Lockjaw and the Pet AvengersWhen it comes to comics, Chris Eliopoulos just about does it all. He writes, he draws, he letters, and this spring he . . . housebreaks? As was announced Sunday at New York Comic Con, Eliopoulos will be taking the writing reins on Lockjaw and the Pet Avengers, a series that you didn’t know you wanted until you heard the name. We had the opportunity to talk to Eliopoulos and editor Nate Cosby ahead of the NYCC for the lowdown on the heroes joining their stable . . . kennel . . . whatever.
Newsarama: Let's start with the obvious: why on Earth hasn't Lockjaw had his own series before?
Nate Cosby: There actually was. It was 457 issues, and Lockjaw married a cute little labradoodle. But Lockjaw made a deal with Mephisto to erase their marriage, so we kinda get to start over. A single Lockjaw is a better Lockjaw.
Chris Eliopoulos: I blame the media. That or Nate wasn't editing at the time. The man loves his dogs. Dogs and football. If dogs played football he would be in heaven. Honestly, I have no clue why no one has done a Lockjaw book. He's the coolest teleporting dog EVER!
NRAMA: Let's run down the roster for those that might not be quite familiar with the Avengers pets.
NC: I just know Frog Thor’s in it. That makes me happy.
CE: Lockjaw, the afore mentioned Frog Thor or Throg, Redwing, Falcon's bird, Lockheed, Niels, Speedball's cat, who now goes by Hairball, Zabu and perhaps the most underappreciated animal in the Marvel U--Ms. Lion.
NRAMA: From an artistic standpoint, does the notion of creating a comic filled with animals pose any unique challenges? For example, did it require a lot of extra reference work?
NC: We initially thought life-drawing would be the way to go. But we brought a parrot in the office and it pooped on Ralph Macchio’s head. So we decided to draw from pictures off the internet after that.
CE: It took no added artistic skill on my part to draw this book. Mostly because a talented artist named Ig Guara is drawing it. He doesn't know it yet, but I'm taking credit for the art.
NRAMA: One thing about Lockjaw that I don't recall being explained: why would the Inhumans expose a dog to the Terrigen Mists in the first place?
NC: Perhaps they mistook them for Sierra Mist, and thought their puppy could use some refreshment.
CE: Who's to say he didn't just go in there himself? Dogs are nosey and always getting into things they shouldn't. I'm sure he even peed in the mists as well--might explain Triton.
NRAMA: Let's get Marvel on the record here: does Lockjaw have a moustache?
NC: Didn’t wanna show my cards here, but what the heck: The big reveal of the series in Issue 3 is that it’s not actually a moustache, but it’s actually a moon tick that clamped onto Lockjaw when he was a puppy. Lockheed burns it off and the moon tick joins the team. We’ll call him Tock the Moon Tick.
CE: You have to excuse Nate. We don't let him out often and he seems to have raided a case of Red Bull. That is TOTALLY a mustache. He got it from Burt Reynolds back in the 70s and never returned it. He also got Sally Field, but she was sent packing soon after.
NRAMA: In the recent "Son of M" mini-series, Lockjaw is referred to as "having limited intelligence". Do you take exception to that description?
NC: We’re all am have limit intelligence. I’s like pudding.
CE: I like pie.
NRAMA: How do you sell this book to someone that considers themselves a "serious" reader of Marvel's books? What's the root appeal, in your estimation?
NC: I’ve never estimated root appeal of serious readers before. That’d be a good band name, though. “LADIES and GENTLEMEN…PLEASE welcome to the stage…ESTIMATED ROOT APPEAL OF SERIOUS READERSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS!!!!!!!!!!!!! !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!”
CE: Better than root canal. I think even serious readers like to have fun and have a good story. I think we have both.
NRAMA: Outside of your cast, who's the best heroic animal in pop culture?
NC: Growing up, I wanted to make a book about Calvin getting lost in time, and Hobbes getting into the cardboard box to find him, but accidentally entering a reality warp and teaming up with Snoopy. I wanted to call it
Man-Eating Jungle Kitty Vs. The Red Baron.
CE: Mr. Peabody. The WABAC machine rocked!
NRAMA: Anything else that the audience needs to know?
NC: Seriously, do at least 25 push-ups a day. They’re good for you.
CE: Buy this book and we promise to keep Nate locked up! Oh, and check out my free webcomic at www.miserylovessherman.com Plugs are better than pugs!More New York Comic Con 2009 Coverage: NYCC '09 Video Page