The world of comics has taken on damn near every topic under the sun. This includes the seemingly endless supply of superheroes (some of whom have been part of weird narratives) to the niche markets that depend on, well, whatever’s on the author’s mind. But within all of that, there’s been a surprisingly limited number of work based on gambling. Sure, there have been comics wherein the protagonists get into some kind of trouble within the walls of a casino or gambling hall, but that’s not what I’m talking about there.
What makes that lack of content even stranger is how nearly all forms of gambling have either become or remained popular forms of gaming-related recreation. That’s especially true with the advent of online casinos that have blown up across the globe. Poker in particular has maintained its status as one of the biggest games, partially because of the anyone-can-win aspect of the web-based play. Just looking at the currently playing numbers listed on the
Betfair poker homepage, there has been anywhere from 15,000 to 17,000 people sitting at the virtual tables as of my writing this. I don’t have to tell you how crazy that amount is, particularly when you factor in all of the other features on that site such as the arcade section.
In spite of all this, the comic book industry has been slowly catching up. There’s the LOST VEGAS series, for example, in addition to the recently Kickstarter-funded TALES FROM LAST VEGAS that’s on the way. But one comic that looks most promising is FINAL 9, a new series by author Anish Patel and illustrator Calvin Innes. The latter is an award-winning artist who has worked with huge companies like Nestle and scribbled some impressive pieces of Lara Croft and the zombie apocalypse.
Together, Patel and Innes have crafted a narrative that centers on the high-stakes, sometimes-seedy realm of tournament poker. According to reports, Patel got the idea back in 2008 after watching a series of actual tournaments on television. He found the aspects of the game gripping, of course, but there was more to it than that. It was the background information that came with each player that made everything more intriguing, though, because it made it more difficult for him to pick a favorite player. That’s when the groundwork for FINAL 9 was laid.
Essentially, Patel’s vision is one that combines aspects of THE WATCHMEN and the film Twelve Angry Men—with poker. Although he didn’t choose to write about actual poker players, he wanted it to remain realistic in terms of what the lifestyle is all about. As a result, he portrayed familiar players in a fittingly more animated fashion, meaning they’re exaggerated versions of their real-life counterparts. Also, the storyline covers the highly competitive matches themselves in addition to everything else from run-ins with mobsters, illegal underground games, and more.
Even though it was set to be released in late 2013, the first issue of FINAL 9 is coming Feb. 1 of this year, according to the comic’s Twitter page.