It’s a real job, we promise

Eliot Rahal’s new comic book, “The Doorman,” intertwines adventure, humor and heart.

Daniel Kibblesmith, left, and Eliot Rahal.

Photo courtesy of Eliot Rahal

Daniel Kibblesmith, left, and Eliot Rahal.

Austen Macalus

After getting into comics at age 17 and interning at Marvel during his college years, Eliot Rahal fell in love with the genre.
 
 
One day, it eventually clicked for him that he could turn his passion into a career. 
 
 
“The moment I knew I wanted to be a comic book writer is when I knew that was a job,” Rahal said. “You just don’t think of those things as jobs.”
 
 
Now five years into the comic industry with multiple works published, Rahal is exploring other obscure professions. 
 
 
His newest comic book, “The Doorman,” follows the journey of an interplanetary porter tasked with ushering visitors from other worlds as he is swept along in an intergalactic adventure to stop an evil businessman.
 
 
“The idea is based off these old glorious jobs that are disappearing,” Rahal said. “Jobs that you didn’t really need to have done anymore, and in today’s society we are seeing the disappearance of these people like doormen and restroom attendants and film projectionists.”
 
 
Officially released last Wednesday at a show in Chicago, the comic is the first of four issues. Published under Heavy Metal, the first three issues are set to be released monthly, with the fourth coming out later in July.
 
 
Throughout the writing process, Rahal worked with Daniel Kibblesmith, a writer for the Late Show with Stephen Colbert. 
 
 
Writing the book in different cities, Rahal and Kibblesmith passed the script back and forth online, switching between writing and editing certain sections.
 
 
In particular, the two focused on the sequencing of the comic, Rahal said.
 
 
“You are really writing the pacing more in a comic book script,” Rahal said. “Pacing is really important for the reader so they don’t feel bored. And pacing is really important with storytelling so you know when to speed up, slow down and do dramatic reveals that don’t seem jarring.” 
 
 
Both holding backgrounds in stand-up comedy, Rahal and Kibblesmith also incorporated humor throughout the comic.
 
 
With tongue-in-cheek references to cliche comic tropes and witty allusions to overpopulation and income inequality, “The Doorman” bills itself as a “comedy book.”
 
 
“Writing comedy has always been a passion of mine,” Rahal said. “We wanted to write something funny that has a lot of heart to it and is earnest.” 
 
 
However, Rahal said there is a fine line with balancing humor, storyline and character development. 
 
 
“The trick with writing comedy in comics is that you don’t want it to be a Looney Tunes book — you don’t want it to be all joke, no substance,” Rahal said.
 
 
To complete the comic, Rahal and Kibblesmith collaborated with illustrator Kendall Goode for art design.
 
 
According to Rahal, the script and art must be intertwined throughout a comic book. He described the close relationship between a writer and illustrator.
 
 
“You really have to be more specific in comics,” Rahal said. “The writer in a comic book script is writing specifically for an artist to work off of.” 
 
 
Specifically, Rahal said working with Goode helped incorporate the comic’s humor into the storyline.
 
 
“[Goode] understands humor, and he is able to draw it,” Rahal said. “His ability to draw a joke and understand what it is trying to do makes the joke a part of the story rather than just punch lines.”  
 
 
For Rahal, this collaboration process is what makes writing comic books so interesting. 
 
 
“The idea is to have the opportunity to work with someone who is equally passionate about the story and that they become a creator, too, and share in the vision,” Rahal said. “It’s not my book or [Kibblesmith’s] book or [Goode’s] book — it’s our book.”