Silver Surfer and Groot are two of Marvel's most well-known cosmic heroes, but they're not the first team-up you'd expect -- until you read this week's Guardians Team-Up #8.
Written by Ray Fawkes and drawn by Bengal, Guardians Team-Up #8 continues in the series tradition of one-off stories, in this case teaming the Sentinel of the Spaceways with a sentient tree and putting them smack dab in the center of a galactic war.
Newsarama: Ray, Bengal, what made you want to team Groot with Silver Surfer?
Bengal: When I got hired for the gig, the story was already ready, so Ray knows better why Groot and Silver Surfer got paired ; but when I saw the two names, I was ecstatic! Groot is super cool, everyone loves him, and the Surfer is a favorite since I was a kid.
Ray Fawkes: I thought Groot and the Silver Surfer seemed like natural “old soul” allies - like they were the type of characters who would mesh together so well that they’d feel like they were already good friends the moment they met. I imagine they’re very simpatico, what with their tendency to quiet compassion and deep thought and all.
Nrama: Did Marvel bring the two of you together, or were you looking for a project to do together?
Fawkes: Marvel brought us together. Katie Kubert, our editor, mentioned Bengal as a possibility and, as a fan of his work both here and overseas (If you haven’t picked up a copy of Naja, you really, really should), I was over the moon.
Bengal: I actually got an offer to work on a team-up by our editor, Katie Kubert ; I wasn't aware then that such Guardians of the Galaxy team-ups existed, and I immediately liked the idea. I knew about Ray's work but it was unexpected to end up working with him!
Nrama: What’s the threat we’ll see Groot and Surfer going up against?
Bengal: It's fairly simple really: Groot, with the help of the Surfer, is looking for... something. Something precious to him. And when they finally find it, that precious something, they sadly have to deal with another alien species who try to annihilate them, and pretty much everything they're trying to save.
Fawkes: They’ll be stepping into the last stages of a war in space- so they’re up against two races locked in vicious battle, neither of which will be too happy to see strangers entering the field...
Nrama: The solicit for the issue mentions a “mysterious quest” that brings Surfer and Groot together. Can you shed any light on what that is?
Bengal: I would be afraid to say too much, so I'll let Ray talk about that.
Fawkes: All I’m going to say about it is that it’s something neither of them would be able to resist chasing down. Even the barest rumors of its existence would bring both of them running at full faster-than-light speed.
Nrama: Bengal, what’s the best part of drawing a cosmic story like this?
Bengal: First, the scale! I love me a good story in deep space, with or without spaceships : it's hard to render depth and dimensions in the middle of the void of the universe, but it's also very satisfying when you manage to - or at least come close to! I tried my best in this regard. Also, you have a lot of room for fights & explosions ; you have a wide amount of choices to place your camera, you can film from very far if you want, etc. It's very different from filming on solid ground or in a room, or things like that.
My favorite part was to make the Surfer slalom between enemy missiles & explosions!
Nrama: Ray, you’re an artist in your own right. Does that inform the way you write your scripts?
Fawkes: Yes and no. I mean, I try to think visually, of course - all writers do - but I don’t want my own artistic sensibilities to interfere with the creative expression of collaborators. This isn’t a Ray Fawkes book with Bengal helping out - this is a book we both created together, and I left full artistic leeway to create two entirely new alien races, with all their technology - as well as the gorgeous, expressive vistas of space itself and Bengal’s brand of storytelling.
Nrama: Do you two have any plans to work together again in the future?
Bengal: Nothing planned as of now, I'm busy on a couple other things for a while, but who knows!
Fawkes: As Bengal says, there’s nothing specific on the books right now, but I’d love to in the future.
Nrama: You’re both rising talents in the industry. What’s next for each of you?
Fawkes: I have a new OGN coming out from Top Shelf in August - Junction True with fully painted artwork by Vince Locke, as well as my ongoing horror collaboration with Juan Ferreyra at DC, Gotham By Midnight. There are more projects on their way as well!
Bengal: I'm currently still close to the Batgirl team over at DC Comics, I'm very happy to work with them. I'm currently working on another issue with the character, and there's gonna be even more Batgirl later on. I can't wait to be able to share with readers what it will be about this time!
I also got the honor of doing the covers for the All-New Wolverine for Marvel, I'm very happy about that, I'll do my best to work on nice compositions, and portray the character correctly.
Next year, I will announce a totally different project I've been planning for the past couple years, but I can't say anything about it just yet!