In my new comic StoneCop, we follow the adventures of…well, a stone cop created to repel a rock troll invasion in his city, who later discovers a few dark secrets about his origins.
But can one well-intentioned, elegantly chiseled artificial being rise above it and make a difference? Can he stand up to an army of furious rock trolls who see him as a traitor to stonehood? And what does all this have to do with Dav Pilkey’s popular children’s graphic novel series, Dog Man?
Backtracking a little - when artist Phil Appley approached me about working on a comic, we talked a little about our inspirations and goals for the project, the sort of thing we each wanted to work on. I’ve written a lot of urban fantasy in my time, but was looking to try a more action-orientated flavour after a few consecutive comics about regular people encountering magic.
And Phil, meanwhile, had apparently watched a lot of action-cop movies and liked the idea of a policeman embarking upon a deadly mission across the city, maybe transporting some kind of prisoner.
So from there, it’s a short step to asking ‘What if that police officer was made of stone?’
At least, it was for me, because the idea of a conceptual being created for a purpose and struggling to embody it is apparently an appealing theme. (See also: The Catalyst, my Westworld-esque 2019 comic about a robot NPC searching for meaning.)
If I were a more serious criminologist, maybe my first stop for making this work would be Robocop or The Wire, but no - I’d recently read the first 10 volumes of Dog Man. The premise, for those who haven’t indulged, is that a cop and his dog are both hurt in an accident, and can only be saved by sewing the dog’s head onto the cop’s body. Which, luckily, turns them into the best cop ever.
If you haven’t read Dog Man, I wholly endorse it. It’s an artful mix of raging silliness and uplifting emotion. The sense that basically anything can happen is infectious, and although you might mistake that for arbitrary randomness, there’s strong character journeys in there too.
Some might not enjoy the running (haha) jokes about excrement, but nonetheless, it’s a beautifully executed comic, and I can fully see why it conquered the planet. The Cat Kid Comic Club spin-off is also extremely fun.
Of course, the appeal of Dog Man as a character is mainly that he’s a good dog, which translates to the ideal of a good (if unconventional) cop - he’s helpful, he cares, he tries. He also licks people and jumps on them, but ignore that for now. Luckily, he lives in an uplifting cartoon world where he is rewarded with pats and pets for his striving.
What if a similar conceptually good cop character lived in a reality closer to our own, trying to live up to those ideals? Is the real world going to let him down? It seems inevitable, doesn’t it?
You’ve seen all those news stories about the real world of policing. It’s a cold, dark world out there, and much like Dog Man, StoneCop is a good boy.
But he’s going to smash a whole load of rock monsters before he admits defeat.
Want more StoneCop? Catch the deets below!
Funding now on Kickstarter, it’s the most straightforward action hero of them all – StoneCop!
In the city of Brighton Ridge, Colorado, rock trolls have rolled down from the mountains to terrorize the population. They tear up streets, crush vehicles and rip open homes.
The people live in fear, and only one thing can save them - to defeat the masonic menace, we need StoneCop! Once a rock troll himself, he's been chiseled down and reprogrammed to become the city's most statuesque law enforcer.
And now he faces his greatest test yet - transporting an imprisoned troll across the city to become the first inmate in Stonemax, their new maximum security underground prison. But the mountain monsters are determined to intercept the transfer and punish our hero for betraying them.
And if StoneCop survives this gravelly gauntlet, what dark secrets await him in the mountains?
StoneCop is an action-packed new 32-page one-shot from writer Nick Bryan (FairyFare, Death of a Necromancer), artist Phil Appley (Requiem) and letterer DC Hopkins (Star Trek, Nocterra), about a city under siege, a series of rock-crushing battles and one artificial being trying to fulfill his purpose.
As well as the StoneCop one-shot in both print and digital, other rewards include prints of the cover, a digital process sketchbook, script reviews from Nick and a range of commission options from Phil, including a cover for your comic. The campaign launches on May 9th with a funding target of £1500.
You can find the campaign page here: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/nickbryan/stonecop
And here are the first few pages, my fair yetis!
Nick Bryan is a writer of comics and prose from London, inspired by a combination of mounting fear, an eclectic range of comics, TV & literary novels, and his vague recollections of a philosophy degree. Best known for the Death of a Necromancer and FairyFare Kickstarters, The Catalyst one-shot from Comichaus, and the Hobson & Choi novels.
Phil Appley is a comic book artist based just outside of Glasgow, Scotland. Since making it his full-time job, he has provided the art for numerous successful crowdfunded comics, with his most recent work being Requiem#1 (2023), a project co-created with writers David Hazan, of ongoing Nottingham (Mad Cave Studios) fame and Christof Bogacs, of the recently released and wildly successful Under Kingdom (Dark Horse).
DC Hopkins is a professional comic book letterer and designer who has worked with a wide variety of clients ranging from Eisner-nominated indie projects, to major publishers such as BOOM! Studios, DC Comics, IDW, Dark Horse, Image, Humanoids, Tor, Disney, Oni, and more. In addition to being a freelancer, DC is also a proud staff member of Deron Bennett's AndWorld Design studio.