Jay Faerber writing “Near Death,” “Ringer”
Jay Faerber, known for his superhero comics “Noble Causes” and “Dynamo 5,” launched a new crime series this month called “Near Death.” It follows a former hitman named Markham as he tries to make amends for his misdeeds after a near-death experience. Faerber is also a writer on the Sarah Michelle Gellar series “Ringer.” “Ringer” airs Tuesday nights on the CW. Faerber recently talked to The Oklahoman about his new comic-book series. Here’s what Faerber said about crime fiction, his inspirations, and working in TV and comics at the same time.
NERDAGE: What kind of crime fiction do you like to read? Were any particular inspirations for Near Death?
JAY FAERBER: Right now, Lee Child and Robert Crais are my favorite two crime authors, although you could arguably say they’re more thriller writers than crime writers. But I love their stuff. Robert B. Parker was also a huge influence on my writing in general, going as far back as high school.
Those authors influenced NEAR DEATH, as did TV writer-turned-novelist Stephen J. Cannell. He cranked out tons of cop-and-private-eye shows in the 1980s and was another huge influence on my writing. The character of Markham (right down to the fact that he has no first name) owes a lot to 80s TV shows.
NERDAGE: There’s a bit of a possibly supernatural element in issue 1, but everything else is played pretty straight. Are the rules of the Near Death world the same, basically, as our own?
JAY FAERBER: Yeah, we won’t be dwelling on the supernatural stuff at all. If anything, it’s an inciting incident and it’s something only Markham saw. For all we know it could’ve been a delusion.
NERDAGE: How would you pitch this book to a potential reader?
JAY FAERBER: NEAR DEATH is about a hitman who has a “near death experience” and gets a glimpse of Hell. What he sees has such an effect on him that he vows to change his life and try to balance the scales by saving a life for every life he’s taken. So each issue of the book features Markham on a mission to save a new person. Most issues are self-contained, done-in-one stories. You can jump in at any time. I want to keep the book as accessible as possible.
We’re launching it at a time when DC is relaunching every single one of its titles. The competition’s a bit daunting but hopefully that means there are more people coming into comic shops this month, and I’d like to think some of them will want to sample stuff outside DC and Marvel.
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