Last Thursday, writer/artist Rick Remender sat in the CBR Chat Room hot seat for another one of our regular chats with comic creators. Covered during the chat were many of books he has coming out in the coming months-- "Strange Girl," "Night Mary," "Fear Agent," "Sea of Red" and more. He even teased at a number of new books coming from Image, announced the return of an old favorite of his to Image and much more. Sit back and enjoy the read. The chat was moderated by Brian Cronin. It should be noted that the following does contain adult language.
Brian Cronin: Welcome, folks, to the Rick Remender chat!
remender73: Hey all.
JimmyDee: First off, LOVE "Sea of Red" ... you and Kieron are doing a kick ass job. But of course, that's not a question, so here goes ...
JimmyDee: You seem to be making a big push in the comics industry the past year. Is this part of an overall plan you have? Is creator owned a world you want to stay in primarily, or is Marvel & DC alluring for you?
remender73: I have a few things in at Marvel and that would be great.
remender73: I love my creator owned books. They are mine, so they mean more than Spider-Man, who is cool - but not mine.
remender73: I've been working on these books for three years and this year, it all just happened at once.
JimmyDee: Of your creator owned books, which are you having the most fun with?
remender73: Tough call.
remender73: This month- "Strange Girl."
remender73: I really dunno.
remender73: "Night Mary"
Brian Cronin: Has it been a matter of now that you are established, people will accept books from you easier?
remender73: Sure, and that's great because I won't be doing books that fit into any current trends.
Sean Whitmore: Rick, how did you pick Eric Nguyen? Or did someone else suggest him?
remender73: Eric is a friend of my Manager. He was inking "Stormwatch," and was not very into it. He wanted to pencil.
JimmyDee: Eric's artwork is amazing. I've only seen the first issue and preview art online, but it's amazing.
remender73: You have to find "Strange Girl" #2 or 3, he really takes off. Really, each issue gets better and better.
remender73: Vertigo tapped him to take over "Sandman."
JimmyDee: How long do you see "Strange Girl" lasting?
remender73: 24 issues.
Brian Cronin: When you describe the plot of "Strange Girl," do you ever worry about it sounding too religious? Do you ever find yourself adding "it's not really religious!"
remender73: It's as religious as "Thor" is. It's based in a world where there is in fact a God and a Devil. That's all.
Brian Cronin: I know that, but I'm a reader of the book.
remender73: Sure, but at some point it gets hard to keep everyone happy. I can only hope people pick it up, read it and see.
remender73: It's hard to do what you want and still make a book for everyone, so I don't try.
Brian Cronin: Bloato...not dead?!?
Brian Cronin: Please say not dead!
remender73: And ruin the fun?
remender73: Issue 4 is due in four weeks.
remender73: It's more of "Doctor Strange" meets "Tank Girl."
remender73: Cuz "Left Behind" sucks.
remender73: But yeah, that's not too far off mark.
Sean Whitmore: Cool, as long as she never dons that ugly red cape with the pointy thingies.
Brian Cronin: Left Behind DOES suck, which is why I worry sometimes about the pitch for "Strange Girl."
remender73: Sure, but if Hollywood makes two super hero movies and one is good and one sucks, people will still go see super hero movies.
remender73: If people have contempt prior to investigation-- fuck 'em.
remender73: Only because what else can I do?
remender73: I won't change my books.
remender73: Sell more? Selling more is great, but fuck it.
Dreadstar: Very Healthy attitude in my opinion.
Brandon Hanvey: I bet you get this question tons of times. Will there be another "Black Heart Billy?"
remender73: I have 12 pages done.
Brandon Hanvey: Cool.
JimmyDee: With Eric working on "Sandman," will that alter the publishing schedule for "Strange Girl" at all? How far ahead are you guys?
remender73: We're taking a month off while he gets caught up.
K'Nort: Rick - How soon will we learn some more backstory in "Strange Girl?" And will it be an all-at-once issue or in bits?
remender73: Issue #4 tells a lot.
remender73: We go into all of Beth's past.
remender73: I'm writing 5-9 now. Very happy with it.
remender73: The reviews are great.
remender73: We shipped like 13,000 copies of #1.
JimmyDee: 13k? Wow, that's pretty impressive.
K'Nort: When you say 5-9, do you mean you're throwing down all the story and then will decide later where to chop it up issue-by-issue exactly?
remender73: I lay out four issues at a time.
remender73: Get a trade's worth.
Sean Whitmore: So a trade is forthcoming?
remender73: Until these books are on issues 8,9,10 it's very tough to build past initials.
remender73: The trade will be solicited in the next Previews.
K'Nort: Horray for a fast trade, while there's buzz.
remender73: The trade should really build readership.
remender73: The regular comic is doing 7-8000 after reorders.
Dreadstar: I'd probably go for that... But then again I was hoping for a "Survivor"/"Sea of Red" Crossover.
remender73: Haha… I'll I'll be working on "Sea of Red" tonight while I watch "Survivor."
JimmyDee: Were a movie made of "Strange Girl," who would you see playing Beth?
remender73: I have no idea who should play Beth, but we do have a very good deal in the works.
Brian Cronin: Didn't you make a rare variant cover for #1? What was up with that?
remender73: The variant was a Kaluta cover. It cost me a fortune, but I wanted it.
Brian Cronin: So wait, if you say 24 issues of "Strange Girl," that means you have an ending in mind?
remender73: I have an ending planned.
remender73: I could write "Starnge Girl" forever.
remender73: So it comes down to sales and interest.
remender73: It will get it to at least 24.
remender73: "Fear Agent" is also due this October.
Brian Cronin: Okay, "Sea of Red" needs no hyping...but how about "Fear Agent" and "Night Mary!" Begin hyping!
remender73: I'm putting it together now.
remender73: "Fear Agent" is going to be huge.
remender73: Sci-Fi is the next horror.
Brian Cronin: I was telling them all earlier about how you are pulling a "Sea of Red," and pirtating Kirkman's artists for Fear Agent.
remender73: Well, Tony and I have been looking for a book to do for, like, five years.
remender73: And Cory was the original artist on "Strange Girl."
remender73: So, both those guys have a history with me.
Brian Cronin: Wow, Cory on Strange Girl would have been a LOT different!
remender73: And they were both off Kirkman's books for ages before I got going.
Brian Cronin: Yeah. I know. For the record, folks, Rick did not actually steal away any of Kirkman's artists! But if you are fans of Robert Kirkman's Image titles, the original artists of both "Invincible" and "Walking Dead" are going to be alternating art on "Fear Agent."
remender73: If you like Kieron and/or I you'll like it.
remender73: It's a thing Kieron and I have been working on for ages.
remender73: There is a big article on CBR.
Sean Whitmore: Paul O'Brien gave "Night Mary" #1 a great review.
remender73: Yeah, the reviews have all been great.
Stephane Garrelie: One of the interesting things in "Strange Girl" is that all isn't dark in this hell. The good exist, too. It's certainly very spectacular and impressing, but overall your demons are very human.
remender73: I try and write dimensional characters.
remender73: I also try to write real women.
remender73: It's good to see more non-super hero readers in comics, too.
remender73: If Hollywood only made one genre movie the movie industry would be as dead as comics.
JimmyDee: Rick: That begs a good question ... when writing women, where do you start? There's that famous line from Nicholson in "As Good As It Gets" where he explains how he writes a woman, but how do you approach it? Do you just go based on observations, or do you bounce ideas off the women in your life?
remender73: I write women I know.
remender73: I write women to act and sound like ex-girlfriends
remender73: Or my wife.
remender73: And that means they have to do some very unexpected things.
Brian Cronin: Ha.
remender73: It's a hallmark of most women.
Brian Cronin: So you go by the whole "the characters tell you what happens" approach?
remender73: Once I have the situation down, yes.
Brian Cronin: How does the art split work on "Fear Agent?"
remender73: "Fear Agent" switches every five issues between Tony Moore and Cory Walker.
remender73: Hey, it's not like Tony couldn't do that. It's not like everyone who isn't at Marvel or DC couldn't be.
remender73: Kieron walked away from Marvel and DC to do creator-owned.
remender73: Many of us have.
remender73: We left the "Avengers" to focus on our own work.
remender73: It's nice to get a regular check, but it's better to control my creations.
remender73: I just storyboarded the new 007 with Sean Connery.
remender73: That paid enough for me to avoid real work for a bit.
remender73: I penciled "Man With the Screaming Brain" for Dark Horse, so I do work for hire, make money, then do my own books for love and give that money to the artist.
Brian Cronin: You make it sound so romantic.
remender73: Ha! Well, for me it is.
remender73: I love comics.
JimmyDee: What's next for you? Any hints you can give?
remender73: Three new books at Image and a few "maybe" projects at the Big Two.
Brian Cronin: I think he is writing some dialogue for Bloato in "Strange Girl" #9 right now. You know, seeing as how Bloato is alive and all.
remender73: Nah, dead is dead.
remender73: But in a world where there is a heaven and hell, where does a dead demon go?
Brian Cronin: Oooh...good point.
Brian Cronin: Do you write differently for different artists?
Brian Cronin: How? By writing things you know they're better at?
remender73: As an artist myself I can feel out peoples strengths.
Jonah Weiland: Hey Rick, I saw you just said you've got three more things up at Image ...
Jonah Weiland: So you've got pirates covered with "Sea of Red." You've got sci-fi/action with "Fear Agent."
Jonah Weiland: You've got religion/hell/fantasy stuff going on with "Strange Girl."
Jonah Weiland: What genres will you be exploring in the new ones?
remender73: One is super hero.
remender73: One is crime.
remender73: One is "Doll and Creature."
remender73: In color.
Jonah Weiland: "Doll & Creature?" That was something you did years ago, right?
remender73: Yeah, no one ever saw it. It is one of my babies.
remender73: We're doing it in full color at Image.
remender73: With some stars on cover duty.
Jonah Weiland: So it's returning as a trade or serialized with Image?
remender73: First a new mini, then a trade, then if it does well, ongoing.
remender73: So I love Image.
Jonah Weiland: Very nice. Congrats, man. Image has been very, very good to you this past year.
remender73: Yeah, Image, Dark Horse, and IDW have all been great to me.
Cayman: What is "Doll and Creature" about?
remender73: Doll and Creature is -
remender73: It's pretty sharp.
Brian Cronin: There is no set ad amount in an Image title, right?
remender73: I try and do no ads. I use sketch book and roughs as filler.
remender73: But Image is my home.
Jonah Weiland: Image is doing some amazing stuff as of late. I like the new look of Image.
remender73: There are things in the works that will show Image is the new EC.
remender73: Just need to get super hero readers to open up.
Brian Cronin: The new EC in the sense that they're just getting a good stable of creators and letting them do what they want, right?
remender73: EC did.
remender73: And the genres are all covered at Image.
remender73: EC did it all and they did it well.
remender73: That's what comics need.
remender73: All genres.
remender73: 1 genre - stale dead as fuck.
remender73: Stop bitching about bad super hero books and stop buying them.
remender73: I like super heroes.
remender73: But I like Crime-Sci-Fi-Horror-Pirates-Knights, too.
remender73: We need all genres and we need them all over.
Jonah Weiland: I'd love to see more really top-notch sci-fi in comics. Especially "reality" based sci-fi. I loved "Planetes" from Tokyopop. Great read.
remender73: Human sci-fi, where the sci isn't the focus, just the stage.
remender73: I need to read "Planetes."
Pól Rua: It's not only the genre itself. It's the methods of storytelling that come with them.
remender73: It's a great playground.
Jonah Weiland: I guess that's why I'm looking forward to "Fear Agent" so much ... nice to see someone doing hard boiled sci-fi stuff that's not just action with sci-fi trappings.
remender73: I hope we do well with "Feat Agent."
remender73: As in I hope the book is good.
Pól Rua: I'm so looking forward to "Fear Agent."
Jonah Weiland: Rick Remender. Tony Moore. Cory Walker. How can it not be good?
remender73: I'll tell you guys, the orders were lowish.- 10,000.
remender73: All the retailer $ went to the DC cross over.
remender73: So if you want a "Fear Agent" #2, get a pre-ordered book.
Jonah Weiland: Really? "Strange Girl" outsold "Fear Agent?" Hopefully word of mouth will pick things up with the following issues.
remender73: Reader reaction and retailer orders are not in line.
remender73: "Fear Agent" will be a hit
Pól Rua: I work in a comic shop, and I ordered fairly well on it... not huge, more than a few. We tend to do initial orders low with frequent reorders.
Jonah Weiland: Which store?
Pól Rua: Ace Comics & Games in Brisbane, Australia.
remender73: Fans of "The Walking Dead," "Sea of Red," "Invincible" and "Strange Girl" will buy "Fear Agent."
remender73: We'll be sold out of first prints on #1-#3 in a day.
remender73: I assure you.
Pól Rua: All those titles are big sellers here.
remender73: Cool. Thanks for the orders.
Jonah Weiland: Rick, so you're saying people should stock up and sell 'em for loads on the eBay.
remender73: We'll have second prints ready to go. It is just that the retailers are not up on the fan reaction.
remender73: So if you want "Fear Agent" 1-3 get 'em pre ordered.
remender73: If you've even seen Tony Moore at a con, you know how many fans he has. If Cory and I are nobodies, Tony alone will sell the book out.
remender73: Okay, any last questions?
Brian Cronin: Superman or Thor, who wins in a fight?
remender73: Thor spins the hammer and makes a gateway to send Superman into the sun. Thor wins!
remender73: I'm a nerd.
remender73: Okay, it's been real, guys. Thanks for having me!
Brian Cronin: Thanks for coming, Rick, it's been fun!