Conquering Image Comics' OLYMPUS

Gods walk among us.

Released over the summer as one of Image's brightest new books in recent memory, Olympus tells the story of the two Greek immortals Castor and Pollux, who are in the service of Zeus in affairs of the mortal world. Not so much hitmen but those who must do the dirty jobs of Olympus on earth; they are the men who mop up the mess that seeps into the human world from the gods and immortals of Greek mythology.

With the final issue of the four-issue series in stores earlier this month, we caught up with series co-creator and writer Nathan Edmondson to talk about the series – how it did, what it accomplished, and what's next. Consider this a post-game interview.

Newsarama: David Pepose reviewed the entire miniseries earlier this month and compared this with Boondock Saints in terms of Castor and Pollux's camaraderie. Nathan, what do you say to that?

Nathan Edmondson: Spot on.  That was actually part of our pitch--we called this at one point a Boondock Saints-meets-Hellblazer.  You have the elements of action, fraternity, and like you said, camaraderie that you find in the Boondock Saints, but also the connections to a world beyond our own like Hellblazer does.  And tying to both, what sets our book apart from many other mythology stories is ours is in the here, the now.

Nrama:  That sense of brotherhood - do you have a brother or a sibling where you pulled those experiences from, or perhaps a friend as close as a brother?

Edmondson: I would say the writing comes from both; I do indeed have a brother, Jason, with whom I'm close and I have friends from childhood that are like brothers.  Beyond that, though, I feel like--I hope that--I've tapped into something timeless in the relationship, and also something that harkens back to the "phila-delphia" of the Greeks--brotherly love. 

Nrama: Re-reading the entire series in one sitting for this interview, I see a real appreciation for mythology from you – not just pulling the top names and moving on but really taking it all in. Is mythology a big interest for you?

Edmondson: Absolutely.  Chatting with a close friend the other day, he hit the nail on the head putting it this way:  'Reality is violent.  Mythology helps us to interpret reality in a way that we can digest, in a way that we can accept.'  While there are countless reasons, I think, to study mythology this is the heart of the power of myth:  myth is reality.

Nrama And people might not realize this, but this is only your first comic. What made this the way to forge your career?

Edmondson: Mostly it just happened this way.  The story emerged and I brought it to comics; I didn't come to comics and say 'I want to do something.'  I was very fortunate that in my blundering approach to the medium I had a high-concept idea and a top notch artist in Christian Ward--as well as the support of friends I've made.  But ever since, well, the doors have been opening.  

Nrama Speaking of Ward, let's talk about his art for this. Christian has a very unconventional and uncompromising style that really puts a edge to this. Certainly not the safe choice, and I commend you for that. Can I get your appraisal of his work and why you think he'd be perfect to do this story of yours?

Edmondson: I searched online for artists, emailing some about availability, discussing the project before it really got going.  Christian was always my first choice.  I knew that if I wanted to make an impact I needed not just a very talented artist to mark this as a 'professional' book, but also one who would turn heads, and stand out in the ocean of new books.  Christian was--and is--the ideal candidate in both regards.  And I hope it goes without saying that personally, I'm one of his biggest fans--I love his work.  I should note, too, that the story became not mine but 'ours' as we started collaborating.  It was his ideas as much as his pencils that made Olympus what it was.  

Nrama: The collected edition of this is scheduled to come out December 9th. Will there be any special features in this?

Edmondson: Indeed.  We're filling the pages now; we'll have a "behind the scenes" commentary as well as some new art, and never-before-seen pinups from some great artists--and several other things.  We're got a dear friend and fantastic writer doing a forward for us and Jeff Powell, our letterer/designer extraordinaire is working closely with Christian to make the book just a sensational looking package.  

Nrama: Now that this miniseries is in the can, what's next for you – more Olympus or perhaps other comic book work?


Edmondson: Christian and I both have more Olympus on our minds, but we're looking at what's next for both of us to see where the next installment falls in place.  He has a few projects cooking that will be very exciting, as do I.  We have definite plans for where we want to take Castor and Pollux.  They will be back.  We have also things cooking with the Olympus film, so that's adding fuel to the fire.

As for my next projects, there are two I can discuss now.  The first is with Surrogates artist Brett Weldele, one hell of a talented artist.  The book is called The Light and for Newsarama exclusively I'm sharing this teaser image!  All I can say about the book until the formal announcement is that it's something in the vein of 28 Days Later meets 30 Days of Night.  It will be a miniseries, and Brett's kicking ass and taking names on the pages.  I'm thrilled to be working with him.

I have also a book with Tommy Lee Edwards slated for mid-2010 release right now that will follow his book Turf with Jonathan Ross.  It's an espionage thriller with a bit of a sci-fi twist.  Think 'Munich meets Memento.'  Tommy's art so far on the book is outstanding--not surprisingly.  

I'm thrilled about both books and will provide images and info to Newsarama as soon as we cross a few t's.  You can catch updates pretty regularly on my website, too.

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