Marvel Digital: Frank Tieri - Galactus Doesn't Exist
by Matt Brady
Date: 23 October 2008 Time: 11:36 AM ET
Marvel Digital: Frank Tieri & Galactus
What really goes on in the Marvel Universe?Really… Announced along with four other upcoming online-exclusive comics coming up at Marvel.com is Marvels Channel: Monsters, Myths and Marvels, and comic that will look to answer that question, albeit from a slightly different point of view.
Written by Frank Tieri, with art by Juan Santacruz, the series will tell stories on “The Marvels Channel,” a channel in the Marvel Universe dedicated to reporting on and investigating individuals, locations, history and occurrences in the Marvel Universe. The central thesis investigated in the first arc: “Galactus doesn’t exist.” Forget what you though you’ve read or knew, and let Tieri explain. Newsarama: First off Frank, explain the title here - "Marvels Channel?" Your larger framework is, for lack of a better example, an E! or a History Channel style set in the Marvel Universe, correct? Frank Tieri: That’s right. Take a look at our current TV landscape… ESPN, the Food Network… hell, we even have the friggin’ Golf Channel, for crissakes. Nowadays, we have television channels devoted to just about anything and everything. So, let’s say super-humans really existed… wouldn’t there be a channel devoted to them, too? A 24- hour channel that would show documentaries, investigative programs, reality shows, talk shows, etc? That’s the basic concept of the Marvels Channel in a nutshell. Think of it as the real Superstation. NRAMA: So then Monsters, Myths & Marvels is one of those shows on the Marvels Channel, right? Then let's talk about your approach - we've got Front Line, and Marvels: Eye of the Camera as contemporaries, and of course, Marvels...what is it about this point of view that works for you as a writer, and for the audience? FT: Actually, Monsters, Myths & Marvels really isn’t like any of those at all. You ever watch those shows you see on the History Channel or the Discovery Channel or Nat Geo where they’re investigating Bigfoot, or the lost city of Atlantis or the moon landing conspiracy or whatever? I don’t know about the rest of you, but I eat that stuff up with a spoon—shows like Monsterquest and History’s Mysteries and Is it Real? (Is it Real? is particular douchey—they debunk everything) . So I got to thinking… wouldn’t they have shows like this in the Marvel U? Where they investigated the existence of stuff like the Wendigo and Asgard and the Watcher? That’s what we’re going for with M, M & M -- a riff on those shows with our tongues planted firmly in our cheeks. So you can expect to see the usual trademarks of these types of programs well represented—the crazy conspiracy theories, the questionable expert testimonies, the cheesy re-enactments (complete with actors that don’t quite look like the people they’re supposed to portray)… it’s all here. NRAMA: But the first target - Galactus...really? Why would someone in the Marvel Universe doubt his existence? There've been appearances in New York - there've been comic book covers...how can anyone doubt that? FT: How can anyone doubt we’ve landed on the moon? Or that terrorists were behind the attacks on 9/11? And yet we question all of it—on TV, on the internet, in films. People just question things, that’s our nature—and you can’t tell me a giant dressed in purple who reportedly eats planets wouldn’t be at the top of our list. And that’s the fun of it. Yeah, we all know that in the fictional Marvel U Galactus actually exists, that people actually did see him—then the question becomes for Gordon Allsworth… what exactly did they see? A giant robot? A hologram? Giant Man in a pimp suit? The theories and claims made by him and his guests is where a lot of the fun is—but at the same time, also had to be presented as somewhat plausible alternatives. NRAMA: As for Gordon… you brought him over from your Hercules mini. Why was he a good fit for this? And what exactly is his theory as to just what this "Galactus" is? Why would people continue to perpetuate the idea that he exists? FT: For those of you who remember Gordon from Hercules: The New Labors, you’ll remember he was not exactly the model of journalistic integrity. In other words, Gordon’s sleazy, unscrupulous and is not above slanting a show to fit his beliefs. He believes Galactus is a hoax and his investigation will very much show that. As for who he blames for the creation of Galactus… well, let’s just say the FF are the ones who take the biggest hit here. After all, they’re the ones who had the most to gain after Galactus first appeared and was thwarted—as a result, their celebrity skyrocketed, their status in the superhuman community greatly improved , and yeah, they even made a crap load of money out of it. Being the ones who stopped the unstoppable was good for business, so to speak. As someone in the show very astutely states, “Galactus made them” NRAMA: How was it working with Juan Santacruz? FT: Really great. This wasn’t the easiest project in the world to pull off, ya know? It’s a fine line-- especially from an artistic standpoint. But with that said, for every curveball I threw at Juan, he kept crushing them out of the park. I really expect big things from this guy in the future. NRAMA: The info for this says that it has "commercials" in it...whu? Care to explain? FT: Well, there’s commercials on real TV, no? So if I was going to create a network, it only stands to reason I’d have them here, too. So I tried to picture what commercials in the word of the Marvels would look like. You’d have commercials for stuff like Heroes For Hire and the law offices of Murdock and Nelson. You’d have celebrity endorsements from people like Iron Man and Dazzler. And you’d have strange inventions that would only exist in their universe. That’s the type of stuff you can expect to see. And each ad will be a page and appears at the end of an episode—just in time for the usual commercial break, just like on TV. In one part, we’ve got a take on a popular insurance commercial starring the Hulk, a cheesy infomercial starring Iron man in another—but my favorite might be an ad for something called “Horn Club For Men”. I’m sure anyone who’s seen the ads we’re spoofing will immediately get it. NRAMA: How many parts is your story? What's coming up next? Will future stories be along this route, that is, investigative looks at the "truths" the Marvel Universe's Joe the Plumber thought he knew, or will the "Marvels Channel" have other programming? FT: Monsters, Myths & Marvels will be in three parts-- and is only the first show that we’re presenting. Other shows we have lined up include something called Behind the Mask (an obvious take on Behind the Music with superhumans) and an SNL-type show guest hosted by Thor. Also, 3 parts is not necessarily the norm—some will be in three 8 page installments, some in two or even just in one part. We take it by a show by show basis and how much space is needed to tell our story. And you know, it’s still early in the process, and we’re still throwing stuff against the walls and see what sticks. The fans will let us know what shows they want to see more of and what shows they don’t. If they like Monsters, Myths & Marvels, there’ll be more installments (we already have two other topics in mind—one on the Captain America assassination and another on the Illuminatti). And if they have an idea for a show they’d like to see spoofed, by all means, send it in. We want this to be as interactive and fun for the fans as possible. And now, if this interview is over with, you’ll have to excuse me—I have a fictional network to program… Monsters, Myths & Marvels part one is up at Marvel.com, and part 2 will be online November 5th. Click here for hte story. Related: Taking it Online – John Cerilli on Marvel’s Online Plans Marvel Digital: Roger Langrige on Fin Fang Four