DRAWN & QUARTERED
The isle-based comic "Koni Waves" is in its third issue
Move over, Detective Byrd, there's a new P.I. in Honolulu, and her name's Koni Waves.
While the 1950s Byrd and contemporary Waves share a common background in being dishonored cops going into business for themselves, the independent comic book "Koni Waves" has been off and running since May 2006. The "byrd of paradise" in Image Comics' "Hawaiian Dick," on the other hand, is on hiatus, although there's been talk of a movie development deal starring Johnny Knoxville in the lead role.
Who could play the comely Waves on the big screen in the future is anybody's guess, but the life and character of the Polynesian wahine continues to be developed on the page by the guys at Rough Sketch Studio in the "exotic climes" of Cherry Hill, N.J.
Writer Mark Poulton, illustrator Stephen Sistilli and finisher/letterer Dexter Weeks have teamed together to produce, so far, three issues of "Koni Waves" for Arcana Studio, Canada's largest comic book publisher. A trade paperback, "Koni Waves: First Wave," is scheduled to hit store shelves June 27, collecting those issues plus the rare comic book exclusive for the New York Comic Con with the lurid title of "The Headdress of the Undead!"
And to be released around that time is a special one-shot crossover title starring Koni and the return of Demonslayer, the sexy bad girl from creator Marat Mychaels from the Avatar Comics line.
Speaking from the New Jersey studio Thursday, Weeks -- who has relatives here on Oahu and the Big Island -- said the 2001 origins of their character of Koni Waves is their variation on Buffy the Vampire Slayer, as the private detective does battle with such supernatural forces as killer Tiki monsters, surf vampires, alien jewel thieves and armies of the undead.
"Koni's back-story is that she worked through college as a dancer at the Apanapana Ballroom and later joins the Honolulu Police Department. It wasn't our intention to make her a perfect character. She's flawed with an alcohol problem that got her booted from the force. Beyond that, she's opened her own detective agency and ends up taking on the secret cases that involve the dark, supernatural forces of the island."
Weeks said they intend to continue to use Hawaiian lore and locations, even going so far as adding a glossary of local terminology in their comic books.
With the title out for little more than a year, the next story arc starts in the next miniseries, called "Koni Waves: Ghouls Gone Wild!" scheduled for release in October. And this time out, the guest stars will be real-life, although maybe just as fanciful. "The rock group Adema contacted us and wanted to be incorporated into the comic, so they'll end up playing a concert in Hawaii. Mark is a big fan of the metal band."
Weeks also said that through the prompting of their publisher, the comic book now includes interior color pages and will become an ongoing monthly series starting sometime in '08.
Going for what he calls the initial look of a Modesty Blaise (the popular adventure heroine of 1960s Britain), Weeks said he and his colleagues "didn't want to go the superhero route with Koni. We like the flawed female hero type. She's also flawed in relationships, as well. She already has a close friend in her surfing buddy Pete, but, coming up, a love triangle is going to develop between them and a volleyball player she meets when an AVT tournament comes to town.
"The only thing is, this new guy is also a werewolf." Of course!