First it was vampires, then it was zombies. After that it was bronies but now? It’s all about monkeys and Image Comics is one step ahead of the latest ape craze with a new creator owned series, The Humans – an epic tale of big hairy apes on badass choppers looking for sleazy, biker gang exploitation style kicks in an alternative, bleak and nihilistic version of late 1960’s California.Yesterday at SDCC’s Image Expo, the company announced that the series (created by Keenan Keller and Tom Neely and colored by Kristina Collantes) is slated to debut as a regular series this November. Keller, Neely and Collantes are hawking an issue zero at SDCC that’s going quick (stop by the Image booth for a copy while you can). They kindly took time out from monkeyin’ around at SDCC to answer some questions and grace Beat readers with some preview pages:
1) How did The Humans come to Image? How did you initially see it published (did you always plan to do it in a multi issue format)?
Keenan Marshall Keller: From the moment Tom and i started working on this, we wanted it to be a mini-series with possibilities to expand and continue the story line after The HUMANS ends, if we wanted. The story arc will hopefully be collected into a TPB one day, but we’re fans of single issue, monthly comics and are very excited to be working on one together.
Tom Neely: We both come from the DIY, self-publishing world, so naturally we had planned to self-publish the series somehow. But when my friend Charles Brownstein apparently mentioned it to Eric at Image, pretty soon we were talking to them about the possibilities. They were happy to let us do our own release of The HUMANS #0 for SDCC and then we’re excited to launch the rest of the series with them later this year. I’m excited to have my first traditional size floppy comic in my hands and can’t wait to see a series hitting the shelves on Wednesdays.
2) The first comic is a great fight comic that builds up the Humans post apocalyptic landscape slowly and subtly. What can you tell us about the story arc you’ll follow over a multi issue series with Image?
KMK: The story’s not really set in a post apocalyptic world, but a world with a history that matches our own, except with Apes at the head of the evolutionary hierarchy. Its a nihilistic, bleak and violent story of biker gangs, drug running, human-cock fighting, and Vietnam flashbacks. The story follows the HUMANS as they deal with in-fighting, rival gangs, crooked cops, violent hijackers, and the freedom of the supposed American dream.
3) The three of you make for an interesting team with varied credits (Neely is perhaps most recently well known for his popular Henry & Glen series from Microcosm, while Collantes is an an up and coming superstar illustrator who is on deck to color another upcoming Image series, tentatively titled, Null:void with series creator, James Harvey and Keller has been self-publishing comics and curating art shows for several years under his imprint, Drippy Bones Books). How did it all come together for you to work on the project?
KMK: I can’t wait. We’ll be heading to SPX in Sept. It will be my first time and I’m very excited to hang out with East coasters I rarely get to see, like Jim Rugg, Benjamin Marra, Matt Crabe, Josh Bayer, Pat Aulisio and a bunch of others. Should be a blast. In November, when IMAGE launches issue #1, we’ll be doing a west coast tour on our way to Short Run, in Seattle, WA. We’re hoping to hit around 7-8 shops on our way up and down the coast. Should be alot of fun. Starting to book that now. Then, into the next year. I hope to attend as many conventions and events as we can, spreading The HUMANS like a venereal disease across America.
Let’s get to spreadin’ then. Here are the first five pages of The Humans Issue #0, available while it lasts at Comic Con: