The GeeksverseGatecrasher: Blast From The Past #3

Gatecrasher: Blast From The Past #3
Published on Wednesday, July 25, 2012 by

This is a special Blast From The Past as we look at a book whose collected edition was just released.

Gatecrasher was created by Mark Waid and Jimmy Palmiotti. It was originally published by Black Bull Media. Black Bull was the comic publishing company created by Gareb Shamus of Wizard Magazine. The publisher’s first books included Gatecrasher, Just A Pilgrim by Garth Ennis and Beautiful Killer by Phil Noto. Despite having some heavy weight talent, Black Bull failed fairly quickly. I’m not sure what the status of the company is but their website has some recent postings and they have a Facebook page.

First issue of the "ongoing" series.

Gatecrasher hit shelves in March 2000 with a four issue mini-series that introduced the concept and main character of Alec Wagner. It was followed by an ongoing series that lasted 6 issues, but would have gone for more if the publisher hadn’t stopped publishing. You can check out the preview here of Image’s collected edition.

I had picked up the first issue but can’t remember ever picking up the other issues. This isn’t a typical Blast From The Past because the series is now available for fresh reading and it’s worth checking out.

This is the kind of series that Amanda Connor’s art is made for. Connor is a great artist. She’s got a terrific sense of layout, her pages are dynamic and exciting. Her style has a large humor element to it and is a tad cartoony. I like her work but I’ve never been able to see her doing a book like Uncanny X-Men or anything like that. But a book like Gatecrasher? This is perfect for her.

Gatecrasher has an understated humor tone. It’s a serious book, with lots of serious moments, even some that really make you feel bad for Alec Wagner, but at the same time there’s an undercurrent of humor. There are lots of funny one-liners, funny moments, funny expressions. An artist like Butch Guice, Greg Land, Jimmy Cheung, someone that excels at the more realistic looks of the Big Two books, wouldn’t be able to carry the serious-humor aspects of this series.

The script is definately something different and not typical Waid at all. Can definately see Palmiotti’s influence in the story, the humor aspects especially. The mini-series does an okay job of introducing the concept. Through the dialogue we can get an idea of most of the critical elements but there are still some things that are left unexplained. We know that Alec is a half-breed, half human and half whatever the rest of the Split-Second Squad is. And that is the mini-series’ biggest flaw. It’s hinted that Hazard and the rest of the Square aren’t human, but they sure look human, and it’s never fully explained why the are on Earth and why they are protecting Earth. And that the Squad went to school with Alec is never explained either. Did they attend the high school he’s at?

This cover wouldn't have gotten your attention?

Aside from those issues, which become minor in the overall scheme of the book because you tend to forget them when confronted with the fun and strength of the rest of the series, the mini-series was very solid. The concept was strong and the character of Alec Wagner was interesting. Waid & Palmiotti did a good job of showing the stress that he was under being a member of the Split-Second Squad and a high schooler. Unlike many comics that attempt to divide the hero’s time between school and heroing, where the hero’s life still ends up good, this comic showed there was a negative to being pulled in two directions. Alec lost his girl and was hated by the Squad because he was a part-timer, so to speak. The mini-series even ends on pretty much a downer.

I do have to wonder what history would have made out of Gatecrasher if it had come out from Image originally. Would it still be around today?

Do yourself a favor and if you get a chance, check out Gatecrasher.

One of the things I like doing with the “Blast From The Past” is talking to the creators involved, getting their thoughts on the series. I was able to reach out to Jimmy Palmiotti and asked a couple of questions.

The ‘Verse: Why did it take so long for Gate Crasher to get reprinted? And why at Image?

Jimmy Palmiotti: Blackbull comics held the rights and they haven’t been publishing in years. I spoke to Gareb Shamus a while ago and we talked about re-releasing the books in to trade formats. He thought it was a good idea and we started off with Gatecrasher and hope to put out more. We chose Image comics because I have a fantastic relationship with them , and they really have excellent quality control, which is very important with us.

Does the series being reprinted indicate that you’ll be revisiting the concept anytime soon?

Reception to the collections can help push that, but it would have to be a big one since everyone involved has moved on. Amanda wants to finish the last story presented in the second trade, so we shall see what happens.

How do you remember the Black Bull experience? Do you regret doing Gatecrasher through them?

Regret? Not in a million years…I got to work with some of the finest talents in comics and got to get some of my own personal ideas to the printed page after Gatecrasher, like Beautiful Killer and New West. It was a special time for me since I was also running Marvel Knights with Joe and I felt I needed to do more writing and creating and less babysitting other peoples properties. Working with the crew at Blackbull was a dream. Everyone knew what they were doing and as well, trusted me to run the operation as I saw fit. The freedom I had was great. It will always be a great experience for me to look back on and I want to thank Gareb and Fred at wizard for making it happen.

Look back on the series now, how do you feel about it?

It feels great and makes me sad at the same time because we really did something special with the Gatecrasher series and if sales were a little better, we would have had many volumes of the book done. Working with Amanda, Mark Waid and Paul Mounts was like working with the dream team of comics. I am especially proud of what we created,and glad a whole new generation of readers are going to get to enjoy the books in these new collections.

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