HEAT VISION

'Finger Guns' Is a High-Concept Look at Emotional Maturity

The series is "a book about emotional maturity, what it takes to grow up, how few of us actually do, and the importance of harnessing compassion in an age of selfishness," according to Vault Comics Editor in Chief Adrian Wassel.
Val Halvorson/Vault Comics
The series is "a book about emotional maturity, what it takes to grow up, how few of us actually do, and the importance of harnessing compassion in an age of selfishness," according to Vault Comics Editor in Chief Adrian Wassel.

What if you could make someone feel whatever you wanted, simply by pointing your finger at them? And what if that magical, surreal ability belonged to two troubled teenagers who need emotional control more than most? Welcome to the world of Finger Guns, a new Vault Comics series launching early next year.

“I had a dream that I could control emotions by pointing a finger gun at someone,” writer Justin Richards explained about the origins of the new title. “This happened right as I was trying to decide if writing comics was a career I was capable of pursuing. I woke up and thought, ‘OK, what did my brain just give me to work with? Did it hand me a masterpiece filled to the brim with brilliant plot twists and subversive narrative threads, the likes of which no one has ever seen?’ No. It gave me finger guns.”

At first, the idea seemed like a disappointment — “Why didn’t I have an idea about alien robots taking over the world as a metaphor for a specific political view I hold dear?” he said. “As someone who battles with depression, I’ve always felt like an outcast — and this was no exception. I felt like my dream about kids with emotion-manipulating finger guns was proof that I didn’t belong in the writing industry. I felt embarrassed to tell anyone about it. It took a while, and the help of some friends, to realize I wasn’t alone. Not only was I not alone, but that painful sense of loneliness could be powerful — if explored.”

The series, according to Vault Comics Editor in Chief Adrian Wassel, is “a deceptively brave story. Wassel added, “Finger Guns handles some heavy themes and tough imagery with such a deft touch you could almost miss it — almost. You’ll see a young white kid running around blasting people with a finger gun that makes them powerfully angry. You’ll see a young girl of color firing a calm gun to stem the chaotic tide. You’ll see these two become friends — support each other, learn from each other and even hurt each other, in equal measure. Finger Guns is a book about emotional maturity, what it takes to grow up, how few of us actually do, and the importance of harnessing compassion in an age of selfishness.”

For artist Val Halvorson, the story “took me back to when I was younger, trying to navigate through the ups and downs of being a teenager. I'm a recently transitioning trans man, so I've been thinking about that time quite a lot recently, considering I'm currently going through a puberty I never got to experience back then. So as you can imagine, as a music-loving sad boy going through Puberty 2, I relate to the character, Wes, a great deal. There's just something so real and timeless about this story that I really appreciate. It feels nostalgic, even though it takes place in the present, but it never pulls its punches or sugarcoats what it's like to grow up.”

“This book is about more than kids with finger guns,” according to Richards. “It’s about kids who feel like they don’t belong. It’s about kids who feel abandoned. It’s about kids who think parents just don’t understand. It’s about me and maybe it’s about you, too. This story is about every person that ever felt like they needed more control over their hopes, their pains, their anything.”

Wassel agrees. “You’ll have so much fun, right up until you feel the tears welling,” he warns.

The first issue of Finger Guns will be released digitally and in comic book stores February 2020. Below, art from the first issue by Halvorson and colorist Rebecca Nalty, as well as cover artwork from Halvorson and Nalty, as well as the “Pulp and Paint” variant by Nathan Gooden.





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