Here's a sneak peek of Grass Kings, an original, limited series debuting in March from Matt Kindt (Mind MGMT, Dept. H) and Tyler Jenkins (Snow Blind, Peter Panzerfaust) through Boom Studios.
The heart of Grass Kings is about family, but it's essentially a crime story set in the Canadian prairie (basically, where Tyler currently lives) about three brothers, de factor "rulers" of a trailer park kingdom. Oldest brother Robert is grief-stricken, having lost his daughter to a tragic accident. Middle brother Bruce is the sheriff of the town. Youngest brother Ashur is just a teenager. When an enigmatic young woman named Maria flees to their community in search of safe haven, Robert takes her in, but his decision may lead to ruin and retribution that threatens to doom the Kingdom.
These are the first few pages of Tyler's painted art for issue #1. It comes out March 8 and FOC's on February 13.
And, to accompany it, Matt Kindt's scripts pages for that art. So as to prevent Jude Terror lettering it himself… we start with page seven, which seems to have changed considerably between script and art – but the rest seems to align nicely.
Repeat – now we see a new village – but log cabins and more settler-types.
Repeat – we see small farm houses where the cabins were. And maybe a church – still sparse but growing. Maybe a car from the 1920s driving by.
Repeat – church burned down – but maybe we see some recognizable structures from the town in present day – silo, or the aviary – or maybe a plane getting worked on in an airfield, etc. We see a truck parked nearby – 1950s style.
Cut to modern day. Repeat panel – the town as we now know it. We see BRUCE holding LO by the collar – marching him to the squad car.
Cut to closer on squad car/Bruce – tossing Lo into the back. We are close on him – we see that he's a sheriff, he's in a squad car – and he's got a young punk kid in the back seat. The kid is named Lo (another Lolita reference – sorry – one of my favorite books and the pulp-literary vibe of this story just reminds me of it a little).
BRUCE: To make a long story short. You were caught poking around on our land and you ain't welcome.
Bruce and Lo talking as Bruce drives through the town.
BRUCE: We got rules here. You don't step on our land without us sayin' you can.
LO: Ha ha! You're so full of crap.
Bruce and Lo talking.
LO: You're a bunch of squatters. Sheriff in Cargill says yer on this land illegally. Ain't no law says you got a right to this place.
BRUCE: Son…you are lucky I was the one found you and not my brother. Robert would not'a been half as understanding as I'm about to be.
LO: Our Sheriff says you ain't a real lawman. That you used to be but now you're just pretendin'. Takin' orders from your little brother, Robert. He thinks he's some kinda king.
Bruce and Lo talking.
BRUCE: I see you're coming from a place of ignorance. And I'm gonna give you the benefit of the doubt and say it ain't willful ignorance.
Pull back – long shot of the Grass Kingdom as the patrol car drives through it – this shot should mirror the previous page panel 5 shot exactly – so we can see how time and the kingdom have changed…
BRUCE: When you came around the lake from Cargill, you stepped out of your territory. You ain't home no more, boy.
Spread – map of the entire kingdom, but let's make it a 3-D map (¾ view) so we can see the size and height of the village – trailers stacked up 2 and 3 high sometimes – make-shift. You had the original vision here of how you wanted it to look, so if I'm differing from your thoughts, let me know, but I do like the Ed. Note on making this place iconic – less a trailer park and more of a unique-looking medieval kingdom using trailers as the base. Stack them/arrange them into an interesting configuration – some arranged in squares with courtyards in the middle – that kind of thing, with others stacked high – maybe a water tower that's unique so we can get an interesting small-scale skyline going here.
I'm picturing some storage containers like the kind on ships, as well – used as living places and stacked up, adding color to the buildings so it almost looks like Mirano or Burano, Italy –with big fields of grass surrounding it. We could have fun with some of the shipping containers, as well – they could have names of old brand names stenciled/painted on them or old logos – so the "Grass Kingdom" could actually come from one of the containers. Maybe the tallest stack of containers has a brand name for "KING" brand pineapple painted on and weathered and worn, so the logo/pineapple looks like a crown and it says "KING" – and then "grass" and "Dom" are spray-painted on or tacked up on separate boards so it reads "grass kingdom" – maybe that's too literal?
But this map should be more ¾ view and dimensional – like a "Where's Waldo?" angle of the place – also would be super cool to have some nice fancy map/logo/'50s postcard lettering over the map that says "Welcome to the Grass Kingdom" – acting as Bruce's dialogue and a label for the map.
This will be the big centerpiece of the issue – and I'm figuring we can write around and amend and add to this spread once the art is done – so feel free to add a ton of locations and things that you've got in mind. The abandoned buildings – the aviary you were telling me about – that kind of stuff…Let's load this page up – it'll be a good resource going forward for interesting locations, etc.
BRUCE (incorporate into the design/logo of the page so it looks like the title of the map of this spread): Welcome to the Grass Kingdom.
BRUCE: Where fools like you come to get their asses kicked.
Back to Lo and Bruce driving the squad car along the edge of the kingdom – near the lake.
BRUCE: Possession is nine-tenths of the law. And we've been possessing this land for nigh on a hundred years now.
OTS of Lo looking out the back window at the lake.
BRUCE: We're tight-knit. Me and my brothers protect its borders. And before us? Our parents and our grandparents. Since World War I.
LO: You and your brothers just stole this land. Like ticks on a dog, suckin' the blood of folks that work for a livin'.
Closer on the lake – looking ominous and dark…a gaping black wound in the sea of grass.
BRUCE: We're a closed community. Running off the grid. We don't take anything from anyone, son.
Close on Bruce as he drives…thinking and talking. We see windmills in the background and we've been seeing solar panels on structures and in fields already…
BRUCE: We ain't never sucked on the government's teat and we never will.
The car drives by the airplane yard as Bruce and Lo talk. Lots of airplanes in various states of repair and dis-repair.
BRUCE: Got our own airport and everything else we need.
The kid looks at the airplanes as they talk. We see the SOPWITH CAMEL up close as the car goes by and we see the repairman CHARLES BROWN working on the plane.
BRUCE: It might not look like much but it's our paradise. Our kingdom by the sea.
The car drives by/through the junkyard – Lo looking out the window at it.
BRUCE: We've weathered a lot of storms. Both literal an' figurative.
Closer on the junkyard – we see SHELLY holding a shotgun and waving, but also glaring suspiciously.
BRUCE: But we have high walls and strong backs. Nothing gets in without us knowin'. So have a good look around, Lo. Robert rules this place, but I uphold the law and protect everyone that decides to stay.
Bruce waving out the window at Shelly.
BRUCE: Shelly! How goes it?
Bruce pulled up next to Shelly. Shelly holding her shotgun casually and looking in the back seat at Lo. Lo giving her a dirty look. Bruce is smiling a little.
SHELLY: S'all good. Shot me a couple weasels this morning. Looks like you caught one yerself.
Bruce smiling slightly as he side-eyes Lo in the back.
BRUCE: Yep. But I'm sendin' this one back. Gonna give him one more chance. Next time, we'll shoot 'im.