Poker and comics have had a lot of crossover as of late. Last summer, World Series of Zombies (WSOZ) debuted at the World Series of Poker, which is also where poker pro Xuan Liu spoke to PokerNews about her love affair with comic books. However, long before both of those developments there was Final 9, the first comic book centered on poker.
Final 9, which will ultimately span 10-12 issues, premiered in 2013, and this week the series will release its highly anticipated fourth issue.
The brainchild of Anish Patel, who enlisted Calvin Innes to illustrate, Final 9 by Room 101 Publishing explores the different aspects of poker as well as the players involved. More specifically, Final 9 follows the exploits of players involved in a major poker tournament in Las Vegas while delving into legitimate high-stakes games, online tournaments, and backstreet big money games run by gangs of ruthless criminals.
The latest issue, titled Putting Your Heart on the Line, tells the story of fictional former champ Christoph Schulze. As an added bonus, Patel created a "Hendon Mob" entry for the fictional character, which is an example of the sort of bonus material surrounding the comic.
PokerNews caught up with Patel to ask a few questions about Issue #4 of Final Nine.
PokerNews: When and where can folks get a copy of Issue #4? How about past issues?
Patel: Issue #4 is being released on January 13th, 2016 for the price of $1.99. This issue and past issues are available on final9comic.com as well as digital comic platform comixology.com.
What can people expect in issue #4? How about for upcoming issues?
Issue #4 has a very gripping story about one of the players. The first part of the storyline was with Issue #2 and it continues on in Issue #4. I can’t wait for the readers to get a hold of Issue #4. The upcoming issues will have more twists and turns for each of the Final 9 characters at the tournament.
What's inspired you to release all the cool bonus material? Where can people find it?
The inspiration came from the Watchmen book series. The series in the 80s had 12 individual comics, but due to a lack of advertisement, they had to fill some extra pages. The creators and the publishers decided to add a few extra bonus material pages for the story to give more insight of each of the character.
When I first read the Watchmen in graphic novel format, I loved the bonus material they had added, and it really gave a lot more insight to the story and the characters profiles. I couldn’t see them using the material they had added in the actual comic book pages, but they do refer back to some of the material in the comic pages. When I started to write Final 9, I knew what I had to work with in regards to the comic pages, but I wanted to give more insight to each of the characters in all other type of material that was available to me.
All the bonus material leads towards the main story of the comic, so it's important to read the comic as well as the bonus material, which is available only on the website.
Will there be a trade paperback book (TPB) or collection of the series once it's completed?
Like most comics book series we are looking to create a TPB to Final 9, which will include all the comics book pages as well as the bonus materials in the collection format.
For more information, check out this interview Patel did with PokerNews when Issue #1 first hit the marketplace: