Imagine the freedom of being a trucker, dedicated to living a 100 percent nomadic, off the grid-style existence. Traveling the open road, living job to job, no taxes and no mortgage, just an ever-changing view of the vast wonders of the American highway. But what happens when a loved one suddenly needs access to something like expensive medical care? Without insurance, or even a Social Security number, what are you willing to do to get the money? How dangerous of a person would you be willing to steal from to make sure your family member gets the care they need to survive?
Those are some of the questions that will drive Death or Glory, a new, creator-owned Image Comics series from writer Rick Remender and artist Bengal, announced Wednesday at Image Expo in Portland. When it launches this May, Death or Glory promises to offer plenty of high-speed action, heart and a look at the freedom on the American highway.
The series revolves around Glory, a driver and grease monkey who grew up on the open road as part of her father's independent trucking convoy. When her dad suddenly becomes deathly ill, Glory is thrust into the dangerous world of organized crime, where she'll have to call on her personal cunning and her skills behind the wheel in order to survive and get the money needed to pay for her father’s life-saving operation. Along the way, she'll have to deal with colorful assassins, treacherous ex-lovers and technology that threatens to permanently end her family's way of life. CBR has the first interview with Remender on Death or Glory, which launches on May 2 with a 48-page first issue and a $4.99 cover price, along with a six-page preview of Bengal's art from the first issue.
CBR: Death or Glory looks like it was inspired by freewheeling Rockabilly music and '70s-style big rig and car chase movies.
Rick Remender: A bit, yeah, though I’d say more classic country than rockabilly. Death or Glory is part Convoy, part The Professional, part Thelma and Louise. That led me down the rabbit hole of what I wanted to say about the mythology of the American highway and the last free people, the truckers. Add in Bengal’s love of drawing cars, and you’re off to the races.
This is a mix of all of that, and at the center we have Glory, this kind, honest character who was raised free, with integrity in an independent convoy, on the road, off the grid, and free of all modern bureaucracy. Glory is going to be forced to confront the world that she’d been raised to stay away from to keep her father alive.
Five thousand miles, four heists, three days, two psychopaths and one woman who’s had enough.
It's very grounded. There's a little bit of a heightened reality in that Glory is going to upset a number of different criminal organizations, and colorful shady figures end up in pursuit.
We're also looking at the effect the dying of the trucking industry, all the jobs self-driving cars will make redundant, it’s effect on her family and friends. Human resistance against the technology that's eating up so many of our jobs.
When we first meet her, will Glory have any sort of experience in dealing with that corrupting blend of corporate greed and technology?
Glory is a very kind and honest character, and she's been raised wonderfully free of all these things that are now starting to encroach upon her and her family's way of life and livelihood. She’s never had a Social Security number, or even a bank account for that matter.
Glory’s world is crumbling in more ways than one. I really romanticize the idea of a convoy, this band of brothers and sisters, the last free people in the country, and now their way of life and that piece of the American mythology of the highway is in jeopardy.
When people hear someone's been living off the grid, they often think that person is incredibly naive, or a paranoid and angry person with a large stockpile of weapons. It sounds like Glory is neither of those personality types.
In this case, “off the grid” is just pure freedom. They avoid the traps of modern society. They believe that to be pulled into the grid just erodes your humanity and makes you a slave to credit card companies and mortgages, so they live completely free, job-to-job, no other entanglements. This convoy that her father runs provides work, food and sustenance, but they don't want big houses. They don't want shiny things. They don't want credit cards or stocks, or bank accounts. It's a cash society, completely unencumbered from the things that tie all the rest of us down and drive us.
For them, life is about living this free, almost nomadic existence the way humans did for tens of thousands of years prior to the development of society and this slow march towards what we have today: an almost indentured servitude to the giant companies that control us with debt and all the shit we need that we don’t really need.
There is a downside to their freedom; no Social Security, no medical insurance, forged drivers licenses, and living hand to mouth means that when her father needs a liver replacement, they have no means to pay for that.It's diagnosed late, so it's a procedure that needs to happen soon, or she's going to lose her dad. Of course, going through the bureaucracy of getting him medical insurance or even access is nearly impossible because they're basically ghosts. They do not exist. So Glory undertakes a terrible risk to acquire the funds to pay for her father's procedure.