Available for Pre-Order for those of you who’ve been waiting to see the book in print, is the hardcover edition from Archaia!
Thank you to Ambush Bug and the fine fellows over at AICN for the great review of the forthcoming Chapter 4!
TUMOR Chapter 4
Archaia – Available on Amazon Kindle every other week
This hard edged detective story reminiscent of D.O.A. and MEMENTO is getting better from one chapter to the next. Joshua Hale Fialkov writes a tragic tale of a man who is slowly losing his mind. Diagnosed with an inoperable tumor pressing against his brain, Frank Armstrong’s mind is fragmenting. One second he’s in the present working on a case and the next he’s in the past holding a woman he knows he lost long ago. To make matters worse, there’s a dame (of course there’s a dame) that looks a lot like Frank’s old flame in the middle of this case. Frank is completely confused and losing control of his mind and body, but determined to solve this last case before the tumor in his head overcomes him. In this fourth chapter, we find out that Frank also feels no pain. When he realizes he’s broken his leg (he did so in the last chapter in a daring escape from his hospital room), he looks at it with sort of a fascination, in an “oh what’s this” sort of way rather than shock. Fialkov is churning out one great mystery yarn, but also an amazing character study. You really feel sympathetic to Frank as he is stumbling along trying to keep things together in his head. Fialkov paces this story perfectly, flipping reality on its ear just when you’re getting invested in the story at play and the scratchy images by Noel Tuazon become more engaging as the chapters whiz by. His depictions of Frank’s worried brow speak volumes. This is a heartbreaking tale that can’t end well, but I’m still rootin’ for Frank to solve the case. TUMOR is available on Amazon Kindle for download.
Noel is the very definition of a man of few words. But, I figured I’d been hogging the spotlight long enough, and forced him to answer these questions six. If you have more questions for the Man in Can(ada) feel free to post in the comments, and I’ll make sure he sees ’em.
1) So, back with me again, eh? How’s that? Like an old pair of pants?
As Larry David would say: “Pretty, pretty, pretty good” and, yeah, like an old pair of corduroys.
2) You’ve done an amazing job conveying L.A. in the book. How hard is it to capture the look and feel of Los Angeles using just my scripts and the scant reference photos I send over?
Thanks. I didn’t know I’d captured the look & feel of L.A. but I guess it helps referring to Jaime Hernandez’s work. I’ve also been looking at Yoshihiro Tatsumi’s treatment of his buildings & backgrounds. Have you finished his ginormous “Drifting Life” book yet?
I’m about 1/2 way through, and it’s freaking amazing. For anybody reading this who’s a fan of our work, or great comics in general, go check out the work of Tatsumi here.
3) Probably your biggest strength as an artist as far as I’m concerned is your ability to control the character’s ‘acting.’ Everyone feels so real and alive. What’s your secret?
Working in an animation studio (doing storyboard revisions) helps since you had to draw the characters feelings and moods to match the script’s descriptions. Plus having a mirror nearby is a good aid.
4) Because of your loose art style, there’s this really nice balance you have to have between too much and not enough.When do you know that a page is done?
Hmm…well, the best way I can answer that question is describing the way I tackle a page. I’ll do the line work first and from there it’s a matter of clarifying each panel with, say, dark figures or objects in the foreground and adding less detail on the background as it recedes. Of course, I can always look back at “Wally Wood’s 22 Panels That Always Work” as a guide.
5) After doing Elk’s Run with Scott Keating on colors, how hard was it to move over to doing black and white
It wasn’t too difficult since Elk’s Run is the only comic I’ve drawn that’s been colored. Prior to ER and, so far, afterwards I’ve always drawn my comics in b & w.
6) What haven’t I given you a chance to draw that you desperately want to draw?
An EC/pre-code horror and/or sci-fi epic! Hey, I’ll even take a series of short stories since I love those comic book horror anthologies. I was looking at that Steve Niles/Kelley Jones Batman series and wishing so badly I was given a chance to draw those stories in the style of a Grahan Ingels or early Bernie Wrightson.
Issue Three is where the story really departed from what I initially intended the book to be. While I was in the outlining stage, I was spending most of my creative energy on coming up with what the ‘mystery’ of the book was going to be. I had the characters all down pat, but, desperately needed a maguffin to drive the story.
As it stood, he found Evelyn in Chapter Two, had the seizure and woke up in the hospital as written. But, the difference is that Evelyn doesn’t come back. He’s seen her, he’s seen how scared she is, and he knows that she’s in trouble. The problem was that there had to be some bit of happenstance that led Frank to get back on her trail, and out of the hospital. Everything that would make him run came off as too forced. I spent weeks wrestling with the story trying desperately to find that missing maguffin.
I was in a meeting with a Hollywood Producer type and was talking about the book. As I was pitching the story, I got to the loosey-goosey second act. The producer stopped me and asked where all my story confidence went. I told him that I was missing the maguffin still, and couldn’t get the story to flow properly. He asked a simple question. “Why?” I went on about the necessity of it for the genre, and how it’s the way these things are done, and so on. He stared at me and said, “He needs to find the girl and do the thing he couldn’t do to his wife. Protect her. That’s the maguffin.”
Sure enough, he was right. This was a story about a man being faced to look at his past mistakes and face them down one on one. As he flashes between reality and fantasy there’s one thing that grounds him in the now. Evelyn and the threat that she faces. Once I had that piece of the puzzle, I had the story.
I think that really comes through in the writing of this chapter, and each of the following chapters. I felt a confidence in the story that I didn’t quite have in the first two, because my story had found it’s driving force, and, Frank had found his purpose.
You can (finally) download Chapter Three of Tumor at the above link. Chapter Four is going to be coming along, hopefully, on time, and we should be square from here on out. Back this week with some new interviews and special features. And as always, if you’ve enjoyed the books, please let the world know over in the User Reviews section of the Amazon pages and by twittering and facebooking about the book!
Thanks again, gang, and enjoy!
We’re still waiting on Amazon to post up the third chapter of Tumor, but, in the meantime, I wanted to direct you to a brand new short story by yours truly for Kindle and the iPhone/iPod Touch Kindle App. It’s called Belly Button Reset, and I’m very proud of it. It’s sort of a Vonnegut-y sci-fi romance drama thing, and it’s only a buck, so, why not? You can purchase it here: http://tinyurl.com/ltxpmm
But, what’s that? You don’t have a Kindle or iPhone? Well, you’re in luck. You can check out a non-Kindle version over here at http://feedbooks.com/userbook/7446
But, I do ask that if you download it over on Feedbooks, PLEASE, post a brief review over on the site or over on Amazon. Reviews get people to try books out, especially with low price points, so it’d be a huge help.
Thanks for reading, and I hope you enjoy the story!
Go check out a pretty thorough interview with yours truly about Tumor and comics in general. Issue 3, on Kindle, still on it’s way. It seems Amazon has added a five day waiting period on uploads for copyright verification, and I reckon we’re caught up in that. Hopefully, the chapter should be up tomorrow or Thursday at the latest.
Meanwhile, enjoy: Robot 6 and Fialkov.
Ah, the dreaded production problems have made Chapter Three a few weeks late, and out of a sense of guilt, I wanted to share at least a few pages with you… so… click the link below to read the first 10 pages for free! The rest of the chapter will be available on Amazon.com in the next few days. More content here to go along with it in the next few days, including a casual conversation with the book’s editor, Rob Levin.