When I went to the New York Comic Con last month, I was slowly perusing through Artist Ally. Throngs of artist and writers, both famous and new comers, were selling their illustrated wares. One artist – Ejay Russell – caught my attention. One, because he was an African-American brother, but even more because of the edgy in-your-face title of his comic – A$$HOLE (‘xcuse the french). I took a look at the comic and his other art prints. Ejay’s pencil work was very clear and dynamic, and his line art had a crisp style to it, his art was on point. I didn’t buy his comic immediately, because I wanted to look around some more (and I didn’t hit the ATM yet), but I promised that I would be back. After getting a gander at the rest of the con, I came back to Mr. Russell’s table and bought a copy of A$$HOLE (thanks for signing it Ejay).
I just want to make it clear, I am always inclined to support Black people in their efforts to grow in business or whatever. But I won’t just buy something from you just because you’re black. That defeats the purpose to me. Ejay’s comic was obviously well drawn, and the first couple panels I read were interesting and got me curious.
After I got home and read A$$HOLE, I was glad my intuition paid off. I really enjoyed the characters, the ambiguous plot setup, and the dialog (which as you can guess was for the mature reader).
The main character, that has been so eloquently dubbed, is a fella by the name of Emmitt Joseph Russell (slight autobiography thing going on). Emmitt is a regular, subway hopping, working stiff in the tech dept., with coworkers and crazy bosses. But he has something that others don’t – super powers. And he is working to keep them hidden. But that’s something that he ends up not being very good at. The story is being retold, flashback style, by Emmitt himself, who seems to be a captive of aliens looking for the secret to his abilities.
It sounds like a straight forward story, but I didn’t want to tell you too much, in case you get a chance to read it. Russell (the artist) gives his characters personality and a real flavor of how people talk (as I said, mature). This is a first issue in an overall story arch, so it sets up some interesting questions for the reader, including a good cliff hanger for Emmitt.
Ejay stated on his blog that he is working on the rest of the story, and that it should be ready by the 2012 con season as a hard cover trade. I am looking forward to how it all comes out. For more info visit Ejay’s page at ejayrussell.com.