This week, DC released the tenth issue of The Kamandi Challenge, by Greg Pak and Shane Davis, which picked up on the cliffhanger left behind by last month's creative team, Tom King, Kevin Eastman, and Freddie Williams II.
The concept of The Kamandi Challenge is that each incoming writer/artist team will leave a cliffhanger to be picked up by the previous team, "challenging" them to get the characters out of the mess they've put them in.
The series was conceived not only as a fun event series and a way to make the long-dormant Kamandi property something that DC can use again, but as a celebration of the hundredth birthday of Jack Kirby, which happened in August.
Pak and Davis joined us to discuss three quick questions that we've been asking each successive creative team. You can see them below.
You can also check out both of the cliffhangers in question, in the attached image gallery.
What was your reaction to the cliffhanger you received?
Shane Davis: Seemed exciting and a great moment to hook the reader into the next issue. Luckily, I found out what happens next from my editor, so I was able to sleep well.
Greg Pak: You mean the cliffhanger from Tom King's issue #9 script? I just laughed and sent Tom a note that said "much respect for basically hammering all the existential nails into the coffin of the story for me!" Tom gave us the greatest/most devious cliffhanger ever -- on the surface, it seemed totally open ended -- just Kamandi passing through a door. But thematically, his script kind of brilliantly overthrew the entire premise of the undertaking, critiquing Kamandi's endless journey through random, harrowing terror. I'm a writer who pays a lot of attention to premise and theme, so after something like that, it became a pretty big challenge to figure out what the heck to do next! My big choice was to go in the opposite direction and fully embrace the emotional threads of Kamandi's journey -- going all-in with non-ironic family trauma and drama.
And also man-sharks with machine guns.
What did you pay forward to the next creative team?
Pak: As the tenth out of twelve chapters, I figured our role here was to start to pull the big emotional threads of the story together in preparation for the big finish. So having Kamandi actually find his mother, who he'd been searching for from the beginning, felt like a bit of a gift. Making her a villain who wants to exterminate all the animal people was a way to complicate it and give the next team something to chew on -- or get chewed by.
Davis: The challenge of topping sharks with machine guns and bad tattoos, like how to you get more random than that? To me that was the heart of Kirby's Kamandi; random fun things that you don't get from other comics
How have you been inspired by Kirby?
Davis: Kirby developed a lot of the foreshortening techniques that have been the basis of a lot of the superhero poses of today. He was an architect of the America comic medium. He did things with a blank sheet of paper that we still can't do today. No comic on the shelf has the energy of Kirby...we just can't. He had a unique spark, which started a fire that became comics superhero and pulp culture today. Then, one day, Jack decided to write, and we were given these gems like Kamandi and New Gods. It's honestly inspiring to just think about Kirby's talent; his ability as a comic creator in general.
Pak: The biggest gift that Kirby's legacy gives us all when working on a book like this is permission to embrace huge emotion and no-holds-barred, gonzo world-building. Imagination and emotion unbound. Probably the best way to make comics, right?
Previous The Kamandi Challenge conversations:
- Breaking Down the Issue 1 Cliffhangers With Dan Abnett
- Breaking Down the Issue 2 Cliffhangers With Tomasi & Adams
- Breaking Down the Issue 3 Cliffhangers With Palmiotti & Conner
- Breaking Down the Issue 4 Cliffhangers With Carlos D'Anda
- Breaking Down The Issue 5 Cliffhangers (SPOILERS!) With Bill Willingham
- Breaking Down The Issue 6 Cliffhangers (SPOILERS!) With Orlando and Tan
- Breaking Down The Issue 7 Cliffhangers (SPOILERS!) With Dan Jurgens
- Breaking Down the Issue 8 Cliffhangers With Giffen & Rude
- Breaking Down the Issue 9 Cliffhangers With King, Eastman & Williams
The first ten issues of The Kamandi Challenge are availble in comic book stores and online at ComiXology today.