The talented team over at 12-Gauge Comics, responsible for badass works such as The Ride: Burning Desire and the acclaimed Kill Whitey Donovan, are back with another insane ride of a series via Kickstarter. And as usual, not only have I got a bit of a first look at what this story is all about, I’ve got the jams – chosen by the creator – to go along with the read.
“Bloodsoaked katanas, sentient Lamborghinis, and a soundtrack that can level city blocks. Yumi—the world’s greatest hacker, demolitions expert, and parkour savant—embarks on a globe-trotting mission of vengeance as she tracks down her kidnapped boyfriend, super spy Richard. The 136-page graphic novel Yumi: Spy Fatale, Baddie Royale arrives from the feverish minds of writer Doug Wagner (Plastic, The Ride, Thomas River), artist Hoyt Silva (Last Stop, Mongrel), colorist Kevin Lennertz, letterer Frank Cvetovic, designer Sasha Head, editor Lisako Yamauchi, and publisher 12-Gauge Comics. Trailblazing a path of pulp spook fiction for a new generation, Yumi is a rush of pop culture adoration and hyper-kinetic brawls that resculpt the genre.”
“You Should See Me in a Crown”
DOUG: I pulled up this song completely by accident and immediately fell in love with it. There’s this deadly creepiness to it that’s paired with this odd self-aware love that just spoke to me. Plus, I thought the title worked perfectly for invading MI-6.
HOYT: As soon as I heard the chorus drop, I knew this was a vibe for Yumi. It has this whole focused intensity and insane determination sound to it that’s a cornerstone to Yumi’s character.
DOUG: How could I pass on the perfect song title and artist’s name for a book like Yumi. That alone would have gotten it into the book, but after I listened to it, I knew it had to be the soundtrack for the first fatale duel on Lover’s Bridge.
HOYT: I think this one so perfectly sets the tone for Yumi’s attitude. That take-no-prisoners-but-have-fun-while-you’re-doing-it energy is what I wanted to get across with every panel I could.
“Kill V. Maim”
DOUG: To this day, I’m enamored with this video. It’s like a mix of Tank Girl, The Road Warrior, and The Fifth Element. It’s the exact kind of thing Yumi would find irresistible.
HOYT: The way this track stirs a variety of flavors together speaks to my favorite aspects of Yumi’s sassy and sour; love-you-while-kicking-you-in-the-face personality.
“It’s On Again”
Alicia Keys (featuring Kendrick Lamar)
DOUG: To be completely transparent, I find Alicia Keys to be one of the most interesting human beings on the planet. She’s this amazing mix of genius intelligence and empathic understanding. It’s so rare to see both in the same person. Yumi’s first adventure wouldn’t be complete without Alicia in it.
HOYT: Hard to recall a track by Alicia Keys that doesn’t make your hair stand on end. Talk about a song that will get you back on your feet and back at it again.
“One Woman Army”
DOUG: Attitude for days. That’s what drew me in. The song is about being sexy, independent, and a total badass. That speaks to what I wanted to create in Yumi.
HOYT: If this track didn’t nail the right attitude, the title certainly did. Not to mention the pretty/tough balance we were going for throughout the book, this one had it all.
“Look What You Made Me Do”
DOUG: Has there ever been a better song title for a finale than this one? The song is the epitome of Yumi’s transformation from who she was to who she becomes.
HOYT: Yeah, I have to agree with Doug here. Taylor captures where we take Yumi from beginning to end, and the vibe is just *chef’s kiss.*
“Kill This Love”
DOUG: Sadly, I wasn’t aware of BLACKPINK until Hoyt sent this one to me. I’ve been obsessed with them since I pressed play.
HOYT: Our editor Lisako actually put me onto BLACKPINK and I was instantly hooked. Their entire catalogue was in heavy rotation while I worked on pages.
DOUG: For this book, I had to spend a lot of time searching for the right music to put on Yumi’s playlist. I happened on Lizzo one night and immediately fell in love. Then I found this song and knew it was the right song to close out the book.
HOYT: While Doug was figuring out the music, he had me throw together a list of what I was listening to without seeing what he was considering, and this was a track that we both put up at the top, so you know it had to stay, and what a perfect fit it had at the end of the story.
THE SONGS THAT INSPIRED IT ALL
DOUG: Although this song didn’t make it into the book, it was the first song I started listening to in hopes of channeling the right tone for the book. As with all the female artists on this list, I admire and adore Miley’s unapologetic inner strength, massive success, and independent mindset.
HOYT: Originally we were considering this for the opening scene and I think it would’ve worked great because that’s exactly how Yumi shows up, like a wrecking ball. Ultimately what we went with worked tighter with the scene and the tone we wanted to set, but it’s a classic nonetheless.
Taylor Swift (featuring Kendrick Lamar)
DOUG: I loved this song the second I heard it. The lyrics and music fit what I was hoping to achieve with Yumi from the outset. Then… I watched the video. It encapsulates the tone, sassiness, and carefree spirit I wanted for Yumi. I watched it almost every day just before I started working on the book.
HOYT: Yeah, when this one dropped we were mid stride in the book and I called Doug the second I saw the video. It’s like they pulled the vibes for Yumi right out of our heads and I loved every second of it.
HOYT: What we ended up coming up with is a story about picking up and moving on when things aren’t right. Taking those pieces and embracing your faults is a part of growing as a person, and Phoebe hits that in stride with this one.
DOUG: Am I supposed to add something to that?
HOYT’S PERSONAL LIST HE USED WHILE DRAWING
Cardi B (Featuring SZA)
HOYT: You know who pulls no punches? These two women right here. This joint hits right where I think Yumi would; the neck.
“thank u, next”
HOYT: We’re a culmination of our past experiences and relationships. This one here really encapsulates that and is very much the journey this book takes.
HOYT: If there was ever a general theme for the whole story, it’s in this song right here. I think it hits all the right notes and who doesn’t need more BLACKPINK in their playlist?
DOUG’S PERSONAL LIST HE USED WHILE WRITING
Charli XCX & Christine and the Queens
DOUG: This was one of my two go-to songs for writing the insanely absurd fight scenes Hoyt and I did for the book.
HOYT: Now I see why every scene had a great build up. It’s unapologetic heart definitely checks all the boxes for Yumi’s strong personality.
DOUG: And this was the second of my two go-to songs for unleashing Yumi on the world.
HOYT: This one so rightfully captures those victory vibes that it had to be on the list.
“Yumi pays homage and respect to the massive contribution Ian Fleming gifted the literary world, while bringing a modern flair to the genre,” Wagner explains. “Yumi may sound like a spy story, but it embraces so much more. Yumi is about how love can inspire a person to become more than they believed of themselves. It’s ridiculous and over the top. It’s a story of unconditional, all-consuming love filtered into an action blockbuster—Scott Pilgrim meets Kingsman, all wrapped in a sassy, heartwarming pancake.”
“So many explosions. So many countries. So many battle sequences. Yumi: Spy Fatale, Baddie Royale is one of the most adrenaline-fueled projects of my career—Doug’s script crackles with momentum,” Silva explains. “It was an amazing challenge to match that sheer energy.”
The graphic novel is available in three softcovers editions with covers from Lois van Baarl, Eliza Ivanova, and Chris Brunner. Two limited edition hardcover editions feature art from Eliza Ivanova and Lois Van Baarl. The project is available on Kickstarter now until March 11, 2021.