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It's About Time (Squared)


By Philip Schweier
February 16, 2024 - 12:59

Visitors to New York City have been told that if you wait in Times Square long enough, someone you know will pass through it. And that could be said of Howard Chaykin’s Time2 – pronounced “Time Squared,” for you newbies – after an absence of almost 40 years.

Arriving in comics shops this week, The Time2 Omnibus features the two original stories published by First Comics, a new third installment, and adjacent material such as promotional art and First Comics house ads.

In 1986, Chaykin debuted his post-modern fantasy world by crossing over with his successful American Flagg! series, followed by the graphic novel, The Epiphany. A sequel – The Satisfaction of Black Mariah – was published in 1987, before Chaykin moved on to other projects.

Chaykin has creatively reinvented himself several times since entering comics professionally more than 50 years ago. As such, he seldom revisits previous material. “Volume three was never even a consideration until a few years back when it was written and drawn,” he says.

Set in a vaguely mid-20th Century fantasy world, the series features Runyonesque characters based on Chaykin’s family. “It is my most personal work,” he says. “I likely would not have gone forward with the final volume without the encouragement of my editor.”

Letterer Ken Bruzenak has been a vital partner in Chaykin’s work for decades. “Ken Bruzenak delivered an extraordinary job of reclamation and graphic/digital adjustment.”

On his Facebook page, Chaykin described Bruzenak’s states, “In his hands, typography, lettering and related graphics are an intrinsic and invaluable part of the visual narrative experience. He has elevated the craft of comic book lettering by his very presence.

In the 1980s, much of a letterer’s work required working out the line-by-line format of every balloon, printing each piece of text individually, and affixing them to the physical artwork. In the case of a character who’s returned to life as a robot, Bruzenak created customized balloon outlines that served to depict how that voice is heard on the page.

For The Time2 Omnibus, Chaykin says, “Ken built all the same sorts of things we saw in the first two volumes (and cleaned up those books to give you the best possible version of the entire series) in a fully digital environment.

Of future work, Chaykin says, “I am deep at work on Fargo: Hell on Wheels, an adaptation of one of a series of adventure novels written (by John Benteen) in the 1970s.”

Last Updated: February 23, 2024 - 05:00

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