MacPherson on American McGee's Grimm

Ben Templesmith's cover to American McGee's Grimm #1

As game fans and IDW watchers caught, American McGee’s Grimm was recently announced as an upcoming comic book project from IDW Publishing. The project will introduce the popular GameTap videogame and fairy tale terror, Grimm, to a new realm sullied with goodness—comic books. Written by Dwight MacPherson and drawn by Grant Bond—Grimm’s new five issue mini-series sets him against a number of comic book realities/ genres: romance comics, westerns, teenage high school comics, and anthropomorphic comics. The press release for the project states:

American McGee's Grimm is a five-issue miniseries that takes the games' high concept and tweaks it a bit, allowing Grimm to unleash his dark magic across five familiar comic-book universes. In issue one, Grimm exits the latest fairy tale he darkened only to discover bright and sunny superhero comics. He enters the world, kick-starting a "Crisis on Earth 57," where he launches a secret invasion crisis into a domain where villains are doomed to fail... until he gets involved!

Newsarama contacted Dwight MacPherson to talk about his involvement with the mini-series which hits shelves this April.

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Newsarama: Dwight, first things first—how did you get involved with the American McGee's Grimm project over at IDW?

Dwight MacPherson: I was contacted by IDW EIC and Publisher Chris Ryall. I've known Chris since he was the administrator at Kevin Smith's moviepoopshoot.com and during the time we've known each other, Chris has always been extremely complimentary of my writing. When Gene Simmons' House of Horrors came along, we finally had our first opportunity to work together at IDW. Chris really dug what I did and my level of professionalism, so he contacted me about writing the American McGee's Grimm mini-series.

I said “No” but after I learned Tom Waltz would be editing the project, I finally conceded. Okay...that's not true. (laughs)

Working with IDW, Chris and Tom is always a pleasure and I've been a huge fan of American's work since Alice, so I was thrilled and thankful for the opportunity.

NRAMA: For folks who aren't familiar—what is American McGee's Grimm all about?

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DM: The videogame (http://www.gametap.com/grimm/) is about a powerful dwarf who becomes disgusted with the “happy endings, bloodless romances, blind obedience, insipid weddings, unearned wealth, unmerited praise, and undeserved good fortune” in fairy tales—as stated on Grimm's GameTap page. Grimm doesn't believe fairy tales should be used to teach morals when they were intended to be cautionary tales that took reality to extremes while entertaining readers. Beyond that, Grimm thinks fairy tales should mirror his reality—though Grimm's reality is exponentially darker than ours.

(Or is it?)

For these reasons, Grimm decides to enter each fairy tale and use his magical powers to change each warm fuzzy unrealistic story into a dark, cynical version of how he perceives the world and life in general.

The comic book finds our misanthropic hero between videogame seasons. With the fairy tale world successfully transformed into a hellish nightmare, he sets his sights on another medium that closely resembles the saccharine-sweet fairy tale domain: comic books. Seeing comic books as unrealistic, unjust and rife with fallacious logic, Grimm

decides to use his considerable powers to transform this new realm into a version that reflects the realities of the “real world.”

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Unfortunately for Grimm—and fortunately for us—he discovers the task is much more difficult than he imagined.

NRAMA: How is your project related to the original content?

DM: Though the comic series features Grimm and the core concept of the videogame, it is perceptibly different in that Grimm is stepping out of the reality he knows to enter an alien world that he doesn't know. Because of this, Grimm often finds himself in strange new situations facing dilemmas and consequences he's never encountered before. The comic world is uncharted waters for Grimm that will challenge his perceptions, so fans will see a different side of this wonderful character as he attempts to navigate the comic world and right the wrongs he encounters along the way. Grimm also learns some valuable new lessons. Painful lessons. (laugh)

NRAMA: What's Earth 57 like?

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DM: Earth 57 is much like the Marvel or DC Earths in that humans and super-humans coexist in the real world. Issue 1 takes place in the city of Megalopolis and features an epic battle between a team of superheroes called the Freedom Friends and a group of super-villains called the League of Super Evil...or L.O.S.E. for short. Readers will have to pick up the first issue to find out how Grimm fits into the equation.

NRAMA: How is this project different from things you've written in the past?

DM: Well, the most obvious difference is that I'm working with someone else's creation. American McGee and the Spicy Horse created Grimm, so I had to be a good steward of this wonderful character, adhering to the established core concept. What was challenging was taking Grimm out of his established environment and placing him in a world where he had never been. I would like to add that American has been extremely complimentary and open to my creative choices, so it's made the entire experience quite liberating and fun. As a result, I believe this is the most entertaining, engaging and twisted story I've written to date.

NRAMA: What's been your favorite aspect of working with this property so far?

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DM: Do I have to pick just one? (laughs)

My favorite aspect of this project would have to be writing the Grimm character. What a walking irony! While being extremely eloquent, intelligent and (arguably) righteous, his appearance would lead one to believe he is barbaric, slovenly, evil and quite disgusting—not that he isn't disgusting or evil mind you, because he definitely is. But he is so much more than that.

NRAMA: As a writer, what is your biggest challenge when you're working in this sort of postmodern/ meta-comic sort of setting? How can modern comics positively and negatively affect a project that is supposed to take a playfully skewed look at the superhero genre as an evolutionary step past the fairy tales of old?

DM: I wouldn't say that it presents a unique challenge. As with any licensed property, the main focus has to be researching the original source material and understanding why it works. If you are intimately familiar with these two things, it really comes down to the act of writing an entertaining story that incorporates what you have learned about the characters, concepts and environs. The positive effect of moving Grimm to the comic book world is that readers discover this wonderful new character, like him and check out the videogame to learn more about him. If I don't tell a good story that is true to the character and core concept of the game, it could be a real turn-off to gamers who decide to purchase the comic book because they dig the game—and vice versa.

The videogame and comic book are both extremely entertaining, and I hope readers, gamers and gamer-readers will love both of them. I've put a lot of time and thought into this series and I have been true to the source material, so I think gamers and comic fans alike will recognize this and see the comic series as a meticulous evolution of the videogame series.

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NRAMA: How much input have you had with Grant Bond's artwork on the book? How does his style reflect aspects of various types of comics?

DM: Grant has been kind enough to share covers and pages as he completes them. When working on creator-owned properties, I have a major say in what an artist illustrates and how they illustrate it. With Grimm being a work-fire-hire gig, I leave editing and production in the capable hands of editor, Tom Waltz. I must say, it's very

liberating—though rather strange—sending in my scripts and stepping back to let Tom worry about the editing and production side of the operation.

regular cover to #1

One thing I will say is that Grant has done an amazing job of combining the respective comic art styles with videogame-style art! When you see the superheroes, they and their world are illustrated in a Golden Age comic style art—whereas Grimm retains the same look from the videogame and transforms Earth 57 into the videogame-style art of his world as he moves about wreaking havoc. Each issue will be a wondrous juxtaposition of videogame and classic comic book art. Grant has nailed it!

NRAMA: How has your experience been with IDW?

DM: IDW is professional in every sense of the word. It has been a pleasure working with them—and especially Chris and Tom. It's been refreshing to work with a publisher and editor who are so enthusiastic, supportive, and complimentary of my work. I don't think this is the end of our working relationship, so stay tuned!

American McGee’s Grimm launches in April from IDW Publishing

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