Next week, the Frazetta Comics Universe expands with the one shot Frank Frazetta’s Creatures by Rick Remender and Peter Bergting. Again, the story of the comic is based on one of the master’s paintings, and then interpreted by the comic’s team. In this case, the painting, showing a lone adventurer standing his own against a horde of creatures yields the story which the solicitation describes as: “…the untold adventures of Teddy Roosevelt, Rough Rider, President of the United States and paranormal investigator as he uncovers a plot concocted by a band of nefarious aliens in cahoots with a malevolent ancient Mayan demon to eradicate humanity and claim Earth for their own purposes.”
We spoke with Remender and Bergting for more.
Newsarama: The books in the Frazetta Comics line have always been “dream come trues” for their creators given Frazetta’s influence on virtually anyone that has ever seen his work. So for both of you, what’s it like, as fans of Frank Frazetta to be working on this?
Rick Remender: Frazetta’s art serves as the inspiration for much of my work. Fear Agent in particular was born while Tony [Moore] and I were looking at Frazetta. Each of his paintings drops the viewer into the middle of a story at its most gripping moment. His single images demand that you know more about what is happening and what has happened. His art is everything I love about fantasy and pulp. Having an opportunity to select one of his paintings to create a story from is a genuine thrill. Having Peter Bergting realize those ideas is an equal treat. I’m extremely proud of the book we’ve cooked up.
Peter Bergting: Without sounding like a drooling fanboy, it's right up there with playing lead guitar in KISS.
NRAMA: Rick, how did you get involved in a project like this? As a Frazetta fan was it difficult to chose a specific image as your inspiration?
RR: When Frazetta Comics kingpin Jay Fotos asked if I’d like to do one I jumped. The choice was easy. However, the decision about which painting I’d do was not as simple. I spent a good few weeks sifting through the many amazing options I had. Finally Jay called me and we boiled it down from the contenders. The Image we’ve used for Creatures is one of those aforementioned perfect moments Frazetta captures so well. It sends the mind in a dozen fun directions and it’s down to choosing the road to move forward, which is simple as the stuff writes itself. I immediately thought of Theodore Roosevelt and his Rough Riders as paranormal investigators. The rest was just cooking up a stew using some of the other imagery from the cover. My goal was to make it fun. No pretense, nothing self-serious, just freedom to make an entertaining adventure as one of America’s great presidents fights Mayan demons and Martians.
NRAMA: Peter, how did you get involved in this project?
PB: Rick asked me if I was interested and I played hard to get but I was on 100% immediately. Obviously. Who'd turn down something like this? I'd do it for free.
NRAMA: Rick, in a nutshell give us your Frazetta's Creatures pitch.
RR: Following the adventures of Teddy Roosevelt, Rough Rider, President of the United States and paranormal investigator as he discovers a plot concocted by a band of nefarious aliens in cahoots with a malevolent ancient Mayan demon to help eradicate Earth, each for their own reasons. A merging of The X-Files, Ghostbusters, and Indiana Jones, Creatures promises high adventure starting one of America’s greatest heroes of the early twentieth century.
NRAMA: Peter, give us your thought process on tackling a project like this. Is this fully new material for you? Was there any research involved?
PB: I did do a lot of research that actually wound up in the comic, like the fact that he drinks milk and banned smoking in the white house. Originally we had him chewing a stoogie. It would have been great visually but gelled badly with the real Roosevelt. I'm fairly well read, but there were some interesting tidbits about his past that I dug up that ended up in the Smithsonian for instance. Also trying to keep clothes and such consistent with what he wore. In later years he was plagued by illness and I tried to give him that look of a really big, big guy that's just (but only just) over the hill.
NRAMA: Rick, in the wake of Indiana Jones hitting the screen can you compare Creature's Teddy to Indy?
RR: Raiders of the Lost Ark endlessly inspires me. It’s the perfect action movie; nothing can touch it. There is a dollop of Indy in this for sure. Teddy, like Indy, is a bit of a dichotomy. He’s both intellectual and warrior, something we don’t often see in the same man.
He was a true iconoclast. The comparisons with the high-adventure aspect are clear.
NRAMA: Creatures is a one shot story, can we expect more from you guys in the Frazetta Comics Universe?
RR: We don’t want to dole out the specifics yet, but we’ve begun to cook up a four part series where each issue will cross time and genre. Peter will be painting it and I expect it will be nothing short of amazing.
PB: If it's up to me – you bet! I love working with Rick.
Frank Frazetta's Creatures is due in stores on July 30th. Check out www.myspace.com/frazettacomics for more on Frazetta Comics
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