I am incredibly far behind. All the DVD reviews lately (particularly since there have been a number of time-consuming TV releases) have combined with the day job to really put me behind the eight ball here at Newsarama. The upside? I’ve got another week of insanity followed by an entire week off during, which time I’ll be getting the various Q&A features back on schedule and getting some reviews in with the rest of the Best Shots team.
In the meantime, Gavin Higginbotham stepped up and did this whole interview himself. As such, it’s a little shorter than usual…but maybe I’ll get ambitious and add some material to it when I get some breathing room.
Gavin Higginbotham: Double Paige is a rather… interesting… design. I’m guessing she’s a bitch to draw? Just getting the anatomy correct every time when choreographing a fight scene with her has got to be tough?
Erik Larsen: The choreographing fights was a big part of what excited me about the character–just cause it was so bizarre having a character with four arms and legs–there were great possibilities there but yeah–what a pain in the butt to draw! Too many limbs to keep track of and there were quite a few times where I got confused working out all the details. I sorted the mess out but there was a panel where I inadvertently draw Paige’s gloves on Angel–luckily Nikos caught it and I was able to redraw it. But what a nightmare.
GH: We got to see Vein using her powers for the first time in several years. I recall from a letters page concerning SD 152 that you had gone over many back issues to choose some villains to use and noticed how many cool ones you had that could be used more. Was Vein one of those you selected?
EL: It actually came about from looking at Kirkman and McFarlane’s Haunt. I was thinking that, visually, there was some similarity there and that I had never really gotten around to having her do a Spider-Man riff and swing around over the city. I got that splash in my head and I wanted to get it down on paper–plus I needed a spacer page so that I could have Double Paige make her first appearance on a double page spread.
GH: Between Vein, Double Paige and PowerHouse, this issue was a good showcase for your unique villain designs. Does seeing such a collection of your characters together make your creative mind proud?
EL: I don’t tend to get proud of things. Maybe it’s because Pride was one of Captain Marvel’s seven Deadly Sins of Mankind and pride always took on a negative connotation to me. I’m trying to do the best I can with this and hope people like it and after the initial backlash of fans saying that Image character were derivative of those from other companies I’ve made a conscious effort to steer clear of those kinds of characters and concentrate on those with less obvious lineage. That was my primary reason for killing off Octopus, actually. Even though I thought the notion of a guy with an octopus growing out of his belly was visually compelling it was pretty obvious that he was my take on Dr. Octopus and I really don’t want to have more of those kinds of characters around.
GH: Any chance of a romance between DoubleHeader and Double Paige? One of each of their personalities liking one but not standing the other has comedy gold written all over it!
EL: I wouldn’t think that she would find him remotely attractive. He’s kind of a doofus and she’s kind of hot.
GH: “Lackey/Toady” (I assume that Kurr didn’t actually name him) seems to have genuine concern for Kurr. Even though that’s all programmed, it’s actually kind of sweet to see him rush to his master’s aid when he returns home.
EL: Robot Rex is like Waylon Smithers on the Simpsons–a completely devoted and obedient servant who will do anything in his power to serve his master, despite how poorly he’s treated. It is sweet in a sick kind of way.
GH: I can’t imagine Kurr being overly concerned by the state of Rex’s original body once it was knocked out of its freezing chamber. Does this mean that Rex is stuck as a badass looking robot? (Not the worst fates, really)
EL: You’ll have to wait and see how that plays out, I’m afraid, But yeah–neither Kurr nor his toady really care what happens with Rex’s old body or Rex. They’re fine letting his old body rot on the floor and let his new one rot in Dimension-X.
GH: Kurr wields the gun that he used to take down CyberFace and to kill Bad Axe before it was destroyed. It’s always a treat to some a piece of equipment or a weapon being brought back further down the line, although the rate they tend to get destroyed, there can’t be that many left!
EL: The danger is that these devices become an ace up a sleeve or a deus ex machina. That’s why I typically destroy these devices–because they almost become a new superpower. If Dragon can pull out a Martian Shrinking Ray to deal with anybody who gives him trouble that’s kind of a cheap way of defeating that villain. This was just a ray gun though and not an especially unique or special one. Not as big a deal but fun, perhaps, to a long-time reader who recognizes it. With this it’s more like, “hey, that’s cool” rather than, “what the hell, man.”
GH: Vanguard can consider himself lucky, him being left alive and in captivity seems to be only a fate shared only by Rex and his family so far. I’m guessing such a warrior and a brilliant scientist being spared death is going to bite Kurr in the ass?
EL: Not necessarily. They’re both pretty much out of the picture. It’s kind of expected, in a way, to have these characters return in the third act, which is why my tendency is to shy away from doing such things. I’d rather chose a path which is less well-traveled. If I’m going to pull something out of a hat–I don’t think pulling the same old rabbit is the way to go.
GH: Kurr now has a spaceship rammed with weapons, incredible alien technology, an army of shape-shifting brainless robots to command in addition to Rex’s considerable resources and the Bio-Tech goods few people can reach his new base of operations… his confidence has to be at an all-time high right now?
EL: Things are going Kurr’s way at this point despite some pretty severe setbacks along the way. He got pretty messed up in his battle with Thor and got nothing out of that encounter but he’s determined to execute his plans and he’s been relatively successful.
GH: And finally, this is the third issue in a row without any named characters getting killed. That hasn’t happened for a very long time! That would seem to indicate that you’re building up to some mass carnage in the remainder of this arc! Worrying times for both your characters and their fans…
EL: It happens. It’s kind of been tricky with Kurr because he tends to kill people and there are guys I want to stick around a bit longer because I have plans for them. Readers will suggest certain characters for him to fight and I’m thinking–so you’re saying you want that guy to die then?” I don’t want to kill off all my cool guys just yet. I mean, yeah, I can certainly make up more ones but it’s nice to have there be a few guys who have been around for a while. There will be characters that don’t make it through the Emperor Dragon arc alive.