He might look like a small country fox, but Rex has been over the river, through the woods, to outer space and back again!
In the recently released graphic novel The Saga of Rex by Michel Gagné, a diminutive fox dubbed “Rex” is plucked away from Earth by a mysterious spaceship and dropped in an arcane world called Edernia. Curious as a cat and as wild as can be, Rex romps through some out-of-this-world (literally) terrain and discovers strange creatures who think he’s just as strange.
Illustrated in a playful style that any child (or former child) could ease into with amazing familiarity, The Saga of Rex’s creator & cartoonist Michael Gagné has parlayed his extensive animation background working Don Bluth, Warner Brothers, Disney and Pixar into an imaginative romp for a fox and his far-out locale. The chapters in this graphic novel were originally serialized in the award-winning anthology series Flight as stand-alone stories, but in this new Saga of Rex collection the artist has re-arranged them in order – and added new art and tweaked it in other places.
Newsarama: Since this is his saga, I have to ask – who is Rex?
Michel Gagné: Rex is a curious and adorable little fox who premiered in a 1998 book titled, A Search for Meaning: The Story of Rex.
Nrama: Rex gets plucked from Earth to a magical world called Edernia. Can you tell us about this new place Rex ended up on?
Gagné : Edernia is an alien and primordial world full of ancient technology where lives the mysterious Guardian-Shepherd.
Nrama: We'll keep mum on the Guardian-Shepherd, but I can ask about the interesting being Rex meets called Aven – tell us about her (and the Blossoms).
Gagné : Aven and the Blossoms are biomorphs. In their primary state, they resemble fiery floating balls with engraved lines.
Nrama: One of the many unique aspects to this book is that it’s primarily done without text; why’d you go this route?
Gagné : It wasn’t a conscious decision, more of an instinctive one. I started drawing the story and the words were just not necessary until I decided to convey more complex ideas - hence the narration in the first chapter which appeared in Flight Vol. 7.
Nrama: This was originally serialized in the anthology Flight – and the last volume of Flight actually ran the first chapter. Was this the plan all along? Can you talk about having these standalone stories in Flight that can still add up for a full-length GN?
Gagné : It was always my intention to do a GN. I just wasn’t sure of the overall story when I started. In Flight Vol. 2 (my first published entry), Rex has a close encounter of the third kind in the middle of a strange desert. I hadn’t figured out why he was there yet, but I knew that I’d eventually go back and attempt to explain everything!
Nrama: Did you make any revisions to the original stories in Flight for this collection?
Gagné : I added some art and did a couple of text edits, nothing big.
Nrama: Rex is a character you’d been carrying around for years, even before the first volume of FLIGHT. Can you tell us what was it about him that stuck with you for so long?
Gagné : I like him. He’s one of my babies.
Nrama: In addition to The Saga of Rex, you also do a sci-fi series called Zed. Are you still doing that, and do you plan on collecting those issues?
Gagné : I’ve had very little time to work on Zed lately, but I intend to correct that next year. Issue 10, which is the concluding issue, is just about half way done and waiting for me to finish.
For the collected edition, I’m going to do a massive revision. I want to have another pass at the dialogue, fix up a bunch of the art and I’ve even been thinking of coloring the whole thing. We’ll see.
Nrama: Although you’ve been doing comics for years, your day job is as an animator and designer. How would you say comics fit into your life?
Gagné : Doing art is my day job. Comics fit right in.What do you think of this foxy saga?