Punk Fiction - Part 2
Lowdown - Article
Posted by Neil Figuracion on Jan 5, 2006
Part 2 - Punk and Pulp
Broken Frontier: What is it about pulp that makes it work together so well with punk?
Rick Remender: Anyone can do it. It’s personal; you only usually have two people involved in the story telling. That what’s punk about it. Personal art created by a few people. Now not all comics have a personal flair. Many consist of pure unimaginative bulls**t spun out by hacks. That goes for undergrounds and mainstreams, sorry hipsters. Maybe I’m deluding myself to think I’m not a sleepy idea hack myself. I do try to say something in my work, something about the world. It may not be poignant at all times but I hear from people that my work affected them on occasion. Mostly from Black Heart Billy and Strange Girl.
BF: How did you first meet Kieron Dwyer and how did you start to collaborate?
RR: We met in San Diego 1998. My buddy Harper Jaten (co-creator of Captain Dingleberry as well as Black Heart Billy and Strange Girl contributor) and I had seen Kieron’s book Lowest Comic Denominator and loved it. I had found the book and Kieron actually carded me to buy it. That prompted me to send Harper to his table the next day pretending to be a father whose son brought home LCD (For those who don’t know LCD is pure wonderful filth). The plan backfired and Harper ended up on the firing end of a church ladies wrath. We all became good buddies after that. I eventually moved to San Francisco from Phoenix and moved into a studio with Kieron.
BF: How do your and Kieron’s collaborations usually begin?
RR: A bad idea and a few years to kill.
BF: Lowest Comic Denominator and Black Heart Billy were incredibly different from each other. With Sea of Red, Night Mary, Fear Agent and Strange Girl, you’re still handily avoiding categories. Is there any kind of lighthouse that guides your writing?
RR: Ideas that find a nice middle ground between the underground and the mainstream grab me the most. Things both sides of my personality gravitate towards. Characters that are iconic and also three dimensional. I don’t know... Whatever grabs my fancy at the time.
BF: If any of your books truly defy definition, it would be Sea of Red, which features pirates, vampires, and film producers. What was the spark behind that book?
RR: Ha... Well a crepe filled with scrabbled eggs, ham, cheese and rosemary potatoes. Kieron and I were just talking out ideas and genres and we began to mix things that could be cool. We then went into a stream of consciousness and came up with what is now Sea of Red 1-8. We came up with issues 9-16 over a sandwich. So I guess blame my diet. People love the book, we must have eaten something right.
BF: Night Mary is a somewhat more traditional horror thriller about a girl who looks into peoples’ dreams. Where did that idea come from?
RR: We went through a period where all Kieron and I did was make up treatments for new projects. In order to come up with bolder and more fascinating concepts we focused on the most imaginative ideas we could with no thought to how difficult the production of the ideas might be. Night Mary was one of the best of those.
BF: I was recently surprised and excited to read Strange Girl, about a girl left on Earth after the rapture. Potentially it could be the most controversial of your new books. Have there been any reactions to the book?
RR: Well IGN gave it runner up for best new series of 2005, that’s pretty great. Readers either love it or hate it. There isn’t a middle, it seems to be one or the other. The people who love it are very vocal, it’s a great compliment to the series the way the fans of it promote it all over the web. I just proofed the first trade, I was so proud of it I could have burst. It’s the best work I can produce.
BF: Have you read Tim LaHaye’s post-rapture novels, the Left Behind series?
RR: Nope. I learned of them once I started this.
BF: Your latest book, Fear Agent is more of a testosterone fueled science fiction adventure. What old SF did you read inspire you here?
RR: 1952 by Wood and Eisner is on the top of my list. Eric Powell recently scored an original page from it and I plan on crushing his skull and stealing it. But not until he’s done doing his Fear Agent cover for issue #7. 1952 is everything I love about Wood’s art; however it’s entirely human drama, no aliens. So if we need to mix in the aliens I’d say Weird Science Fantasy or pretty much any of his EC Sci-Fi stuff. I also studied a ton of his work in the first 6 issues of Mad when I was working on Man with the Screaming Brain.
BF: How do you feel about the latest Star Wars movies?
RR: Feh. Christ, did those new three movies suck ball.
BF: Has it been a big adjustment writing four new indie titles back-to-back?
RR: Try all at once while penciling Man with the Screaming Brain at Dark Horse and storyboarding the new 007 game at Electronic arts. Rough year to say the least.
BF: Now that your writing is at the forefront, do you ever get ideas for regular books that you’d be itching to draw?
RR: I’m penciling a big project that will be announced in the next few weeks. It’s fugg’n amazing.
BF: Are there any new projects we should be looking out for?
RR: Anything with my name on it is pure gold, join the gold rush. *insert whip cracking here*
Rick throws mic to the ground and spits on it as he proceeds to walk off of stage where he trips over a cable, throws a latte on an intern, cries for his invisible best friend to stop making jokes about the C and C Music Factory before he drives to a cheap motel and kills a hooker.
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