Grammaton Punch isn’t just a super neat title — it’s a pretty savvy description of this thoughtful and compelling new ComiXology Original.
The brain-child of writer Miles Gunter (Terminator, BPRD) and artist Briane Andan (Broken Souls Ballad), Grammaton Punch follows Van, a “boy who sees and fights ghosts.” But don’t let that deceptively simple premise fool you; Van’s story expertly explores ideas of growing up and alienation filtered through a “classic” ghost story. With a vibe that reads like Scott Pilgrim and The Frighteners (sorta), it’s ultimately about the “consequences, both good and bad, that come about when the world gives you the opportunity to do things differently.”
Ahead of today’s debut (March 14) of Grammaton Punch #1, Gunter was kind enough to speak with us via email. There, we talked about the story’s development and influences, working with Andan, drawing from his personal experiences, and other topics and tidbits.
AIPT: What’s the elevator pitch for Grammaton Punch?
Miles Gunter: Grammaton Punch is like the movie The Sixth Sense with punching instead of whispering.
AIPT: What’s your interest in ghosts? Why are they still so compelling?
MG: I suppose my interest stems from my own encounters. I haven’t had many but the ones I’ve had have stayed with me. I think it’s the same for pretty much everyone who has their own experiences or hears a ghost story from someone in their own life. It’s one of those aspects of our world that continues to be a mystery. People are drawn to the unknown, to the things that can’t be explained, and they always will be.
AIPT: I like that this book reads as a YA and yet it’s still for “older” readers. Was that balance important, and how do you strike that proper tone?
MG:Thanks. When I was a kid, I wasn’t interested in media that tried to pander to me. I was interested in the adult stuff where, as a young viewer/reader, you’re experiencing things that are new to you. I’ve never written anything close to YA so for me it was about trying to tap into my own mindset as a kid to inform the character. With tone, it’s all about intuitive discernment and creating a balance between things like drama, suspense, horror, comedy. If you dip too far one way it throws everything out of whack.
AIPT: You’ve written quite a few supernatural stories/books in the past (like BPRD). How do you think this compares to the others, and how do you keep this kind of book relevant?
MG:I think it’s more realized and less indulgent than my earlier works. It gets back to this idea of creative discernment and gaining a better sense over time of how to make a rounded balance of elements within a story that works in service of your theme(s). With supernatural stuff it’s important to ground things so the heightened elements have more of an impact. As for relevance, I guess it’s a question of approaching the material in a sincere way that comes from the heart. If you can make people feel something or relate it to their own life then it will always be relevant.
AIPT: Finish this sentence: Grammaton Punch is like (video game title) + (horror flick) with a heaping helping of (comic book series).
MG: Grammaton Punch is like Street Fighter II meets The Sixth Sense with a tablespoon of Mob Psycho 100 (I don’t do heaps, sorry).
AIPT: This book feels like it’s about a few different things, but is there one idea or motif that really stands out? I personally resonated with this notion of being alone and finding value or meaning from that.
MG: That’s really interesting to hear. It was written in isolation during the pandemic so maybe that’s why you responded that way. For me it’s about breaking patterns which no longer serve us. Life will often present us with the external opportunity to give us the thing we need internally but this involves taking a risk. Doing that uncomfortable thing is how we grow and that universal truth is the fulcrum of Grammaton Punch.
AIPT: Van seems fully formed right off the bat. How do you see our feisty hero, and did you base him off anyone in particular?
MG: I guess he is partially inspired by my own childhood. I was often sick at a very young age and as an only child had a similar mindset where I felt older in some ways. He’s also a tribute to a Vietnamese friend I had in first/second grade. Van has to grow up fast because of his unusual and dangerous circumstances but there’s things he’s missing out on as a result. Part of his story is about rectifying that.
AIPT: Where did the notion of ghosts “feeding” on people come from? Why is that such an important twist on some other ghost stories?
MG: The Feeders are a personification of the idea that there are things around us beyond our senses that have an effect on us. In ghost stories, the spirit is typically not at rest and it’s a similar conceit with Feeders. They aren’t supposed to be here but is there a way to get them where they need to be? That’s one of the things we’ll address as the story progresses..
AIPT: Tell me about the art from Briane Andan. What did it bring to the narrative and the larger feel of this world?
MG: Grammaton Punch was designed for Briane’s art. When I approached him about making comics this was the premise that seemed best suited for his aesthetic. A big part of my job as a writer is to give the artist material that draws on their passions. Briane and I both share a deep love of manga, anime and classic video games so I tried to draw heavily from those inspiration palettes.
AIPT: Feel free to spoil as much or as little as you want, but what can we expect from issues #2-5?
MG: In the second issue Van meets Rick Wallace, an adult witch who also knows about Feeders and people like Van who have extrasensory abilities as a result of being born on eclipses. We’ll also learn what the title is in reference to. And in issue 3 we jump ahead to Van starting his freshman year of high school and facing his biggest challenge yet.
AIPT: I get that we’re still relatively early into things, but could we get more books with kids born under an eclipse?
MG: Well, that depends on sales 🙂 It’s conceivable that other kids would be born on any given eclipse and the conditions of that eclipse might affect what enhancements they have. And not all of these eclipse babies who survive that process would use their extra abilities for the greater good.
AIPT: Why should anyone pick up issue #1?
MG: Because it’s 22 pages of gorgeous art and a full meal of a story where you just might see something you haven’t seen before. Also, looking at our eclipse will not damage your eyeballs…
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