Earlier in the week comics creator Rick Remender gave us the scoop on his new comic The Last Days of American Crime. In part two of our interview, Remender told us about developing the film version of that comic.
Of course, the prolific writer has a great many comics projects out there, all or which are attracting attention in Hollywood. We conclude our exclusive interview with talk of the film versions of Fear Agent, Sorrow and XXXombies to name a few. He also talks about next year's return of the Fear Agent comics.
Mania: When people ask me what I'm reading Fear Agent is always the first thing that pops into my head. What's going on with the movie version of that?
Remender: Nothing I can talk about yet. You know, it's one of those things where there's been motion but none of it is ready to be announced. They want to make sure they have all their ducks in a row so they can do one sort of ka-pow with the announcement.
But it's still in the works. It's still moving forward. Fingers crossed, because if it happens the way that it could happen, man, it would be perfect. I'm just hoping all the planets align the way they should because I think that a Fear Agent movie would be a hell of a lot of fun.
Mania: Heck yeah! And there was recently some news about the Sorrow movie too.
Remender: Yeah. Sorrow is over at Twisted with the Saw people and they really get the possession angle and that 70s-themed horror feel. I think that a lot of people might not. It's more based on tension and character than straight-up gore, or special effects.
And then I just finished the XXXombies screenplay and there'll be some news on that coming up pretty soon.
Mania: With Fear Agent and Sorrow are you writing the screenplays for those as well?
Remender: No. XXXombies and The Last Days of American Crime were all I had time for this year. I'm also still doing four or five different comic books.
And then Night Mary, we just got the take on it from the screenwriter, so there should be some announcements with that soon and that's over at Summit and Animal Logic. Animal Logic is the house that did all stuff for The Matrix and 300. Summit is obviously the Twilight movies.
It's been crazy. Seven years I spent making creator own books and now, one at a time, they're being plucked by studios for film stuff. It's nice. I feel like the five that are in development, even if one of them got made – it'd be pretty excited to see it on the big screen.
Mania: It has to be difficult too -- it's not easy to pull a team together for a creator-owned comic, and yet you had so many going at the same time. How did you accomplish that?
Remender: I nearly killed myself.
I had written three or four graphic novels before I'd ever inked a page. I left animation for a while and my buddy Kieron Dwyer asked me if I would ink him on The Avengers and I did. All of a sudden in comics that was all that I was known for: inking Kieron.
It frustrated me greatly, having done the dance to make four creator-owned graphic novels at that point on my own, a couple of which that I had drawn and all of which that I had either written or co-written.
To shake that off – I think that it was probably a good thing, because to shake off the idea that I was solely an inker – comic book people want to relegate everyone into a title and understand it, the same way they want things to be good or bad, and everything views things adversarially because they're so used to the ideas of heroes and villains. It's an interesting psychological soup to see people play out in their lives in this industry.
It motivated me while I was drawing Man With The Screaming Brain with Bruce Campbell over at Dark Horse, and I was working over at Electronic Arts full time storyboarding the Sean Connery 007 game that they did back then. I was motivated to take that little bit of free time that I had at night and write up these pitches.
Fortunately because I'm a professional artist as well, I have a lot of friends who are artists and they were gracious enough to believe in my writing abilities. That made all the difference.
Guys like Tony Moore and Kieron Dwyer and Eric Nguyen and Salgood Sam and John Heebink and Mike Manley and Eric Canete and Jerome Opena...all these great guys I've gotten to work with, they built my career because they drew my stories. That came from friendships, having been in the trenches as an artist with these guys.
After I wrote these pitches, I sent them all out figuring one of them would get picked up. And all of them got picked up. Every single one by either Image, IDW or Dark Horse.
The next thing I know, between 2005 and 2009, now, I've just been doing all I can to produce the things. It's mixed blessing/curse. It's everything you wanted but it's all at the same time. Then you keep getting great offers. Marvel offered me an exclusive and I had all these fun projects to do there.
It's been four years of terrible, mind-numbing grind, but it's been well worth it.
Mania: Are you gonna relax soon?
Remender: I don't know. I want to so bad but I keep getting stuff! [laughs]
What am I gonna say? Last Days of American Crime was always really personal to me and then they asked me to do the screenplay as well, and I was already in the middle of the XXXombies and really enjoying the process and would like to keep writing screenplays.
I got paid to write my first two screenplays. You can't turn that down. Then when EA wanted me to help write Dead Space I couldn't turn that down. Marvel keeps offering me these fun projects. You can't turn it down. What can you do but lock yourself up in a studio and watch yourself turn into a troglodyte.
Mania: That's a very good problem to have. When does Fear Agent return to comics?
Remender: We want most of "The Dark" done [before we solicit it]. We had some shipping problems with "I Against I". I don't want that to happen again. I really feel like its not fair to the people who support the book. It's not fair to the readers or the retailers.
So we've got the first three issues pretty well done of the next arc. It's a five-issue arc. Each issue will have 22 pages of main story and then an 8 page back up. It's 30 pages packed full of comics for $2.99.
We're just trying to do everything we can to make this special and to really give everybody a bang for their buck. I think the idea is to try and get this third issue completely locked before we solicit and that way we'll be in a nice situation...the book will come out like clockwork. Every three and four weeks an issue comes out.
I feel like the last arc deserves that. People shouldn't have to sit around waiting for three months between issues and lose the velocity of the story. It should come out like clockwork: Bang! Bang! Bang! Get to the end of the book and then we'll have the trade. A few months after that we're doing the omnibus of all 33 issues.
Remender fans who can't wait for next year's return of Fear Agent are encouraged to check out his current run on Marvel's Punisher book. And then pick up The Last Days of American Crime from Radical Publishing later this month. You can read a 15 page preview of it on on Radical's MySpace page. Ask your retailer about it, and help them out by providing the ordering codes for issue 1 (OCT091056 - Alex Maleev cover, OCT091057 - Greg Tocchini cover) and issue 2 (DEC090978 - Alex Maleev cover, DEC090979 - Greg Tocchini).