Eliot Rahal is a new name on the comic book writing block, but he’s slowly gaining more steam with his comics through Heavy Metal publishing. He attended C2E2 promoting two of his newest books, The Paybacks and The Doorman at the Heavy Metal booth. He excitedly talked about his newest series, his experiences at Dark Horse, and how he broke into comics as well as his other love of stand up comedy.
Rahal started off doing stand up in Chicago when he was a college student at DePaul University. While he liked comic books, he described himself as a late bloomer and didn’t start reading until he was about 17. He read Garth Ennis’ Punisher run, Y The Last Man, Sandman, Joss Whedon’s X-Men run, and other hits that he loved. But, he didn’t even think about being a comic book writer until his college days.
“I didn’t know it was a job you could get and then when I was in college, I was a pretty active reader, still am, I came across [editorial] internships at Marvel,” said Rahal. “I got the internship, and ever since then I’ve been working on my own stuff, and pushing it out there and trying to fight the good fight.”
His first break was a four issue mini series called The Paybacks through Dark Horse comics. The series focuses on a group of b-list former heroes who repossess items of superheroes who are late on their payments. While it’s a story set in a universe of superheroes, the story is about the heroes who lost.
“Something I like about The Paybacks is that [it’s] telling stories about heroes who lost,” Rahal explained. “These are not… the Supermans, and the Batmans, these are the betas. I like telling stories about people you wouldn’t normally hear stories from.”
Rahal’s other book, The Doorman (written with Late Night show writer, Daniel Kibblesmith and drawn by Kendall Goode) is a sci-fi adventure series that focuses on a series of stargates all over different planets that are operated by elevator operator style “doormen.” Described as a parody of shows like Stargate and Doctor Who, but through a different perspective.
Rahal is attracted to these characters, and ideas because they both seem like background characters. “If you pause the screen for a moment, you realize that, ‘oh my God’ that’s a whole life, and there’s something really to explore there.”
While Rahal loves his comic stories, he also makes a career as a stand up comedian, and finds that the two genres can help each other when they need to. He includes a lot of humor in his books, but he finds that stand up comedy has offered him other tools when it comes to his writing. Particularly when it comes to knowing when and how to end the story when it should.
“Stand up gave me the ability to know when to stop, [when writing a story] whether that story is looking for a way to end itself cleanly,” Rahal explained. “Stand up taught me how to do that. I don’t always follow that in my own stand up, but when I’m objectively looking at other mediums I can apply that knowledge there.”
Eliot Rahal still performs comedy in Minneapolis and wherever he can, and has a slew of shows throughout the weekend of C2E2. One of which is a release party for The Doorman at the comic book store Challengers. You can find out more information about Eliot, his comic books, and his comedy shows at his website.