In the Hoeber Bros new comic book from Image, The Mission, you don't get angels with wings or any of that fantasy clap-trap - you just get a mean looking Archangel Gabriel blackmailing a guy called Paul into killing someone else in the endless battle between good and evil in the multidimensional universe that occasionally spills over into our own puny four-dimensional world.
And if Paul doesn't cooperate. Well, believe me, he's gonna regret it!
"We're always attracted to characters who are people we could identify with and yet are put through incredibly tortured or difficult circumstances — the idea being that you don't really know who you are until you've been tested or suffered in some way," says Erich Hoeber. "People in our country and in our world have such strong religious beliefs. They seem abstract yet they cause people to do all kinds of amazing things, both good and evil."
His brother Jon agrees, and is proud of the existentialist quality of the book. He's fascinated by how people would react if suddenly faced with a supernatural being who was amazingly more powerful than them. It's one thing to ritualise it in church on a Sunday but what if an angel really turned up - and how would you know it was good? "Is this guy really who he says he is?" Erich asks, "Can you trust him? How do you know what he's saying is real? The idea of what you can know and what you can't know — what is knowable at all, what is truth — is central to this. This is not a guy who looks like a good guy. This is a guy who looks a lot more like a mob enforcer than an angel. And he's not a nice guy. He's a brute, he's a bully — he seems a little bit like a psychopath."
Although the brothers also write movie scripts, they prefer the comic book medium. "You're much more close to the final product, and there's a lot fewer people involved," Erich explains, "You're telling the story much more directly visually — you don't have a director in between you and the movie to get in the middle. You get to do a lot of that work yourself."