Brave New World Comics is scheduled to host a debut signing event Saturday for the new Image Comics series “Pretty Violent,” featuring series creator, artist, writer and Santa Clarita resident Derek Hunter.
Hunter, an animator who has worked on shows like “Adventure Time” and “DuckTales,” has self published comics before but “Pretty Violent” his first series to be picked up by a major comic publisher.
“Derek has been a local subscription customer for five years, so it’s really cool to see one of our regulars get his first comic get picked up by one of the top three publishers,” said Andy Liegl, owner of Brave New World. “It’s really special when you get a project that blends two things that are totally opposite but really work together, and in this case it’s the cute, adorable art style but content that is totally rated R. ‘Pretty Violent’ is like nothing on the shelves.”
“Pretty Violent” follows the misadventures of Gamma Rae, a young superhero raised by villains. Hunter calls the comic an autobiography and based the idea around his childhood raised in a fundamentalist Christian family and wanting to break away from that culture.
“I wanted to be in punk rock bands, do graffiti and be in the underground scene and I was always weird to my family but they always supported me,” Hunter said. “I wanted to inject that into Gamma Rae. Her family thinks her dreams are stupid but they love her and support her anyway. Beyond all the guts and swearing in the comic, I wanted to tell a story about bridging the gap between family and personal identity and building your own life for yourself.”
To celebrate the series’ release, Hunter created an exclusive poster featuring his characters fighting at Brave New World. The poster is available with the bundle deal offered by the store that also includes a copy of the comic and a sketch by Hunter of any character beaten and bloodied in the style of “Pretty Violent.”
For Hunter, seeing his book published by Image is a huge validation of his work and a milestone in his career. According to Hunter, the book sold out of its first printing and made more than double what he expected in sales, prompting a second printing. He has even been contacted by international publishers about the possibility of translating the series and selling it abroad.
“I grew up in the ’90s and I was reading comics when Image started and I loved their books, so to see the Image logo on a book that I created is a dream come true,” Hunter said. “Robert Kirkman, who created ‘The Walking Dead,’ emailed me to say that the first issue was amazing. I understand he was pretty instrumental in getting the Image to publish my book.”
In his previous comic work, Hunter says his Christian background has led him to hold hold back and tone his ideas down, but “Pretty Violent” represents his growth as an artist and his distancing himself from more “repressive ideas.”
“Yes, people fighting all the time is pretty juvenile and not high-brow, but me divorcing myself from my upbringing allowed me to embrace the juxtaposition between the cute cartoony style and the mature themes,” he said. “Growing up, Saturday cartoons like ‘Ninja Turtles’ and ‘He-Man’ seemed super violent, but watching them now they’re pretty tame. ‘Pretty Violent’ is what I wish Saturday morning cartoons were like.”
The “Pretty Violent “ signing event is scheduled Aug. 31 from 12 to 4 p.m. at Brave New World Comics at 22722 Lyons Ave., Suite 2, Santa Clarita.