Dark Horse Comics' New Series 'Bang!' Turns Spy Tropes on Their Head
Today sees the debut of Bang!, a new Dark Horse Comics series by creators Matt Kindt and Wildredo Torres — a spy story with a difference that’s already gained praise from the likes of Mark Millar and Keanu Reeves, who described it as “a great fucked up blend of James Bond and Tintin.”
The series opens with a dramatic opening sequence that sets the stage for what’s to come, playing up a number of spy cliches and tropes before climaxing with a moment that reads like a statement of intent, as can be seen below. That was part of a very intentional plan, writer Kindt told The Hollywood Reporter.
Heat Vision breakdown
“I really wanted to make this book look and read exactly like the very thing we eventually blow up. I thought it was important that the story begins just like you want it to. Big action, adventure. Exotic locale. Sexy spies. So when you get to that page-turn and the bottom drops out and we literally blow the top off of our lead character...I want the reader to feel it,” he explained. “I’ve grown up literally loving every spy/adventure genre trope. And as a veteran writer and creator, I've gotten to a place where I now want to destroy all of those tropes and see what's left. But I want to destroy them in a sincere way. In a lot of ways, the first seven pages of this story are a microcosm of me coming of age as a human being and as a writer. It's all embodied in that page-turn. That title page. The opening credits and the title of the book. It's all tied together.”
For Torres, the opening sequence’s knowing nod to common spy tropes offered the chance to trade on some visual cues that audiences will recognize. “I wanted to try and make things feel familiar enough that the reader could jump in and hit the ground running and get engaged before we dropped the floor out from under them, so to speak,” he joked.
“Wilfredo worked really hard to achieve what you're seeing on the page,” added Kindt. “The title sequence and opening action alone were something that we talked about and he labored over for a long time. The script was really just the starting point for us. The final art and action ended up being created through a total collaboration and conversation. It wasn't just about who shoots who, or how does our hero escape. That's all there, but Wilfredo has this very deceptive way of rendering a perfect drawing. The lines are so clean. The composition so precise. The magic is in the space between the panels. The things that Wilfredo renders and the exact moments and camera angle he uses to lead the eye across the page.
"When it comes to the final page of the opening, the entire series really hinged on that page — on his ability to pull it off and the lightning-jolt of that single image,” Kindt summed up. “It's a visual shot across the bow of every action/spy/thriller story that has ever come before. It embodies what this entire book is about.”
Bang! No. 1 is available in comic stores and digitally now, but for those particularly curious about the opening sequence, read on below…
by Etan Vlessing
by Eriq Gardner