Butcher: A Lesson In Criminality

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Butcher: A Lesson In Criminality follows a devious career criminal beginning his bloody rise to power through the ranks of a dark syndicate. Standing in his way is a desperate gang boss struggling to maintain his influence over a city that once feared him.

Written by Amit Chauhan and Illustrated by Eli Powell. This Kickstarter campaign runs through April. 23rd

Amit Chauhan writes,

Growing up in London’s gritty East End in the 1980’s really shaped the way I tell stories.

A dark sense of humor, born from inherent English cynicism, helped me cultivate friendships with people from the most disparate backgrounds. These type of relationships turned rough neighborhoods into communities that looked out for their own.

During this time, comics were a huge influence on me. While they provided a much-needed escape, I felt the mainstream titles often lacked a sense of realism. It was hard to connect with utopic fantasies that were devoid of the real-life complexities I saw in my neighborhood.

Meanwhile, crime movies like Get Carter and The Long Good Friday really appealed to me. Consumed by criminal ambition, unscrupulous anti-heroes were cast against a world where everyone lived in the shades of grey.

These movies often culminated in tragedies that would make Shakespeare blush. Their graphic finales preached the horrendous ramifications that arose from amoral inclinations. Heroic characters were forced to show the darker side of their personalities.

Why couldn’t comics be the same?

Enter Alan Moore’s seminal work Watchmen.

I was completely enamored with Moore’s work, and I still am.

Looking back, I realize Watchmen represented a tectonic shift in the way we view our comic heroes, their relationships, and the concept of good versus evil.

I’ve carried a lot of these influences into my debut comic book, Butcher: A Lesson in Criminality #1.

The story follows a protagonist nicknamed “Butcher” as he embarks on a bloody ascent to the top of a dark criminal syndicate.

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Butcher explores the complex relationships between criminals. In their quiet moments, the characters are enigmatic, funny, and at times even likable. However, their tendency toward ruthless violence creates a moral depravity that severs them from society.

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Butcher has benefited greatly from the work of artist Eli Powell, a Seattle native now living in NYC and attending the School of Visual Arts. His clever use of negative space and energetic style lend the book a pulp-noir feel that is oriented in the present rather than rooted in nostalgia. Eli’s phenomenal panels, such as the one pictured below, demonstrate how his art choices help immerse the reader in this dark world.

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In addition, I’m pleased to work with veteran letterer Marshall Dillon (Skullkickers, Image Comics), and talented colorist Mat Lopes (Hinterkind, Vertigo) . Marshall expertly utilizes the text so that it interacts seamlessly with Eli’s artwork, while Mat provides masterful colors that add richness to the cover.

We’re currently running a Kickstarter to help us produce Butcher: A Lesson in Criminality #1. Check it out at the following link:


Bleeding Cool readers who contribute at least $15 (and mention this article) will receive an exclusive Butcher postcard in addition to the regular Kickstarter reward tier.

About Rich Johnston

Chief writer and founder of Bleeding Cool. Father of two. Comic book clairvoyant. Political cartoonist.

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