Rucka, Greg (Gregory Rucka)
Rucka, Greg (Gregory Rucka)
Born in San Francisco, CA; married Jennifer Van Meter (a writer); children: two. Education: Vassar College, A.B.; University of Southern California, M.F.A.
Writer. Formerly worked as a house painter, waiter, EMT, security guard, technical writer, beta tester, and fight choreographer.
Eisner Award, Best Limited Series, 2000, for Whiteout, 2004, for Gotham Central; Eisner Award nomination, 2002, for Queen & Country: Operation Broken Ground.
Keeper, Bantam (New York, NY), 1996.
Finder, Bantam (New York, NY), 1997.
Shooting at Midnight, Bantam (New York, NY), 1999.
Smoker, Bantam (New York, NY), 1998.
Critical Space, Bantam (New York, NY), 2001.
Fistful of Rain, Bantam (New York, NY), 2003.
A Gentleman's Game: A Queen & Country Novel, Bantam (New York, NY), 2004.
Private Wars, Bantam (New York, NY), 2005.
Perfect Dark: Initial Vector, Tor (New York, NY), 2005.
Perfect Dark: Second Front, Tor (New York, NY), 2007.
Whiteout, Oni Press (Portland, OR), 1999.
Batman: No Man's Land, DC Comics (New York, NY), Volume 2, 1999, Volume 5, 2001.
Grendel: Past Prime, Dark Horse (Milwaukie, OR), 2000.
Batman: Evolution, DC Comics (New York, NY), 2001.
Wonder Woman: The Hiketeia, DC Comics (New York, NY), 2002.
Queen & Country: Operation Broken Ground, Oni Press (Portland, OR), 2002.
Batman: Bruce Wayne, Fugitive, DC Comics (New York, NY), 2002.
Batman/Huntress: Cry for Blood, DC Comics (New York, NY), 2002.
Queen & Country: Volume 3: Operation Crystal Ball, Oni Press (Portland, OR), 2003.
Queen & Country: Operation Storm Front, Oni Press (Portland, OR), 2004.
Gotham Central (two volumes), DC Comics (New York, NY), 2004.
In the Line of Duty, DC Comics (New York, NY), 2004.
Batman, Death and the Maidens, DC Comics (New York, NY), 2004.
Wonder Woman, Down to Earth, DC Comics (New York, NY), 2004.
(With Mark Verheiden and Gail Simone,) Superman, Sacrifice, DC Comics (New York, NY), 2005.
Wonder Woman: Bitter Rivals, DC Comics (New York, NY), 2005.
Half a Life, illustrated by Michael Lark, DC Comics (New York, NY), 2005.
Wonder Woman: Eyes of the Gorgon, DC Comics (New York, NY), 2005.
(With Geoff Johns and Jeremy Johns) Superman, the Healing Touch, DC Comics (New York, NY), 2005.
(With Geoff Johns and Judd Winick) The OMAC Project, DC Comics (New York, NY), 2005.
(With Geoff Johns) Wonder Woman: The Land of the Dead, DC Comics (New York, NY), 2006.
Writer of comic books.
Greg Rucka is a novelist and a writer of comic books and graphic novels. Most of his novels feature the protagonist Atticus Kodiak, a tough, smart bodyguard who follows his heart rather than his pocketbook when it comes to taking on assignments.
Keeper takes up the abortion controversy in all its violence and pathos. Early on in the novel, Kodiak accompanies his pregnant girlfriend to a Manhattan abortion clinic that is being targeted by a militant right-to-life group, Sword of the Silent. That difficult and frightening experience causes him to sympathize with the clinic's director, Felice Romero, who is herself a target of violent threats from the group and its fanatical leader, Jonathan Crowell. As the battle between the prolife and pro-choice contingents heats up and threatens to become increasingly violent, some concerned parties initiate a forum called "Common Ground" to try to help clear the air. When Romero makes her intention to attend Common Ground known, she receives letters from Sword of the Silent that threaten not only her life but that of her Down's Syndrome-afflicted daughter. Kodiak takes on the arduous task of keeping both safe from their would-be assassins.
Critics were impressed by a number of the novel's elements, from its even handling of the abortion controversy to how the author orchestrates the scenes of violence. A Publishers Weekly contributor stated that the "pros and cons of abortion are intelligently presented." The reviewer also admired Rucka's storytelling for its fast, smooth pace, interesting characters, and "clean and visual" prose. Dawn L. Anderson, writing in the Library Journal, called Keeper a "story as timely as today's headlines" and a "tense and exciting novel." Booklist contributor Thomas Gaughan appreciated its "characterizations of people twisted enough to murder to protect life."
Finder followed Keeper the next year. The novel finds Atticus Kodiak not far from where Keeper left him—still in New York but now working as a bouncer for a swank "bondage-and-discipline" club. The book presents the tale of Erika Wyatt, a fifteen-year-old on the run, whose father, Colonel Wyatt, is a promiscuous military intelligence agent for whom Kodiak used to work, and whose mother, when still the colonel's wife, was briefly Kodiak's lover. When Erika shows up at the sex club and is threatened at knife-point, Kodiak helps her escape, little knowing that she is the target of not just one menacing male but a whole crew of British S.A.S. officers (a group that operates with the same stealth as the U.S. Navy SEALS). Unfortunately, the intensity of Erika's dislike at being protected is only equaled by the S.A.S. officers' fervor for kidnapping her. Heavy suspense and regular eruptions of violence are the result.
A Publishers Weekly contributor was guarded in responding to Finder, noting that "if Rucka … ever finds a subject big enough for his tough-guy talents, he'll be a writer to watch." Robert C. Moore wrote in his Library Journal review that if the reader can deal with the violence "Finder pulls you to a satisfying conclusion." A Kirkus Reviews contributor appreciated the book's "fine cliff-hangers, well-executed violence, and skillfully sketched characters"; the reviewer ultimately deemed it "flawed, but still superior to most lone-wolf genre tales."
In Smoker, Kodiak is hired to protect a biomedical research scientist who is going to testify against the tobacco industry, accusing them of putting additives in their cigarettes to make them more addicting. Booklist contributor Wes Lukowsky called Smoker an "exciting action adventure."
Critical Space finds Kodiak protecting a woman who is, in fact, a professional killer. Kodiak finds himself up against the FBI, his own best friends, and possibly the woman herself. Booklist reviewer David Pitt called Critical Space "a first-rate thriller."
Rucker is also the author of numerous graphic novels, including Whiteout, which won the Eisner Award for Best Limited Series in 2000, and Queen & Country: Operation Broken Ground, which was nominated for an Eisner Award.
Rucka has continued to turn out novels and graphic novels or comics. For example, he has penned both graphic novels and standard novels focusing on his "Queen & Country" series. In the graphic novel Queen & Country: Volume 3: Operation Crystal Ball, readers find British intelligence battling terrorists across the globe in an effort to stop the unleashing of poison gas at an international soccer game. A Publishers Weekly contributor noted that "this book's pleasure lies in following the chase's twists and turns." Queen & Country: Operation Storm Front features British secret agent Tara Chace looking for the kidnappers of a Russian national. Marc Bernardin of Entertainment Weekly noted that readers would be "hard-pressed to find an espionage thriller as gritty."
In A Gentleman's Game: A Queen & Country Novel, Rucka borrows from his award-winning comics series to present a standard novel featuring British intelligence agent Chace on the trail of Muslim extremists who bombed the London Underground. Referring to the book as Rucka's "finest novel yet," Entertainment Weekly contributor Marc Bernardin noted that the "action … feels earned, not forced." A Publishers Weekly contributor commented on the author's "superb pacing, offbeat characters, wry plot twists and damning insight into oily schizoid Middle Eastern diplomacy." David Pitt, writing in Booklist, wrote that the author "does an excellent job of building the tension and suspense."
British agent Chace returns in Private Wars, this time coming out of retirement to rescue the son of the Uzbekistani president, whose own daughter is holding her brother captive and threatening to kill him. Marc Bernardin, once again writing in Entertainment Weekly, referred to the novel Private Wars as "a Swiss watch of a thriller: well-machined, precise, and inexorable." Booklist contributor David Pitt wrote: "Rucka injects the novel with a hard contemporary edge and a heavy dose of sensuality." In a review in Publishers Weekly, a contributor noted that this novel and its predecessor A Gentleman's Game "are well-researched, intriguingly complicated, exciting spy novels."
In addition to his "Queen & Country" books, Rucka continues to contribute stories about classic comic heroes, such as Wonder Woman and Batman. Wonder Woman: Land of the Dead, for example, which Rucka cowrote with Geoff Johns, features a blind Wonder Woman traveling to Hades to rescue Hermes. Philip Charles Crawford, writing in the School Library Journal, noted that as the story progresses the authors' "pacing and the art mesh to create a … story that provides insight into the psychology of Wonder Woman's hero- ism." Another Womder Woman comic, Wonder Woman: Bitter Rivals, finds the superhero caught up in the world of politics and underhanded dealings when she acts as an ambassador from the Amazon island of Themyscria. Booklist contributor Gordon Flagg wrote that the author "moves smoothly between multiple plotlines." Writing a review of Wonder Woman: Eyes of the Gorgon, and Wonder Woman: The Land of the Dead, Tina Coleman noted in Booklist that the comics provide "an exhilarating adventure while still allowing us to see the classic superheroine's softer side."
Rucka has also received widespread praise for the "Gotham Central" series of comics featuring both Batman, who battles the super villains, and the hardworking detectives of Gotham who go after their minions and other criminals. For example, Half a Life focuses on homosexual detective Renee Montoya, who is treated with disdain by her fellow officers when they discover her sexual orientation. Gordon Flagg, writing in Booklist, noted that the story highlights "the tense atmosphere of the squad room and the morally ambiguous world of cops. "In the Line of Duty, another entry in the series, was called "outstanding addition to the Batman universe." by Flagg in Booklist.
Rucka creates a storyline involving numerous superheroes in the comic The OMAC Project, which features the members of the Justice League of America battling the Blue Beetle, who has learned the secret identity of all the superheroes. John Leighton, writing in the School Library Journal, commented: "It is interesting to see DC update its characters into contemporary personas."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Booklist, May 1, 1996, Thomas Gaughan, review of Keeper, p. 1491; October 1, 1998, Wes Lukowsky, review of Smoker, p. 312; September 1, 1999, George Needham, review of Shooting at Midnight, p. 73; December 15, 1999, Roland Green, review of Batman: No Man's Land, p. 761; August, 2001, David Pitt, review of Critical Space, p. 2099; July, 2004, Gordon Flagg, review of In the Line of Duty, p. 1831; September 1, 2004, David Pitt, review of A Gentleman's Game, p. 7; October 15, 2004, Gordon Flagg, review of Wonder Woman: Down to Earth, p. 396; March 15, 2005, Gordon Flagg, review of Wonder Woman: Bitter Rivals, p. 1308; August, 2005, Gordon Flagg, review of Half a Life, p. 2012; September 15, 2005, David Pitt, review of Private Wars, p. 37; March 15, 2006, Tina Coleman, review of Wonder Woman: Eyes of the Gorgon, and Wonder Woman: Land of the Dead, p. 42.
Entertainment Weekly, May 14, 2004, Marc Bernardin, review of Queen & Country: Operation Storm Front, p. L2T26; October 1, 2004, Marc Bernardin, review of A Gentleman's Game, p. 77; October 28, 2005, Marc Bernardin, review of Private Wars, p. 95.
Kirkus Reviews, May 15, 1997, review of Finder, p. 750; August 15, 2004, review of A Gentleman's Game, p. 772; August 15, 2005, review of Private Wars, p. 878.
Library Journal, May 1, 1996, Dawn L. Anderson, review of Keeper, p. 134; June 1, 1997, Robert C. Moore, review of Finder, p. 150; November 1, 1998, Dawn L. Anderson, review of Smoker, p. 126; January, 2000, Jackie Cassada, review of Batman: No Man's Land, p. 168; September 15, 2001, Ronnie H. Terpening, review of Critical Space, p. 114; June 1, 2004, Barbara Hoffert, review of A Gentleman's Game, p. 102; November 1, 2004, Steve Raiteri, review of Gotham Central, p. 64; September 15, 2005, Ronnie H. Terpening, review of Private Wars, p. 57.
Library Media Connection, April-May, 2005, Catherine M. Andronik, review of Wonder Woman: Down to Earth, p. 82.
Publishers Weekly, April 29, 1996, review of Keeper, p. 53; May 26, 1997, review of Finder, p. 66; September 21, 1998, review of Smoker, p. 72; September 27, 1999, review of Shooting at Midnight, p. 75; December 13, 1999, review of Batman: No Man's Land, p. 64; July 30, 2001, review of Critical Space, p. 55; June 3, 2002, review of Queen & Country: Operation Broken Ground, p. 66; June 16, 2003, review of Queen & Country: Volume 3: Operation Crystal Ball, p. 53; December 15, 2003, review of Wonder Woman: The Hiketeia, p. 56; September 6, 2004, review of A Gentleman's Game, p. 45; August 29, 2005, review of Private Wars, p. 33.
School Library Journal, November, 2005, Steve Baker, review of Half a Life, p. 179; May, 2006, John Leighton, review of The OMAC Project, p. 160, and Andrea Lipinski, review of Wonder Woman: Eyes of the Gorgon, p. 160; July, 2006, Philip Charles Crawford, review of Wonder Woman: Land of the Dead, p. 128.
Voice of Youth Advocates, February, 2006, Rayna Patton, review of Perfect Dark: Initial Vector, p. 504.
Greg Rucka Home Page,http://www.gregrucka.com (December 12, 2006).