At Comic-Con International in San Diego, Image Comics announces it would follow-up on its popular "Death Dealer" mini-series, based on the painting by famous fantasy artist Frank Frazetta, with a new miniseries and a spate of one-shots all based on further Frazetta works. The projects are spearheaded by artist Jay Fotos and include a number of well-known creators. Among them is Rick Remender, who spoke with CBR News about his one-shot, "Frank Frazetta's Creatures."
"Jay and I did some hanging out at a show we did together and got to chatting about our love for Frazetta," Remender said. "Everyone who reads my book, 'Fear Agent,' knows what a huge inspiration Frank was on that series. So my passion for the work, and Jay's, made us fast friends. When he came to me with the possibility of doing a book based on a Frazetta piece I jumped -- very excited to be involved."
"Rick Remender is a workhorse and takes no shit, like me," said Fotos. "He's a good all-around creator, moves fast and if you're in his way he'll punch you in the face, like me. In my mind, it's a no-brainer, I love him."
The first step in expanding the Frazetta line of comics, after getting the painter's blessing, was to choose a piece for Remender's project.
"We went through a few different ones that I picked as my favorites before landing on 'Creatures,'" Remender said. "I wanted something very different than the fantasy stuff, [something] that had some sci-fi to it and this has that, plus mutant gorillas, giant snakes and all kinds of gorgeous Frazetta monsters. Jay loved the idea of this one as well, so off we went."
Remender was cautious in describing what "Creatures" the title refers to.
"Ah, but that would be spoiling so much," he said. "I will tell you the lead hero is Teddy Roosevelt, who as President of the United States moonlights as a paranormal investigator. As president, he is privy to things the rest of us don't and shouldn't know. Dark things that live among us, around every corner, where we work, where we live. Monsters and aliens have infiltrated us. With no one else he can trust with this horrible information, Teddy resumes his role as a Rough Rider. Part Indiana Jones, part 'X-Files,' it's perfect fun."
As one might guess, it does not tie-into the emerging Frazetta Universe being laid out in the current "Death Dealer" miniseries as well as the projects announced alongside "Creatures."
"All these titles are based off Frank's art," Fotos said. "We're building the Time-Life library of Frazetta comics. There are titles that tie into each other, 'Death Dealer,' 'Silver Warrior,' 'Dark Kingdom' and 'Swamp Demon.' But we don't want all the titles to do that, hence 'Creatures' and 'Dracula Meets the Wolfman.'
"'Creatures' has such a cool concept that I don't see it just a one-shot, so be prepared to see somewhat of an ongoing with that title. It's just too cool, with potential for movies or even a TV series."
Like his co-creators in the Frazetta line, Remender's first contact with the legendary fantasy artist's work goes way back.
"Art class," in Remender's case. "Freshman year of high school, I had an art teacher who was pretty lazy. He would give us Xeroxed images and simply have us reproduce them. For two to three months, he handed us Frazetta images and we would redraw them. I fell in love with the stuff.
"Every Frazetta image tells a story that you want to know. You look at one of his paintings, and it demands that you create a story to fit it. Frank creates pure imagination like the Willy Wonka -- Gene Wilder version, please -- of fantasy art. It is one of the most inspirational bodies of work I can think of. When I have a block or need a big idea, I look through his paintings for inspiration and I always find it. He painted scenarios that send the mind reeling in a million directions with endless possibilities. No one artist does that for me like Frank does."
"Creatures," like the other Frazetta projects announced at the convention, is not due in stores until 2008. Thus, certain decisions are yet to be made.
"We have a few of the usual amazing suspects in mind," said Remender. "I think the announcement about the artist is going to wait till we have some pages to show."
Check out all the stories coming out of Comic-Con International 2007 about the expanded line of Frazetta comics: