Taking Aim | Steven Grant talks Two Guns

2gunsheaderThe crime comics renaissance continues with this new miniseries. Writer Steven Grant gives us the skinny.



24 pgs. monthly FC; $3.99 ea.

(W: Steven Grant; A: Mat Santolouco)


The cover to Two Guns #1 by Rafael Albuquerque. Click thumbnail for a larger image.Steven Grant knows a thing or two about crime comics. Having delved into society's seamy underbelly from the original 1986 Punisher miniseries up through his recent comics adaptations of the TV crime drama CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, the famed comics writer and ComicBookResources.com columnist has enough authority on the subject of crime comics that when he says a new series is "the greatest crime comic of the decade," it's worth taking note. Even if Grant himself is the one who wrote it.


The series in question is Two Guns, a new 5-issue miniseries (written by Grant with art by artist Mat Santolouco) whose first issue hit store shelves earlier this month from Boom! Studios. For more details on what to expect, we went straight to the source.


PLAYBACK: Give us the skinny: what's Two Guns all about?


Steven Grant: The short version — two small time crooks decide to knock over a bank that launders mob money. What neither of them knows is that they're both undercover cops, working for different agencies that aren't in communication with each other. And the bank doesn't launder money for the mob, it launders black budget money for the CIA. Our two heroes dig themselves into a huge hole — or is that a grave? — that they then have to try to dig themselves out of while they struggle to figure out what exactly they've gotten themselves into. While wondering whether they can trust each other. Needless to say, chaos ensues.


Your website is named "Paper Movies," and there's a very brisk, movie-like pace to the dialogue in the first issue. Are there any "real" movies whose tone you had in mind when creating this "paper movie," or any actors you pictured when scripting certain characters?


The alternate cover to Two Guns #1 by Rafael Albuquerque. Click thumbnail for a larger image.No "real" movies, but in this case Two Guns started life as a spec screenplay. It was just a story I really wanted to write, I needed an original spec to show around and I didn't have anywhere else to use it so I wrote it as a screenplay. At some point, Ross Richie over at Boom! asked if I had any screenplays lying around, so I sent it to him and he really dug it, and here we are. Two Guns really is a paper movie because it's being drawn straight from the screenplay.


Often times, crime comics feature artwork from the "dark and gritty realism" school, and yet Two Guns artist Mat Santolouco has a light, almost cartoony style. What is it about this series that makes that approach the better choice?


The art style should have tipped you off: it's a comedy. Not in the haha American Pie sense, but in the sense of ancient Greek theater. If the hero dies, it's a tragedy. If the hero lives, it's a comedy, though there are some really brutal moments in it. Though, thinking about it, it may be more Russian in spirit. The difference between a Russian comedy and a Russian tragedy is that in the comedy, the hero dies laughing.


The book is being released as a miniseries. Is that all there is, or do you have more stories in mind for the characters if the book takes off?


Don't know. I hadn't thought about it much until a couple days ago when people who read the first issue started asking me that. I can't talk about possible future storylines without tipping who, if anyone, survives this storyline, but certainly the two main characters, Bobby and Marcus, could generate all sorts of stories. Let's just say I'm willing to discuss it if the opportunity arises.


While not necessarily taking over the industry, crime comics have certainly expanded their niche in recent years. Why do you think that is?


For a long time crime comics had a bad rap in the business, everyone thought they meant the old ‘40s crime comic where really vile people run from the law and then are caught. Two things are happening now, though. You've got writers coming into the business who are big crime fiction fans and aware of what crime fiction is today, and they want to write crime fiction. Ed Brubaker's a prime example. And other comics writers are suddenly realizing how much fun it is to write crime, how relatively unrestricted the material can be, and how much more variety of human experience and response you get to deal with in crime comics. As opposed to, say, superhero comics. Crime is fun. Now all we need is a big audience for crime comics and we're home.

Here's a free preview of the first 8 pages of Two Guns #1, courtesy of Steven Grant!

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