|Photo by Charlie Chu|
Hands down, one of the funniest comics from the House of Ideas to come out in this new age of Marvel NOW! was the often overlooked but still celebrated-among-thieves Superior Foes of Spider-Man. You know what? I’m not even sure his holy Web-Head even showed up for more than a few panels in the book. That’s some next level genius marketing there.
From the twisted minds of Steve Lieber (Hawkeye, Hawkman, Whiteout) and Nick Spencer (Morning Glories, Captain America, Astonishing Ant-Man) with team mates (accomplices?) Ryan Hill (colors) and Nic J Shaw (lettering and design) comes their latest Image Comics creation: The Fix.
This creator owned book is already turning heads for it’s colorful language and comedy the toes the line between violence and the absurdity of real life. It turns out The Fix is about awful people. Who knows if these guys turned the mirror on themselves to get inspiration?
Heck, at least they were nice enough to return my emails! Artist and co-creator Steve Lieber joins us today to preview The Fix, conveniently just in the nick of time for you to ‘convince’ your shop to order it from Diamond.
We must warn you moms out there, Steve and I get a little blue in the interview. Earmuffs!
Steve Lieber: A collaboration this great doesn’t come around every day. Nick writes characters that I love to draw! Our tastes in what’s funny on the comics page dovetail beautifully. So after we finished Superior Foes, we were eager to work with each other again. Nick had three ideas for our next project. One of them grew into The Fix.
These guys toe the line between good guys and bad guys but that doesn’t seem to cover it. What is it about the grey area of crossing the thin blue line that appeals to you?
I wouldn’t say they toe the line so much as rub it out with their foot when nobody’s looking.
They’re unrepentant shitbags.
As for what appeals to me about them? Some of the funniest people I’ve ever known are complete moral garbage. There’s a lot of fun in things that are wrong. I love stories about people doing the wrong thing, overreacting to the wrong thing, and misunderstanding the basic social rules that keep civil society civil.
I was one of those freaks utterly turned on and laughing hysterically over The Superior Foes of Spider-Man and evangelized the book to all that would listen. While the through line is obvious jumping from Superior Foes to this book stylistically you get to work on your own characters.
Tell me, is The Fix serving as a chance to work together again or did some of these stories germinate before Superior Foes?
It’s all 100% fresh. A lot of the humor in Superior Foes came from thinking about the pockets of absurdity in the Marvel Universe, which frankly, is kind of mundane compared to real-world L.A.
One touchstone that could be used to get people interested in this book if they don’t now what to expect might be Breaking Bad or Better Call Saul. Would you let Vince Gilligan work on developing this for an ‘option’.
If by “let” you mean “crawl bare-ass naked across broken glass to beg him to consider it,” sure, I guess.
Really there is so much going on in this first issue, from Hollywood to crime bosses to crazy old men in retirement homes to battle bots. As far as buddy cop stories go, you have to admit The Fix isn’t what we’ve come to expect, especially from Hollywood. Can you tell The Fix only in comics form or do you write the scripts cinematically?
I can’t speak for Nick, but I never, ever worry about how a scene would play in any other medium.
It’d be like writing a novel intended to be translated into another language.
I’ve always enjoyed the visual gags in the flashbacks and the cartooning, from Superior Foes to your Hawkeye (Fraction) story.
How much of this comes about as scripted or comes when drawing the book? I’m kind of asking if the humor is nature vs. nurture…
A lot of the visual stuff is me improvising. Sometimes the insets and call-outs are there just because there’s a mundane but funny fact about the character that I can highlight, and the moment is right for a laugh.
When I shift to stick figure or gag cartooning styles, it’s often because the story-within-a-story is being told in a cartoonish or funny way, and I’m trying to replicate the feel of someone telling
you a story like that.
Imagine someone telling you a funny story about losing a fight. They’ll actually describe it with comic strip and Looney Tunes sound effects.
“POW”, “bird whistles”, etc. I’m doing that, but with the pictures.
For some gags Nick will give me a basic visual idea that’s funny. Then I start looking for ways to play out that theme and figure out what I can do to make them the right kind of funny for the scene in question.
In three words describe what we can come to expect from Pretzels, the dog.
Reliability. Integrity. Barking.
One of your characters Josh is a bold bad ass, yet totally has succumbed become one of the to the vapid ‘gluten-free, yoga-loving, ‘fresh-squeezed-juice’ parents.
Which would be more annoying to hear him order when out on the town—a fussy pour-over coffee or a warm broth infused cold pressed juice?
I live in Portlandia. This town is all Josh, all the time. He is everywhere and unavoidable
Is this a limited series or ongoing?
Ongoing, with but with an eventual end.
How do you plan on spreading the word on how great The Fix is? With Image Comics you have some support but it is a creator owned book launch with its own challenges.
Image has been amazingly supportive. They got us on the cover of PREVIEWS and included a nice sized preview inside the catalog. That’s more than most companies are able to do for books that THEY own, much less for a creator-owned book.
As for what we’re doing, our letterer and designer Nic J Shaw has assembled a bunch of great assets for people to use and share- social media icons, desktop wallpapers, and more. Readers can grab them here.
I’ve been doing my part by handing out printed ash cans to retailers at the ComicsPro retailer convention, and sending pdfs of the whole first issue to any shop that wants to read-before-they-order. (If you’re a shop that wants to read it, message me on Facebook)
And I’ve mailed postcards to hundreds of shops, and talked it up at a bunch of conventions, and shared funny panels and behind the scenes glimpses on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.
Nic Shaw has also designed some terrific items for retailers who want to produce their own materials. Those are here.
Everyone involved with this book, Nick Spencer, me, Nic Shaw, and Ryan Hill, are ridiculously proud of it. The Fix is funny and exciting, and we’re doing everything we can to let people know.
Thanks Steve! We look forward to seeing the book on the shelves and the unrepentant shitbags contained therein!