Bringing The Imaginaries Back - Talking to Mike Miller

Miller - Bringing The Imaginaries Back

A couple of so years back, writer/artist Mike S. Miller launched a new comic at Image called The Imaginaries. Centering on a group of characters that lived in “the Imagined Nation,” The Imaginaries told the story of a group of characters who, after being forgotten by their creators, joined together, looking for a purpose.

The property debuted at Image in 2005 moved to Miller’s own imprint, Abacus where the individual issues were collected asa trade, and then…well, nothing.

Until now.

Miller’s bringing the series back this December, and he told Newsarama all about it.

Newsarama: Mike - it's been a while since we've seen The Imaginaries. What gives? Where have they been and what have you been up to?

Mike Miller: Yeah, it's great to see the series back in print. The initial four issues actually wasn't intended to end as a mini-series, which is why it has the open ending that it does. After it was done at Image, and then compiled as a trade at Alias, I frankly just could never find the right artist for the project. Then along came Nikos Koutsis around the time we were wrapping things up at Alias, and we've been toiling away at it ever since. But Nikos has had lots of other work to do, so it's been a slow process getting together enough issues to solicit the new stories.

What I've been up to since, is representing Wowio pretty well full time up until a few months ago when they were bought out by Platinum. I'd also been doing side work on some various projects in comics as well as video games. I'm still toiling, but I can't really talk about anything I'm currently doing as work-for-hire.

NRAMA: Why bring the property back now?

MM: Because the story isn't finished! I mean, the world is an ongoing world, with a billion stories I could tell, but this first story isn't finished, and I'd like to get it out there the way it was intended. This story arc will run an additional six issues, and complete the introduction into the world of Superhero G and his comrades. I'll be doing almost all of the writing myself this time out, as my co-scribe from the first series, Ben Avery, has been pretty busy himself these days.

NRAMA: Just for those who may not know, who are "the Imaginaries?"

MM: Imaginaries are the imaginary friends, stuffed animals, comic characters... anything that a child's imagination has brought to life... that get cast away when those same children grow up and decide they don't need those childish things anymore. So each Imaginary finds his or her... or ITself in a strange world built by the imaginings of billions of children throughout the ages. The Imaginaries follows the path of one particular Imaginary named Superhero G, whose creator, Tanner, rejects him when he learns of his parents coming divorce.

NRAMA: Where does the story pick up along the larger storyline, and how do things pick up?

MM: When we left off in issue #4 of the first series, Superhero G has been put in the unenviable position of agreeing to 'spy' on the Greatmen, the other heroes of the Imagined Nation, in order to gain access to technology that the Ice Queen holds that could send him back home to his creator and best friend, Tanner. The meaning of his very existence is confused, as he wrestles with the two sides of what he was created to be. On one side, he was created to be his creator's best friend and constant companion. On the other side, he was created to be a hero. He can no longer be both... or can he?

NRAMA: Stepping back to your mention of Wowio - you were one of the early proponents of Wowio, and The Imaginaries, as you have pointed out, were one of the services initial success stories for their creator. How did you weather the difficulties the company went through?

MM: That is still yet to be seen. While I admit it doesn't look good, I guess there is always hope. We (I'm only a publisher there now, mind you) are promised payment, but you can't pay the mortgage with promises. Don't get me wrong, Wowio was a fantastic service with I believe great promise, and it gave me a great living for a while. For that, I am grateful, so I can't bash them for going through some financial turmoil of their own. I would hate to see the whole thing disintegrate though. It's a sorely needed service in this industry.

NRAMA: Do you retain all the rights to The Imaginaries and your other properties that were on Wowio, or did they move over to Platinum with the buyout?

MM: Yep – I retain them. Wowio is like a bookstore, they don't own the rights to anything, except versions of books they produced themselves.

NRAMA: Who are you publishing this volume of The Imaginaries through?

MM: I'm going through Darren Davis' Bluewater Productions. Darren has been seeing great successes with some of his titles, and we talk fairly often. In fact we now have the same manager, Lisa Brause at Goldenhouse Entertainment. So in one of our conversations I think I mentioned that Imaginaries was getting to the point where I was going to solicit, and that I was having second thoughts about self-publishing through Abacus, just because of the hassle involved. He stepped up and offered me a great deal. We've been friends for a long time now, so I took him up on it.

NRAMA: As others have said along the road, these characters seem set for translation into any other number of different media. Have you had suitors come knocking?

MM: I've had interest from a video game company, but they lost funding. Hah. I've also had it over at Mike Karr's production company for a while, and they have a great team together and have been pitching it around Hollywood. There has been interest, but nothing concrete as of yet. Certain studios love the concept but want to make key changes that would just totally destroy the basic story we've built, and I'm not willing to go there.

NRAMA: Is there any word on your other properties, such as Lullaby?

MM: Lullaby is just in limbo for the foreseeable future. Hector is off doing other things, and I don't have the time or resources to develop it further on my own. So until something drastically changes for one or the both of us, it's hit a dead end. I'm currently developing other properties, but I'm not sure if they'll be print comics or web comics, or just movie treatments that my manager will be shopping around. With Lionsgate working on the movie adaptation of my comic series Deal with the Devil, if it does well, it could be the start of a new direction for my projects that wont' necessitate the time and expense of producing comics in order to find an audience in Hollywood.

NRAMA: Fair enough. Finally, Mike - when should we look for this new volume of The Imaginaries to hit?

MM: The first issue of the new volume comes out in December. I believe it's still in solicitations, so now would be a great time to ask your local retailer to order it! Also, I've been publishing the original mini-series as a web comic on on weekends, if you want a weekly dose of the book, it should wrap the first four issues just in time for the continued story to launch in December!

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