Last week I drove out to Los Angeles to have lunch with a pair of comic creators that wanted to talk about the future of their series. They have a book that is getting nothing but positive/rave reviews. The fans who read it, love it. It's topical, fast paced, well written, beautifully drawn and is chock full of extras. The only knock against it I could find anywhere on the web is that the interiors are black and white.
The creators are Matt Hawkins, a twenty-year industry vet and the President and COO of Top Cow, and Rahsan Ekedal, a Harvey nominated artist. The book is Think Tank published by Minotaur Press/Top Cow and listening two these two talented men speak about the series, it was obvious this was a project they loved. You can also tell how frustrated they were.
Think Tank is the story of Dr. David Loren, a child prodigy with a 205 I.Q. who grew up to be a bit of a slacker creating technology for the United States government. But no amount of government supplied girls and booze could wash away the blood on his hands. When Loren makes a discovery too powerful to be put into the army's control, he has to find a way out. This leads to escapes, betrayals, levels and levels of bad people doing what they think is right. It combines the best elements of a science fiction novel with the intensity of a military/political thriller. Hawkins uses the most up-to-date scientific advances as parts of his plot with such grace that you don't have to understand it to follow the story… but then he breaks it down for you in the back of the book so you learn something. The tag line "reading this comic will make you smarter" is very true. And it's one of the best series I've read in the last couple years.
The concept of Think Tank started when Hawkins son said that "science was boring", that and Hawkins wanted to make a comic book that took more than five minutes to read.
The reviews have all been positive, the trade paperback for the first volume sold out in three months and a second printing has already happened. Top Cow even made the first issue downloadable for free to get people to try it: http://topcow.com/files/Think_Tank_01_Digital.pdf
Could the fact the book is in black and white be the problem? It hasn't held back The Walking Dead. And if you say that Robert Kirkman's book had a television deal to make it popular, I'd show you sales numbers that the book was consistently climbing before the deal with AMC was announced.
Hawkins and Ekedal are very serious about making this book work. Hawkins took time out of his day that involves both running Top Cow and writing multiple scripts to come have lunch. Ekedal is moving to Berlin soon and is packing while meeting his deadlines and he came over to talk about the series. These two creators have great faith in the series and have committed to doing at least twenty issues.
The lunch was to tell me their plan for Think Tank:
- The current story arc and series will end with issue #12.
- A One-shot will be released in early 2014.
- San Diego Comic Con will see the debut of a new Think Tank #1 in full color. The series will continue the story of David Loren but you will not need to have read the previous series to know what's going on.
- And possibly… a Kickstart project to color the previous issues and re-release them.
These two creators love this book and have so many more stories to tell. They have put together an intelligent, well written and well drawn comic with the intent of giving you your money's worth. It's a unique series in a market flooded with super-heroes and horror and they've given you the first issue for free to try. And for those that just don't like black and white books, they're going to start doing them in color… so what excuse do you have for not trying it?
It really is the best comic you're not reading… and it's probably better than some of the ones you are.