Saturday, 13 February 2010

Kinda-Sorta Primer: The Great Unknown by Duncan Rouleau

Every now and then there's a series that needs a simple plug. Whether it's something with ailing sales that's truly upsetting to see falter and die or a series that comes out with such ridiculous gaps between issues that it risks dropping out of the comic-reading consciousness before it's even over, as is the case with this comic.

Now usually, as we all know, a comic that comes out infrequently is usually related to horribly unprofessional creative teams or debilitating health issues, but every once in a while it's because the creator has more important obligations to maintain, such as Duncan Rouleau's focus on the television show Ben 10.

But as with all delays this one has come to an end and the series I'm priming you on (as far as I understand the concept) is returning in all its glory in April, and I could NOT be more stoked. This series is a gem of a concept from Rouleau and deserves everyone's attention when issue 3 (of 5) hits the stands. So I've taken it upon myself to fill you in on plot, characters and attractive qualities of the series in the hope you jump on board, at least for the eventual (EVENTUAL being the key word) trade that will one day come out.

So with that allow me to tell you all about THE GREAT UNKNOWN.

... after the jump.

What is The Great Unknown?
A comic full of BRIGHT ideas! AHAHAHAHAHAAHAHA! Oh GOD someone please stop me making bad jokes! PLEASE!
A 5-issue miniseries written and illustrated by Duncan Rouleau (Metal Men, Ben 10, The Nightmarist), with two issues out at current, The Great Unknown follows Zach Feld, genius inventor/drunken slacker who, when not inebriated and accusing people of a lesser mental station of sleeping with their sisters, constantly attempts to successfully patent any of his million dollar ideas. The only issue is that someone ALWAYS beats him to the punch, no matter what idea he has. His family all perceive him as a hopeless case, to the extent of trying to stage a televised intervention (which our protagonist attempts to run the hell away from). And then out of the blue a mysterious man comes to him with information on who is stealing his ideas, a mysterious corporation called 'iMind'. A mysterious man he's seen before, back in his days as a college student. It also doesn't help that he discovers iMind is auctioning off his ideas to the highest bidder.

Oh and there's some stuff with his ex-girlfriend who used him as part of a book she wrote because he's an inconsiderate drunken arsehole. But then he's MY sort of inconsiderate drunken arsehole so I can't berate him for THAT.

Who are the characters?
Zachary Feld: Our main character and general charming motherflipper (AHAHAHA I FIT FLIP INTO A NEW WORD!), despite generally being a hopeless layabout with a genius intellect. In fact that intellect is described as basically being able to perceive 100 courses of action and working out which takes the least amount of effort. He's also a repulsive drunk who vomits more oft than not and has poor relationships with his ex and his family, due to his abrasive nature. Currently trying to figure out why and how iMind are stealing his genius ideas.

Zebediah 'lil hitler' Feld: Stumpy older brother of Zach and long-term sufferer of his brother's drunken antics. Has a wife called Julie. Appears to want to help Zach with the whole televised intervention antics, but could it be possible that he bears a grudge against Zach for years of brotherly torment? The nickname 'lil Hitler' doesn't exactly inspire confidence in him either.

Momma and Poppa Feld (as I deign to call them): The parents of Zach and Zeb, who have finally grown tired of their younger sons antics and have called out a cable television show for the sake of an intervention. Which makes them weird arseholes. But are they arseholeish enough to steal their sons ideas to sell at iMind?

Buchiner: Mysterious mustachioed man who revealed to Zach the existence of iMind. Was present back in the days Zach was a teaching assisstant/student at college. Wasn't too pleasant back then and spoke with Zach's professor as to getting Zach onto 'their side' (presumably iMind's). Guilt appears to have caught up with him recently due to his revelation to Zach, but could he really be one of the idea stealers, or just a bidder/client for them on the iMind website? Also, he's dead now.

Penny Lee: Ex-girlfiend of Zach who believes she wasted three years of her life with a lazy fool who is full of unfulfilled promises. Currently a popular author with a book based heavily on how much of an arse Zach is. Probably hasn't stolen any of Zach's ideas, simply because this comic needs a love interest, and there's a sadness to her attitude towards him now. An attitude that also involved getting him thrown out of trendy clubs.

Futurehead: Start-up company by neighbours who just so happen to have the iMind lightbulb in their banner. That's not suspect at all right? Also have a crappy slogan that doubles as their internet password. Probably misdirection, but who knows?

iMind: Evil group that sells stolen ideas on what is essentially their own ebay for intellectual properties. Hate them. SEETHE WITH HATE.

What's there to like about The Great Unknown?

  • The art. Duncan Rouleau is a genuine comics talent, with vibrant art that goes beyond the norm. everything is perfectly laid out and creatively drawn, from weirdly pretty vomit (seriously that stuff is freakishly well drawn) to what has to be the most well-drawn upside-down person I've ever seen. Which is weird praise but seriously, that upside-down Zach is so well drawn that it's replaced Chamber in my banner (something that I'm sure is mildly surprising to anyone who knows me).
  • The writing. It's a complete understatement to call Rouleau's writing on this anything other than incredibly verbose and intricate. Even at its most basic it chock-full of interesting statement after interesting statement, never losing your attention for a second. You seriously cannot find a comic that talks at this length without becoming boring as all hell. THIS is the exception. And maybe Rouleau's Metal Men, but I'm waiting on that to arrive in the mail at the moment.
  • The colours. This really falls under art again but it bears seperate mention. The Great Unknown is largely multiple shade of blue, but the colour theme will change to suit various locales or situations (e.g. red for a flashback, a yellowish-orange for the bar interior at the start of the comic, etc.). It's a little touch that keeps the comic captivating and your eyes gooey with veritable glee.
  • The opening three pages. All comics need a quality opener, and this manages that with a brilliantly scripted scene of Zach giving a helluva speech to his assailants (something that has not yet occurred within the story yet, as Zach uses that point in time to tell us his tale of woe). Heck, just to whet your appetite for the series' return I'll show you those three pages in all their glory:

Cool stuff, ne?

And that's the comic explained to you. It isn't without its flaws, as with any comic. The lettering appears to have more than a few errors, but it's not really the sort of thing that can detract from the enjoyment of the comic. And hey, if Batman & Robin can get away with switching entire character's statements, then a small series like this can misspell a couple of things. You honestly need to check this series out, as enjoyment is guaranteed.

Also worthy of mention but not actually being shown here are the 1-page stories following each issue focusing on History's greatest arseholes. It's another example of how intelligent and witty the series is in everything it tells you.

Hopefully you enjoyed this quick Kinda-Sorta Primer and I'll update again... Soon!

1 comment:

  1. thanks for the cool words man - almost finished with 5 hoping to release 4 and 5 by mid year. D