Garth Ennis - Checking in on The Boys

Garth Ennis - Checking in on The Boys

For those who’ve wanted to know more about the world of Garth Ennis and Darick Robertson’s The Boys, the latest arc, “I Tell You No Lie, G.I.,” has been a treasure trove. Not only has The Legend (the comic book publisher who was took the “heroes” and sold their sanitized adventures as comic book stories) been telling Hughie about the history of Vought-American and how they created The Seven whole cloth; readers have also seen The Butcher’s confrontation with The Seven’s leader, The Homelander; and in the latest issue (#21) readers saw The Seven in action on September 11th. It’s been a gut-wrenching arc, showing just how deep into the government Vought-American is, and how corrupt the heroes of The Seven are.

We spoke with Ennis about where the series is now, and pried a few hints out of him about upcoming Boys spinoffs, and more.

Newsarama: Garth, overall, how are things going with The Boys? Are you and Darick where you planned to be in your larger plan for the series?

Garth Ennis: Yeah, everything's spot-on.

NRAMA: As you've said, you envision The Boys as a five-year series. How organic and flexible is that timeline? Is it all outlined out at this point, or is it more of a rough idea?

GE: I've got it plotted out storyline by storyline, but there's plenty of space to throw in whatever little details occur to me as I go.

NRAMA: So it's safe to say that there's a specific endpoint coming that you've begun laying seeds for already?

GE: Yeah, I knew how it ended long before I began writing #1.

NRAMA: By this point in the series have you been able to give all of the characters as much face time as you'd wanted to? It feels as if Mother's Milk, The Frenchman and The Female are still at arms' length compared to Hughie, Butcher and even the Legend...just a function of them being secondary characters, or is it that they haven't had their time in the spotlight yet?

GE: They'll all get their turn. I'm enjoying writing MM at the moment; he goes off on a little solo adventure in the upcoming storyline, "We Gotta Go Now". We get to see him do his thing in a way people might not be expecting.

NRAMA: You've been laying a lot of groundwork in the space of the last two arcs - setting up how the world of "The Boys" works in relation to its heroes, and who the heroes actually are. Given what Butcher did in regards to Vic the Veep's speech, and now his open antagonism of The Homelander, are we seeing an increase in tensions between The Boys and The Seven, or is this things as they usually are?

GE: Upping the ante, very definitely.

NRAMA: But why now? What's tipped the scales in Butcher's eyes? Did seeing what was going on in Russia motivate him?

GE: Keep reading.

NRAMA: As you've hinted, Butcher's wife was raped by "one of the big boys." With that in mind, his going after Homelander makes sense. How much should readers put into that? Is Homelander the hero who raped Butcher's wife?

GE: Keep reading.

NRAMA: Fair enough. Going into recent events in the series, Darick has said that issue #21, where we saw their version of 9-11 gave him some pause, given the parallel events. How was that issue to write for you? Tougher than the rest? Easier? Cathartic?

GE: No different in terms of actually writing it, but it gave me a chance to say some things about that day that I feel are pertinent. Most obviously in the commentary provided by Hughie and the Legend.

NRAMA: Given that you've been delving into the history of The Seven and The Boys, when are you figuring that you and Darick will be telling the tale of Butcher and the first iteration of The Boys?

GE: There'll be a six-issue mini in a couple of years time that covers most of that. It's Butcher's story, and it's a doozey.

NRAMA: Since virtually the beginning of the series, The Seven have loomed large in the field of antagonists. Are they the enemy who will define the conflict of the entire series, or just one face of the enemy at this point in time?

GE: The Legend has some thoughts on just that subject in the next issue. You will get to see other major super teams, like the G-Men in the new storyline, and Payback, who are a sort of permanent second-best to the Seven- much to their chagrin.

NRAMA: You've gone to lengths to explain how and why The Seven functions in the world of The Boys. Could their world survive the loss of The Seven? As they've said, in this world, there are far fewer super-villains than heroes, after all...

GE: I think there'd still be plenty of work for the Boys to do, even if something as dramatic as the loss of the Seven were to occur.

NRAMA: As we discussed with Nick, October sees both the start of the new arc, as well as trading cards and variant covers. Variants and cards are something new for The Boys - did Nick have to convince you to do both, or were you on board from the initial suggestion?

GE: I'm more interested in the story than stuff like that, but I'm fine with it happening. The covers are interesting, seeing other people's takes on the characters.

NRAMA: It's been a while since the news that Neal Motiz & Columbia had picked up the film rights for The Boys. Are you involved with that at all?

GE: I’m not aware of much having been done yet. I tend to just forget about

this stuff until something actually happens.

NRAMA: Back to the series briefly, with the next big arc coming in October - The Boys investigate a crime within the G-Men... what aspects of the world you and Darick have created are you looking at exploring in there?

GE: The G-Men have a pretty singular relationship with their backers, Vought American, very different from the more obvious, public ties that VA have with the Seven. So we'll get a look at how Vought deal with supe trouble when it arises, and we'll also find out the rather nasty secret at the heart of the G-Men teams. It all revolves around John Godolkin, the mysterious founder of all things G.

Related:

Garth Ennis on Battlefields: Night Witches

WizardWorld Philly '08: The Garth Ennis Panel

Ennis & Dillon Back on The Punisher

Ennis & Burrows Talk Crossed

The Boys Ends at Wildstorm

The Boys Lands at Dynamite Entertainment  

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