Mattson Tomlin, Lee Bermejo Team for ‘A Vicious Circle’ Comic – The Hollywood Reporter
In 2020, after Mattson Tomlin was reported to be a screenwriter working on what would become The Batmanhe was approached via social media and other channels by what he calls a “flurry” of people from the comics industry.
One such person was Lee Bermejo, the artist known for his dark, gritty work on DC books such as Batman: Damned and Before Watchmen: Rorschach.
“I was posting pictures of movies I was watching on Instagram and he saw them,” Tomlin recalled. Bermejo struck up a conversation that eventually led to a meeting, the first of many, over Skype. “‘We should do a book together,’ we thought to ourselves.”
Now, nearly three years later, that book is ready to be unveiled.
Tomlin, who has since become one of the city’s great genre scribes as well as a burgeoning film director, and Bermejo, an American illustrator who lives in Italy, have teamed up to A vicious circle, a three-issue prestige mini-series. The first issue will be published in December by Boom! Studios.
The story centers on two men doomed to wander through time and space in an endless cycle of violence and revenge. One of the men, named Shawn Thacker, is a trained assassin from the future who seeks revenge on the only other man with his affliction. Every move they make forces them both to involuntarily travel between vastly different past and future eras. The story will take them from 22nd century Tokyo to 1950s New Orleans to the Cretaceous era and beyond, as they find themselves locked in a battle of wills that spans millions of years.
Bermejo will sometimes deviate from his usual artistic style to draw inspiration from the era and the artists of the era in which the characters find themselves.
“The concept is one thing, but we really wanted to tap into the medium of comics, so Lee took it upon himself to change his art style every time we go to a new time and place,” says Tomlin. “So on the one hand it’s this story of high octane action, there’s this other element which is a love letter to the midrange. You’re going to see footage that you would never have thought out of this guy.
The comic will be released in an oversized format to really showcase the art. And it will feature editions with covers by Bermejo as well as illustrators such as Alex Garner (Batman), Jae Lee (Dark) and Rafael Grampa (BRZRKR), among others.
The book has been in the works in secret since the two first met in 2020.
“It was the most organic situation possible,” says Tomlin. “Going on a ‘date’, creatively, with someone new, there’s always this feeling of, ‘Is this going to be a disaster? Do our tastes and values align? We both have this deep love for this movie I saw the devil and we said, “Let’s do something impactful like this.” And it was born out of that. »
Once that clicked, Tomlin says, he wrote an outline of the ideas they both came up with. “I was shocked at how quickly it all came together. It was off to the races, and we were pitching it to publishers in a month or two. Boom! broke it.
Since then, shares of Tomlin and Bermejo have risen. Tomlin is currently writing a film adaptation of the hit comic Boom! BRZRKR which has Keanu Reeves attached to star (Reeves also co-created the comic) and is working with Reeves on the sequel to The Batman. He also made his comic book writing debut in 2021 with Batman: The Impostera prestige miniseries for DC that was pitched and produced after he and Bermejo started working on Vicious circle.
“It’s a meditation on violence,” Tomlin says of his first designer-owned work. “The meaning of violence and also its cost. It is not a story that is violence for violence’s sake. It is really about the question “Why are human beings violent?” And he tells this story in time and space in a mind-blowing way.
Meditate on the art below.