantern Corps and Hardcase like me – but many of you will probably remember his work on the late 80’s Malibu classic The Trouble with Girls, or perhaps his recent adaptation of Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451.
Most recently, I can personally attest to the fact that while staying in San Diego post-SDCC, I went out of my way to pick up a copy of Brooklyn Blood, his much heralded collaboration with Paul Levitz; a collection that got some serious ink just before it was released. I loved it and wanted more, especially from Hamilton – whose work has entered a rather fascinating phase, especially in his approach to adventure comics, which is taking on a bit of a European/Matsumoto-like sensibility.
As luck would have it, Hamilton has been hard at work on his own, self-published one-man anthology Rabbit Who Fights these past two years. It’s a very fun effort that gives the cartoonist an opportunity to flex his nib in a couple of different directions and basically wherever his muse may take him.
With three issues out so far, the majority of those comics have their real estate taken up by his “Disciples 12” ongoing story, which began in the aforementioned Copra anniversary issue. And while that initial short story entitled “A is for Afterlife” (with each subsequent entry following a similar alphabetical nomenclature, “C is for Ceirra, etc”) involved a couple of Copra’s stars, to call it a spinoff of that OTHER self-published series is rather reductive. I guess if you have a strong preference in thinking about things in terms of shared universes, there’s an argument to be made for that. But really, Rabbit Who Fights is its own thing, take it from the creator and from me, what else do you need?
The premise: the nation’s #1 hero Amsterdamn is secretly an alien who has spread his seed far and wide before departing this plane, and those children he’s sired with women across the globe are all coming of age and realizing their abilities (which are to this point, rather timestream related). Each issue tells a stand-alone story about one of these progeny or a character who is within their orbit in some way. Hamilton says its because these issues only release about once or twice a year that he avoids telling anything sequential, and each book is as new-reader friendly as possible. Personally, I can see it, but I also like the idea that he’s utilizing the concept to play within different genres, and color each story in a varied emotional tone from the one preceding it. There’s something very exciting there, especially as you come to anticipate the next issue, you really have no idea what kind of new angle Hamilton is going to produce in this world.
On top of that, Hamilton also contributes humorous material in the back end of each issue, mostly comprised of rejected New Yorker cartoons, which are neat to see for another side of Hamilton’s creative energy, with a line that’s much looser and on par with the usual offerings you’d see in that fine publication.
Even more fascinating to me are the experimental comics, such as the freehand “Hospital Comics” in the first issue, or the third issue’s “Local Workers 777”. That kind of peek into an artist’s id is the kind of add-on value that makes Rabbit Who Fights wholly unique.
Next month at MoCCA (April 6th-7th), Hamilton will have copies on-hand (Table E-172) of the latest issue, the fourth in the series, making its debut at the show. He was kind enough to give me an advance peek, and let me tell you, if you’re there, you’re gonna want it. It’s got a vibe that sort of reminds me of Stephen Frears’ The Hit, but with people in an even more desperate situation (bit of a post-apocalypse) and has a delicious little twist, that for those who have been playing along for a bit will really stand up and take notice of. But again, if you haven’t hopped aboard before, no time like the present.
And if you’re not going to be at MoCCA, Hamilton will have the issue available at his Gumroad store, along with some of the back issues too if you want to catch up where you can.
Take a look below at some of the interiors of the newest issue to whet your appetite:
Get it! Next month!