'All Time Comics: Bullwhip' Showcases the Future (and Past) of Superhero Comics (Exclusive Preview)

Benjamin Marra and Al Milgrom come together to illustrate Josh Bayer's latest comic project.
Gilbert Hernandez/Fantagraphics Books

The latest superhero imprint is taking a leaf out of comic books of the past. Fantagraphics' All Time Comics sees multiple generations of comic book creators team up for a tribute to comics history, and Heat Vision has an exclusive look at this spring's Bullwhip issue.

"All Time Comics has represented an expansion of horizons for me personally, professionally, and creatively," Josh Bayer — who co-created the characters with his film director brother, Samuel, and writes the entire line — tells Heat Vision. "It's certainly the grandest thing I've ever imagined doing with my brother, Sam. Though he's let me enter his world and contribute art and illustrations to his videos and commercials for almost 25 years, this is the first time we've launched something together. The talent the project continues to attract as it snowballs is really humbling. Everyone involved is either a comics industry legend or a legend in the making."

Amongst those legends, illustrating All Time Comics: Bullwhip No. 1, is alternative cartoonist Benjamin Marra. "Ben is like a man from another era," Bayer says. "And at the other end are people like [Bullwhip inker] Al Milgrom, who has done thousands of pages of Bronze Age comics, and Herb Trimpe, who was the last living giant of 20th century mainstream comics before he, sadly, died last year. All Time Comics is a good partnership, where I'm responsible for the print, and Sam's responsible for whatever he wants to do with these characters in his medium. I'm as interested as everyone else in seeing these characters as they take off in his hands."

The first indicator for where Samuel Bayer — director of a number of music videos, including Nirvana's "Smells Like Teen Spirit" and Blind Melon's "No Rain" — will take the All Time characters onscreen is an upcoming short film featuring Sons of Anarchy's LaMonica Garrett, Sex Pistols guitarist Steve Jones and Jackie Chan's stunt crew the JC Acton Team.

"All Time Comics celebrates the legacy of comics," the director explains. "It's an old school approach combining classic artwork by veteran artists with a younger generation and punk aesthetic. When I approached making a short film I brought the same attitude. Mixing Jackie Chan's stunt team, rock legend Steve Jones and using modern technology — I feel I’ve captured the spirit of what All Time Comics is all about."

All Time Comics: Bullwhip will be released this April, with covers by Gilbert Hernandez (above), Das Pastoras and Tony Millionaire. Read a preview of the issue by Bayer and Marra below.