The following is an interview with Stuart Moore and Gus Storms, the creative team behind Image Comics’ futuristic series, EGOs. In this interview, Fanboy Comics Managing Editor Barbra Dillon chats with Moore and Storms about the inspiration for the comic book series, their creative approach to EGOs, and their slate of upcoming projects!
Barbra J. Dillon, Fanboy Comics Managing Editor: Image Comics published the first four issues of your comic book series, EGOs. What initially inspired you to write this story, and what do you most hope that readers will take away from it?
Stuart Moore: For me, EGOs came from the best possible place: I decided to sit down and create a series from whole cloth, one that combined a comics genre I love (far-future superheroes) with more sophisticated characterization. I was working very clearly within the parameters of space opera/sci-fi, but I also wanted the book to be a bit more plausible than usual.
I also, very deliberately, set out to pack as many characters, ideas, and emotions as possible into every page, without making the book seem crowded. People who pay $2.99 for a comic book should get their money’s worth.
I guess I hope people feel like they’ve been on a thrill ride, but most of all that they remember the characters. At its core, EGOs is about a couple: Deuce and Pixel, the two leaders of the team.
Finally, I wanted Issue #1 to end with a twist—a shock that would make people have to come back for more. Issue #5, the first new issue, also ends with a twist.
BD: EGOs puts a new spin on the superhero genre and focuses heavily on its characters’ relationships. Did you find it challenging to bring a fresh perspective to the genre?
SM: There’s a particular thrill to watching armies of colorful, flying people fighting and crusading—but it’s often thought of as a childish thrill. When people try to update that, to “grow it up,” they usually throw in lots of sex and violence. There’s violence in EGOs, where it fits, but I also wanted to try the same trick more subtly. Again, this is a story about a couple, a marriage.
The story also evolves as it goes. The first three issues fit firmly into the mold of a team origin, establishing who these people are and why they come together. The fourth issue was a standalone story focusing on the rookie members. (Issues #1-4 are collected in the trade paperback EGOs: QUINTESSENCE.)
The new storyline is more of a mystery, a tangled story focusing on an invisible threat to the galactic economy. I was very strongly influenced by crime fiction, by police procedurals—it was a lot of fun to transplant that genre to the distant planet, Tortuga.
BD: How did your creative partnership on EGOs come about, and how would you describe your creative process?
SM: Gus was introduced to me by Marie Javins, my sometime business partner, who’s currently working at DC Entertainment. Heidi Macdonald had noticed Gus around the same time, too. His style is precise, but gritty, rich in detail, but strong in character, with just a bit of a European feel. He was absolutely perfect for this project.
By the time Gus came on, I’d written at least one of the scripts. The basics of the series were already set, but he’s added details, characters, and motivations. He’s not just insanely talented, he’s also one of the smartest people I know. I’m very lucky to have found him.
Gus Storms: Pretty simple on my end. Stuart came to me with the idea/outline for the book, and I loved it. It was right after I’d graduated college. I’d just finished another project I’d been working on – everything aligned to make it a very easy yes.
BD: Gus, did you have an idea in mind for the art style when you first read the script, or has the artwork developed as you have worked on the project?
GS: I’d actually say both. My initial intent was to make the EGOs world an apparently cleaner, sleeker future; a Tommorowland-by-Apple sort of thing. I wanted to create a counterpoint for some of the wanton carnage coming later in the books. It’s a particular type of unsettling to see blood splatter on white walls.
The other central conceit was to make it all just a little bit goofy and off-kilter. So much of the sci-fi concept art/design one sees is absolutely lovely but, I find, disconcertingly “cool.” And, some artists are great at cool, but I generally want my designs to make me laugh a little, I’m looking for at least 1/3 ridiculousness. A great expression of this divide can be found between Verhoeven’s Robocop vs. the remake; I want my Cyborgs clunky, maladroit, and basically gross when you take their helmets off.
BD: Issue #5 of EGOs will be released this coming February. Do you have a specific number of issues in mind for the next arc or the series as a whole?
SM: Issue #5 begins CRUNCHED, a five-part story (#5-9). After that, we’ll see. I have a lot of ideas.
BD: Are there any tidbits about the upcoming storyline that you are able to share with our readers?
SM: With CRUNCHED, I wanted to craft a very meticulously plotted story, one where all the pieces fall into place, even though the details may not all be spelled out on the page. Most comics are loosely plotted and focus largely on character; character is crucial, but I also want the reader to be drawn into the plot, trying to put the clues together along with the characters.
I also had certain themes I wanted to deal with, particularly the fallout on individuals and society from a massive, damaging war. This is the closest as I’ve come to writing an actual novel in comics form. It turns out that’s harder than it looks.
BD: Are there any other upcoming projects on which you are working that you are able to share with our readers?
SM: I’m working on THE ZODIAC LEGACY, a new series of middle-reader novels co-written/created by Stan Lee with illustrations by Andie Tong. That introduces a whole new universe of young superheroes. The first volume will be out from Disney at the end of January, with the volume two to follow in the fall.
I’ve also written CONVERGENCE: SUPERBOY AND THE LEGION OF SUPERHEROES, two issues from DC in April and May. Gus is the artist on Issue #1!
And, I have a story in VAMPIRELLA: FEARY TALES #4, also in January, called “The Vampire(r)’s New Clothes.” We just won’t tell my mother about that one.
GS: Probably the biggest one is our work on DC’s Convergence, Legion of Superheroes Edition. Stuart wrote ’em, I drew the first book, though had to drop out for the 2nd issue due to overlapping schedule stuff. Should be cool though.
BD: Being that we focus on all things “geek” at Fanboy Comics, would you care to geek out with us about the comics that you are currently reading?
SM: I just finished CALIBAN by Garth Ennis and Facundo Percio from Avatar. It’s a great, character-based horror-thriller set in deep space. I can’t get enough of Fraction and Zdarsky’s SEX CRIMINALS. Also SAGA, GOD HATES ASTRONAUTS, RAGNAROK, MULTIVERSITY, SATELLITE SAM, and I really liked the first issue of the new ANT-MAN series.
GS: One in particular I’d have to shout-out is Ant Colony by the indie-phenom, Michael DeForge. Ant Colony is the printed collection of DeForge’s Ant Comic (published online 2012-2013), a phantasmagorical saga following the lives of a colony of black ants. Starts off a little shaky but fills out fast, becoming a silly, strange, and, above all, poignant masterwork of psychedelic magical-realism. Super great.
BD: Lastly, what would you like to tell fans who want to learn more about EGOs?
SM: Take your pick:
A. It’s for people who love costumed heroes but want them to grow up—in a real way, not a violent/adolescent one.
B. Just read Issue #5. It’ll tell you everything you need to know. Or pick up our bargain-priced trade paperback, QUINTESSENCE, which also features extra features, including the prose story Issue #0.
GS: Certainly pick up the first trade. Maybe follow my tumblr, where I post tidbits and art extra’s whenever I can get around to it? Yurp.