When seven benevolent godlike figures appear on Earth and grant humanity their every desire, what does Earth's population do?
Why, they kill them all, of course.When disaster strikes, however, humanity realizes they need these greats, and turn to the last one, who previously kept himself hidden from the world. He is The Last of the Greats, and frankly, he couldn't give a damn about human problems. For more on this intriguing premise of the new Image Comics book starting in October, we chatted with writer Josh Fialkov, who tackles super heroics for the first time in this book.
Newsarama: So Josh, this sounds like a deconstruction of superheroes a bit; If you'd describe it that way, how does it differ from other deconstructions that have been tried before?
Josh Fialkov: I don't know that it is a deconstruction in that I'm less interested in what other people have to say about superheroes and more interested in what I want to say about them. You know, I think a lot of comics are about comics. What they should be about, for me, is things that mean something to the creative team. This book is about power and what it means to be the absolute strongest in a world where strength is seen as a bad thing. The real nut of the story for me came from this idea that people accuse liberal politicians of fascism.
The very idea that a guy wanting to make sure poor people can afford medical insurance and feed your kids is the same as murdering dissidents and genocide is so mind numbingly bizarre to me. And, then if we treat the people who are trying to look out for us that way, what do we do when someone with truly nefarious ideas stands before us?Y'know, we freaked out about Obamacare but celebrated the Patriot Act. That's something that speaks to us as a species in a very, very profound way.
Nrama: What is is that made people dislike the Greats in the first place? Is that something revealed in the book, or a mystery left for readers to wonder about?
Fialkov: It's sort of a literal version of that idea from before. They came and they gave us everything we could ever want, and we saw it as malicious. We read into their generosity as having ulterior motives. We essentially let every paranoia and fear that boils under our skin come to the surface.
Nrama: Who is the "Last" and how did he remain where the others are gone?
Fialkov: He was the one who waited. The one who watched his siblings work publicly and play at being heroes. He was smarter and stayed hidden. Watching, waiting, and planning. Now, the world needs him, and he knows he has them by the balls.Nrama: If before this humanity feared/hated the Greats, how big does the worry/threat have to be for them to turn to this remaining member?
Fialkov: Oh, it's apocalypse level stuff. The world is coming to an end, and it's either him or fiery ball of death time.
Nrama: You've worked with a variety of artists on your projects across the spectrum. How did you hook up with Brent Peeples, and what does he bring to the table for you?
Fialkov: Brent's the most committed son of a bitch I've ever known. He's devoted to the book and to comic storytelling in a way that few are. He wants desperately to be the best, and he puts in the hours to make it come true. He wants hard notes and strong feedback, and he obsesses over the pages to get them to a place that not only we're happy, but that he himself is proud. He's a fighter and a damn good dude.
Nrama: Of late you've been telling crime, drama, mystery, and horror… now you have a superhero story. Why'd this itch need to be scratched now, and will we see some of those other genres and tropes sneak into this one?Fialkov: It was just time. The fact of the matter is that 90% of what we do in American comics is superheroes, and the longer I stayed away from that, the longer I was cutting off 90% of the audience from my work. I want this book to be a gateway drug into my other books. But, luckily, i've fallen in love with this story, and hope I get to work on it for years and years to come.
Nrama: Anything else you'd like to leave readers with, a last tease that will make them want to try this book out?
Fialkov: Well, the cover to issue 3 is the Last on the set of the Oprah Winfrey Show, and, y'know, he's been in a cold ice cave for a long, long time, so, things might get a bit complicated.
I'm only half joking. Look, if you want more original books that require no continuity and have a bold voice and are willing to do things that the mainstream guys aren't, then give us a try. You won't be sorry. More from me and my work, as always, at thefialkov.com or on Twitter @joshfialkov.