What happens when your child's imaginary friend starts becoming a nuisance and at times a legitimate threat? You have the agents of I.M.A.G.I.N.E. swoop and wrangle the "figment" and save the day and for Imagine Agents Dave and Terry, stopping such figments are all in a days work in Brian Joines' Imagine Agents.
Newsarama caught up with Joines to talk about the mini-series from BOOM!, as its fourth and final issue comes out today. Joines also mentioned some of the inspirations behind the creation of Imagine Agents and what lies ahead for this world and its inhabitants as well as for Joines himself.
Newsarama: Brian, we've reached the final issue here so for those that might have missed out, what would be the elevator pitch for the series?
Brian Joines: My Hollywood "25 words or less" is this: Imagine Agents is about a pair of operatives who go after the imaginary friends of little kids who aren't on the up-and-up.
Nrama: Did you always envision it as a mini-series?
Joines: I think this is one of those properties that lends itself to any number of formats: mini, ongoing, weekly web-comic, OGN, you name it. The most important thing for me was to get the property out there, regardless of the format; BOOM! opted for a four-issue mini so that's what we ran with. That said, if BOOM! sees fit to continue with the property in some fashion (which, given sales and critical response, I hope they do), there's no shortage of new stories to tell with these characters and this world.
Nrama: What were some of your influences when writing the script? It almost has the same vibe as Alexander Grecian's Proof.
Joines: I dug Proof, but I don't know how much of an influence that was. I think the biggest touchstones, at least in terms of the comedic tone, were Chew and "Archer"; this certainly doesn't possess the level of adult humor those do, but they both have a good balance of sly, sardonic wit and big comedy set pieces. Add a healthy mix of "Who Framed Roger Rabbit" and "Spirited Away" to the mix, and you can see some of my world-building blocks.
Nrama: When you were writing it, did you have any sort of aesthetic or visual style in mind? What made you go with Bachan for the artist?
Nrama: What is it about folklore that draws you in? You seem to have a thing for telling stories revolving around figures of lore.
Joines: I don't know if it's folklore so much as enjoying taking elements of childhood that a lot of people see as beyond reproach and muddying them up a bit, exposing a slightly more sinister, dysfunctional side to them...here I'm doing it with imaginary friends, in my other book (KRAMPUS! from Image) I'm doing it to Santa Claus and Christmas. It's easy to equate that with folklore and fairy tales, since the versions we grow up with in this country are a far cry from their darker original texts.
Nrama: Do you have any additional material that might be added into the trade once it's released?
Joines: I know Bachan has a lot of amazing sketches of incidental, background imaginary friends that I hope make their way to the trade. As far as me, personally....maybe the original pitch or an early draft of the script, but for the most part I pretty much put everything into the finished book. I'd certainly be happy to do a new original story for the trade, but like I said, I'm hoping for another crack at the characters in their own series again; even as we're wrapping up, I feel like we're just getting started.
Nrama: When it came to designing the friends, was it more of a collaborative effort, or did you give Bachan carte blanche?
Joines: I had a basic idea of what I wanted the main imaginary characters to be...Furdlegurr I saw as a bear-type creature, Blounder was always going to be a blob guy with small toys and whatnot floating around inside of him. Khary Randolph took an initial pass, then Bahcan did some additional polishing on the designs. But any crowd scenes are pure Bachan. And what's great is there are always a few characters I see in those scenes that I want to expand on down the road. For a writer, that's a gift that keeps on giving.
Nrama: Do you ever think you'll return to this world down the line?
Joines: I certainly hope so. Without spoiling the final issue, while the stories of certain characters come to a close (at least for now), we end at a spot where we're primed to dive into the next adventure, pull the curtain back a little more on this world. Nothing has been decided, but I've had a few unofficial "what if" conversations with friends at BOOM! and if I get the greenlight for more, the next storyline is going to be ridiculously awesome. People who read the book seem to love it and want more, so I hope I can give it to them soon.
Nrama: What does 2014 hold for you, Brian? Is there anything in the works you'd like to mention?
Joines: 2013 was a huge year for me in terms of finally getting my work on the shelves again. The plan for 2014 is to maintain that momentum and, ideally, add to it. I still have KRAMPUS! coming out from Image and I have a pair of pitches in at Image and BOOM! I'm waiting to hear back on. Beyond that, I have a couple projects in early stages of development I hope to shop around this year, plus I'm looking at branching out to other industries...the kind that require a move to Los Angeles. So that may be in the cards this year. But my mantra for 2014 is basically "maintain, maintain, maintain."