Former Boise cartoonist Chris Hunt's debut comic book Carver (Z2 Comics, 2015) hit shelves Dec. 2 in a handful of comic book stores in cities around the country, including New York City, Indianapolis, San Francisco and Boise. A few of those places sold out of Carver on the same day and while it may not seem impressive for stores that only had a few copies on hand, it's a feat considering what Carver is.
"Because [profit] margins are so slim, [stores] don't tend to order a lot of comics," Hunt said. "They definitely don't tend to order comics that are new, that are from new creators and that are black-and-white."
- courtesy Z2 comics
It's that last bit combined with the fact Carver was 10 years in the making and has gone through a number of iterations—including a short film and a radio play—makes Carver an anomaly. Then there's its noirish storyline. From z2comics.com:
"After an absence of five years, globe trotting and notorious gentleman of fortune Francis Carver returns to Paris in 1923. He has come back to aid Catherine Ayers, the wife of a wealthy Parisian socialite and the only woman he has ever loved. Her daughter has been kidnapped by the leader of a crazed anarchist gang, a man named Stacker Lee. In order to bring the girl home, Francis will have to crawl through the underbelly of the city while confronting the demons of his past, before being faced with a final choice: succumb to the man he has become, or take that mask off and be the hero he always wanted to be."
Reading Carver is like stepping into Dr. Who's TARDIS: It's surprising, engaging and transports readers to another space and time—something Hunt himself had to do. A couple of years ago, he moved from Boise to New York to work with famed comic book writer/artist (and his mentor) Paul Pope. Hunt did whatever he could, learning from Pope and honing his own craft. Hunt said even after all that, he didn't get his hopes up for Carver's success.
"To be honest, I reserved my expectations," he said. "I thought it might flop ... and no one knows me from fuck all."
Correction: They didn't.