I received the fruits of two of my Kickstarter pledges recently. The books have two things in common: Matt Kindt is among the contributors to both of them, and both are beautifully designed deluxe hardcover editions. Each of them was offered in digital form as well, but both creative teams made the creation of a striking physical product a high priority.
The creators describe this as “A Sci-Fi/Noir Tale.” Like all noir stories it is set in a dark, dirty city, and it begins with a murder. But not just any murder: a God has died. The Detective is called in to investigate. He is very much the rugged private eye: laconic and world-weary. He is more than what appears on the surface: for years he has worked for a shadowy cabal, an organization with ties to mysterious cosmic forces.
They admit that a God has been murdered once before, but they refuse to give him any further background information–and allow him only a week to solve the crime. His first lead comes from DNA found at the crime scene: a woman named Anjelica. The trail leads him to a canyon populated by Gods, which gives Rubín an opportunity for lots of very trippy visuals. In the end the detective rescues Anjelica, but in the process he learns some very disturbing truths about the relationship between the Gods and our world. Truths so dark that he is offered the option of having his memory erased, so he can return to his family and live a normal life.
This is the first writing collaboration by Lemire and Kindt. It looked seamless to me: I never had an overwhelming impression that a certain scene or passage came from one or the other. Rubín’s artwork is really the star of the show, full of creative panel designs and bold colors. The book concludes with character studies, including an elaborate multi-page foldout. As a result of stretch goals the book also includes a ribbon bookmark and gilded page edges: very classy.
The Kickstarter solicitation calls this the “HEK Treasury,” although the final book just says HEK. The title comes from the studio shared by Hurtt, Enger and Kindt. The original solicitation describes it as “an over-sized deluxe collection of all new epic, science fiction, fantasy and genre short stories.” Since there are three artists contributing, the book has the look of an anthology: very different from the unified single artist of Cosmic Detective. The stories share a similar dystopian setting, but they are not directly connected.
I’m going to paraphrase the summaries from the solicitations:
Matt Kindt’s contribution is “The Great Mech Wars,” three interconnecting 10-page chapters presenting a tale of an old, sad war-mech operated by a veteran on fire-watch duty which connects to a murderous psycho, two bounty hunters, and a family on the run.
Marie’s Enger’s stories share a dystopian theme of bleak, fantastical, ruined worlds and great despair — leading to new, dangerous, beginnings. From death cults to telepathy, her stories push the outer limits of storytelling.
Brian Hurtt’s feature story delves into a future shaped by the excesses of genetic manipulation and mad science. It includes an illustrated primer of this future world, plus a 16-page story following a war-weary mutant and her alliance with the human forces that do not trust her.
The hardcover book is the same oversized European-style format as Cosmic Detective, and also includes a muti-page foldout, as well as a ribbon bookmark.