Drugs and drink drive hero in ‘Buzzkill’

For some heroes, power comes from the stars or a mutation or a secret experiment gone awry.

Ruben, the somewhat reluctant protagonist of Dark Horse Comics’ “Buzzkill,” needs only to tip back bottles of beer or take lots of pills.

Such is the foundation of his powers as created by writers Donny Cates and Mark Reznicek, but it’s a tough path for Ruben, who finds himself down and out after a blackout-infused bender leaves him with blood on his hands and a drive to stay sober.

But sobriety is just what his enemies want so Ruben must find the balance between knocking back booze to keep his super strength at full force and his enemies at bay.

And that, Cates said, isn’t easy when you’re trying to stay sober.

Cates called the four-part mini-series — out Wednesday and illustrated by artist Geoff Shaw and colored by Lauren Affe — a sobering look at the relationship between power and addiction and “the very real consequences of both” on a person and his livelihood.

“I don’t consider the book that I’m writing to be about a superhero who is an alcoholic but an alcoholic who is a superhero who has done a lot of horrific things,” Cates said.

The idea, Cates said, came from a night of drinking with Reznicek, whose other line of work is drumming for the band Toadies. The two met in 2009 at the band’s show, hit it off and discovered they shared a love for comics.

“As I was leaving, I said, ‘Maybe, one day, we can write a comic book.”

Two years later, Reznick emailed him just after Cate’s first story, “Hunter Quaid,” had appeared in “Dark Horse Presents” and they decided to do “Buzzkill.”

Cates said the book has its moments of levity, with nods to the co-creators’ love of music — there’s a character named Panteradactyl — but “Buzzkill” remains a serious meditation about fighting the evils of addiction.

“The hero never thinks that what they’re doing is bad. Everything that they’re doing, they think they’re doing for the right reasons,” he said, even when it’s not necessarily the case.


Moore reported from Philadelphia. Follow him at http://www.twitter.com/mattmooreap




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