Chris Giarrusso is best known for his work on "Mini Marvels," the popular Marvel Comics strips that began life as part of the Bullpen Bulletin pages seen in most of the publisher's titles. By popular Demand, Giarrusso and the Mini Marvels graduated to their own titles and digest-sized collected editions, such as the recently released "Mini Marvels: Secret Invasion."
Coming next for Giarrusso is a new collection of strips starring his own comical creation, G-Man. On sale in May from Image Comics, "G-Man: Learning to Fly" features the titular hero, a kid superhero whose incredible powers come courtesy of a magic cape. The strips also stars G-Man's big brother Great Man (who has the same powers), as well as their friends Billy Demon (half boy, half demon), Sparky (whose shoes make him the fastest kid on the block) Tan Man (color-changing master of camouflage), and Sunny the Suntrooper (solar-suited soldier from the sun). There's also the Marksman, Super Cardinal, Captain Thunderman, Kid Thunder, Mister Mental, Stargaze, Wizard Glendolf Williams, Coach Oxbear, and others.
"G-Man: Learning to Fly" collects past sold-out G-Man comics and strips in advance of all-new G-Man releases from Image, making it an ideal item for fans of Giarrusso's "Mini Marvels" who want to see what happens when this talented cartoonist is left to his own devices.
CBR News spoke with Chris Giarrusso about his work.
CBR: One of the major arcs collected in "G-Man: Learning to Fly" deals with the superhero convention of parallel realities. What are some of the other themes of this collection of stories?
Chris Giarrusso: The parallel reality story is just one of the extended story-arcs. The main theme of the collection is the introduction and origin of G-Man (and his brother Great Man), which is the lead story. There's a "G-Man Goes to Super-Hero Camp" storyline, there's an extended "G-Man Christmas" story, and there's a lot of single-page stand-alone strips as well. There are some notable crossover appearances with Erik Larsen's Savage Dragon and Jacob Chabot's Mighty Skullboy Army as well. There's also a "Mean Brother / Idiot Brother" feature, which are comic strips that G-Man and his brother Great Man write about each other.
You work with other writers on the "Mini-Marvels." With "G-Man," it's all you. How does working with others change your process? What the advantages and disadvantages?
I've written most of the "Mini Marvel" stories myself, so "G-Man" is going to have the same style of writing as well as artwork. With other writers, the process is different because I have to interpret another writer's script. Sometimes it works pretty well because I don't have to agonize (as I sometimes tend to do) over the writing, and I can just start drawing. It's also fun to collaborate with other creators for a change of pace. But it's ultimately more satisfying when I'm able to bring my own ideas to life from start to finish.
Your drawing style is very distinctive. What are some of your artistic influences?
Mostly Charles Schulz, Erik Larsen, and my brother Dave Giarrusso.
Marvel just released "Mini Marvels: Secret Invasion," the latest Mini-Marvels collection. What else do you have in the works for Marvel?
There's a brand new nine-page Mini Marvel Hawkeye story written and illustrated by me in the just-released "Marvel Assistant-Size Spectacular" #1. Beyond that, Marvel is turning their attention to "Super Hero Squad." Marvel feels that Mini Marvels will confuse their Super Hero Squad branding too much, so there are currently no plans to continue Mini Marvels. Fans of my writing and art can continue to follow my particular brand of all-ages kid super-hero stories in "G-Man," while folks who want to see their favorite Marvel heroes in the all-ages comic strip style will be plenty satisfied with "Super Hero Squad."
Going forward, will "G-Man" be published as original digest-sized installments, or will they continue to collect material released in pamphlets or other formats? And what kind of publishing schedule are you looking at?
We're planning a brand new standard-comic-format five-issue miniseries beginning in August. If that is successful enough, we'll hopefully collect that story into another digest next year.
"G-Man: Learning to Fly" goes on sale in May from Image Comics. Pre-ordering information can be found on Chris Giarrusso's website.