|PAUL TOBIN & PJ HOLDEN
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DF Interview: Tobin, Holden bring the SF, monsters in Gunsuits
By Byron Brewer
Famous Monsters’ new comic book imprint, America Gothic Press, is out the door and hitting the cement with the first issue of Gunsuits, a sci-fi epic packed with robots, personality and – appropriately – giant monsters.
From a script by Eisner winner Paul Tobin (Colder, Prometheus), Gunsuits is adapted from the short story “Wormholes.” The tale follows Cassandra “Potts” Potter as she battles gigantic, scaly bio-weapons and simultaneously searches every available dimension for a way to win.
The series, which will run monthly for four issues, will be illustrated by Judge Dredd alum and Numbercruncher co-creator P.J. Holden.
To get the 411 on this historic miniseries, Dynamic Forces spoke with both scribe and artist.
DYNAMIC FORCES: Paul and P.J., how does it feel to be the first in a line of comics kicking off a brand new comic book brand?
PAUL TOBIN: Feels interesting. I’ve read so many histories of certain companies, their early days, etc. Of course, when I read those old time stories it seems like it’s always “24 hour hot tub parties with Hollywood starlets,” and so far for me at American Gothic it’s just been extra hours writing in front of the computer. Looking forward to that next stage!
PJ HOLDEN: It’s pretty cool and while you’d think there’d be pressure, Gunsuits is so in my wheelhouse it’s hard to imagine a book I’d be better suited for.
DF: Tell us how Gunsuits came into being as a book.
TOBIN: Phillip Kim over at Famous Monsters Magazine has been wanting to start his own comic line for some time, and the time seems ripe, now, because the industry is not only wide open internally, but also in focus from outside the industry. His editor on Famous Monsters, Holly Interlandi, knows me from the comics industry, and when they discussed what writers to bring in to jumpstart a company, they went with me and Steve Niles. I grew up loving Famous Monsters, and it’s always fun to be in on the start of something new and interesting, so here we are!
DF: Who are the protagonists in the book?
TOBIN: Our main protagonist is a mech pilot named Potts, kind of. In some ways, the main character is multiple versions of Potts, because the story rages all throughout the multiverse, as the enemy is attacking quite literally everywhere. Along with Potts are a group of other pilots collectively known as the Tombstones. Like a football team that doesn’t want their names on their jerseys because it’s all about team, these people won’t go by their real names until it’s on their tombstones. For now, they go by St. Friday, Dead Dog Dave, and Isabelle Ain’t.
DF: Can you tell us a little bit about the storyline?
TOBIN: An enemy from a rather surprising source, an alternate line of human evolution, is attacking on all fronts, everywhere, across the entire multiverse… using bio-engineered mechs. Think Cthulhu grown in a test tube. Humanity has been caught entirely by surprise, but is fighting back. Unfortunately, they’re way overmatched, forcing Potts on a quest to search the entire multiverses for that ONE reality where humanity has at least some chance of victory, some way to establish a beachhead and begin to fight back.
DF: This brand's parent company has always been known for horror and just plain weird. How does Gunsuits follow that legacy?
TOBIN: Everything I write has some oddity, I’m told. I consider myself a character writer first and foremost, so as long as I get to play with characters, I’m comfortable in any genre, any type of story. And… P.J. and I definitely push some boundaries of sanity, here. Why not? It’s fun to cut loose when you’re creating, and those are the types of stories I most enjoy reading, too.
DF: P.J., tell us about some of the design work you might have had to do with this book.
HOLDEN: Monsters. So many monsters. And the gunsuits themselves. Giant dishevelled mech battle suits that all have to be unique (well, all but a few). It takes a little while for those gears in your head to lock in place to get in the flow of Paul’s vision, but when they finally click, it’s just enormous fun.
DF: Paul, is horror a genre you enjoy working within?
TOBIN: Absolutely. I grew up reading horror and have a great love for it. One of the things I’m most known for is my creator-owner series Colder over at Dark Horse, which I do along with Juan Ferreyra, my artist and co-creator. It’s pure horror, and has been nominated for Eisner and Bram Stoker awards, so I seem to hit the horror vein fairly well. I think the important things to remember is that characters are still key, and also to reach into my gut and remember what it is that truly scares me.
DF: What can we expect in the future from American Gothic Press?
TOBIN: I’m working on another series that’s pure sci-fi, so that’s on the way. And then Steve Niles has some horror comics on the way, and we’re discussing more comics and where we want to go. I think we’d like to stay away from being a company that can be easily summed up as working in one particular genre. As long as the stories are big, and interesting, and a bit unsettling… I think there’s room at American Gothic.
Dynamic Forces would like to thank Paul Tobin and P.J. Holden for taking time out of their busy schedules to answer our questions. Gunsuits #1 hits stores June 24th!
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