Archaia Expands IMMORTALS, Revives JIM HENSON'S STORYTELLER

On Thursday, we published an interview with Ben McCool and Nate Cosby on the upcoming Image Comics series they're co-writing, Pigs, scheduled to debut in September.

But former Marvel editor Cosby has two more projects set to launch that month — Jim Henson's Storyteller and Immortals: Gods and Heroes, both hardcover graphic novel anthologies from Archaia. The former is based on the 1988 TV series and continues Archaia's relationship with Jim Henson (they publish a Fraggle Rock comic and are adapting unproduced screenplay A Tale of Sand), and the latter expands on the world of the upcoming Immortals film, starring new Superman Henry Cavill.

Newsarama talked with Cosby Sunday afternoon at WonderCon in San Francisco — appropriately enough, at the Archaia booth — and found out more about both projects, plus got a few comments from Immortals contributor McCool.

 

Newsarama: Nate, so not only are you editing Jim Henson’s Storyteller for Archaia, but it’s also your writing debut, along with Pigs, which is out that same month, correct?

Nate Cosby: Every single screenplay was written by Anthony Minghella, but there were two episodes that were never made. Full screenplays already completed. I’ll be taking one of those and adapting it.

Nrama: And you’ve assembled a crazy lineup of talent for the Storyteller anthology.

Cosby: Crazy good, you mean!

It’s been awesome. I pretty much got every single person that I wanted. Paul Tobin, Jeff Parker, Chris Eliopoulos, Roger Langridge, Katie Cook, Jimmy Palmiotti and Justin Gray.

Nrama: So it sounds like a lot of those creators are people you worked with during your time as an editor at Marvel.

Cosby: Yeah. It was great, still having those contacts, and so nice that everybody still wanted to work with me. I opened up Storyteller — “Do what you want. Take a classic story, reinterpret as you will. Tell me how many pages you want.” And it’s been great.

Nrama: So how do you take an anthology TV show and adapt is an anthology graphic novel while retaining the same “feel” as the original series — as opposed to just comic book stories that happen to be retelling classic fables?

Cosby: I think it was Storyteller and the dog. By using those as your protagonist and your antagonist, ping-ponging each other the entire time.

Janet K. Lee concept art.

Minghella’s scripts were amazingly playful. The show is so subtly awesome, because it marketed itself as if it were for children, and you put “Jim Henson” at the beginning of a project, and you think “Muppets.” It’s not Muppets. It is some dark, messed up stuff. When I was 8 years old watching it, it really affected me. There was one called “The Soldier and Death,” and the puppets that they did on it, and the ideas that they had — fighting demons, and holding death inside a bag so no one could die — this is some heavy sh*t.

We’re going all around the world with these. Marjorie Liu is doing a French fairy tale, we have Scandinavian, I think we just got an African, we’re doing Japanese, Chinese. All sorts of different fables, fairy tales, folk tales, from all over the world, reinterpreted through the best creators in the world, in my opinion.

Nrama: You’re a pretty big Jim Henson fan as it is, right?

Cosby: I am a huge, voracious, Jim Henson fan. My favorite comic of the past few years was Roger Langridge’s Muppet Show.

Nrama: And you’ve also editing an Immortals anthology, also from Archaia.

Cosby: It’s very cool. It’s also coming out in September. Based on the upcoming movie by Tarsem Singh, starring Mr. Henry Cavill.

Roger Langridge Storyteller concept art.

It’s been really fun. From the footage and the photos and the screenplay, it is “hard R.” It is hardcore. It’s the guy that directed The Cell and the Fall, and he is not messing around. It’s not big, like, Clash of the Titans stuff, it’s down on the ground, gritty, “Let’s slice the sh*t out of everybody we see” kind of stuff. And the book is not an adaptation — it’s an anthology. It takes all of the characters from the movie and just shows how they got to where they are, because the movie is about Theseus trying to keep the [imprisoned] Titans from escaping and destroying the world. You see Zeus, you see Prometheus, you see Theseus. You take real Greek myths, and you ground them in a sort of pseudo-reality. Just showing motivations of all of these characters.

And I’ve been lucky enough to secure one Mr. Ben McCool.

Ben McCool: It’s me and Ben Templesmith working together again. We’re going to go absolutely batsh*t crazy with it, of course. It’s going to be just as mental as Choker, in a very different sense.


It’s going to be down and dirty and raw, using Ben’s overzealous, flamboyant, crazy style of art. There will be some very twisted development of a particular character. It’s going to be pretty damn awesome.

Cosby: I’ve been double-dipping on Storyteller and Immortals. Ron Marz is writing a story for both of them, Jeff Parker is writing a story for both of them. Completely opposite sides of the spectrum in terms of tone and age demographics. I want nasty, disgusting stories. “Just go as far as you possibly can, and I’ll pull you back.” These are not going to be static, staid, mythic kind of things, with ream of Shakespearean captions, while people stand in skirts. Sh*t’s getting f*cked up. That’s all I’m going to say.

McCool: “I’m going to cut you, you motherf*cker.” But in Greek mythology.

Cosby: It’s actually a flipbook. 50 pages, on one side, is going to be about gods — how the gods came to be on Mount Olympus. You flip it over, and it’s heroes. Just regular people, and how they deal with the relationship between the Titans and the Olympians. Beautiful covers by David Mack, too.

Evan Shaner Storyteller

concept art.

Jock’s going to be writing and drawing his own thing. Chris Roberson, who is doing Superman, is going to do one. Francesco Francavilla’s going to be doing one. It’s a great lineup. I cannot wait to see the stuff that they do.

McCool: Everyone’s going to bring something very different to the table, by the sound of things.

Nrama: So you’re freelance editing these two books for Archaia — which seems to be somewhat of a rare position in the comic book industry.

Cosby: I do it all the time. [Laughs.] I guess it is. Marvel, DC, they’ve all got huge, great, editorial staff. Archaia’s got a great editorial staff as well, starting with Stephen Christy, editor-in-chief. We were actually interns together at Marvel. We just kind of kept that relationship going, and when he found out that I was leaving Marvel, we were able to start talking. He knew I was so passionate about the Jim Henson stuff. I also worked on Fred Van Lente and Greg Pak’s Incredible Hercules, so I have an affinity for Greek myth as well. Both of these just kind of happened, and became an organic kind of thing.

Nrama: So when you left Marvel this past October, how clear was your plan for what you wanted to work on next? Did you have a lot of specifical goals as to what you wanted to achieve?

Cosby: I had been there almost six years, and it was great. I’ll never trade the experience I got from that, working for Mark Paniccia, and learning all sorts of stuff, and making all the relationships that I’ve now been able to interpret into doing other projects. I had done all the all-ages, I had done the illustrated, and I had done the custom for so long, I just kind of felt like it was time to stretch my legs a little, see what else I could do with the reputation I hope I’ve kind of cultivated over the years. And just be able to do some stuff that doesn’t necessarily involve superheroes. Maybe do a little when I get around to it.

I had a few projects that I had begun developing at the time, but all the others just kind of rolled out, and came out of, “Well, let me do this.” Still got a few that I haven’t announced yet, but I’m trying to hold them back. Three per con is enough for me.

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