The Image Comics series Rumble doesn’t read like any other comic. The series combines urban horror with mythical fantasy, grounded personal drama, and boisterous comedy, and John Arcudi’s story for the first volume was brought to life with exhilarating energy by the art team of James Harren and colorist Dave Stewart. It’s hard to imagine Rumble without Harren on board, but for the book’s new volume debuting in December, Arcudi and Stewart are joining forces with Spanish artist David Rubín, one of the industry’s most innovative visual storytellers. Rubín brings a bold new visual sensibility to the title, and while it’s a different look than Harren, it maintains the vivacious quality that makes Rumble so exciting.
“David is one of those rare artists who can draw whatever they want to, and that’s the reason I’ve been trying to work with him for literally years,” says Arcudi. “He doesn’t just draw characters: he creates a complete environment for them to inhabit, for them to interact with. He can make the fantastic absolutely believable this way, and that’s exactly what Rumble needs to succeed with the reader. That total immersion, that look that convincingly delivers both the real and incredible, the hilarious and tragic. I don’t know that anybody can do that better than David.”
For Rubín, the thrill of working with Arcudi lies in the character work. “I love how [John] builds the characters,” says Rubín. “They are credible, like every human being, with their lights and shadows, noble and pathetic at the same time, like you or your 2nd floor neighbor. And the treatment of the action and relationships between the characters, John knows perfectly how to make each page be its own entity and at the same time advance the story.”
Rubín has become a major creator in American comics over the last few years, and his Beowulf graphic novel from Image Comics (with writer Santiago García) is a highlight of 2017. His craft is impeccable, but he also gives himself room to experiment with every new title and explore new facets of his style. With Rumble, he’s leaning into German expressionism, and these exclusive preview pages from the new Rumble #1 highlight that shift with the shots of main character Rathraq making his way through the city.
Harren’s influence remains as Rubín works with established character and environment designs, but he wants to put his own distinct stamp on this story. “Imitating James’ style is not the best way for Rumble or for me. I think that when John chose me to draw this new stage, he knew perfectly that my style is not the same that James’ style, although I think if both are compatible. James’ stage in this series is magnificent, and I will try to give my best to live up to it.”
Readers can discover this new era for Rumble when the second volume begins on December 13, and I highly recommend new readers check out the first volume’s three collections. They’re not required reading to jump right in, the excerpt below serves as a concise introduction to Rathraq and his world that spotlights what Rubín brings to the title.