The pint-sized powerhouses depicted in cartoonist Chris Giarrusso’s G-Man series from Image are back in a new square-bound volume collecting this year’s miniseries G-Man: Cape Crisis. In this second volume, the bright-eyed G-Man finds out sharing isn’t always a good thing when it comes to the magic cape that gives him his powers. First his brother wants a piece, then friends and neighbors, and when it winds up in the wrong hands it could cause all sorts of trouble. This all-ages adventure is on the front lines of Image’s kids comics, and is the latest from this entrepreneurial cartoonist who made his name at Marvel with the long-running Mini Marvels strip.
With early success on the light-hearted comedy of Marvel’s heroes and villains on their off-days in Mini Marvels, Giarrusso came to Image to take a spin with his own characters first in the Savage Dragon backup strip Comic Bits and then two miniseries’ worth of G-Man. Recently, Giarrusso was asked to join Robert Kirkman’s new superhero team book Guarding the Globe but no, not as a member, but as a storyteller telling a one-page gag strip about the original parodied line-up of the Guardians team with Invincible, Spawn, President Obama, Gary Potter and others.
With the second issue of Guarding The Globe scheduled for the end of this month and the second volume of G-Man set for late October, Newsarama talked to Giarrusso about his work and what’s coming up.Newsarama: It’s good to see another volume of G-Man on the shelves, Chris. What’s it like being able to do a second series and having it come out in trade?
Chris Giarrusso: This somewhat of a milestone for me, something I've wanted to do for a long time. Up until now, people have only really seen collections of short stories and strips from me. Short strips are fun, but I've always wanted to see if I could handle an extended storyline, and this was my first opportunity to finally give that a shot. It was challenging, but a lot of fun.
Nrama: This new volume collects the recent G-Man: Cape Crisis miniseries from a couple months back, where G-Man is coming to terms with his new powers thanks to that snazzy cape. Can you tell us what G-Man, and his brother Great Man are up to?
Giarrusso: G-Man and Great Man are still relatively new to the superhero game. G-Man's magic cape is the source of their superpowers -- Great Man uses a piece from that cape as his belt. Once word of this spreads, everybody wants a piece of G-Man's cape so they can get super powers as well. Things quickly spin out of control, and everyone is flying around with pieces of G-Man's cape -- more kids than the brothers feel comfortable with, more kids than they can keep track of.
Nrama: And in steps Wizard Glendolf Williams – what’s he doing, and what does it mean for G-Man?
Giarrusso: Wizard Glendolf Williams detects a corruption in the magic of G-Man's cape as a result of it getting split up into too many pieces. It turns out that if the pieces of the cape are not collected back in time, the magic could stop working completely. Needless to say, G-Man wants to retain his super powers, and he has to track down all of the extra pieces of his cape.
Nrama: For this new volume, you’re going with a larger format for the book. Can you tell us about that?
Giarrusso: The first edition of G-Man Volume 1 was digest sized. Some readers felt this may have been a bit too small, and Image agreed, so we decided to move forward with a larger format. Volume 2: Cape Crisis is going to be collected in a larger 6x9 graphic novel format, as will a new edition for the out-of-print volume 1.
Nrama: With volume 2 done, is there another G-Man series on the way?
Giarrusso: Yes, I'm planning to continue G-Man's adventures in a new mini-series.
Nrama: In addition to this, you have two other projects – the first of which is doing artwork for a book series called The Amazing Adventures of Nate Banks; can you tell us about that?
Giarrusso: The Amazing Adventures of Nate Banks is a series of chapter books for young readers written by author Jake Bell. Nate Banks is the biggest authority on superheroes in the sixth grade. So naturally, he becomes obsessed with finding out everything he can about Ultraviolet, a brand new superhero that's been appearing in his small town. This eventually leads to Nate winding up smack dab in the middle of all the action. Each book in the series contains an 8-page comic insert (drawn by me!) as a supplement to the main story. The first two books are available now, with books 3 and 4 coming soon.
Nrama: You’re quite a busy man, Chris – you also have a one-page backup in each issue of Robert Kirkman’s Guarding The Globe. For someone who missed that first issue, how would you explain it?
Giarrusso: I'm writing and drawing Guardian Gags, featuring a team made up of Invincible, Spawn, The Walking Dead's Rick Grimes, Barack Obama, and a very special young wizard named Perry Hotter. These characters were jokingly named as members of the Guardians in a series of ads that parodied an Avengers ad campaign, but fans seemed to get a kick out of that fake team.
Nrama: Why do you think these tongue-in-cheek announcements were so popular with fans?
Giarrusso: They were really funny. Plus, Marvel's original Avengers ad campaign was very strong and well-executed. It was topical, and everybody got the joke.
Nrama: How’d you hook up with Robert Kirkman to do this?
Giarrusso: Robert actually called me. On the PHONE, if you can believe it! He explained what he wanted me to do with the "fake" Guardians line-up, which he said was actually Benito Cereno's idea. Since this is not an "in continuity" strip, I pretty much have free reign to go anywhere with this... though Robert and Benito still need to like it.
Nrama: how does it feel to be part of the Image family and be asked by Kirkman to do this?
Giarrusso: It's a tremendous honor on both counts. I'm a long-time Image fan, and I'm a long-time Kirkman fan.
Nrama: For the people that have read your strip in Guarding the Globe #1, what can people expect in #2?
Giarrusso: ALIEN INVASION!!! How will the Guardians of the Globe handle this extra-terrestrial threat?
Nrama: I’ll let readers answer that when they get that issue. Before I let you get back to the drawing board, let me ask you this: Is it just me, or would G-Man make a good addition to the Guardians of the Globe?
Giarrusso: I have to say that sounds like a pretty neat idea to me. Perhaps a membership drive is in order!What would you like Giarrusso to humorously take on next?