BLOG The Monkeybrain Interviews: Edison Rex
Monkeybrain Comics has had a very good couple of weeks. The company’s initial launch announcement was so well received that it launched through comiXology, the digital comics site, two days early.
Edison Rex starts where most superhero books finish. Edison Rex is the smartest man in the world, a criminal genius, and the archnemesis of the world’s greatest protector, Valiant. Having dedicated his life to defeating Valiant and proving once and for all that he is a menace to humanity and not a hero,what will Edison do once he finally succeeds? And with Valiant out of the way, who will be left to protect the Earth?
I talked to writer Chris Roberson and artist Dennis Culver about the book and their plans for it.
What influenced the book, both in narrative and design terms?
CR: “The original genesis of the idea, for me, came from thinking about the ‘mad scientist’ villain in superhero stories, and how they’re often just one degree away from the ‘science hero’ characters in old pulp stories, the difference being that the mad scientist usually devotes all of his energies to defeating a superhero. I had been thinking about doing something with that basic idea for a few years, and then this last spring I was talking to Dennis about the possibility of collaborating on something. When I asked Dennis what he was interested in drawing, he basically described exactly the ‘mad scientist becomes science hero’ story that I’d been thinking about for years. A flurry of emails, outlines, and sketches followed, and Edison Rex is the result!
DC: “I was amazed Chris and I had this similar idea scratching around our brains. He had the better name though, my guy was tentatively called Doc Doublecross. It’s been great fun developing this story with Chris. Finding out where our interests overlap and then letting our differences mesh together has made Rex a stronger idea. As far as design influences a little bit is coming from everywhere but I’m trying to think about a lot of the clean design work in animation. I love the set pieces Paul Rivoche puts together for Timm era DC cartoons.”
Who do you think is best suited to defending the Earth: Rex or Valiant?
CR: “I think that’s a question that we’ll be investigating as the stories unfold. But as the last panel suggests, Rex quickly discovers that defending the Earth isn’t as simple a task as he might have imagined.”
Is Rex the lone ‘villain’ in the world? Was Valiant the lone hero?
CR: “No, and no. I don’t want to go into too much detail just yet, for fear of spoiling surprises, but in my head, all of the characters that we’ll be meeting are connected in some way to Valiant and/or Rex. These would be the extended cast of characters that would have appeared in the Valiant comic, had such a thing ever existed, either as enemies or allies”
Dennis, I loved the design work on Rex’s Lair in particular. Are there any easter eggs hidden in there?
DC: “I wanted to give a sense that Rex was an adventurer at heart. Even if all of his adventures are probably somehow related to destroying Valiant. So there’s a framed portrait of an alien emperor, trophies from a time travel safari as well as otherworldly big game. Also weapons and tools Rex has used over the years against Valiant. Like the giant robot and the inert opposite colored Valiant golem named Defiant. I imagine the Death Booth will be added amongst the trophies as a bittersweet reminder of his ultimate victory.”
Likewise I really liked Rex’s high science, slightly low tech rig at the end of the book. What influences the design work on his hardware?
DC: “Again, trying to go for simple and bold. I want Rextech to be slick and shiny. I love the Death Booth. It’s clearly labeled and the door is shaped like a coffin. Does what it says it will do. Just like Rex!”
Edison Rex #1 is out now from comiXology, priced $0.99.