Williams Reunites TERMINATOR and ROBOCOP to KILL HUMAN

Williams Reunites TERMINATOR and ROBOCOP

Terminator/Robocop:

Kill Human #1 cover

by Tom Feister.

Though you may have heard a news story or two this week involving Terminator star Arnold Schwarzenegger and reports of his ignominious behavior, here's something much less scandalous involving the franchise: Dynamite Entertainment's releasing a four issue Terminator/Robocop: Kill Human miniseries starting in July, bringing the two film franchises together in comic book form for the first time since Dark Horse's 1992 miniseries Robocop Versus The Terminator.

Writing the series is Rob Williams, which makes this something like his sixth comic book series announced thus far in 2011 — following Skaar: King of the Savage Land, Daken: Dark Wolverine, Ghost Rider, The Iron Age and Fear Itself: Uncanny X-Force. Illustrating Terminator/Robocop: Kill Human is artist P.J. Holden, like Williams a veteran of long-running UK anthology 2000AD.

Williams was able to find some time in between writing all those comics to answer a few questions on the series, discussing the significance of the title Kill Human, what he does and doesn't like in a Terminator movie, following in the footsteps of Frank Miller, and keeping up with his "insanely busy" 2011.

Newsarama: Rob, I think this is something like our ninth interview this year, which officially means I've corresponded with you in 2011 more than I have most members of my immediate family. Though I'm not sure when Terminator/Robocop: Kill Human was commissioned or written, has this been your most prolific year as a comic book writer? Or, more bluntly, when do you sleep?

Rob Williams: It's funny you should ask that, Albert, as I'm currently in the midst of a quite major nervous breakdown. Seriously though (I'm half joking), it's been a really exciting and also an insanely busy 2011 thus far. A lot of projects that were possibly happening all seemed to get the green light at the same time and, as a result, I've been frantically juggling different storylines and characters. It's definitely my most prolific year and I've written more than I previously thought possible. It shows what you can cope with if you push yourself. Good for the career and the bank balance — bad for mental health and personal hygiene, possibly.

Terminator/Robocop:

Kill Human #1 cover

by Walt Simonson.

Nrama: You've recently been announced as a Marvel exclusive writer, so this will presumably be your last time working on Robocop, at least for a while. So was it the plan at all to kind of go out with a bang — maybe use this project to get out some ideas for the character you've had percolating for a while?

Williams: I'd written the Robocop series for Dynamite, which had taken a publishing break, and Nick Barrucci at Dynamite asked me if I'd like to write a Terminator/Robocop mini-series. I thought that sounded fun and started writing it. Then Marvel offered me the exclusive deal, but they're good about letting people finish up existing commitments. But yes, this will be my last Robocop for a while. It's not really tied into the continuity I set up in the Dynamite Robocop series, which i had a really good time writing. This is a standalone narrative in its own right.

Nrama: Your history writing Robocop is well documented, but this is the first time (I believe) that you've worked with the Terminator property. So is it safe to assume that you're a pretty big fan of the films? (The first two, at least — Terminator 3 was on cable here in the states over the weekend, and, well, it's a hard one to get enthusiastic about.)

Williams: I'm a partial fan, in as much as I remember just being blown away by T2 in the cinema at the time (who wasn't?). I rewatched it prior to this project and while lots of it still really stand up and shine, the "now know why you cry" stuff? Yech, I found that pretty excruciating to watch. And I can't do justice to how bad the thumb up going into the lava is at the end.

Terminator/Robocop:

Kill Human #1 cover by

Jonathan Lau.

But when it's a sci-fi chase thriller? It's outstanding. The T1000 is still one of those amazing movie moments, completely unrelenting and genuinely terrifying. And ditto for [James] Cameron's The Terminator, which, again, I've not seen in years. I watched Terminator 3 and Terminator: Salvation recently, never seen them before, and… yeah… not so much. The moment the female Terminator inflated her boobs I was out.

Nrama: Given the circumstances of the series — Robocop waking up in a bleak future controlled by Skynet, as opposed to the normally bleak Robocop future — is this at all a different interpretation of Robocop than the one you've written before?

Williams: No, it's exactly the same character. Alex Murphy as Robocop. His struggle to keep his human side alive. But imagine he was just switched off one day and when he's next woken up he's in the far future, the machines have taken over and there's only a couple of human beings left alive. It's the metaphorical war within Murphy taken to the brutal extreme. As for The Terminator future. I think this is as far in the timeline as anyone's gone. It's hundreds of years after Terminator: Salvation, certainly.

Nrama: I'm going to go ahead and make an educated guess that Robocop and Terminator colliding leads to lots of over-the-top action. But beyond that, what's sort of the central metaphor of the series? Obviously both properties are full of issues on the relationship between man and machine.

Terminator/Robocop:

Kill Human #2 cover

by Tom Feister.

Williams: The title, Kill Human, has a double meaning. As much as Skynet wants to do that above all things, this is really a story about the battle within Murphy to retain his humanity. When we open Skynet doesn't see him as a threat. He's just another machine. Murphy has to try and prove Skynet wrong. He has to prove this to himself too. It's an emotional war within him, as much as it is a hyper-violent, all action robo-battle.

Nrama: Art on the series is from P.J. Holden — I know you guys both have vast 2000AD experience, but I don't believe you've worked together before, have you?

Williams: We haven't, actually. PJ's a good friend of mine and we came up together on 2000AD at the same time, and would hang out at conventions. Somehow though, we'd never actually worked together, so that was part of the fun of this project for me too. PJ's great. Excellent storyteller and his pages have that punk energy that 2000AD is famous for, I think. Plus, he's drawn a lot of sci-fi in the past, future war on strips like Judge Dredd and Rogue Trooper. He's good at this type of stuff.

Nrama: And speaking of art, legendary illustrator (and recent movie star) Walt Simonson is doing a cover for the book. What does it mean to have someone like that, especially given his work on the past Robocop Versus Terminator series, illustrating the cover of your comic?

Terminator/Robocop:

Kill Human #2 cover

by Walt Simonson.

Williams: That was exciting. I was looking at the solicitations recently and I've got Walt Simonson drawing covers on Terminator/Robocop and Neil Adams drawing a cover for my Ghost Rider series at Marvel. If you'd told me when I was a kid reading their work that I'd one day have Simonson and Adams drawing covers for comics I'm writing I'd have bitten you til I drew blood. Both are absolute greats.

Nrama: On the topic of that series — with the most famous comic book meeting of Robocop and Terminator having been handled two decades ago by two icons in Simonson and Frank Miller, are you feeling any type of pressure to live up to that lofty legacy?

Williams: Do you know, I've never read the Miller/Simonson series. Which is probably healthy. When this series was announced a lot of people mentioned the past mini and said it's still one of their favorite comics. So, yeah, the pressure's there. But as with any characters, there's always been great stories told with them in the past. You can't let that mess with you. You just have to get on with trying to tell the best story that you can. If you go in thinking "I have to match up to Frank Miller" — that way lies madness.

Terminator/Robocop:

Kill Human #2 cover

by Jonathan Lau.

Nrama: Let's end with a hypothetical – say I'm a comic book reader who might be curious about the series based on the creative team, but I'm not really a Robocop fan or a Terminator fan. In that potentially unlikely scenario, what would be in it for me?

Williams: I think the fact that this will have kickass, widescreen action, endless bullet casings, and Robocop fighting The Terminator goes without saying. What we've tried to do, however, is give the book a strong emotional core. There's a real character arc for Murphy in this. He's going to have to make some decisions that put his soul on the line like never before. And you're going to see the Robocop and Terminator timeline taken in some new and never-before-seen directions. Plus the T1000. And no thumbs up and "why do you cry?" I promise!

More from Newsarama with Rob Williams:

<li> GHOST RIDER Writer Rob Williams Talks His LOW LIFE Roots

<li> C2E2 2011: Rob Williams and Matthew Clark Revive GHOST RIDER

<li> C2E2 2011: Dark Phoenix Destruction Ushers in THE IRON AGE

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