Frank Cho certainly knows how to draw a nice pair of bazookas.He's also a "concept" man, and for his next creator owned project with Image Comics, he's writing and drawing a concept whose title says it all: Guns and Dinos.
The story will see an entire military unit accidentally transported back in time to the age of dinosaurs. While the big brains try to fix their tech and get them back to the time they belong, the soldiers have to kill them some Dinos.
For more on this new project coming in November 2011, we had a chat with Cho, and he brought along some artwork from the book.
Newsarama: Hey Frank! This sounds like a pretty off-the-wall concept. What were you doing, who were you with, etc when you suddenly had the idea to teleport a military base to prehistoric times?Frank Cho: The genesis of the story started about 10-12 years ago with a single image. I think I was mowing the grass at the time when that single image came to me. It was an image of a human arm holding a machine gun inside a T-Rex fossil. Like Zombie King’s cow love scene, the entire story quickly formed around this single image. For years, I tweaked and tweaked the story, constantly changing characters and minor things but always staying true to the original plot. A few times, I toyed with the idea of bringing in a co-writer and even hiring an artist. But I realized that if I wanted to tell this story right, I have to write and draw it myself.
Nrama: Obviously the concept of Guns and Dinos kinda sells itself, but let's talk characters anyway. Who are some of your leads, and how do they find themselves in this crazy situation?
Cho: There are many characters in the story: Dr. Daniel Chang the inventor of the space-folding technology, Colonel Norr the unforgiving base leader; however, most of the focus will be on Quantum Engineers, Dr. Mike Morger and his estranged wife, Dr. Helen Schwartz. It’s fun roller coaster ride of a story - full of adventure, drama and love.
Nrama: Now Frank, fans love your action, and I'm sure they'll be thrilled to see you do some more dinosaurs like you did with Shanna… but what about the ladies? Will we see some of that classic Cho buxom beauty art here too?
Cho: Of course, it’s not a Frank Cho book unless there’s buxom beauty in it. Just kidding. Since this is a military base, there aren’t too many women in the story but I do address and correct that issue by having most of the women in the weapons research and support teams.
Nrama: It seems like a military capable of producing time and space folding technology would have some pretty advanced weaponry as well… are even dinosaurs a real match for such a unit?
Cho: The entire story takes place over a year. The quantum scientists on base realize the teleportation error and set up solar panels to charge up the battery farm to make the jump back home. However, it’s going to take almost 12 months to fully charge the battery farm. No standing army in the world can go against the modern US military might. So in the beginning of the story, the dinosaurs get completely slaughtered. You’ll see Abrams tanks wipe out all sorts of dinosaurs while the Black Hawk helicopters decimate all the flying dinosaurs. But this is a battle of attrition. As months go by, food, fuel and ammo run out, and mother nature painfully reclaims the land and the dinosaurs become the dominant force again. Toward the end, the soldiers have to resort to primitive weapons such as spears, knifes, deadfalls, catapults, etc to survive.
Nrama: How far along are you in this 3 issue series? Since you're handling the whole thing alone, is this a finished-before-soliciting kind of deal?
Cho: Issue one is almost completed. I’m hoping to have the first two issues finished and in the can when it launches in November.
Nrama: When you're both writing and drawing a book, what's your process like? Do you write yourself a full script, or just an outline, or just start drawing?
Cho: I write as I draw. I already have a mental outline of the story, so I just dive right in straight onto the boards.
Nrama: What keeps you coming back to Image? What do they offer you in terms of support and freedom that makes them an ideal publisher for this sort of thing?
Cho: Image Comics has the best deal in the industry for creators. After the printing cost and small Image fee, 100% of profit you make on your book is yours. They also don’t interfere with you editorially or creatively. The success or failure of the book solely depends on you and the strength of your book.
Nrama: Any other teases you'd like to give our readers? A favorite moment from the first issue?
Cho: One of my favorite scenes from issue 1 is when the military base accidentally gets transported into the past, right in middle of migration path of a large group of triceratops.