Variety. It's the one word above all others that defines the product coming from AiT/PlanetLar. Whether it be news people stuck on the moon, stories with walking fish men or food delivery folk caught in the middle of a Turkish Mafia turf war, there's always something different coming from the publisher. Coming Spring, 2003 from AiT/PlanetLar is another unique book: "Filler," a 72 page, black and white, original graphic from those guys responsible for "Teenagers From Mars" Rick Spears and Rob G. CBR News caught up with publisher Larry Young who described the project and it's inspiration.
"I had just watched 'The Usual Suspects,' and was struck by how iconic the movie poster was. Just the main cast, in a police line-up," said Young. "I thought, "What if there was the 'other' guy there? Like the red shirt crew member on the old 'Star Trek,' who you just know is going to die? Kirk, Spock, McCoy, and The Other Guy beam down… who's going to get it before the first commercial, right? So I thought, 'What's the story of the career line-up professional? The guy who is always in the line-up? The control member? The guy the cops put in so they know if he's fingered by the victim, it's a bad ident, because he's the one guy they know didn't do it? And what if he was picked, and what if everyone thought he really did do it?'"
So with that idea Young approached Rick Spears and Rob G. to see if they'd be interested in running with it, and they happily accepted.
"I've always been a crime noir fan," writer Rick Spears told CBR News. "I love the unflinching look they allow into the dark underside. The men are always tough, the women always tougher and it always ends in a bloody mess.
"Larry called and asked if Rob and I wanted to do a OGN. I would have said yes to anything just to work with him. He had this idea for a book about a line up guy and he said it should be like the best episode of 'Kojak' ever. I didn't have the heart to tell him I'd never seen 'Kojak' butI'm pretty sure that was the bald guy with the lollipop pushing diner's club cards. So, I just took the line up guy thing and ran with it. I wrote 'Filler' in two weeks around jury duty.
For Spears and Rob G., this is their first work away from the self-published "Teenagers From Mars." For spears, the switch to focusing just on the writing and
not every business aspect of publishing a comic was a welcome one.
"I've taken on most of the publishing duties for 'Teenagers' and 'Filler' is really the first thing I've completed since. I love 'Teenagers' to death but it was nice to kick off the chains and really flex on something totally different. I know Rob has been dying to draw NYC so this gives him a shot.
"It was nice to do a single big story that the OGN format allows. 'Filler' needed that kind of space. It wouldn't have worked as a multi-issue comic.
Look for "Filler" from AiT/PlanetLar in comic shops Spring, 2003.