It seems writer Gail Simone and artist Jim Calafiore just couldn’t leave Megalopolis behind. The creative team will return to the devastated city in “Surviving Megalopolis,” a new miniseries from Dark Horse Comics arriving in 2016. Last year, Simone and Calafiore launched an incredibly successful Kickstarter to publish the first volume of the series, “Leaving Megalopolis,” which followed a group of human survivors who fought tooth and nail to escape a city overrun by superheroes gone bad. Now, since the fans just couldn’t get enough, both the creators and the characters are headed back into the city with a new mission.
Simone and Calafiore spoke exclusively with CBR News about their new project, revealing exactly when the story will pick up, why certain characters are returning and where they’re headed. Additionally, they shared how they will expand on the mythology they created in the first volume and what questions will be answered in the new miniseries.
CBR News: Where does “Surviving Megalopolis” pick up? Which characters will be returning, and what brings them back?
Gail Simone: Basically, in “Surviving Megalopolis,” we have a multi-billionare who was trapped in Megalopolis and his wife hires a team of incredibly well-trained mercs to find out where he is and to get him out, which is really against the law. They don’t really know the area, so they need guides and they hire some of the survivors from the first book to go along with them and find her husband. That’s one of the plots.
The other thing is that Mina, because of the things that happened when she was a kid, feels that she can’t protect anyone… She just feels like that’s not something she should be, because every time she’s tried it’s ended in tragedy. “Surviving Megalopolis” might have her overcompensating for that a bit.
And then we also have heroes show up. I don’t want to give them all away, but we include Southern Belle, who’s shown to be an absolute God-awful human being, and we have a slightly Batman-esque hero called the Crimson Shadow.
Did you always plan for a sequel? What inspired “Surviving Megalopolis,” and how will it be different from “Leaving Megalopolis?”
Jim Calafiore: When we started the Kickstarter campaign for the first volume, “Leaving Megalopolis,” I did say to Gail, “Don’t kill everybody off!”
Simone: Must resist!
Calafiore: We always planned on continuing. We were hoping to continue it.
Simone: We were really excited about the idea and the world and how everything was coming together and we were working together on this, where really there was no holds barred on the content and stuff. It was just really an exciting project to work on. As we built the world out more and more, I think both of us were really hoping that we’d have the opportunity to continue on and tell lots more stories.
You’ve both had a long tenure in superhero comics; you previously worked together on DC Comics’ “Secret Six.” In what ways did your experience with “Megalopolis” feel different, and what about it made you want to come back for more?
Calafiore: I actually started in independent books way back when with Caliber Press, where “The Crow” and a lot of people started. For me, it was coming back to creator-owned. There’s always a greater satisfaction with creator-owned, because it’s all yours; you’re not having to go with somebody else’s vision, even though it’s your vision and it’s always somewhat couched. It’s a lot more fun to be able to play in your own little universe.
Simone: I love comics and I love superhero comics but there are some things you can’t really explore properly. Like in the DC Universe and the Marvel Universe, it can just be too hard to bring those characters back from a real deep, drastic moral quandary. In this story, we can have a good character make an awful decision and see what happens. You don’t have to skip to something that’s already been set up as a character’s moral boundary, so I love playing with that kind of thing.
In “Leaving Megalopolis,” you explored themes of everyday heroism in extraordinary circumstances, pack mentality, hero worship and fandom while inverting popular superhero tropes. Will “Surviving Megalopolis” expand on these ideas, or do you have something new in store?
Simone: I think we expand on those things as well as new ones, and one of those will be: “Is it possible to self-sacrifice to a fault?”
Calafiore: Can you be too self-sacrificing?
Simone: The story is about urban decay, so we’re going to be seeing a lot of that. I live kind of in the middle of that feel of urban decay… the fishing and logging industry has disappeared, and people in the past grew up knowing there was hope and they’d always have a job and they’d always make a living wage. Now, that’s just not what’s happening. People always say, “We won’t let that happen. We won’t let the town go under like that.” Well, look at Detroit. There are houses and entire neighborhoods abandoned. The government’s not always the answer, and so this story is about what happens if you don’t have that outside help.
You built a very rich world around Megalopolis. Will we see more of the world outside the city and how it’s affected by the Megalopolis event?
Simone: Well, somewhat. We’re focusing a lot on the town itself. As we go down the road, we’re definitely getting more of them. That’s definitely going to be a factor because this is a huge, huge city and things are going violently and so it’s a matter of what decision is going to be made, is someone going to help or are they just going to leave stuff to their own devices.
Towards the end of “Leaving Megalopolis,” we saw a shadow of Overlord’s former self. Is there any possibility of redemption for these characters after all the horrible things they’ve done?
Simone: For one thing, we’re going to find out what came out of the hole, which caused the superheroes to turn bad. We’re going to find out where all the super villains are. I don’t want to reveal too much about who may or may not be redeemed or if there’s any redemption or anything, but one thing about this book is there is hope sprouting among all the horrible things that are going on.
To give your fans an idea of what to expect, could you sum up what we can expect in “Surviving Megalopolis” in three words?
Simone: Are you asking me to say something in three words? It’s not possible! This is like someone threw up in a kaleidoscope. A very colorful, violent kaleidoscope. Just lots of things going on.
Calafiore: Nasty, nasty, nasty.
Simone: I’m just really happy we have this opportunity and we’re getting to do this second book. When Jim and I first started, I thought, “Oh, this will be a fun little side project” and the Kickstarter did really, really well and then it did really well again in digital and then, when Dark Horse printed it, it did well again. You have this fear, when you take something your own and put it out there, that no one’s going to read it, so to speak, so to know people are invested in this world. The biggest question I get asked now at cons is “What happens next?” That is my favorite thing.
Dark Horse’s “Surviving Megalopolis” arrives in stores in January 2016.
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