Saturday, November 5, 2011

Hardie VS The Fire - A Free Comic From Swierczynski & Chamberlain

This is a free 8 page comic available on ComiXology. There’s probably a good chance you missed it. There’s just as good a chance you should catch it. This little freebie, a seemingly throwaway piece of fun, comes from the mind of Duane Swierczynski and features the art of Kody Chamberlain. I really shouldn’t need to say much more about it, should I? Go to ComiXology, find it in the free section, enjoy it, and join me after the jump for a quick discussion about what this thing is and why it’s so damn cool.

Who Are The Creators?

Duane Swierczynski

C’mon, you must know I got a wicked soft spot for this guy by now, right? He wrote for Marvel comics for a while doing a big stint on Cable, a very cool run on The Immortal Iron Fist, his Black Widow started so strong, and he wrote some other MAX tales featuring the Punisher and Werewolf By Night. He’s currently over at DC absolutely nailing Birds of Prey.

He’s also a novelist whose bombastic action crime entertains on every single page. His latest work, the Charlie Hardie Trilogy, is pertinent to this comic.

Kody Chamberlain

This guy is a serious comic talent who dabbled in different shadowy corners before becoming more known through his collaboration with Steve Niles on a new 30 Days of Night tale. More recently, he wrote and illustrated Sweets, a crime mini from Image.

Who Is Charlie Hardie?

The titular character of this 8 page freebie, Charlie Hardie is a lot of things. Firstly, he’s a character created and written by Duane Swierczynski. Secondly, he’s laconically bad ass. His past might have been something but now he house sits for the famous and generally watches old movies while drinking old bourbon.

He first appears in Fun & Games – a book so much fun you should all go out and buy it right now. It starts very quickly and doesn’t let go until the final page. It’s a frenetic book that deals with the secret people who makes accidents happen and people disappear. It’s the first in a trilogy and the latest instalment is titled Hell & Gone. I have yet to secure a copy but the minions are working on it.

What Is Hardie VS The Fire?

This short comic details a story that Hardie thinks about in passing during the events of Fun & Games. It’s nothing major and yet it’s also the sort of moment that forms a man like Hardie into who he is, and who he will become. He is house sitting when a fire starts up on the hill. He can’t battle a bushfire so he aims to leave the house, his duties be damned, but he decides to take some of the owner’s more precious items with him. It’s the sort of stand up thing that makes a name for a man.

This comic is short, and to the point, but there’s an intimate poignancy to it that completely makes it worth the price (see what I did there?). This is just one little more insight into Charlie Hardie and who he is becoming.

There is no major publisher attached to this comic, as far as I can see. It is completely independent. Makes me wonder, could we get more of this. Could Charlie Hardie suddenly have his whole back catalogue of tales expanded in comic form? I' be very excited were that to happen.

Why Support Hardie VS The Fire?

Imagine if more novels suddenly released free snippets of pure character development as 8 pages of sequential storytelling by two of your favourite creators. Imagine that and then expand it exponentially. It’s just a fun idea, the sort of thing that’s for the fans, and it doesn’t hurt anyone while only offering fans something more and others a big old ad for why they should get the book.

I’m surprised this just slipped into the wild and there wasn’t more fanfare. This is a great character, two fantastic creators, 8 wonderful pages, and a free price point. It’s got the makings of everyone’s best news for the day and yet I didn’t hear much about it.

If Swierczynski wants to release more of this sort of stuff in the future then I am all for it. The more the better because these pages looked really nice and the flashback sequence just made me want to get my hands on Hell & Gone even more.


Short, and free, comic additions to other media should drop into our laps more often. I hope you went out into ComiXology and checked Hardie VS The Fire out. If so, what did you think? What other novels, etc, would you like to see expand into 8 page shorts for free, and who should do them? Let us know in the comments and share the love.

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