Brian Azzarello Takes a SPACEMAN to "Science Hell"

Brian Azzarello on SPACEMAN

100 Bullets has come to an end, but the creative team of Brian Azzarello, Eduardo Risso and Dave Johnson are now reuniting for a new title under the Vertigo banner: Spaceman. Newsarama recently had a chance to sit down with Brian to talk about this new grim vision of the future.

Newsarama : First off Brian, how did it happen that the 100 Bullets team is working together again?  


Brian Azzarello : How did it happen? 100 Bullets made it happen, we liked working together. Isn't that strange in comics? There are people who actually like working together. We did 100 Bullets, we took a break, but now we're putting the band back together!

Nrama : Was it that easy? Did you just call them up and say, 'Hey! I've got an idea for a new book! Let's get back to work!”

Azzarello : Yeah, pretty much. Actually, I think I sent Eduardo four ideas, [asking] 'Which one do you want to do?' And he said 'Let's do them all!' So, [I replied] 'ok we're going to do Spaceman first.'

Nrama : And special challenges that you and the team encountered shifting to a new book with a new premise?

Azzarello : Yeah, 100 Bullets was pretty much based in our world here. If you needed reference of a particular street in Chicago I could go shoot it for [Eduardo] and send it in an e-mail and he's got a picture of that street. In Spaceman we are world-building. There is not a lot of reference for some of the things we are doing. [It takes place in] the future.

Nrama : Was this a new experience for you in writing? How would you rate the challenge of world-building?

Azzarello: It's a challenge but it's real fun. Its been really reinvigorating to do it. We are building a new world and a new language.

Nrama: What can you tell us about this new world?

Azzarello: [In Spaceman] a lot of the predictions about climate change have come true. There have also been a lot of economic disasters and government upheavals, so it's kind of a bleak place. But humanity, and human beings, still exist. The internet is still fine, so everyone can talk to each other and obsess on whatever it is they shouldn't be obsessing on. In the middle of this world is our main character, his name is Orson. He is a human who was genetically engineered [by NASA] to make the long journey to Mars. He's big, he's got dense skin, denser bones. He can withstand the trouble that a long space flight would have on a regular human organism. He can take it. The trouble is, there is no NASA anymore. What happened was when he was created, someone got wind of it and screamed bloody murder because NASA was 'playing god.' So the program was dismantled. So here is a man who's build for Mars and can't get there.  


Nrama: What are some more details about Orson, he's got thick skin, is he bullet proof? What does he do now?

Azzarello: He's not superhuman, he's got trouble. He's big, his joints constantly ache, he's so dense, his bones are so large. He's in a lot of pain, he does a lot of drugs. [Otherwise] he's just like anybody else, trying to find his way on Earth, just like we do. What we've done is not science-fiction, it's science-hell.

Nrama: Science-hell?

Azzarello: That's a good tag line [laughs].

Nrama: We’ve got a world and a character, what's the main conflict in the book, his struggle to live on Earth?

Azzarello: Yes, struggle to live on Earth. Also there is a kidnapping that he gets involved with, and blamed for. He will be running from the law at some point...I want you to read the book!

Nrama: When can I?

Azzarello: You will be able to read the book at the end of October. Last week of October. The first issue is only a dollar, no one has an excuse not to by it, unless they don't have a dollar. Everyone has a dollar, no excuses.

Nrama: To aid in recommendation, is there a particular piece of work in any media you liken Spaceman to?

Azzarello: Blade Runner. If you like Blade Runner, you are going to like Spaceman.

Nrama: 100 Bullets was a compete story, is that going to be the case for Spaceman?

Azzarello: It's not going to be one hundred issues! [laughs] I'm never doing that again! This first year you are going to see nine issues [over nine months]. The way were are kind of approaching this is like a television series. See where the story goes then take a break, do one of those other four ideas, and then come back to it. There is a beginning, a middle and an end, it's revolutionary in comic books isn't it? [laughs]

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