Name: Kevin Smith
Debut: Clerks (Debut Movie), Oni Double Feature #1 (Walt Flanagan Short) Clerks comic series
Notable work: View Askew Movies, Guardian Devil (Daredevil run), Quiver (Green Arrow run), Cacophony and the Widening Gyre (Batman)
In 1994, a young Kevin Smith sold his comic book collection to finance his first movie. Smith filmed “Clerks” on a reported budget of around $28,000 using the store where he worked. “Clerks” went on to win at Sundance and Cannes, earning it distribution from Mirimax, and putting Kevin Smith down in the record books as a cult film icon. Smith’s View Askew productions released a number of other beloved movies set in the clerks universe, as well as films like “Zack and Miri Make a Porno” and “Jersey Girl.”
Now that the film stuff is out of the way, I can talk about Kevin Smith’s comics. Smith’s first full series was Clerks, based off his popular movie series. After that, his first foray into superhero comics was an 8 issue arc for the Marvel Knights version of Daredevil. The Marvel Knights label was designed to boil characters down to their cores and force readers to re-evaluate what they know about them. It is also a place for self-contained stories where top-talent writers can work without restraint. This in itself says a lot about how Smith is now perceived in the comic book community. On the DC side of things, Smith has to his credit a 15 issue run with Green Arrow, the first ten of which are part of the “Quiver” arc. Quiver explores the rebirth of Green Arrow, and the creation of a new “Speedy” character in Mia Deardon, whom Ollie rescues from the streets of Star City. It also features the creation of a new villain Onomatopoeia, who is as hard to spell as he is unusual. Onomatopoeia is a villain that focuses mostly on unpowered heroes, brutally hunting and killing them. He earns his nom de guerre by saying the sounds that are happening around him. This character goes on to appear in Batman: “Cacophony”, another Smith venture. “Cacophony” focuses on the interesting psychological interplay between Batman and the Joker. “Cacophony”, and its sequel “The Widening Gyre,” are Smith’s masterwork to this date, causing IGN to compare him to writing great Grant Morrison. Smith had also written for the “Green Hornet” and “The Bionic Man” for Dynamite comics (which I have yet to read).
Kevin Smith also owns and operates “Jay and Silent Bob’s Secret Stash” in his home town or Redbank, New Jersey. The Stash is featured on AMC’s Comic Book Men (which I am watching as I write this). The store is managed by Smith’s long time friend Walt Flanagan, the artist for “Cacophony” and “Widening Gyre.”
Smith happens to be one of my favorite writers of both film and comics. To those who have never read his work, I highly recommend “Cacophony” because of its intricate storyline. A third part of the Cacophony/Widening Gyre series has been announced for release in 2013.
Favorite Storyline: Quiver