Coming soon from BOOM! studios is Loki: Ragnarok and Roll, coming out this Wednesday! In Boom’s own words, describing the project: “Up-and-coming writer Eric Esquivel first caught our attention with Thor: The Unkillable Thunder Christ, and wowed us with his work on FREELANCERS. When he told us he wanted to bring those sensibilities to the trickster god Loki, we had to say “Yes!” Pairing him with FANBOYS VS ZOMBIES artist Jerry Gaylord sealed the deal. ” So with this phenomenal team, I just had to take a minute and ask them some questions about the upcoming series. Fortunately, they were willing to answer them!
MYKE: Eric, your documented passion for Loki as a subject matter makes really comes across in the depth and passion of the story. What was it that led you to pick out this project and this particular story, to represent your long-standing interest in Loki as subject matter?
ERIC ESQUIVEL: Oh, dude, you have no idea how excellent that is to hear. LOKI: RAGNAROK AND ROLL came about because Ross Richie (BOOM!’s CEO and Founder) picked up and enjoyed this little demo tape of a one-shot I put out through Moonstone a couple years back entitled THOR: UNKILLABLE THUNDER CHRIST. He told me he wanted to publish a story wherein Loki was the lead, asked me if I had any ideas, and we were off and running.
M: Jerry, when you were shaping up the character designs (which turned out fantastic by the way, I love the aesthetic of Odin, Anansi, and Tu Er Shen especially) did any characters prove troublesome, or get left behind in the finished product because they just weren’t working out?
JERRY GAYLORD: I looked at all the design work as a fun challenge. I really just threw myself into the project and tried to have as much fun as I could and make all the characters look exciting. I think the fact that all these characters represent very specific things really helped me to visually get each character nailed down. I just thought it was beyond cool to have a chance to do my take on characters as big as Hercules, Odin, Thor and Loki. Looking back though, I would love to have been able to expand on the scene in Asgard where all the gods are together. I had some really cool ideas that I just didn’t have time to throw in. That part of the story is so big that I wanted to add some subtle touches and Easter eggs.
M: Eric, the way the plot shapes up is fantastic and anyone that doesn’t want to Sparta-kick Thor into a woodchipper after reading this issue clearly doesn’t have my anger issues. Was there anything you wanted to accomplish with this first issue that you had to cut for length or that just didn’t fit properly in the final draft of the script?
EE: The first issue is kid of a doozy, ’cause as soon as we lay down the rules for how Heaven works Loki’s kicked out. I could’ve spent years kickin’ around in the realm of The Gods—specifically in that party scene with Horus, Baron Samedi, Cthulhu, and the rest of the gang—but it was important to me that we get to see Loki the way he appears on the cover by the end of the issue, so that folks didn’t feel like we hoodwinked ‘em.
M: Jerry, with subject matter that so many people probably had an existing image in their heads of (especially names like Thor and Loki) what was the biggest hurdle in making these iconic figures “Yours”?
JG: I really had to work to make Thor my own. The Marvel version has been such a huge part of my understanding of the character that it was tough to really get all of that out of my system. Eric was a huge help with that though. He really has a totally different take on both Loki and Thor and I really leaned on the ideas that he wanted to get across to help me figure out how to portray these guys. So I just went back to basics and thought from the ground up. What would I do with the Norse god of thunder? Loki on the other hand was easy as pie. Eric really described him in such a way that I was like, “Yeah, I get it.” Plus what we are doing is really night and day from any other depiction of Loki I have seen in comics.
M: Eric, were there any noticeable snags in writing a plot that’s so cerebral as opposed to comic-classic “smash ’em up” with a side of drama? I imagine it might be hard finding the right amount of visual necessity in some of the aspects of a plot that’s so heavily story-driven. Did the visual medium shape how you wrote the core of the plot itself, as opposed to say, releasing the story as a full-on novel?
EE: It’s maddening. Y’know, there are hundreds of Loki stories out there, and I’m almost positive that I’ve never read a bad one. That’s a pretty daunting legacy to live up to. The absolute hardest thing about writing The Lord of Lies is that he’s truly the most complex, nuanced, unpredictable figure in all of mythology/fiction. That’s his whole thing. So, you’re pretty much forbidden from going the quick and easy “smash ’em up” route. Telling this story in a comic book format definitely helps though, ’cause it allows for much more subtext than is available in prose. And, because comics is a self-paced medium, you can have as much fun as you want lingering on panels or flipping back and forth between pages, looking for clues…
M: Jerry, your skill in bringing a sense of fun and vibrance to gruesomely violent scenes was showcased extensively in Fanboys vs. Zombies and seems to fit in perfectly with the way the story takes shape in the first issue. What about the subject matter you have to work with in Eric’s scripts (going forward) is the most challenging and simultaneously, what do you find the most engaging?
JG: I would say that the biggest challenge is to make each issue better than the last. I really poured myself into issue 1 and at that time I think it was the tip top of my game. I really wanted to come out and say FVZ was sort of my freshman project, but now I’m a more mature artist. So, now that I’ve broken into issue 2 and beyond I want to keep it going. Eric is really creating an incredible story though, so he is really doing half the work for me. I mean what could be more fun to draw than gods fighting?
M: Well the project has turned out amazingly, and I can’t wait for it to hit shelves. I absolutely wish the entire team behind Loki: Ragnarok and Roll all the future success the book deserves and I want to thank you both for taking the time to answer some questions for us.
And now, without further delay… the previews! Enjoy this sampler of covers, credits, and six whole pages!