Funnybook Babylon

January 24, 2009

Josh & Imp…Launches? Yes, We’ll Go with Launches

Filed under: Blurbs — Jonathan Bernhardt @ 4:30 pm

What most of the people involved with this site know about Jon Bernhardt but you, the Anonymous Reader, do not is that he, much like everyone else who reads comics, would likeThe City to write comics, preferably in exchange for money and some press. You know, a Newsarama interview or two every six months, followed by a screaming match with Bill Willingham at some panel in Philly; I require nothing spectacular. This is not surprising. What is surprising is that two years or so ago, he actually wrote a 24-page comic, which was lovingly pencilled, inked, colored, and lettered by the incomparable Diana Nock. You should click that link, and click it right now, because she is not only a saint but an amazingly talented artist, and regardless of when you’re reading this, she probably has something cool to look at right now on her front page.

I wrote it when I was eighteen years old, which shows, and pretty much none of the dialogue has been edited since then, nor does it need to be, which is something I’m very, very occasionally and cautiously proud of. You can read the forewards there, but the general gist is that I agreed to write a story for one of these crazy online anthology projects that always crash and burn and fail, except that being eighteen years old, I didn’t know to expect crashing and burning and failure, and so I actually got a script done, hooked up with an artist, and put out a story. The theme of the anthology was that all the stories would take place in the same fictional City, and the stories would all be some kind of genre fiction — superhero, crime, romance, what have you. While everyone else was arguing over the City’s backstory and similar distractions from actual progress, I decided that, having recently read a bunch of Chuck Dixon’s Batman comics from the nineties — Robin, Nightwing, his and Moench’s stuff on the actual Batman books — I didn’t like what Dixon had to say about the characters and about people in general, and specifically how people deal with relationships, romantic and otherwise. Let’s face it, Dixon’s Dick Grayson is a pathetic tramp and his Tim Drake is a chauvinistic prat. So I wrote a couple stories involving Batman-universe analogues, three of which ended up fully drawn, and by far the strongest in all areas is the one I did with Diana, Josh & Imp. The other two, Sidekick and Legacy, aren’t uploaded anywhere right now, and probably won’t be anytime soon.

In the two years since Josh & Imp was finished, it’s had the honor of Erik Larsen looking at all the art, sequentially, but not reading it; former DC editor Nachie Castro kind of shrugging at it and making encouraging noises; and Mark Waid liking it, but feeling that it didn’t fit into Boom! Studios’ publishing strategy. Josh & ImpConsidering the piece is a 24 page one-shot starring analogues of someone else’s characters, with little in the way of action and no big names attached to the project, this isn’t really surprising. I’ve more or less given up on getting into the comics business by actually writing comics — though a webcomic I’m writing might be launching around the end of February — but I still have a special place in my heart for this story, and Diana worked damn hard on it, so I think it deserves a look, if you’ve got the time.

Originally this post was a lot more self-deprecating, but then I took a look at the other recent entry into the field of “female Robin analogue angsts out over her relationship with Batman analogue; talks about it” comics, and you know what? I’m feeling pretty good in the comparison.

19 Comments »

  1. First off, I absolutely loved this piece. I give my utmost respect to Diana Nock for the fantastic art provided. My foremost regards go to you, Jon, for writing a beautiful and a bit edgy story that I read at least 4 times before seeking more information on the piece and yourself. If this is just a small sample of what you can accomplish, then I eagerly await more work from you in the future. Good luck!

    -Matty

    Comment by Matty — February 4, 2009 @ 3:43 am

  2. God damn. This might be one of the best comic book short stories I’ve ever read. I would love to see more of this, or anything similar to it.

    You have the talent to suck the reader into the story, like Ellis, Ennis and Lee. As a representative of the hardcore comic enthusiasts, you get 5 stars, som micheline ones for tastyliciousness (I can make up words too) and the whole fucking shebang of fanfares and confetti you could stomach.

    Keep going or I will be very sad.

    Comment by Karl Arvinder — February 4, 2009 @ 4:42 am

  3. I absolutely loved this comic! I was a little upset that there was only one story to read. I too will be extremely saddened to miss out on any further adventures of Josh & Imp. I hope your comic book writing career takes off!

    Comment by Slinger — February 4, 2009 @ 5:12 am

  4. Just read it and thought it was fantastic. The art was top notch and the story was involving. Love to se more.

    Comment by captain wiggles — February 4, 2009 @ 2:21 pm

  5. I just found this comic via StumbleUpon, and was amazed – it’s probably the best one-off comic I’ve ever read. It’s a great shame that this is all there is of these characters, but you’ve got obvious talent here, and so if you ever do decide to take up writing comics, you should have no problem attracting an audience. You’ve got one fan here already.

    Comment by Alasdair — February 4, 2009 @ 11:22 pm

  6. i was just stumbling around the net when i happened upon your comic, like it seems many have. and i have to say i love it. fantastic work. right after i finished reading it, i googled the title hoping there was more. as you can see my search has lead me here. i hope that you have more coming, and i am looking forward to more additions in the future. keep up the great work.

    Comment by John — February 5, 2009 @ 5:55 am

  7. I just stumbled onto the comic and I need this on my book shelf. Any plans to publish?

    Also, you might want to put a link to your site or a way to contact you on the comic page for those who stumble on it.

    Comment by fodigg — February 5, 2009 @ 5:32 pm

  8. Also, please take over writing Teen Titans ASAP. Then pick a lineup and stick with it.

    Comment by fodigg — February 5, 2009 @ 6:03 pm

  9. great comic! keep up the good work! i’ll be looking out for more by you!

    Comment by skyvikingsa — February 6, 2009 @ 10:09 pm

  10. I think that the publishers you spoke with are missing out on a golden “ground floor” opportunity in not making a one shot of this piece. Were it in print, it would be sure to pick up a quick cult following with a demand for a series. Even though it is now in digital form, I could see people clamoring to add this to their collections in print format. Diana Nock did a masterful job in illustration and I am saddened that we do not get to see the other issues. It would be even more special to see the works done with the now familiar art of Diana backing them. I hope you are able to get them dispayed at sometime.

    Comment by itninja — February 7, 2009 @ 2:32 am

  11. Haha, thanks guys. The feedback we’ve gotten has kind of blown us away; we’re in the process of setting up a dedicated site for Josh & Imp and its universe, and might be doing new 4-8 page shorts catching up with the characters intermittently.

    Since people were saying how they’d want more, I managed to dig up Legacy from somewhere; it’s the third story of the three I wrote originally, and I waver between thinking the script for it and Josh & Imp are the strongest of the bunch — Josh & Imp being clearly the better of the two as a finished product. Diana lettered it, and the pencils and inks were done by J.C. Grande, who I think is doing covers for Image now, so give him a Google if you like his stuff. I’ve hosted it as a .zip file on my own hosting:

    http://crion.radinfinitum.com/Legacy%20-%20Jon%20Bernhardt%20-%20JC%20Grande%20-%20Diana%20Nock.zip

    All you need to know for the story is that the older, black-haired dude is the first Imp (now sort of a good Jason Todd kind of character) introduced in the first of the stories, Sidekick.

    Comment by Jonathan Bernhardt — February 11, 2009 @ 10:36 pm

  12. I read Josh & Imp Last night. What can I say? I was charmed. You & the artist created a bit of magic. There is definitely a place for this kind of story in Literature. I was happy to see a link to Legacy. Unfortunately, it’s broken. Oh well, i’ll hop back over to Jinxville and sign onto the mailing list.
    Thanks for the pleasure!

    Comment by DarwinsRadioDNA — September 1, 2009 @ 7:19 pm

  13. How hit this from stumble-upon, I too want more, Great story, I agree that it’s text heavy for a comic book (duh) but the lack of text has always been the glaring weakness of deep comic book story telling IMHO. You can clearly write a good story, maybe you should consider straight up novel writing. Of course I might be biased being more of a novel reader the comic book fan.
    Anyway…

    Keep Writing! Please! There is nowhere near enough good writing going on in our generation.

    Comment by Shyft — November 26, 2009 @ 9:26 pm

  14. Loved every second of it.

    Comment by Rayne — June 28, 2010 @ 10:23 am

  15. I stumbled upon this almost a year ago and keep coming back to it to re-read it, you’ve got talent man. I hope that you find luck in getting published because I’m a definite fan.

    Comment by Ben Azzopardi — August 29, 2010 @ 6:21 am

  16. i really enjoyed the story, and i honestly would like to read more of it, it would make a good series

    Comment by Jacob — January 23, 2011 @ 9:00 pm

  17. this is one of the most well written and composed comics i’ve ever read and i found myself sucked into the story and characters, i hope to see more of Jon’s work and am hopeful to see more stories from josh and imp

    Comment by cameron — June 29, 2011 @ 1:04 am

  18. This comic blew my mindhole! I absolutely love it. I’m going to show this to everyone I know. I hope to see more from you in the future. I hope this can turn into a full time gig for ya, because you’ve got talent. Thank you!

    Comment by Josh — April 23, 2012 @ 6:00 am

  19. Read it once. Read it twice. Read the last conversation a third time because I fucking love the idea of a 17 yo nobody standing up to a superhero and being in the right. If I had a genie, I would wish this one-shot into a never-ending, awesome comic series that I would buy the shit out of and have a nerd-gasm when I saw you at comic-con. Great story, great art, wish there was more.

    Comment by Aedan — January 27, 2013 @ 11:26 pm

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