Another Crazy Ecstatic Ether Binge

 

by Vince Brusio

Stories cooked in a hot furnace, but then served cold sober are best digested when you’re in the midst of an ether binge—specifically, Dark Horse Comics’ Ether: The Copper Golems #1 (MAR180014) from Matt Kindt and David Rubin. It’s a dish of surreal, with a dash of gonzo, but don’t let the big purple talking ape fool you. Jazz music, whether written or drawn, has structure. It's form that can also be forged by steel. So let this PREVIEWSworld Exclusive interview with Matt Kindt hit you upside the head with a loud “whack!” and check out his second jump into a wild world that’s preferable to the craziness outside of your own window. There is nothing in this world more helpless and irresponsible and depraved than a reader in the depths of this Ether binge.

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Vince Brusio: This is our second foray into the land of Ether. So, what should we have taken away from the first series that will give us perspective for Ether: The Copper Golems #1 (MAR180014)?

Matt Kindt: Without spoiling too much of the first series – I think the sucker-punch at the end of the first arc – the idea that our ‘hero’, Boone – has a family on Earth that he’s neglecting, will play an even bigger part in this second arc. Time works differently in the Ether so we find out that as heartbreaking as the first arc is – that time differential – really has an impact on Boone and his daughters this time around. One day in the Ether is about a month on earth. Other than that – you could jump right in with this new series without having read the first arc. Boone is progressing – as a scientist and a human being and growing a little bit in his understanding of how the Ether works – and slightly more understanding of himself.

Vince Brusio: Have you plotted Ether out for several story arcs? Does this story write itself faster than, say, superhero stories, because it’s more surreal and gonzo?

Matt Kindt: I’ve definitely plotted out several story arcs – which I think is essential with a series like this. In a way, I think I probably owe a debt to the structure of Mike Mignola’s amazing Hellboy series. Each arc works in a self-contained way, but it also serves to push and develop the character and their growth. I think that’s the advantage it really has over a perennial kind of superhero book where the characters have to remain static. In Ether – our characters will absolutely not be the same from beginning to end. They’re going to go through some stuff…that will mess ‘em up and hopefully make them grow as well. And I’d say the surreal and gonzo stuff actually takes longer to come up – we’re coming up with it from whole-cloth for the most part rather than basing it in reality. But that said, the surreal stuff is also inspired by and playing on classic mythology and history, so there are equal parts research and full-on “making up crazy stuff.”

Vince Brusio: You have several supporting characters propping up Boone Dias in this series. Can you give us insight into their personalities?

Matt Kindt: Glum is the big purple talking ape that serves as the gatekeeper to the Ether. In a way, he serves as the Watson to Boone’s Sherlock. Violet Bell is the punk-rock faerie that Boone (subconsciously) falls for – but she hates him. We’ll get more of their backstory in this arc as well – finding out why she despises him. And finally, there’s a new character – Grandor – who is the coolest guy in the Ether. He smokes Cthulhu-style cigarettes that have a kind of nicotine that instill absolute fear in the smoker – but he’s SO cool, that he actually enjoys the feeling. He’s addicted to ‘em. And I’m not ashamed to say that Grandor is inspired by David Rubin – THE coolest cartoonist I know.

Vince Brusio: When you push away from working on this book, how do you feel? Does working on Ether differ from working on other Matt Kindt canon? 

Matt Kindt: Ether is probably the most unadulterated fun that I have writing. David and I have really built a world here where we can tell any story and in any way we want. There’s a page early on that is a visual riddle, and other spreads that I write and David goes nuts with the layouts. In a way, it’s a lot like what I imagine jazz musicians feel like when they’re jamming together – playing off of each other’s ideas and coming up with new ones as they go – using the structure to hold it all together but not letting it hem us in. 

 
 
 Ether: The Copper Golems #2 (APR180040)

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Vince Brusio writes about comics, and writes comics. He is the long-serving Editor of PREVIEWSworld.com, the creator of PUSSYCATS, and encourages everyone to keep the faith...and keep reading comics.

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