Brielle and the Horror (Loaded Barrel Studios)

Recently, Jonathan “The Bossman” Pilley, Omnicomic editor, and yours truly (Tedd) got a chance to peruse the work of a number of up and coming comic writers and artists at the New York Comic Con. While you can pick up a copy of any DC, Marvel, Image, Top Cow or Dark Horse comic book you can imagine at your average con, most people will tell you that the true “purpose” behind cons are to showcase up and coming talent. The New York con is really generous to aspiring writers and artists, giving them ample space and opportunity to show off their work. You’d be amazed what kind of cool, creative stuff you can find. And among the couple of booths and tables that stuck out to us, we’d be remiss to not take a few minutes and give Loaded Barrel Studios an honorable mention. How can I sum up their launch title, Brielle and the Horror? Well, the short-version is- cinematography. Good cinematography. Only, literally. But that doesn’t do it justice. We got a few minutes to talk with the company’s co-founder, Jared Barell (his partner being his brother, Jordan) about the project they’ve been working on and we were impressed. Jared has a degree in Graphic Design and Fine Art, not to mention a masters in Film from the School of Visual Arts. What’s interesting is just how well these guys have meshed making a movie and making a comic- I mean, you can find examples of writers who make comics feel like movies/ TV (Joss Whedon and Kevin Smith obviously) and you can find writers who make comics feel like comics (Frank Miller, Brian Michael Bendis). But in this case, every issue Loaded Barrel puts out is “produced” like a short film. “It’s like doing live-action backwards” said Jared. They “cast” the parts for the issue, set up shots, photograph them, and use the pictures as the artistic basis for each cell of the comic. But what I really like about these guys is that they didn’t just grab a bunch of photos and slam them in a book. The page layout and your eye’s movement across the page- they play with you, just like any good comic illustrator does. So you end up with the best of both worlds- film styled cinematography and action combined with artistic narration. Interesting style right? But Jared was quick to point out that “substance, not style” helped his company get their foot in the door. I mean, the idea is neat- but the “production” Loaded Barrel was sporting at the con was well written, well illustrated, and well…performed, I suppose you could say. While Brielle is a horror series by name, Jared stated that his company really is working with a “mish-mash” of genres and styles. A passing glance at the comic revels a lot more depth than a typical brain-splattered issue of Friday the 13th (has anyone seen those? You know, the new ones? I just don’t get it). Die-hard fans of Bendis (one of Jared’s stated influences) are probably going to be drawn into this psychological thriller. But there’s a little bit of H.P. Lovecraft weirdness thrown in there to boot (uhm, that is, creepy horror writer, not comic writer). Jared told us that films like Batman and Brian Singer’s X-Men were big influences for him, and I think the books dark and semi-gothic tone kind of reflect that. Jared also lists Martin Scorsesi and Quentin Tarantino's films as big favorites. Loaded Barrel has a six story arc planned for the future of their launch title Brielle and the Horror and are bearing the possibility of a feature film in mind. And Jared is even trying his hand at the MTV world, with a music video he produced on the air date horizon. Check out their site (Loaded Barrel Studios) to glimpse a few of the other things on they’ve got going on the horizon.