Getting 'Gigantic' With Rick Remender
A giant armored robot is square in San Francisco, fighting off strange alien beings and making a mess of the whole downtown area.That's what is in store with this five-issue miniseries from writer Rick Remender and artist Eric Nguyen. Remender's career is on a fast track with Fear Agent and The End League's success and the recent announcement that he is writing the new Punisher series for Marvel. In Gigantic, he reteams with his Strange Girl collaborator Eric Nguyen in something decidedly… stranger. The giant robot's name is Gigantic, and he's actually an alien superhero sent to earth to be a spotlight of a intergalactic reality show. Think Truman Show meets Transformers. With the first issue hitting shelves on November 5th, Remender saddled up to talk about his new series. Newsarama: It's good to talk to you again, Rick. What can you tell us about Gigantic? Rick Remender: Gigantic is centered around a brainwashed, alien superhero deposited on Earth to be the spotlight of an intrusive, around the clock television program being filmed without his knowledge and broadcast universally. Okay, let me be honest about something (as I normally do nothing but lie and cheat), while I love the idea of Godzilla and Ultraman and Mothra and The Shogun Warriors-- the movies and shows never did anything for me. I love the esthetic, the set up, the idea of giant radioactive beasts and heroes in super suits tromping through our cities fighting over territory or love or domination of the Torinos pizza roll factory or whatever. We all love that stuff, every good-hearted person with a taste for sweet cookie dough, Pastrami Sandos on light Rye and puppy slobber feels a deep and calming affection for giant monsters crushing and blowing shit up. Or at least they should, so quit arguing with me and just… just sit down. So, while on the surface I hope this book captures that good fun Saturday morning Japanese schlock we all ate Boo-Berry cereal to, I’m hoping to add the component of a story and a main character we actual care about underneath that coat of sugary nostalgia. I wanted to have a bit of substance thrown in for good measure. It’s worth a shot I figure. Whatever. The citizens of the developed Universe are fat and satiated (-burp-).
War and disease are things of the past on the worlds deemed advanced enough to be invited into the United League of Planets. Crime and poverty on these fortunate worlds is a concept for the history books.Every citizen has wall-to-wall holo-projectors and a modest yet comfortable home allotted to them at infancy. Subsequently, every citizen spends nearly 90% of his lifespan patched into and watching holo-programs. With no real problems to face, the citizens of these worlds have become ravenous consumers with an insatiable appetite for entertainment. Entertainment, in fact, defines the existence of advanced life throughout the universe. NRAMA: And Gigantic himself, how does he end up on Earth? RR: That’s the big question. The series’ initial thrust will be the slowly unraveling the mystery of who Gigantic is and why he’s constantly being engaged in absurd and seemingly staged large-scale battles across our globe and beyond. Regardless of his attempt to stop the ensuing destruction and protect humanity, many of the attacks lead to the flattening of dozens of major cities across the globe, setting all governments to the singular task of annihilating this alien monster. As the size of the robots and bounty hunters sent to fight him continue to increase, so does the wholesale destruction of the cities of men. Gigantic’s guilt and sorrow exponentially increase as he begins to realize that no matter where he goes, death and destruction inevitably follow him. NRAMA: It's said that this is a twist on The Truman Show – can you tell us about that? RR: In that it’s focused on a character who is a pawn of and entertainment corporation, he has no idea what memories are his and what memories aren’t. No idea if what he sees around him is reality or a stage. There are a few layers of reality he’ll have to get through. NRAMA: This all seems to focus on entertainment, how much time do you spend immersed in television? RR: Oddly over the past five years as I’ve transitioned to full-time writer I find that after scripting for ten or twelve hours a day the last thing I want to do is read more words. Instead I play X-Box and veraciously consume anything on television worth a shit. If I’d spent the time I’ve clocked in rewatching Twin Peaks over the years I could have written a novel. Perhaps this unwritten novel would have been about a sea horse who can see backwards in time but no one appreciates his gift, leaving him cursed to spend his life knowing what just happened but with no one to listen or even show him the courtesy of opening a door for him. It would have been poignant and shown us all that we have something to learn from the world. Your loss I guess. Add up the time I’ve spent in the worlds of Deadwood, The Sopranos, Six Feet Under, Arrested Development, Freaks and Geeks, Mad Men, Weeds, Band of Brothers, and Survivor I bet I could’ve learned a second language. Add to that the many hundreds of times I’ve watched The Simpsons seasons 3-10 and the time spent playing SOCOM, Call of Duty or GTA and I could have cured cancer or discovered an energy source powerful enough to make time travel possible. If you haven’t sunk into the same bad habits, with the aforementioned story shows, video play games or cartridge units like them, then congratulate yourself for being better than me and go bury yourself in a pile of self worth. Ass hole. So, getting to my point, Gigantic was born while mulling these two things over. As we advance, our population becomes more and more dependant on entertainment. So how far would this trend go, say, in a race that had been around for a million years? What if you exponentially multiply the current trajectory of reality television? I think you can begin to cook up some fairly interesting scenarios following that idea. NRAMA: You're working with your Strange Girl collaborator Eric Nguyen on this. What made him the right artist for the challenge? RR: I wanted to do a book with giant robots and monsters destroying cities and needed someone with the ability to grasp scope, smooth storytelling and Kirby level dynamics. I love working with Eric Nguyen for just those three reasons so it was a natural fit. At the end of the day this book couldn’t work without mind-bendingly super-duper art. It’s a visual story and if I didn’t have someone of Eric’s caliber it wouldn’t work. Eric is absolutely on the cutting edge; there isn’t another artist in comics like him. It’s been a privilege to come up through the ranks with him, and to see more and more people catch on to his brilliance. He’s in the camp of guys I started doing comics with and also hope to always be doing comics with. The real trick was getting the color just right. So much of what Eric does is defined by color, if you don’t have a ground-breaking and brilliant colorist shit isn’t going to fly. Matt Wilson was recommended to me by Ivan Brandon and I’m in love with the guy… er, his coloring anyway. I signed him up to color The End League and Gigantic in the same week and plan on attaching him to as many of my books as possible. He’s one of the next greats, partially due to his time working for Fear Agent colorist and all around color master, Lee Loughridge. Add the lettering styles of my main ninja Rus Wooton and you have a strong band of guys who truly give the book everything they have. I'd like to keep Eric, Matt and Rus on this book for all future arcs. NRAMA: How would you describe the visual look you and Eric are going for with this book? RR: Visually, it’s a modern take on the big dynamic power of Jack Kirby, merged with the scale of a ‘Godzilla’ movie and sprinkled with 1950s sci-fi kitsch. ‘Gigantic’ will tap into what makes comics fun-- big visually exciting pages and destruction on a scale never before seen.”