Comics Are Trying to Break Your Heart #86 by Drew Barth

Mortuary in the Stars

One of the heaviest lines in comics is “there was a time when the Old Gods died…” from Jack Kirby’s New Gods #1. From that fertile ground comes We Only Find Them When They’re Dead #1 by Al Ewing and Simone Di Meo, a story of dead gods floating in space and the ships that harvest what remains.

From proteins and eye jelly to organs and bones, the gods left floating in the void are cordoned, claimed, and cut apart by dozens of ships. At this point of godflesh commerce, we have Georges Malik, captain of the autopsy ship Vihaan II on his and his crew’s most recent harvest. As of the first issue, we’re already embroiled in the politics of harvesting and how the world is already beginning to change. Independent ships like Captain Malik’s Vihaan II and others are slowly being pushed out by corporate interests, but Malik and his crew plan a new strategy for dealing with that.

Seldom in We Only Find Them When They’re Dead #1 do we have a standard panel. Di Meo gives us splash pages with panels that cut in at odd angles and shapes that generate a continual unbalance and unease. We feel as though we’re on uncertain terrain because that’s what these characters are heading toward.

We Only Find Them When They’re Dead is one of the best examples I’ve seen of creating a tone and pace just through panel positions. We have a story that is taking its cues from Kirby classics, but with art forging its own path.

Get excited. Get carving.

Drew Barth (Episode 331) is a writer residing in Winter Park, FL. He received his MFA from the University of Central Florida. Right now, he’s worrying about his cat.