Lamar Abrams' RemakeWhy do comics have to be so serious? They don't. Take the upcoming AdHouse graphic novel Remake for example. Cartoonist Lamar Abrams has penned a 144-page story of a robot boy named Max Guy who can't seem to keep to the straight and narrow. But when you're a robot boy and have something called a "max blaster", you're bound to get into trouble sometimes. The style is east meets west -- Astro Boy meets Flash Gordon… or Megan Man meets Scott Pilgrim. Remake first saw the light of day as a series of mini-comics self-published by Abrams to distribute at conventions, and that's how AdHouse publisher Chris Pitzer discovered it. And now with AdHouse releasing a graphic novel version in May, we talked with Remake cartoonist Lamar Abrams to get the whole story.
Newsarama: It's good to talk to you, Lamar. What can you tell us about the guy on the cover of Remake, Max Guy?Lamar Abrams: Max Guy is complicated. He can be really sweet and nice but also come off as a big jerk. He's kind of unpredictable, too. He's mostly just trying to lead a normal robot boy life as best as he can. page 1 NRAMA: So what is Max Guy up to in Remake?
LA: Mostly getting beat up, eating, making new friends and trying to figure out how to use his Max Blaster.
NRAMA: When I read this I'm reminded of two things I love Mega Man and Scott Pilgrim. What were your influences coming into this?
LA: I'm a HUGE fan of the Mega Man series of video games and the old Astro boy comics. I really admire how in the old Astro boy comics a bad guy would show up, Astro Boy would beat them up and that would be the end of the story. I wanted to make something simple and fun for people to read.
NRAMA: The design of Max seems very simple but iconic. What were you thinking when designing him?page 2 LA: I wanted to make something that was easy to draw over and over again. I remember making characters when I was younger that were pretty complicated and I'd forget little bits and pieces of their costumes over time. As far as his color scheme is concerned I thought a mostly white design would work better in a black and white comic than going with something like red or blue.
NRAMA: The title, 'Remake' – what does it mean in the context of the story?
LA: Remake is a title I came up with when I first started making comics. I figured that if I ever wanted to change the story, characters or style that I could still get away with calling it Remake and not have to worry about comming up with a new title. Also, I felt as if I just called the book "The Adventures of Max Guy" or something that I would be stuck with a name I may not like a few years down the road.
NRAMA: I don't know if this was carefully orchestrated or just how it comes naturally to you, but the pages of Remake I've read are very progressive and almost seamless— you don't really get bogged down in too much self-reflection. What were your goals in doing this comic?
LA: To have some fun! I wanted to make a comic that someone could pick up, read, have a good laugh and put down. I didn't want to try and rope people into this super deep story or world or anything. I'm not very good at telling those kinds of stories anyway.page 3 NRAMA: Seeing as how Remake has its roots as a minicomic given out at conventions, are you attending any conventions this year to promote the graphic novel?
LA: I'll be attending the MoCCA Festival in New York City and Heroes Convention in North Carolina this June. I'll probably attend SPX towards the end of the year as well.
NRAMA: Before I let you go, I wanted to bring something up I found while doing research for this interview. I discovered that you were for a time an animator for the U.S. government. Can you tell us about that?
LA: Hahaha. It was my first job after getting out of art school. We would animate things like missile trajectories, flight paths, attack formations...all kinds of stuff. I'm not even sure I'm allowed to talk about it. I learned a lot there and I even had to get a "secret" clearance to work on some projects but it was pretty boring.page 4 NRAMA: I also discovered an old zine you did called Ferzan. It's got an interesting subject matter – but I don't want to steal your thunder, so can you tell us about it?
LA: It's a collection of drawings of women farting. I don't have a weird fart fetish or anything (seriously) but I think it's funny to see drawings of pretty women farting. Farting is a part of life and everyone does it.
NRAMA: [laughs] Okay, let's wrap this up with a question looking towards the future: what else do you have planned in comics?
LA: I'd like to continue creating more stories with Max Guy and the other characters in Remake for now. We'll see what happens as time goes by.