|JOSHUA HALE FIALKOV
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DF Interview: Joshua Hale Fialkov writes ‘a love letter to boys adventure comics’ with King
By Byron Brewer
Joshua Hale Fialkov, Bernard Chang and Marcelo Maiolo are launching a five-part comic in August from Jet City Comics called King. Described as a post-apocalyptic Conan the Barbarian as directed by Sam Raimi circa Army of Darkness, the property in many ways harkens back to those adventure comics of a bygone era.
To find out more about the book, Dynamic Forces took a Hyborian sword to the throat of Mr. Fialkov. He was more than delighted to tell us what follows.
Dynamic Forces: Josh, tell us how this new miniseries came about. Is this something you pitched?
Joshua Hale Fialkov: King is a book I’ve been dying to do for a long time. It’s a love letter to Boy’s Adventure Comics, Conan and, obviously, Jack Kirby. But, I wanted to deal with all of that through the lens of our world. Having the apocalypse having happened so long ago that it’s just another thing that happened to us, and seeing how we get on in a world after the “unforgettable” has been long forgotten was just too much fun to give up.
DF: Kind of a family reunion of sorts for you and colorist Marcelo Maiolo. You worked together on both I Vampire and Green Lantern Corps, I believe. Tell us what Marcelo brings to the table.
Joshua Hale Fialkov: Marcelo and I have a long-term love relationship now. Once he joined us on I Vampire at DC, I knew that we had something special. He became an equal partner on that book alongside Andrea and I, which is something that I learned to really love and respect. His passion for comics and how he channels that into his work is just… unreal. We’re also working on Pacific Rim for Legendary right now, and to see the work he’s doing there as well as on King, and over on X-Men with Andrea… He’s just one of the best color artists in the world today.
DF: You almost worked also with Bernard Chang, who later became GLC artist after your departure from the title. Your opinion on how Chang will bring your imaginings to life here as artist on King?
Joshua Hale Fialkov: Honest to God, one of the main reasons I agreed to do Green Lantern Corp in the first place was to get a chance to work with Bernard. I love his storytelling, his sense of humor, and, just, him, so much… I know that he was heart broken when DC showed me the door, and we didn’t get to work together, and for the few years since then, every time we see each other we try and figure out a way to work together. Having gotten to finally work with him, all I can say is that my imagination didn’t even come close. Working with Bernard is truly a dream come true.
DF: Tell us about King, supposedly the world’s only surviving human.
Joshua Hale Fialkov: King is the last survivor of his species… mostly. But that’s beside the point, because the entire planet is populated with such a hodgepodge of monsters and animal men and deities and mutants and ogres and fairy folk and evil robots that he’s just another peculiarity to the world around him. And, just like you and me, dude has to eat, and when you’re no longer the dominant species (and no longer the only animal without a natural predator) you have to do what you gotta do. In the case of King, that means getting a city job with decent benefits and getting jerked around by your bloated slug man of a boss.
DF: I would imagine there are any number of strange creatures with which he must deal, as you say, from “deities and mutants and ogres and fairy folk.” Can you tell us about some of the supporting cast for the only human?
Joshua Hale Fialkov: Well, there’s the aforementioned boss, and he has his prime rival at work who’s a pterodactyl man obsessed with traffic patterns… There’s the half duck/half human street gang who’re out looking for him, and…. There’s the girl… Well… TWO girls. One of them has a shared history with him (back from the baby fights held in the Sherman Oaks Galleria), and another who might just be the answer he’s looking for. Or, might try and eat him. It’s hard to say.
DF: What is it about a post-apocalyptic Earth that makes it such a popular SF setting for all types of books? Is it the clean slate deal?
Joshua Hale Fialkov: I’m writing, essentially, FOUR Post-Apocalyptic books, to some degree right now, with Bunker being the straight version of it, Pacific Rim being the big budget action movie of it, The Life After as the metaphysical take on it, and then King as the post-modern sarcastic take. For me, at least, we live in a world so devoid of legitimate challenges. When you shake the ant farm, so to speak, we lose all of the things we’ve come to rely on so completely, and have to actually attempt to survive. I think that’s part of it, almost like an animalistic craving for our primordial home. But, at the same time, we have these brushes with mortality, whether it’s 9/11, or an earthquake, or Katrina, or Superstorm Sandy… We’re given these glimpses of the world after our society crumbles, and I think it makes our brains itchy for just what we’d do, y’know?
DF: Can you give us a little look into the world of King? Maybe tell us the main storyline of the five-issue book?
Joshua Hale Fialkov: So, King works for the Los Angeles Department of Reclamation, which handles trying to get the city back to its hedonistic bliss state… His specialty, and why they don’t just eat him, is that there’s all these legends of a ‘Lifeseed’ or an epic quest that restarts humanity and allows the Earth to begin again. You need a planet native to do that, and, well, he’s the guy. We meet him as he’s going out on the fifth of these adventures in a week (which, y’know, is a huge drag), and the guy just wants to chill in his cubicle and drink the brown water that he assumes is coffee and not the drippings of Sam in Accounting. What he finds changes everything for him. Or would, if he wasn’t so sure he was wasting his time.
DF: Josh, would you like to see King extend beyond its five issues or is this a finite story?
Joshua Hale Fialkov: Oh God, yes. I love this world so much, and it’s a true pleasure to work on. Working with Jet City has been a blast, too, so fingers crossed that this is just the start of a beautiful (and awesome) relationship.
Dynamic Forces would like to thank Joshua Hale Fialkov for taking time out of his busy schedule to answer our questions. King #1 from Jet City Comics hits stores in August!
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