Casey Promises 'Fulfillment Unlike Anything' in GØDLAND Finale
Art from Godland by Tom Scioli and Brad Simpson
CREDIT: Image Comics
For eight years and 36 issues, Joe Casey and Tom Scioli’s Gødland has taken cosmic comic space epics to a new level with their Kirby-meets-Starlin-meets-Gerber-meets-Kubrick antics and adventures with Adam Archer and his crew. And now, after a one year hiatus the duo return and rocket their cast 100 years into the future to face off with their fates in Gødland Finale.
Set for release on November 27, Gødland Finale is a 72-page one-shot that pushes Archer one hundred years into the future and a place where he can fully comprehend how his actions over the past 36 issues have transformed his world. For his part, Casey promises new characters, new conflicts and even “new cosmic enlightenment.”
Newsarama: After eight years and 36 issues, it all comes down to this. What can people expect when Gødland Finale hits on November 27?
Joe Casey: All the answers to all the questions they've had since issue #1. Fulfillment unlike anything they've ever experienced. Up until now, your life might've felt incomplete in some way. With this single comic book, you will finally feel complete as a human being.
That's the aim, anyway...
Nrama: I know you can’t spoil everything here, but I always get a kick out of the titles you have for each issue, especially titles like “Twelve Finger Squeeze” and the “Meta-Rumble in the Asphalt Jungle.” Can you say what the title of this final issue’s story is?
Casey: Actually, since the Gødland Finale issue is more of a coda than simply "the next issue" of the series, we break a lot of tradition. That doesn't mean this one doesn't have its share of titles, due to the way we've structured the issue, but there's definitely no single title that would dare to contain what we've done here.
Nrama: This finale comes in at a whopping 72 pages. Was this the plan from the get go, or how did it get to this size?
Casey: Well, I think we set the bar pretty high with issue Gødland #36, which was also a big, fat motherfucker of a comic book. Besides, with the long wait between issues, we wanted to make this worth the readers' while... especially those that have stuck with us since the very beginning.
Nrama: You launched this series back in 2005, and a lot of time has passed for you, Tom and the series. How has your views on the series, the concepts and the characters changed with time and just by doing all these issues?
Casey: I guess, at this point, I feel pretty lucky that we came up with an idea, a concept, an overall approach, a series that would, to borrow a phrase, let the time in. So as the years passed, something we came up with in 2004 didn't feel confining in 2013, which is always a danger when you commit to telling any long form story. But for me, the whole thing seemed to open up as the years went on. Not without its struggles, but I guess I feel like the ultimate results speak for themselves. They do for me, anyway.
Nrama: Proper endings isn’t something that most comics get, due to the ongoing nature of it all. How would you describe this ending for Adam Archer? Is this how you projected it going?
Casey: Pretty much. I had this type of ending in mind years ago. Not all the actual story details, but I had a sense of the tone I wanted to achieve when it came to wrapping it all up. At one point, Tom Scioli and I got on the phone and talked a lot of it out... mostly the ideas involved, the conceptual side of things, what we wanted to accomplish with the ending, what it meant to us as creators, etc. It was definitely a creative collaboration in the truest sense.
Nrama: Thinking about endings here, have you had a chance to go back and read everything Gødland before this – and if so, how was that?
Casey: No, I'm pretty anti-nostalgic in general. I tend not to look back too much, if I don't have to. And for the Gødland Finale issue, we leap so far into the future of the series, I didn't really have to go back and reference things from earlier in the series. I did that more when I was writing issue #36, but not for this one.
At some point, when things slow down, I'll probably really look back at what we've done and try to get some perspective on it. God knows what I'll think of it all...
Nrama: What’s it like to be on the edge here of ending it all?
Casey: I wish I had time to enjoy the accomplishment a little more, but we're not quite there yet. We're still in the final production phase of the whole thing. Pages are still being colored, it's a major lettering job, I'm even still tweaking the script... the ambition involved is way above anything we've ever attempted in this series before, so we're still pretty busy making sure the whole thing comes together as it should.
Nrama: Tom’s talked online about his own struggles in making Gødland work for him, which I read is part of the delays the book has experienced. What about you – can you talk about the schedule of the book and how its affected you?
Casey: I've make no secret about my own complicity in the delays the book has experienced in its last batch of issues. I definitely took my own sweet time, trying to find the things in the story that felt right. And, y'know, as we neared the end, the gravity of what we'd set in motion definitely caught up with me. I felt a personal responsibility for the series to wrap up in a way that was meaningful to me, personally. In a way, that ended up trumping other concerns, like keeping a monthly schedule. I'll admit, that's not much of an excuse, but it's just the way it was.
In my opinion, American comic books -- especially mainstream action/adventure comic books -- are typically horrible at endings, if that's even a consideration to begin with. Either they're not allowed to end (typified by most of Jack Kirby's post-1960's work) or the endings simply leave a lot to be desired, dramatically. They lack resonance for me. And, as a reader and as a consumer, I don't think I'm alone in that opinion.
And, look, that opinion seems to bear out in sales numbers, too. So few comic books finish stronger in sales then they begin, it's really bizarre. It's like a crowd of people showing up to watch a movie and, by the end of it, more than half the crowd has left the theatre. Granted, that analogy doesn't always take into account the actual quality of the movie. It could be that it's a shitty movie to begin with and deserves the walkouts. Okay, fine. But... there were walkouts at screenings of Stanley Kubrick's 2001: A Space Odyssey, too, so who the hell knows what the deal is with how comic books are marketed and sold...? It seems to me that publishers tend to be more concerned with making a killing on launching a #1 issue than they are in marketing and selling how an exciting story can build and unfold and how much of an impact a thrilling climax can make on a readership. And when that's the case, how invested are creators going to be in delivering an ending that matters? The answer is: not very, and you can see it in the work itself. We're certainly not encouraged to swing for the fences, as far as endings are concerned. We've landed more on the side of TV writing, where endings are also not hugely valued. Even big publisher events tend to serve as launch pads for the next event, and when that's the case, how satisfying is any one story going to be?
So there was some pressure to buck that trend, as well. More than anything, I want us to stick the landing. Having seen all the pages drawn, I'm pretty confident that it's going to provide something -- a feeling, a vibe, an experience -- that will be meaningful to both myself and the readers. It's not just another issue of Gødland Finale... it's feels like something more. After all these years, this book in particular feels really new to me. I hope that feeling translates.