Writer Jimmie Robinson (Five Weapons, Bomb Queen) and artist Richard Pace revealed their latest project at Image Expo in San Francisco in what would be an intriguing departure from their usual milieu. Imagine living a life in which you’re a social stigma and emotionally frayed from past trauma… and one day you awaken to discover those tales of arcane creatures told to you as bedtime stories were more real than one knew.
Expired is a supernatural crime thriller that focuses on a homeless veteran named Bradley, who unfortunately was discarded and ignored by society at large, despite his military service. At one point he suffers a head injury that inexplicably gives him insight into the supernatural realm. Specifically, Bradley befriends a ghost that is psychically tethered to an old parking meter. He must keep feeding the meter to make sure the ghost doesn’t fade in oblivion. Aside from using whatever spare change he can muster, Bradley’s newfound acquaintance becomes more than the veteran expected, as he’s compelled to find peace for the wayward spirit by finding out who killed her.
“He also has to deal with the police, who don’t want people feeding meters. He also has to deal with the devil incarnate you might say, who wants that soul that’s been unclaimed […] and he has to deal with the serial killer who’s out there and realizes this guy is getting close to him for some reason and can’t figure it out. So he may have to take him out as well.“
At its core, Expired has all the marks of being a unique and entertaining comic, yet the elements and themes involved briefly tackle some of the more important issues rushing to the forefront of major media outlets. However none of it, Robinson claims, will place a slant in any particular direction.
“There’s a lot going against him to help this ghost. He’s [Brandon] has city infrastructure, gentrification, police […] he has his own PTSD going on […] and he’s on the streets. He’s literally living under a bridge in an encampment with some other people. I’m trying to address, respectfully, the homeless issue. […] When he goes to the VA clinic, we see a range of people who go there for all their different reasons. I’m not gonna hammer on the administration, on how we handle the vets. I have sympathy for the government and it’s a hard thing to do to try and help everybody.”
Jumping head first into a world full of ghosts, demons and other otherworldly ilk is an experience few within our plane of existence would be prepared for, which is why our protagonist will find assistance in the most unlikely places.
“There’s another guy who works with the supernatural and drives a taco truck! He feeds normals and ghosts or demons or whatever, he has food for everything. His truck is very tricked out, like a Van Helsing taco truck. To be honest, I almost wanted to make a book that’s all about TACO TRUCK (laughs).”
In short time, our hero will gain more knowledge in the dark arts and become a “homeless Constantine” of sorts. Bradley has found a new mission in his second life, and intends to help his newfound friend move along from its earthly confines.
Expired will be a five-issue series with the first issue released through Image’s Shadowline studio in December.