Aubrey Sitterson and Tony Gregory are the creators of a debaucherous new comic coming out from Dark Horse in June, with colors by Lovern Kindzierski and letterer Taylor Esposito. Called The Worst Dudes, the book is about exactly what it sounds like, as a snarky and possibly gimmick-infringing press release from Dark Horse being EXXXCLUSIVELY revealed right here and now on Bleeding Cool explains:
Noted reprobates Aubrey Sitterson (No One Left to Fight, The Comic Book Story of Professional Wrestling) and Tony Gregori (Deuce of Hearts, Karma Police) along with colorist Lovern Kindzierski (Norse Mythology, Lobo) and letterer extraordinaire Taylor Esposito (No One Left to Fight, The Black Ghost) bring this hilarious, aggressively weird, and willfully vulgar detective story to life in The Worst Dudes!
In a new series which can be loosely described as Lobo meets The Big Lebowski, a dirty cop, a drugged-up back-up dancer, and an angsty adolescent god—the absolute worst dudes in the galaxy—are on a raunch-filled hunt for a missing pop star. And from there it gets very strange. Maybe inadvisably so.
And though it hasn't been released yet, The Worst Dudes is already making waves, with one preview page rejected by Diamond for the Previews catalog. But Dark Horse has faith in the five-issue miniseries, making the first two issues returnable. Why anyone would want to return them remains a mystery, however, especially since the single issues feature bonus content not available digitally or in the eventual trade: exclusive comics by webcartoonist Rory Blank.
The press release features some snarky quotes from Sitterson, Gregori, and Dark Horse Editor-in-Chief Dave Marshall…
"Wait… we're actually publishing this? Did I sign off on this?" said Dave Marshall, Editor-in-Chief of Dark Horse Comics, in the press release.
"After the colossal success of No One Left to Fight, I knew we needed to follow it up with something entirely different," said Sitterson. "That's why Tony and I cooked up a book so vile, so raunchy, so utterly odious, that it'll make your other comics turn yellow."
Says Gregori, "I'm beyond thrilled to be working with the legendary Dark Horse Comics on The Worst Dudes, and I can't believe they're letting me draw giant [censored] pink [censored], and alien landscapes overflowing with [censored]!"
…but we weren't satisfied with that so we sat down in the seediest dive bar this side of the Milky Way and conducted our own EXXXCLUSIVE interview with Sitterson and Gregori. Marshall was either not invited or too squeamish to attend.
Jude Terror: How are you guys holding up a year into the pandemic?
Tony Gregori: I'm doing well. Like most creators, I don't leave the house much so not a ton has changed. Also, living in Montana allows for a lot of nature walks and hikes where there's no one around. I am looking forward to hanging out with my pals and going to a movie theater again though.
Aubrey Sitterson: I feel guilty saying it, but I'm doing really, really well. Better than Tony even.
After the comic industry shut down last year, I had no less than three projects – including The Worst Dudes – confined to comic book purgatory. However, not only did the fine folks at Dark Horse (in their infinite wisdom and attractiveness) decide to bring all three books back, giving a definitive thumbs-up to Aubrey Comics Weirdness, but Tyrell Cannon and my BEEF BROS exploded on Kickstarter last year, with physical copies on track to start showing up in people's hands next month.
Being locked in the house all the time has really put into focus how incredibly fortunate I am in so many ways; I've dreamed about writing gonzo comic books since I was a teenager and now I actually get to do it. Who could complain about that!? The pandemic has also really allowed me to prioritize, letting the little stuff fall to the side so I can focus on what's truly important: Doing raunchy, despicable, hilarious comics with Tony.
Jude: What's The Worst Dudes all about?
Tony: On its surface, The Worst Dudes is about three horrible dudes – hedonistic ex-backup dancer turned space trucker Caligula Monomacho, crooked cop Sam Sugar, and petulant demigod Bang Monsoon – going on an intergalactic road trip to find the missing pop star Zephyr Monsoon, Bang's half-sister and Cal's ex-wife.
Aubrey: That's where things start, but like the best shaggy-dog mysteries, things get very complicated, very quickly. Beyond that though, The Worst Dudes is about Tony and me charting the outer limits of what our long-suffering editor Brett Israel will let us get away with and the answer is…a pretty alarming amount actually.
Jude: So… how much of this is autobiographical for each of you?
Tony: About 25 years ago I was a teenage junkie and I feel like Aubrey unknowingly borrowed from some of those experiences for Cal. The scene at the end of issue #1 feels like it was ripped directly from my youth!
Aubrey: If you can imagine a time before Tony and I were the universally loved and lauded creators we are today – as difficult as that may be – those are the mindsets and worldviews we're pulling from for Cal, Sam, and Bang.
Jude: I too was a teenage junkie before I grew up and became a middle-aged junkie. Hold on, I gotta go shoot up in the men's room. Be right back.
Jude: Whew! What a rush! Anyway, what possessed… I mean inspired you two to create a comic about this subject matter?
Tony: Recently I just went back into my DMs to revisit the genesis of this book. We started kicking around ideas in early spring 2018 and the intent was to make something for the 15-year-old in both of us that also examined masculinity and the ego. We both wanted to do something in the vein of The New Gods, so Aubrey crafted a sort of "Kirby meets The Long Goodbye" masterpiece. Then Lovern and Taylor came on board and contributed their amazing talents!
Aubrey: As great as it is for the comics medium to be respected, taught in colleges, and reviewed in highfalutin newspapers, I firmly believe that comics can do unmitigated filth better than any other medium. With The Worst Dudes, we wanted to take advantage of that, with a book so dirty that it'll turn your other comics yellow. It's our contribution to the ignoble tradition of trashy, disposable, reviled entertainment that other, cowardly, craven, pusillanimous comics creators are all too eager to distance themselves from. The Worst Dudes is utterly despicable, totally irredeemable, and proud of it. In other words: It's perfect for Bleeding Cool readers.
Jude: I can't argue with that. What's the most repulsive piece of alien anatomy featured in the book, and Tony, how filthy did you feel drawing it?
Tony: Oh, you'll have to wait until issue #3 for that. No spoilers!
Jude: Is it poor timing to come out with a comic book about reprehensible characters at the exact time the world is finally beginning to hold cartoon persons like Pepe le Pew responsible for their actions?
Tony: Like I said, we've been developing this book for a couple years, so any recent allegations towards cartoon skunks are irrelevant! To be serious though, we tried to make sure none of the gags or scenarios punched down. We show a window into each of our three leads' backstories and motivations throughout the series, which folks would probably find relatable whether they like to admit it or not.
Aubrey: It's a delicate needle to thread, depicting loathsome behavior from horrible people without valorizing or endorsing it. But the book is called The Worst Dudes, it's got a ridiculously large warning label on the cover, and, most importantly, people are going to be laughing too hard to get angry at us. That or they'll be too ashamed to admit to buying it. It's win/win, baby!
Jude: What's it like to have a page banned from Diamond Previews? I would view it as a badge of honor, but, you know… I'm a bad dude.
Aubrey: Previews is an all-ages magazine, which we totally understand! Thing is, The Worst Dudes is decidedly, aggressively, concertedly not an all-ages book. While we're bummed that folks picking up the catalog won't have their eyes seared by our unrelenting filth, the silver lining is that a) Bleeding Cool has no discernible editorial standards whatsoever, and b) We can now proudly proclaim that we're TOO DIRTY FOR DIAMOND.
To be entirely clear: We love Diamond, a company staffed entirely by wonderful, beautiful angels, each one a precious gift from heaven. Please don't stop distributing The Worst Dudes. Please. Tony will mow your lawns.
Jude: A lot of comic book creators like to put out a playlist to go with their comics to show off how knowledgeable about obscure music they are. If you did that for The Worst Dudes, what's one song from each of you that would have to be on it? And it better be something I've never heard of.
Tony: I'm not one of the cool kids with vinyl records that pontificates about Brian Eno soundscapes, so I'm gonna have to disappoint you with either Guns N' Roses' "Rocket Queen" or Mac Miller's "Angel Dust."
Aubrey: I actually am one of the cool kids, and Jude, I know you've listened to Deep Purple's "Space Truckin'" before, but have you ever really – I mean REALLY – heard it?
Jude: What would you say to Frederic Wertham if he rose from the grave as a zombie and came across The Worst Dudes in a comic shop?
Tony: Actions speak louder than words, so I'd probably just split his wig with a dane axe.
Aubrey: I take exception to this entire hypothetical since zombies are clearly, unequivocally forbidden by the Comics Code Authority.
The Worst dudes will hit stores on June 2nd, 2021. It's available for pre-order now, for mature readers only! Or at least, for immature readers who are also of age.