Saturday, December 26, 2009

CMT News Flash

Trace Adkins' Next Comic Book Due Dec. 16 After First Issue Sells Out

The second issue of the Luke McBain comic book series, based on Trace Adkins' likeness and persona, will be released on Dec. 16 by 12 Gauge Comics. The first issue of the four-part series was released in early November and sold out at the distributor level in two days. Luke McBain's character is an innocent ex-con who returns to his Louisiana hometown after 14 years to take care of business at his family's timber mill, only to find it in trouble.

LUKE MCBAIN #2 preview

5 Page preview at Comic Book Resources:

Newsarama interview with Tischman & Chamberlain

"After 14 years, Luke McBain's come back to Eden. No one's going to mess with him – and there's only one way he's leaving. "

Although those are the final words of the first issue of the recently released comic book miniseries Luke McBain, it's apropos as an introduction to what the book is all about.

Luke McBain is the story of a man returning home after years spent behind bars, and his home is the fictional town of Eden, Louisiana. Off the beaten bath and north of New Orleans, this is the kind of town you might drive through without blinking if you didn't know what to look for. But for McBain, it's the place he calls home. But after his fourteen-year absence, it's not the place it used to be.

In a unique twist, country singer Trace Adkins is Luke McBain. No, there's not a television show or movie in the wings (yet), but Trace stars in the comic as Luke. From his likeness, down to his mannerisms and his down-to-earth sense of storytelling seen in his music, Adkins and the book's publisher and creators entered into a unique partnership that appeals to both comic fans and country music fans. For Alabama-based publisher 12 Gauge and its head Keven Gardner, it seemed an ideal synergy of talent – their other big book for 2010 is a spinoff of the upcoming second Boondock Saints movie. Enlisted to put pen to paper and make the comic was Louisiana native Kody Chamberlin on art and writer David Tischman, who has spent considerable time both in comics and in movies recently.

With Luke McBain #1 released in November and issue 2 scheduled for later this month, we talked with Tischman and Chamberlin about the project.

Newsarama: Thanks for sitting down with us, guys. The first issue of Luke McBain is out, and more are on the way --- but for those that are late to the party, how would you describe it for us?

David Tischman: Here's what we tell people -- Luke McBain returns to his small Louisiana hometown after 14 years in prison for a crime he didn't commit -- but here's what the book's really about. It's about a guy who doesn't take people's shit. This is a guy who's "all in" all the time. He was brought up right, and he knows right from wrong. And you better get the hell out of his way. He opens doors for a lady, and he beats the crap out of a hopped-up Meth addict waving a gun around a convenience store. Along the way, he reconnects with some people from his past, and realizes his life is just beginning.

Kody Chamberlain: Without giving too much away, the story revolves around two brothers and the paths they've chosen in life. It's really a great character story, David did an amazing job crafting the storyline.

Nrama: Holding #1 in my hands here fresh from reading it, and I feel a real Walking Tall vibe, or maybe Billy Jack. Am I seeing things?

Chamberlain: I used to love those films as a kid, they were raw and over the top. There's just something about those larger than life characters that are always fun to watch. The style I'm using on this project is already a little raw and rough, so I think it compliments the 1970's exploitation stuff well enough. I wasn't trying to recreate that 1970's look, but I was conscious of it and figured I'd embrace some of those qualities. I've pulled in some of those washed out colors and there's a lot of rough textures worked into the final artwork. I'm even scratching up some of the panels with razor blades to roughen things up.

Nrama: How about you, David? Were those movies big influences?

Tischman: I am a big fan of those movies, and of the action movies of that period. In Luke McBain, we kept it simple. We let the characters talk to each other, and we let them breathe. For instance, it wouldn't be authentic to have McBain go on and on. Those movies are about honest men who cannot abide the injustice that threatens their towns and their friends. These are men who are pushed to the brink, and push back--hard.

Nrama: This book stars, in a way, country singer Trace Adkins. I've seen Trace pop up in movies, television shows, and even on Donald Trump's The Apprentice and now ... comics? How did this all come into place?

Tischman: 12 Gauge is a great publisher, and I love the smart, balls-to-the-walls action stuff Keven Gardner publishes. Keven and I are friends, and we were looking to work together. Billy Jack and Walking Tall came up. The great action movies of the '70s. This was before Taken and the Clint Eastwood movie came out. I had just produced a horror movie, Trailer Park of Terror, which is based on the comic book, and Trace Adkins was in that movie. Trace did a great job. And the idea just kind of came out of that. Keven and I developed the idea--a simple revenge story, set against the modern American south. We pitched it to Trace and his manager, Ken Levitan, and they loved it. That was about a year ago. When we started talking about artists, Kody Chamberlain was literally the first and only name we wanted. Kody has exactly the right look for this book. We knew he'd knock it out of the park.

Nrama: Kody, how did you go about making sure the character looks like Trace?

Chamberlain: Trace forwarded me a set of snapshots and music video DVDs so I did a lot of sketching from that. I also did DVD screen grabs to use as photo reference. Our goal from the start was to get a bit of Trace's likeness into the McBain character, but I never felt any pressure to stray from what I though worked visually. Trying to create a perfect likeness in a comic will usually end up looking stiff and that's a problem we addressed before anything was drawn, so we stayed away from it. We did all agree up front that we'd get as close as we could without compromising the gritty lineart that works so well for this type of story.

Nrama: Did you get an opportunity to meet Trace and size him up in person?

Chamberlain: I did. We were invited to check out a concert while Trace was on tour and my wife and I were invited back stage to meet him and talk about the project a bit. He was very complimentary about everything and loved the artwork. That was early in the process so I only had about 7 pages done, but he called in a few of his guys backstage and they all got a kick out of the pages. He asked a few 'behind the scenes' questions about how I produce the artwork, and he seemed sincere in his excitement for the comic. I got a real sense that he trusted what we were doing and I found a lot of inspiration in that.

Nrama: So Kody's got the visuals down, but what about you David? How did you get the mannerisms and inflection of Trace down onto the printed page?

Tischman I have every TV appearance Trace's done in the last year on my TiVo. That includes all the "Celebrity Apprentice" stuff, and Craig Ferguson. And a concert they aired on DirecTV, and a promo piece for his book on Fox News. The meetings with Trace in Nashville really helped, too. It was very important to keep an honest Southern feel to the scripts, and Keven--who's in Alabama--kept me honest. Luke McBain is a story for Trace Adkins fans. That's why we felt it's important to have the books available to his fans on tour. When his fans go to a Trace Adkins show, they'll be able to buy Luke McBain.

Nrama: You mentioned meeting Trace to secure this project; can you tell us about that?

Tischman: Keven and I went to Nashville several times, and met with Trace each time. He's very tall. And there were calls and e-mails to get the story to where we all wanted it to be. Trace tells you when he likes something, and he stands up for a point he believes in. Luke McBain is an original character in an original story, but that guy looks and feels like Trace Adkins.

Nrama:Speaking of getting down the truth of Trace, this takes place in the countryside of Louisiana – that's home territory for both Trace and Kody. Kody, how's that been – drawing a story set so close to home?

Chamberlain: I'm not sure how much thought went into keeping everything local, I think it just ended up falling into place. But it does sort of make sense to have a Louisiana artist doing a book set in Louisiana. Eden is a fictional town, so I haven't been making much of an effort to recreate any specific architecture or landmark. I'm just pulling from my own experiences and making sure things feel authentic. The script is great, loads of rich details to pull from, but David's been leaving all the Louisiana stuff wide open. It's all very subtle, but it's the kind of thing that I enjoy doing. If you look specifically at the first couple of pages of issue #1, McBain is walking down a country road toward an old filling station. I really wanted to make that feel authentic but not photo realistic. There's little stuff like that throughout the series, I've been having a lot of fun playing around with that concept.

Nrama: From Louisiana to New Jersey, by way of you, David. Before we sign off here, how'd you get into the zone for writing this?

Tischman: Yes, I am a proud son of suburban New Jersey. [laughs]

I read Trace's book, and we talked with Trace about a ton of specifics. And I learned a lot. And there are times in the scripts and in conversations with Kody where I let him take the lead. The details are important and there are times when Kody knows those details better than I do. But story-wise? A story is a story. Whether you're walking down the street in Eden, Louisiana or Scotch Plains, New Jersey. Luke McBain is written as a Western. Look at the lyrics to some of Trace's songs, and then look at a Springsteen song. Couldn't be more different, but at their core, both are talking about America--what it is, and what it should be.

Friday, November 13, 2009

The interview with KEVEN GARDNER

For many country singers, November 11, 2009 may hold significance because of a certain star-studded awards show taking place in downtown Nashville, but for superstar Trace Adkins, who was inexplicably missing from this year's list of nominees, this day marks a milestone of a different sort. Beginning this morning, fans of country music just might cross-over into a fandom never before fully-bridged as Trace Adkins' becomes southern comic book hero Luke McBain when the first issue of 12 Gauge Comics' four-part series hits comic bookstore shelves today.

That's right, the man behind some twenty Top 20 hits, including: Every Light in the House, and (This Ain't) No Thinkin' Thing from his 1996 debut CD, Dreamin' Out Loud on to more recent hits like Honky Tonk Badonkadonk, You're Gonna Miss This and Marry For Money becomes the first-ever country music artist to be the inspiration for a comic book hero, as his likeness graces the pages of 12 Gauge Comics' latest title, Luke McBain. At first, Adkins may seem an unlikely choice for 12 Gauge's first country music star-inspired character, but given Trace's 6'6" muscular frame, rugged good looks and no-nonsense attitude--in life and lyrics, when you really think about it, who better to personify a modern day anti-hero than country music's most masculine star. In the vein of Bufford Pusser, the Tennessee sheriff turned/renegade vigilante made famous in the 1973 action film Walking Tall, Luke McBain returns to his hometown in Louisiana after spending 14 years in prison for a crime he didn't commit. Upon his return, he discovers his younger brother Paul now in charge of the family business, a mill that employees most of the town. Luke soon learns that his brother is up to no good and realizes it's up to him to stop his brother from ruining the business and taking the town down with him. This pits brother against brother in an epic battle as Luke fights to save his beloved hometown.

I recently had an opportunity to chat with 12 Gauge Comics' Publisher Keven Gardner about the genesis of the project. When asked about the resemblance between Trace's McBain character and that of Walking Tall's Sheriff Pusser, Keven revealed, "David Tischman, the writer of Luke McBain, and I really wanted to do a vigilante story and that is one of the best ever, so it was an inspiration. Outside of that they are not too similar, but the tone is certainly the same."

Of Trace's involvement with the project, Keven recalled, "David and I had been friends for a while and wanted to work on a project together. We were talking about what we wanted to do and the idea was formed. David had worked with Trace on the film Trailer Park of Terror and he said, 'We need to show this to Trace.' Luckily he liked it as much as we did!" He further explained, "My agent got the ball rolling and got the idea to Trace's manager. He liked the idea and let us pitch it to Trace."

While today is the official release day for Luke McBain, comic book fans who were in attendance at San Diego's annual Comic-Con back in July got a sneak peek. "Comic-Con attendees got to see about 8 pages of finished art as they stopped by our booth to meet David and Kody Chamberlain, the book's artist. Keven also told me those lucky comic book fans received a free Luke McBain poster.

If you aren't familiar with today's comic books, you might be thinking they are for kids. Addressing this way of thinking, Keven said, "Go read Scalped. It is very, very good, but very, very violent. Some people call it the Sopranos on an Indian reservation. Absolutely not for kids or the week-kneed, but just knocks me out issue after issue."

Taking that into consideration, and with so many of today's popular comic books seemingly aimed at late teen and adult readers, I wondered what age range Keven felt appropriate for Luke McBain readers. "The content is about what you'd see on any prime-time TV show (crime or action). No nudity or bad language, but some guys will be getting beat up and there will be some blood on the ground."

Up next for 12 Gauge Comics, they recently announced the Boondock Saints comic series. "It will be based on the cult-film (the sequel is in theaters now). It will be a pretty tough comic series, but it is one of my favorite films, so I'm thrilled. The writer/director of the film will be co-writing the comics, which takes this thing to a whole new level. Getting a guy like Troy Duffy to have his hands all over the series is the ultimate stamp of approval," revealed Keven.

When asked if there might be a chance to revisit Trace's Luke McBain character, expanding on the intial four-issues, Keven offered a simple but hopeful, "Yes, I would hope so."


He wears a hat, carries a stick and is based on a country music star, but don't let that fool you. Luke McBain is one tough guy, as writer David Tischman explains. U.S President Theodore Rossevelt once remarked in a speech that to use peace, but to be backed up when necessary by military might was to, "Speak softly and carry a big stick." That may also apply to the adventures of a new series from 12 Gauge Comics (The Ride, Body Bags) simply named after its manly main character Luke McBain.

McBain is based on well-known country music sensation Trace Adkins, who was also the runner-up in last year's Celebrity Apprentice with Donald Trump. The 4-issue series based on the singer's likeness focuses on the titular character who has recently been released after a 14-year false imprisonment and returns to his hometown. Soon after, righteous anger at what's become of his town is followed by a desire to set things right and make some noise. Writer David Tischman (Bite Club, Red Herring) is joined by interior artist Kody Chamberlain and cover artist Brian Stelfreeze on the unique Southern set series. Adkins is apparently very impressed at what he's seen and plans to sell the comics at his upcoming concerts.

The man behind the man with the hat, scribe David Tischman sits down with BF to tell us more about this unique collaboration.

BROKEN FRONTIER: Besides what I assume is a unique audience for comics, what else does Trace Adkins bring to the project?

DAVID TISCHMAN: The country audience is far more mainstream than people in comics think. There's a ton of country fans out there. Maybe not as much in L.A. and New York, but the genre has huge popularity in the rest of the country. And we -- Keven Gardner, the publisher of 12 Gauge Comics -- and I think the Country audience is a greatly undervalued market. Hard-edged crime set against the modern South is what 12 Gauge does, and that's how the conversation about Luke McBain started.

Trace Adkins is a talented performer with a huge fan base -- and he's just such an incredible personality. Keven and I knew we had a good idea for the country market. Bringing Trace in, getting his input, adding his persona to the character -- it took the project to a completely different level.

BF: How did you come on board and what was your first response when you heard a country music star was involved?

DT: Keven and I wanted to do a modern action thriller set in a small town. A 21st century version of Walking Tall and Billy Jack. Those movies are about men of integrity and the American spirit. We were ahead of the curve, because we started Luke McBain just as Taken and Gran Torino took off at the box office.

BF: I can’t help but think of a certain character from The Simpsons when I hear the name McBain. Will there be any humor amidst the fist fights?

DT: I'm more of a South Park guy than a Simpsons guy, so I promise the name came up separately. But there are a few good moments of humor. Usually at very dramatic moments. That's when you can point out the little crazy things in life and enjoy them with a smile -- without making fun of people.

BF: With Kody Chamberlain on interiors and Brian Stelfreeze on covers, am I safe in assuming the series will be pretty action packed and dynamic?

DT: These guys -- both Kody and Brian -- what a pleasure it's been to write for these guys! There's a ton of action in each issue -- and all different kinds of action -- from car chases and bar fights, to busted-up robberies and shoot-outs. What's been great is the way we've been able to throw concepts around. Sometimes I go into long, detailed descriptions of stuff. It's what I need to see the story in my head. Because I'm not an artist. But these guys -- Kody on the interiors and Brian on covers -- they see what I'm trying to do and they make it BETTER on the page. They make me look good. You gotta love that.

BF: Did you wear a cowboy hat and carry a big stick to prepare for this series?

DT: (laughs) Sweats and a full coffee mug is pretty much what I need. I'll leave the cowboy hats to Trace Adkins. But I did listen to a lot of Country while I was writing. I've got all of Trace's stuff -- he's got such a great tone to his voice -- and he speaks, and you know exactly who he is. But I also listened to Hank Williams, Jr. and Waylon Jennings and Johnny Cash and guys like that.

BF: Luke McBain seems like a simple premise, but what can readers expect?

DT: If you keep the story simple, the characters and the relationships get more complex. Luke McBain's about America. About what people want this country to stand for. And how easy it is for a few people with money and power to subvert that. And the one man who's got the balls to take a stand against that bad guy to fight for what's right. It's also got some cool action and some sexy girls, but I don't think you'll mind that.

BF: Have you been happy with the response to Red Herring?

DT: I am so happy with Red Herring. Issue #4 is out this week, and the reviews have been great. It's not a superhero book, and it's a crazy mix of conspiracy thriller and comedy, but people are having fun and enjoying the ride. Look, I'm a writer. I sit in a room all day, alone, and make stuff up. I did it on Red Herring and I did it on Luke McBain. Two very different books, but each one is smart and fun and hits its mark. Luke McBain may be based on a country superstar, but it's a comic book, through and through.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009


LUKE McBAIN #1 is on sale today, but there are some parts of the country that won't get it until November 18. Sorry for any trouble this may cause, but it is out of our control.

If you are calling your local comic shop to reserve/order a copy and they don't have it, give them this Diamond order code: SEP090986

That is all they need to place the order for the first issue with their distributor. To find a store in your area, go to, or call 1-888-COMIC-BOOK.

CBR preview of LUKE McBAIN #1

Check out the exclusive 5-page preview at Comic Book Resources!

Wednesday, November 04, 2009


Trace Adkins steps into boots of comic book hero

By John Geddes, USA TODAY
The legend of Trace Adkins continues to grow.
Already a hugely successful country music recording artist, Adkins recently grabbed the spotlight while earning the respect of Donald Trump as the runner-up on NBC's 2008 Celebrity Apprentice. Now, Adkins — he of the intimidating voice, towering stature and country superstar status — finds his life and likeness the basis for a new comic book series.

Luke McBain— published by 12-Gauge Comics — is a four-issue comic book series based, at least partially, on the popular singer. The physical features and personality traits of McBain are intended to mirror those of Adkins. They should: He helped in the writing process.

So, how did Adkins find himself in the pages of a comic book?

"The writer and publisher approached me with the idea for this series. I wasn't sure just what they were looking for, whether they wanted my blessing to move ahead with it or just how they thought I might be involved. I was taken aback by the whole thing, to be perfectly honest."

After getting over his original doubts about the project, the singer found himself warming to the idea. "As they walked through the story, I could tell they really wanted my input. They wanted to hear my opinions on the character and the story development. It just grew from there."

Luke McBain publisher Keven Gardner and writer David Tischman wanted to create a story in the vein of the Walking Tall and Billy Jack movies, a tale with a strong, Southern, male protagonist. Gardner relates how Adkins came to be involved: "Once we had agreed on a general direction, David called and asked what I thought about pitching a story to Trace Adkins. It was a great idea on his part, because once Trace came on board it made the story completely click into place."

The series follows the story of Luke McBain, a man who has just been released from prison after serving a 14-year sentence for a crime he didn't commit. He returns to his Louisiana hometown only to find that crime and corruption are threatening to destroy the way of life he once remembered. As Tischman puts it, "It's a classic tale of a single American hero taking on the establishment to do the right thing."

Tischman liked the idea of expanding on the perceived image of Trace Adkins. "We talked a lot about the Luke McBain character with Trace. Although you see Trace's likeness on every page, we all agreed that Luke McBain and Trace Adkins are different people — as if Luke McBain is a part Trace would play in a movie. At the same time, that dynamic and explosive Trace Adkins persona has to come through for the story to feel authentic."

That authenticity had to come through in the image of McBain, as well. Adkins also had some involvement in the art process. Series artist Kody Chamberlain recalls being invited backstage at an Adkins show to share some of the early sketches of McBain.

"Trace showed a lot of interest. We talked a bit about the various stages of pencils, inks and colors, and he pulled a few of his guys in to show off the pages. He asked the type of questions an artist would normally ask. I came out of the meeting thinking he really did like where we were headed."

So, will this mark the start of a trend among country stars and comic books? Gardner doubts it. "No, I really think we might have trapped lightning in a bottle with Luke McBain. We love the character and we love Trace and would love nothing more than to do more of these stories."

For his part, Adkins wouldn't mind seeing at least one of his fellow country singers translated into comic book form. "I'd like to see a Faith Hill comic book. I can already see that one drawn," he laughs. Adkins then jokingly adds, "Her husband (Tim McGraw) could play her little sidekick."

Luke McBain will be available beginning Nov. 11. To find a comic shop near you, go to or call 1-888-COMIC-BOOK.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

MTV "Splash Page" wants your feedback on LUKE McBAIN

Trace Adkins is set to star in his own comic book series “Luke McBain”, courtesy of 12 Gauge Comics.

The four-issue miniseries by writer David Tischman (“Bite Club,” “Greatest Hits”), interior artist Kody Chamberlain and cover artist Brian Stelfreeze casts Adkins as Luke McBain; a man who returns to his hometown after spending 14 years in prison for a crime he didn't commit to confront his younger brother for “the soul of the community.”

The story is described as an action/crime thriller in the vein of “Billy Jack” and “Walking Tall.”

Adkins’ likeness and persona were the inspiration for Luke McBain’s character, which was then developed by Tischman and 12 Gauge publisher, Keven Gardner. The first issue is set to come out in November. Additionally, Adkins plans to sell special editions of the first issue at his upcoming concerts.

This will be the first comic book foray for Adkins—who is primarily known for being a multi-platinum selling country singer and for his appearance on “The Celebrity Apprentice.” However, Adkins is the latest celebrity to attempt to crossover into the comic book realm, joining the ranks of Milo Ventimigila and Tyrese Gibson.

12 Gauge previously published one of the more successful books involving a celebrity in other media, Rosario Dawson’s “Occult Crimes Taskforce”, which came out in 2006.

What do you think about the story of “Luke McBain”? Will this be an ideal way to bring in new comic book fans? Sound off in the comment section below or drop us a line on Twitter!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009


(Read the full interview by clicking the Title link above):

I know that you guys also have a prequel comic of sorts for ‘Boondock Saints II: All Saints Day’. What can you tell us about that project?

Yeah, that is a buddy of ours who is in the comic book business and we had always thought about doing a comic book. We are making a deal with him to do the comic book and I will have a lot to do with that. One of the reasons we did it is because fans were so interested in Il Duce’s past and that is why I addressed it in the film. They wanted to know why he became a killer, why they didn’t know that they were father and sons and what was going on with this guy. They were really interested so I responded directly to the fanbase’s inquiries and addressed it in the film and we are making a whole comic book series out of it. I think that it is just a cool idea, ya know? An Italian kid with polio and this brutal Irish guy whose father has been killed, indiscriminately killing mobsters, way back in 1950’s New York and planning out each gig to blame it on someone else, to me that type of storytelling is gold.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009


Nashville, TN (October 26, 2009) -- In addition to being a platinum-selling country artist, TRACE ADKINS has been a reality TV star, a best-selling author, and an actor. Now, he's becoming a comic book action hero. On Wednesday, November 11, 12 Gauge Comics will release LUKE McBAIN #1, the first in an original four-part comic book series. Subsequent issues will be hitting comic book stores monthly through February 2010.

The title character, Luke McBain was inspired by Adkins' likeness and persona and developed after popular comic book writer David Tischman ("Red Herring," "Greatest Hits") and 12 Gauge publisher, Keven Gardner spent time with Adkins to make the role more authentic. Each issue is full of down home Southern charm, and jam-packed with hard-hitting action that has already drawn comparisons to "Walking Tall" and "Billy Jack."

The adventure begins in the first issue as McBain returns to his Louisiana hometown after 14 years in prison, having taken the fall for a crime he didn't commit. But not everyone's happy to have him back; especially his younger brother, Paul, who runs the family business - a Mill that employs most of the town. Paul's up to no good, and only McBain has the guts to stop him. It's brother against brother, for the soul of the community.

Luke McBain comic books will also be available on Adkins' official website, www. and through the publisher's website A special limited Tour Edition of Luke McBain: #1 will be available at Adkins' concerts beginning in November. To locate a local comic book store visit or call 1-888-COMIC BOOK.

Adkins will stop by The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson on Thursday, November 12. His latest Top 20 single, "All I Ask For Anymore" continues to climb the charts and he will soon launch a co-headlining tour with country's award-winning and powerhouse vocalist, Martina McBride on Saturday, November 21. For more of the latest news on Trace Adkins visit

Friday, October 23, 2009

Great news for Cully Hamner!

'Red' To Begin Shooting In January

By Blair Marnell

The film adaptation of Warren Ellis and Cully Hamner's “Red” will reportedly start shooting in January.

According to Mania, principle photography will begin in Toronto before moving to Louisiana. Bruce Willis is attached to star as a retired CIA Agent who is targeted for assassination. Morgan Freeman is also signed for a currently unrevealed role.

Earlier this summer, “Red” director Robert Schwentke exclusively told MTV News that the tone of the film would be much lighter than Ellis’ original story.

“I love the script," Schwentke said. "It's very funny, which the comic book isn't. I like switching gears and this is a movie that allows me to do something lighthearted in tone and is also an action movie."

At the time, Schwentke defended the change in tone as necessary due in part to the short length of the original three-issue miniseries. Mania is also reporting that screenwriters Jon and Erich Hoeber have expanded the story for the big screen; including the previously unexplored backstory of Willis’ character.

While Ellis is not directly involved in the production of “Red”, he is taking a much more active role in the film adaptation of his ongoing series “Gravel”; which Ellis will write and produce for Legendary Pictures.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

The 1st ever 12-Gauge Previews ad!

Official LUKE MC BAIN solicitation

LUKE MC BAIN #1 (of 4)

"Back to Eden" Part 1 of 4

Country superstar TRACE ADKINS is LUKE MC BAIN, a man who makes the hard decisions. He doesn't say much, but he'll kick your ass if you get out of line. He's returned to his Northern Louisiana hometown to settle a score, but the town has changed, and the people he grew up with need his help. God help anyone who gets in his way.

Trace Adkins has sold over 10 million albums. He competed on "Celebrity Apprentice." You've heard his voice on "King of the Hill." But you've never seen Trace Adkins as LUKE MC BAIN -- an American hero for our times, in a story of right and wrong in the tradition of "Billy Jack" and "Walking Tall". Don’t miss the newest title from 12 GAUGE COMICS, the company that brought you THE RIDE, BODY BAGS, and THE O.C.T.!

Written by David Tischman ("Red Herring," "Bite Club") with artwork by Kody Chamberlain ("30 Days of Night: Bloodsucker Tales," "Punks") and covers by Brian Stelfreeze (“Batman,” “Wednesday Comics”).

LUKE MCBAIN is ™ and © 12 GAUGE COMICS, DAVID TISCHMAN, and TRACE ADKINS, 2009. All Rights Reserved.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009


Jason just wrapped up his PUNISHER annual (featuring SPIDERMAN!) and it looks amazing. Writer Rick Remender had this to say about the art team of Jason Pearson and our good friend Dave Stewart:

"Let's face it, I don't care what anyone says to the contrary: comic books' success is entirely dependant on the artist," Remender insists. "A comic artist has to tell a clean and immediately understandable visual interpretation of a story the same as a storyboard artist, but a comic artist also has to make each page a well-refined illustration. Comic book art is the hardest form of art in the world.

"That said, Jason Pearson is one of the great living comic guys on the planet. He tells a clean dynamic story with the polish of a world-class illustrator, stylized and exciting. It's been an absolute treat to get to work with him as well as one of the greatest colorists of all time, Dave Stewart. I'd do it again in a heartbeat. You miss this Annual and you'll be missing something very special. Everyone brought the A-game."

Click on the title above to see a stack of awesome preview pages, then go order this book at you local comic shop.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009


David Tischman, a good friend of 12 Gauge (and writer of our upcoming LUKE McBAIN series) has a new book on the stands today, drawn by the amazing Phillip Bond. Check it out if you get the's a review from Newsarama:

Well, it's true, as David Tischman says in a recent Newsarama interview, Philip Bond knows how to draw sexy women. So does David Hahn. That's how we lead into Wildstorm's latest cool caper comic, Red Herring. A young woman in a lacy bra has just slipped into a pump while chatting on her cell phone. Her languorous pose is surrounded by little bits of intimate narration: "It's been crazy-busy at the office and talking to your mother calms you down." We proceed a few pages as Maggie MacGuffin tries to find the right outfit while keeping in mind, as the story title suggests, "Blue Makes Her Look Fat."

With such a stylish beginning, we smoothly move through what is a top-notch sly and sexy story. One goal of this opener is to connect Maggie MacGuffin with male lead, the titular Red Herring. As characters, they could not be more different. They seem to only share the fact that their names represent literary dead ends, false clues in a mystery, but they prove to be very much alive. They are not meant for each other but that could be fun too.

I haven't had quite as much fun with a comic since another Wildstorm series, Mysterius the Unfathomable. This is a totally different scene, the world of high rollers and espionage in Washington D. C., but it's definitely got a similar ultra-cool and clever style. Where Mysterius was very good with details about magicians, Red Herring provides the right balance of insider dealing and conspiracy theorist satisfaction.

We already know that things are never quite as they seem so it makes perfect sense to spice up the ambiguity by having fate bring together a party girl with a conscience, Maggie MacGuffin, and an earnest gumshoe secret agent, Red Herring. Couldn't make matters any worse, could do it? Well, maybe so. Did I mention there is a possible alien subplot and people are already trying to kill Red before he kills them? Yeah, things could get very messy.

This first issue is probably chock full of MacGuffins and red herrings. As for the details that add texture, they build up quite nicely. The narrator mocks Maggie as she struts her way to Capital Hill. "Compromise is the ESSENCE of politics. That's what your AP History teacher said." Maggie works down in the lower levels of Congress "where the offices are small and the salary's even smaller. Two weeks barely pays for a good pair of shoes." At first, we see Maggie filing away papers but then we come to find out this meek office worker is actually the lover of a high powered Congressman.

The tempo slows down for some procedural scenes with the no-nonsense Red Herring. So far, Red is proving to be a little too dry for his own good. But he has this thing about his glass eye and so he may prove to have some interesting issues. . Red is supposed to be about ten years older than Maggie and the plan, according to David Tischman, is to keep these two platonic. That could be a pity. Or maybe it's a red herring. on the BOONDOCK SAINTS comic series

Underdog cult hit "The Boondock Saints" took its time finding an audience before it came to to DVD, but now the religiously charged crime drama starring "Spider-Man" villain Willem Dafoe looks to be spawning a sequel film, as well as a comic book prequel. When "Boondock Saints II: All Saints Day" hits theaters in 2010, 12 Gauge Comics will launch an accompanying comic telling the origin of Il Duce, father of the first film's vigilante heroes Connor and Murphy McManus.
"We’re just waiting on Sony for release date for the film," 12 Gauge president Keven Gardner told regarding the comic's release date.
Previously-rumored "Thor" cast member Clifton Collins Jr. will be joining the sequel's cast, along with returning stars Sean Patrick Flanery, Norman Reedus, and Billy Connolly, who played Il Duce. Writer/director Troy Duffy will co-write the comic as well.
"The only fans more rabid than 'Twilight' fans have been the 'Boondock Saints' fans," Gardner said of panel's audience.
Though 12 Gauge has previously released comics through Image, their "Boondock Saints" title will come out solely under its own label. There's no word yet, though, on how the sequel or comic's body count will compare to the impressive heights achieved in the story's first installment. interview

I spoke with Mitlon Griepp of ICv2 during Comic-Con. Here are some highlights from the interview:

12 Gauge Comics will release a Boondock Saints comic in conjunction with the release of Boondock Saints II: All Saints Day in 2010. It will be co-written by writer/director Troy Duffy and Jason Love. The comic will be a side story to the films, and will tell the origin story of Il Duce, the father of the brothers MacManus, who act as vigilantes to clean up the streets of Boston.

According to 12 Gauge President Keven Gardner, the Boondock Saints panel at Comic-Con was a raucous affair. “There was a very, very good response,” he said. “The only fans more rabid than Twilight fans have been the Boondock Saints fans.”

12 Gauge is also releasing Luke McBain, a comic tied to country music star Trace Atkins. The first of four issues will be released in November, which ties into an Atkins tour. Atkins will be the fictional character in the comic, who will be drawn by artist Kody Chamberlain to Atkins’ likenesss. David Tischman will write. “It’s a Walking Tall, Billy Jack kind of revenge story,” Gardner told us.

Boondock Saints and Luke McBain will be released by 12 Gauge under its own imprint; previous titles have all been released by Image. “From a business model it made more sense to do these on our own,” Gardner said. “The Image model didn’t fit for what we needed to do for these particular titles.”

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

James O'Barr

A few years ago James O'Barr (legendary creator of THE CROW) and I met at a comic convention. He was a big fan of THE RIDE and I had been a big fan of his for years...a few phone calls later we announced he would be doing an original RIDE story for 12 Gauge. A few years have passed and I get asked about it all the time (which just shows how passionate his fans are and what he means to our industry). I talked with James a few months ago and he said he was still plugging away. The great (but scary) thing is the page count grows every time I talk with him. It started as a 22 pager...and here is what he just told a panel at Wizard Chicago (from a CBR report):

To begin, O'Barr was asked about his upcoming comic book projects. "I've been working on this gothic western. It's called ‘Sundown in Hell.’ Yes, I still have a fetish for Joan Jett 30 years later. And there's this series called 'The Ride.' It follows the life of this '68 Camaro," said O'Barr, noting his affection for the vehicle after owning several and working on cars for three decades.
O'Barr mentioned that "Sundown In Hell" will be a 300-page fully-painted project, while "The Ride" will run between 90-100 pages. The projects have been announced for some time, and O'Barr acknowledged have taken him awhile. "It takes me a little longer [to finish a comic], but to me it's worth it to have complete control and not have to compromise on anything."

I've seen some of the is amazing. I can't wait until I get to post that it is done! I don't know when, but I do know it will have been worth the wait.

Friday, July 31, 2009

General Update

Just a quick note or you can now see, 12 Gauge has been busy very over the last year, even if there was not a lot of news released to the public.

A little over a week ago our new website started rolling out. When it is done (which should be soon) it will be one of the best in the industry. I loved the old site, but wanted to keep moving forward, and this site will help us do that.

As you might have heard, 12 Gauge is now publishing some comics outside of our long-time partner, Image Comics (see below). This was simply a business decision that made sense for the two books we recently announced. At this point in time I have no reason to believe 12 Gauge won't publish more books through Image, but we'll also be spreading our wings a bit to see how things go. There is certainly no bad blood or anything for the gossip columns; this was simply a business decision on what was best for the new books.

Speaking of those new books, the creation of the LUKE MCBAIN series has been a blast! I've made a lot of trips to Nashville over the past year to help put this deal together, and all of them have been fun. Now, after all the hard work, it has been a real joy to hear the reaction. I was worried about how it would be received in comic book circles, but the feedback has blown me away. David Tischman has written a great story, Brian Stelfreeze has knocked the first cover out of the park, and Kody Chamberlain has given LUKE MCBAIN a life all his own. Sitting at our booth during Comic-Con was when I knew we had a hit. Fans that don't know what country music sounds like were looking at the material, grabbing a MCBAIN poster and asking me when it would be released because they wanted to make sure they didn't miss it.

BOONDOCK SAINTS...what can I say!?! This is a dream come true. I love the movie and can't wait to see ALL SAINTS DAY. Without a doubt the BDS fans are the best in the world (sorry TWILIGHT, not even close). The crew that showed up for our Troy Duffy signing was so fired up it was simply infectious. Once our release date is locked in you retailers better watch out; your UPS driver might not make it to the door with his boxes (I'm kidding, of course. Well, maybe). Keep checking right here for more soon as I have it, I'll post it.

Post Comic-Con I'd like to thank a few folks that helped me keep my sanity last week; Doug Wagner (because it simply could not be done without him), Jana Cook (for always offering your help), as well as David, Kody, Eben, Adam, Jason, Danielle, Brittany, Ford, Thomas, and Heath...all of you helped me out in some form or fashion, and it is greatly appreciated.

I'll also add, I'm really glad July is over. It was a great month, one that was very critical for 12 Gauge, but DAMN, I need some rest! I'm too old to live off of 4 and 5 hours of sleep each night.

Hello August!

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Billy Connelly: comic book character

Scottish funnyman Billy Connolly is set to become a comic-book character.

The Glasgow-born comedian will appear as an assassin called “Il Duce” in the series of comics to come out with the film Boondock Saints II, released later this year.

The world-famous comedian played the same character in the cult 1999 original Boondock Saints.

He said: “I like careering around shooting people and murdering people – I don’t think I would like to do it in my life, but it’s a great chance to pretend.

“I have got a much bigger part in this film and it’s great to be able to do the sequel after 10 years.

“This is streets ahead of most of the things I’ve done.”

The artwork for the comic, by the USA-based 12 Gauge Comics, features Connolly as an aggressive looking bearded figure wearing sunglasses and brandishing two large handguns.

His character, Il Duce, is the father of the two main characters, who are played in the film version by Norman Reedus and Sean Patrick Flannery.

They play vigilantes who take on Boston’s underworld in a spree of gunfights and violence.

Connolly’s character is ordered to kill his sons, but teams up with them to take on the mob.

Jason Love, a co-writer on the comic book said: “Anybody who loves the films is going to love what we’re going for in the comics.”

Tuesday, July 21, 2009


Timed to coincide with the cinematic release "Boondock Saints II: All Saints Day," writer/director Troy Duffy is working with 12 Gauge Comics on a comic tie-in project. The original cult hit movie followed brothers Corey and Murphy MacManus, who take it upon themselves to clean up the streets of Boston, ridding their hometown of crime as local vigilantes. The film sequel does not yet have a firm release date, but upon its release, the series will follow. CBR News caught up with Duffy, comic series co-writer Jason Love, 12-Gauge publisher Keven Gardner, and Eben Matthews, who had a "producing" role, to discuss the comic.

Duffy said that the comic will flesh out the fan-favorite character of Il Duce, the brothers' father played by Billy Connolly, in even greater depth than what will be seen in the cinematic sequel. “There was so much interest about that guy and how he became a killer,” Duffy told CBR. “The character was one of those characters that comes in in the last 10 minutes and blows the plot wide open, but he was not in there throughout the film, so I wouldn't have expected so much interest in him. I had to address it, because fans of 'Boondock' were just too interested in this guy and how he became a killer, and why he was where he was, and everything about him.”

Readers will see, among other things, the circumstances behind Il Duce's first kill. “Some very personal things happen to him that's sort of his impetus to begin killing,” Duffy said. “But then there's another person involved, and it becomes much more than just 'one kill for revenge.'”

Duffy told CBR that he had been looking to cross over into the world of comics for some time, and that the second “Boondock Saints” film provided an excellent opportunity to “finally pull the trigger on it.”

Eben Matthews, the creative director and executive producer of graphic design firm Innfusion, helped set Duffy up at 12 Gauge. Matthews said that Duffy's "Boondock Saints" comics are "being done with Troy's intimate involvement, so you are really getting the same experience, tone, and style that has worked so well in the movies." Co-writer Jason Love added that, "It's going to be in canon, and feel, look, and be a natural extension of the films. Anybody who loves the films is going to love what we're going for in the comics."

Eben Matthews continued, saying, "I kind of look at this initial story, it's almost like an extended deleted scene from the film. We take some of the plot elements that are in the film and spin them off into this much larger story that answers some of the questions in kind of a cool and interesting way."

An interior artist has not yet been determined, but 12 Gauge veteran Chris Brunner will be providing the covers. “He's working on a story right now called 'Loose Ends,' and the story he did for 'The Ride' a couple years ago was our best reviewed in terms of art,” 12 Gauge's Keven Gardner said of Brunner. “He was the art director at Upper Deck for a few years, but he wanted to get back into comics. This was a really good fit for him.”

Eben Matthews added, “He's a big fan of the movie, as well, so it's great to have him there geeking out with us. We're doing something really cool. And that first cover is a great image. I think it will get people really excited at Comic Con.”

As to whether Duffy will write other comics projects beyond the “Boondock Saints” tie-in, he said that, if all goes well with this first book, that would certainly be a possibility. "It's one of those things we've always thought about, and 'Boondock's' always been right for it," he said. "We never really had the right people and talked to the right people until we met up with Eben and 12 Gauge. If it goes as well as we hope, and it's as much of a creative outlet for myself and the other artists involved, then we can go just about anywhere with it."

The cover to "Boondock Saints II: All Saint's Day" #1.Given the storied history of the first "Boondock Saints" film--after a calamitous production process, it screened in only a handful of theatres for only a week, but went on to make $100 million in DVD sales--we asked Duffy whether there any strange behind the scenes stories leading up to the second film. The director laughed knowingly, but there was only so much he could say on the record. "Any time you make a movie, you're going to have some interesting, horrifying, and amusing stuff happening. Movies are nothing but triumphs and tragedies all rolled into one, over the course of three to six months," he told CBR. He pointed to the Youtube videos of cast and crew as a good glimpse of what was happening on set. "I didn't even see them until we'd wrapped, actually, I was extraordinarily busy. I just laughed my ass off watching those. There's one where Sean [Patrick Flannery] and Norm [Reedus] are acting like these homeless guys, it's a riot."

Duffy will be attending Comic-Con International this week to promote the "Boondock Saints" film sequel, and signing Saturday at 3:30 at Sony's booth. Fans should also check the 12 Gauge booth for signing times.

"It's kind of interesting for me," Duffy said. "I've never done comics before. I don't quite know what to expect. It's kind of nice, actually, to just jump right into something where you don't know where the bottom is. I'm going in with both feet and hoping we can get this thing done right."

CBR interview with Tischman & Gardner

Though alternative music stars like Gerard Way, Tori Amos and others have explored the medium of comics in recent years, representatives from the world of country music have been notably absent from the art form. Looking to change this is David Tischman, the writer (with Howard Chaykin) behind Vertigo’s “American Century,” “Greatest Hits,” and the upcoming WildStorm series “Red Herring.” His four-issue miniseries “Luke McBain” debuts in November from 12-Gauge Comics, with its title character drawn in the likeness of country star Trace Adkins. Kody Chamberlain is illustrating the series, with covers by Brian Stelfreeze. CBR News caught up with Tischman and 12-Gauge Publisher Keven Gardner to discuss the title.

“Luke McBain” opens with its titular star returning home after serving 14 years in prison. The southern U.S. town McBain finds himself in now is one controlled by greed and corruption, and he's the only one with the courage to set things right. “Keven has built 12-Gauge on this great notion of the modern South and that you can have these great character and action stories in the south,” Tischman told CBR.

“First and foremost, we wanted to create a story that would work for 12-Gauge, regardless of Trace Adkins's involvement. And we definitely did that,” Gardner agreed. “We came up with this story with kind of a 'Walking Tall,' 'Billy Jack' feel to it, a guy who's been in jail for a while, taking the rap for a crime he didn't do. He's really wanting to just relax, get back to the life he left behind. But no good deed goes unpunished. He finds out that his brother owns the town, so he's got to stand up for the people. Whether you know who Trace Adkins is or not, it's a really good story.” (read the rest of the article by doing the title link above!)

Monday, July 20, 2009



"Luke McBain" Is First Original Concept Comic Book Series By A Country Artist

Nashville, Tenn. - July 20, 2009 -- Country music sensationTRACE ADKINS can now add action hero to his ongoing list of career accomplishments. In November, 12 Gauge Comics unleashes "LUKE MCBAIN," a four-issue comic book series featuring a tough Southern hero that is based on the platinum-selling country star.

Other music artists have been involved with the comic book scene including Gerald Way of My Chemical Romance and Tori Amos, but Adkins is the first country artist to be featured as a fictional character in a comic book project.

Writer David Tischman (Red Herring) created the idea with 12 Gauge publisher Keven Gardner, and they spent a lot of time with Adkins to make sure "MCBAIN" feels authentic.

The title character of Luke McBain is drawn to Adkins' likeness and reflects some of the 6'6" singer's philosophy. The story takes place when McBain returns home to rural Louisiana after serving 14 years in prison, having taken the fall for a crime he didn't commit. He finds himself in a town now controlled by greed and corruption, and he's the only one with the courage to set things right. Although the book contains some violence, it is generally suitable for all ages.

"The McBain character became kind of a reflection of Trace Adkins' entertainment persona," notes Tischman. "It breathes a real life personality into the fictional character which is something we wanted. Trace helped a lot with that, and it's something that I think we've worked hard to write into the character."

The comic book series features artwork by Kody Chamberlain (30 Days of Night: Bloodsucker Tales), and covers by acclaimed Batman artist Brian Stelfreeze.

The first issue hits stores across North America in November to coincide with Adkins' tour. It will be available for $3.99 per issue in more than 4,000 comic book stores and other fine retail outlets.

12 Gauge Comics was founded by Keven Gardner in 2004 and currently publishes some of the most successful and critically acclaimed independent comic books in the marketplace today, including "The Ride," "Body Bags" and Rosario Dawson's "O.C.T."

For more information and latest news on Trace Adkins, visit

Sunday, July 19, 2009

12 Gauge Comics blasts into Comic-Con 2009! (Booth #2045)

12 GAUGE COMICS is locked, loaded, and ready to take on Comic-Con! We’ll be previewing upcoming comics (both on the page and “in-motion”), announcing new titles, giving away lots of cool freebies, reviewing portfolios and more! Make sure to check us out in our new location, Booth #2045.

12 Gauge Creators signing throughout the show include:

David Tischman (LUKE MCBAIN)
Kody Chamberlain (LUKE MCBAIN)
Doug Wagner (THE RIDE)
Victor Riches (THE SAFEST PLACE)
David Atchison (THE O.C.T.)

We’ll also be joined by our TWISTORY friends (DUST, 13 CHAMBERS) Davide Fabbri, Mink, Denis Medri, and Danielle Vasinova!

Artists, be sure to stop by and have your portfolio reviewed by Kody Chamberlain (times posted daily).
Confirmed signing times:

12:00 - 1:30 Mink, Denis Medri
2:00 – 3:00 Doug Wagner
4:00 – 5:00 Kody Chamberlain

12:00 - 1:30 Mink, Davide Fabbri, David Atchision
2:00 – 3:00 Doug Wagner
3:00 – 4:30 David Tischman, Kody Chamberlain
4:30 – 5:30 FEATURED SIGNING with Boondock Saints' Writer/Director, Troy Duffy

11:00 – 12:00 David Tischman, Kody Chamberlain
3:00 – 4:00 Doug Wagner
4:00 – 5:00 David Atchison

For more information, visit
or email