By the Mad Woman with a Box
Triptych Books scores a hit with dark bromance, Chinese buffet, and the power of the comic book geek in their smash hit, TRIGGER MEN!
This is the story of Matt Whit and Jason McCarty. They’re the perfect odd couple: high school buddies, best friends, blood brothers. One is retired, regimented, relatively successful. The other is a struggling schemer that can’t quite get his act together. No matter how they bicker and fight, at the end of the day they’re always there to help each other bury the bodies.
Literally. Did I mention that Matt and Jason are hired killers?
The first double issue of the comic chronicles Jason’s bungling attempt to get Matt out of retirement, and their darkly humorous journey to get out of hot water.
Truly a product of their own community, Triptych Books is a wonderful independent comic press that produces the dark comedy TRIGGER MEN. Founded by partners Mike Andersen and Kyle Winters, they have already produced several issues, with a trade paperback packed with special features in its future, and the help of an industrious crowdfunding campaign on IndieGoGo. Andersen, who writes for the comic, partners with artist Heather Brinesh, and together they bring readers a skillfully drawn comic with a witty sense of humor that offsets its darker themes.
The first three issues are actually two, with the premiere being a double issue. Issue #1, KILLING THE ELDERLY, follows
Matt and Jason as they reconnect over one last job. Matt is long since retired, and so disconnected that his best friend, Jason, contacts him with a plea for help in pulling off one final hit. While the assignment turns out to be little more than a ploy to try and get Matt to rejoin the human race, the boys soon find themselves dragged into a comedy of errors that draws them into HIGH SCHOOL REUNION, and back into their hometown while they search for a fall guy to get them out of trouble. The results, while grim, are also hilarious.
What makes this a series of note to the science fiction and comics fan? For one, the series so far is a unique form of genre writing and art: it’s done in black and white, giving it a wonderful noir feel. Against this stark backdrop of beautifully drawn panels, we have two hitmen, cold-blooded killers that aren’t as cold-blooded as you’d expect. Cracking jokes, sharing silent, communicative looks, and hassling the servers at the local Chinese buffet, Matt and Jason are not only highly relatable as characters, their creators have made them accessible on multiple levels.
Like us, they’re nerds. Specifically, they’re comic book fans, and it’s a plot point that brings the first major story arc home.
Having met the Triptych crew at Comikaze, I was easily won over by their charm, their kindness, and their earnest desire to produce something that would be embraced by their peers. I walked away with the first three issues, and come to you newly converted. To be as stark, as honest, and hopefully as engaging as TRIGGER MEN itself, I can honestly say that I laughed and gasped at the writing and the stories. I eagerly drank in the wonderful art, and at the end of the line, I found myself liking Matt and Jason as much as I liked the men and women of Triptych Books themselves.
So, if you want to get started? Hit their website at www.triptychbooks.com, or follow them on Twitter (@TriptychBooks). Pick up the comic, support these self-starting graphic novel heroes…and let’s make sure that my—I mean our new favorite contract killers continue their adventures for years to come.
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