J.T. Krul Talks Sand + Bone, His PTSD Supernatural Thriller -- And Check Out the Trailer Here!

Veteran superhero writer J.T. Krul is tackling a different kind of hero, and a different kind of monster, in his new comic Sand + Bone (with artist Andrea Mutti and colorist Vladimir Popov), which deals with a U.S. Army vet who returns from the Middle East with a dark secret and a side of himself he can't control.

Suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder is a sad reality for many who return from war, but when Sean starts to suspect he's been doing terrible things after blackouts, is it a psychological issue or something stranger and more terrifying?

Krul joined ComicBook.com to share the comic's trailer (embedded above), and talk about the work, which will be in stores soon.

You can talk to your local comic shop or pre-order it from Barnes & Noble now.

Did you and Andrea co-develop this project? If not, how did you land on the art team for Sand and Bone?

Adaptive and I had been trying to find the right project to work on together and Sand and Bone fit the bill. I am particularly drawn to write characters that are somewhat damaged goods and the struggle, both internal and external, for Sean was compelling to me.

As far as Andrea, that was thanks to the eyes of Jimmy Palmiotti and Justin Gray who are working with Adaptive to develop their graphic novel division. I only had to see a page or two of Andrea's work to know he was a perfect fit for the dark and gritty tone of the story. He's got such a way of conveying some raw emotion in his art that really helped to give Sean's turmoil an added layer. And Vladimir Popov's colors really made it all pop in a realistic way.

Was it you or the letterer who opted to have regionally-accurate script in the Iraqi word balloons early on?

The letterer did a beautiful job on the whole project and we wanted to use the script because for many soldiers, they don't know the local language, so it works to express that sense of disconnection from one's surrounding.

Sean's rather cynical assessment of "support our troops" is definitely a perspective I've heard from veterans before, but is it challenging to distinguish the narrator's voice from your voice as the writer in the mind of the reader?

I think a lot of times writers are drawn to stories that speak to them, so in that regard I might veer towards protagonists that I can relate to. So, my "voice" might come through that way a bit. But, as with any project, I try to make the characters and the dialogue as real and grounded as I can. A little easier in this story than say writing an alien born on a planet called Krypton.

How important was it to Sean's journey that we come into a the story at a point where he really hasn't got a support network or anything like that, though?

Very important. From conversations with soldiers (both from the Iraq war as well as the Vietnam War), I've come to understand that gap in connectivity. For some, there really is no support system. The fact that we have so many veterans that are homeless can attest to that. But even more so than that, there is this sense that soldiers find it hard to really relate to life after service. Even people with the best intentions are often incapable of truly understanding what they experienced or what they are living with. The psychological scars can run deep.

Would you say the events of the first issue are rock bottom for Sean?

You might say that, or it's as low as it's been so far. It's a daily struggle for him, and time will tell if he's on a path to a better place or starting on a journey into a hell beyond anything he could imagine.

The high concept of a story like this is often the selling point, but with his mind playing tricks on him I kind of spent the first 2/3 or so of the issue not sure whether he was REALLY making a physical transformation. Was that intentional, or just my reading?

Very intentional. For this story to really work and stand out, we needed to ground it reality - firmly. The trauma of what Sean experienced is very real and yet there is an element that seems downright horrific. We wanted the reader to be as lost and unsettled as Sean is the whole way through.


That said, what made PTSD the kind of additional affliction that you wanted to explore in this story?

Not to get all soapboxy, but we as a nation are failing our veterans in a huge way. The number of suicides daily, the numbers that are homeless, the employment rate amongst veterans - it's atrocious. They protect our country and our very way of life, and yet they are largely ignored and marginalized. And the fact that PTSD is something of an invisible injury makes it all the harder to treat and understand. Sure, this is a story for entertainment, but it's also meant to shed some light on their struggles.