Chris Roberson Talks 'Memorial' and the Magical Everlands

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Have you been reading Memorial?  You should be!  Series writer Chris Roberson sits down to talk about his new project, his lead character Em, and drops a few hints about where Memorial is going next.

Chris Roberson is no stranger to the comics world.  With several titles under his belt, including two Fables mini-series featuring the always elegant Cinderella, Superman: Grounded, and the Eisner Award nominated iZombie, would there be any room left in such a busy schedule to publish a creator-owned epic?  The short answer is… of course!  Memorial is a fantastic tale of magic and wonders, of doors to anywhere and talking cats, and at the heart of it all, the beautiful and mysterious Em.

Roberson took a few minutes to talk to Broken Frontier about Memorial, its genesis, and what’s in store for our lovely heroine. 

BROKEN FRONTIER: After only two issues Memorial reads like a grand and fully conceived universe.  How long has the project been in the works, and what was your inspiration for Em’s tale?

CHRIS ROBERSON: In its current form, Memorial actually combines a bunch of different ideas I’ve had, synthesized together into one. The central image (the young woman travelling from place to place in a curiosity shop that appears and disappears magically) came from an idea I had for a Doctor Who spinoff novel about eight years ago, that I was considering pitching to BBC Books. But the more I worked on the idea, the less and less it made sense in the world of Doctor Who.

Along the way, I had been working on another idea that played around with some of the central themes from classic children’s fantasy stories, and yet another idea that was all about what memory means and how it works. It took me the better part of eight years, but I eventually figured out that all of these ideas slotted together.

BF:  In issue #2 Em’s magical world exploded, as the Everlands were expanded upon and the Lands of “Maybe” and “Was” were introduced.  Are there more regions of this world to explore? 

ROBERSON: Yes, there’s quite a bit more to this world than we’ve seen yet, and aspects of the parts that we have already seen that haven’t yet been revealed. To say more would be to give too much away!

BF:  Em’s greatest threat so far has been Hook, the Metal Man.  Little has been revealed about Hook, but it’s quite obvious by his appearance alone that he has a colorful history.  Do you plan to tell Hook’s story in upcoming issues?

ROBERSONProbably, at some point. Many readers likely think that they know his story already, from the little bits and pieces that have been revealed so far, but they don’t!

BF:  Rich Ellis’ art is not only gorgeous, but helps to reveal the scope of Memorial.  When it comes to your scripts, how many details are preplanned and how much does Ellis create?

ROBERSONIt’s a nice mix of both, actually. My scripts typically focus on the foreground action and dialogue, leaving a lot of the scene setting to the artist wherever possible. For Memorial I’ve drawn up maps and diagrams and things, not so much to tell Rich what to do but to try to communicate to him how I see this world working. But then Rich takes those little bits and pieces and runs with them, making my clunky visual ideas work beautifully on the page!

BF:  Memorial has been solicited as a six issue mini-series, but already it’s clear the world could be the home of countless more stories.  Is a return to Memorial in your future?

ROBERSON: Oh, definitely. The model that we’re following is that of an “ongoing series of miniseries,” a la Hellboy and Locke & Key. So long as reader interest is there and IDW wants to continue publishing, I’m happy to keep writing them!

BF:  Thanks for your time Chris, Memorial truly is a fantastic read. Care to give our readers any hints as to how Em’s story will unfold next issue?

ROBERSON:  You’re very welcome. And no hints! I’ve said too much already!

Memorial #3 will be released February 8, 2012.  Make sure to pick it up at your local comic store!

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