Call of Duty: Marc Laming Steps in on The Activity
Lowdown - Interview
Posted by Josh West on Mar 5, 2012
The Intelligence Support Activity (ISA) has been storming ahead since their high-profile reveal in December, but even the best soldiers need to bring in some extra muscle every-once in a while. Coming this May, ongoing series artist Mitch Gerads will be joined by Marc Laming on pencils for a very special fill-in issue of The Activity, as the duo reveal the past of sharpshooter Leslie Ryan.
“Issue #6 is really the story of how the simplest of missions on paper can go wrong in the blink of an eye, and we maybe get an insight in to what makes Leslie tick,” Laming says.
Issue one of The Activity introduced readers to a group of specially trained operatives: Danny Locke, Luke Styles, Francis Doyle, Zoe Dallas, and newcomer to the team, Leslie Ryan. Together they are “Team Omaha”, a direct action division of the ISA. Operating under the codenames Weatherman, Switchfoot, Speakeasy, Bookstore and Fiddler, they are called into action when ‘Tactical Espionage Action’ and skilled use of advanced warfare is required.
Thus far, the members of Team Omaha have kept their pasts classified; but as last weeks issue three hinted at, each member is harbouring a ghost that threatens to rupture everything they have worked so hard to build.
Fiddler is the first to get her past explored, with writer Nathan Edmondson and Laming returning to her days in the US Army; swapping the heights of Rome and dusty plains of Iraq for the greener pastures of the Congo.
“I don’t think I’ve ever drawn so many trees and plants before in my life!” Laming joked, before sprinkling us with just enough information to have us counting down the months.
“The storyline of issue #6 is very much set today and is very much grounded in the day to day work that the US Army are doing throughout the world, so I didn’t really touch on the espionage/future warfare world of The Activity.”
“To ensure that this felt as grounded as I felt the issue needed to be I did a huge amount of research on the location and the conflict in the Congo and the likely role that a US Army Civil Affairs Unit might have whilst there.” Laming says, hinting at a different tone to that of the fast-paced thrills usually found in the pages of The Activity.
Marc Laming is the artist of Vertigo’s 2001’s ‘American Century’ and more recently, BOOM! Studios fantastic crime series’ The Rinse with Gary Phillips. Known for his fluid storytelling, Laming is bringing his many years of experience to the book, though fans of his work shouldn’t expect him to stay complacent on any one particular style.
“I took a much freer approach to the pages on The Activity than I had with The Rinse. ‘The Rinse’ had a very strict grid and I had wanted that to have the feel, if not the look, of a 1950’s crime comic book. And although I’ve kept the grid, I think I have used more contemporary storytelling techniques with The Activity.” Laming says, adding, “It’s also the first book I have inked entirely with a brush and that has now become my preferred way of working.”
As writer Nathan Edmondson has touted for months now, the ISA is a very real (though highly secretive) organization. An organization that Laming has steered well clear of researching himself,
“I’m sure that there is a vault somewhere guarded by Mitch’s cat that contains all the answers, but as a reader of The Activity I don’t want to know too much so I don’t ask – I know as much as I need to the draw the issue I’m working on. I think if I started doing too much research into that world I’d get a bit scared, go off grid and live in the hills somewhere.”
While May is still a few months away, Laming says readers should expect plenty of excitement and thrills from his issue.
“When I received an email from Mitch asking if I might be free to consider some fill in work on his new book, it was a no brainer to say ‘yes’. Nathan was now top of my list of writers that I wanted to work with after reading Who Is Jake Ellis? which had blown me away,”
“I was really flattered to be asked to work on the book which has such a strong creative team already and had a total blast drawing it.
“I’ve loved the first two issues and the script for #6 is a great read. I‘m really proud to be part of a team that is producing a book of this quality and I have had a total blast living in that world for a month or two. All being well, I should be back for more fill-in work on The Activity and I can’t wait to see what Nathan and Mitch have cooked up for me!”
Marc Laming’s issue of The Activity goes on sale in May. The Activity #4, featuring pencils by Mitch Gerads hits on March 14, 2012 from Image Comics.
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