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FOG! Chats With D.J. Kirkbride, Writer of IDW’s ‘The Biggest Bang’

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Using a Superman archetype isn’t anything new, but how it’s utilized makes all the difference. 

Created by an inexplicable universe-killing event, the being called Cosmos traverses the stars, seeking to help those he can in order to atone for the sins of his birth. Often mistaken for a harbinger, Cosmos soars the intergalactic space ways alone… but will soon find himself up against an alien tyrant on his quest for acceptance.

Now in The Biggest Bang, a new threat presents itself, one the hero has never known… worship! What can he give those who would call him God?

Writer D.J. Kirkbride took some time to discuss Cosmos, collaboration and his upcoming work.

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FOG!: This September, the fourth issue of The Biggest Bang comes to stores, completing the second mini-series (following The Bigger Bang).  What was the genesis of this project?

D.J. Kirkbride: Artist and co-creator Vassilis Gogtzilas contacted Adam P. Knave and yours truly with a black and white drawing of a caped beefcake floating in space. He asked if we wanted to work on a superhero comic with him. Adam was too busy with other projects, but I went for it. I needed to come up with an interesting hook, something that could separate him from other superhero-types as far as I knew, and the idea of his birth being the cause of massive destruction occurred to me in the brainstorming process. It was the emotional hook I needed to write some over-the-top cosmic wackiness for Vass to draw.

The hero, Cosmos, is a union suit wearing, superpowered god in a cape, who is created during a second big bang, which wiped out Earth.  Would you consider Cosmos to be a superhero or a cosmic spacehero?

He’s more of a cosmic space hero to me, though he clearly has all the visual superhero trappings and came from a desire on the artist’s part to draw a superhero book. My main concern with him, especially in the first series, was the guilt he was born with, feeling he had to atone for something that wasn’t actually his fault. No one chooses how they were born. He thinks it compels him to do good, though I think he would’ve anyway, at least on some level. He’s a decent person– naive, maybe, but he has an inherent sense of right and wrong.

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Both series deal with Cosmos dealing with his nemesis, King Thulu, who’s clearly inspired by Lovecraft.  What does Thulu want and how does Cosmos stand in his way?

Thulu was the antagonist of the first series, The Bigger Bang, but he doesn’t really factor into The Bigger Bang, aside from the memory and fallout of his reign. He declared himself ruler of the universe Cosmos adopted as his new home and saw Cosmos as the ultimate weapon. He saw that all Cosmos wanted was to be loved, so he ordered the people under his rule to love the guy, basically. His plan was to manipulate Cosmos into doing his bidding while tricking him into thinking his actions were good and pure.

The Biggest Bang has several antagonists, some dealing withe the fallout of The Bigger Bang, and the main ones being a misguided cult that has deemed Cosmos to be God, with a capital “G.” They call themselves The Cosmic Church of the Half-God and are lead by a big eyeball named Janishire Sneck. Whereas Thulu was a big, boisterous, comical villain, Sneck has more shades of gray. He’s still causing trouble for Cosmos and returning character promoted to co-lead Wyan, but it’s not in the same mustache-twirling way.

How did you find your co-creator and artist, Vassilis Gogtzilas and what do you think he brings to the project.

Vass and I met working on anthologies. I was one of a few editors on the first ones, and then Adam and I co-wrote a story he drew for another. We’d stayed in contact over the years, and, as I mentioned, Vass’s original drawing and desire to do a superhero comic is the actual genesis of these two 4-parters. He brings a lot of artistic passion and manic energy to the book. He’s unpredictable, his style changing often from page to page, sometimes panel to panel– it’s exciting for the adventurous reader.

In the best Superman stories, his weakness is his humanity.  He cares about the people of Earth.  Without Earth, what does Cosmos relate to?

There are many alien races in this universe, most far weaker Cosmos. He doesn’t care about power, but he does care about helping those in need and also finding friendship. The latter was his main motivator in The Bigger Bang, the former for The Biggest Bang. He’s grown into a more altruistic hero.

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What do you have coming up?

Aside from The Biggest Bang #4, IDW is releasing the fifth and final volume of the Amelia Cole series that I co-wrote with Adam, illustrated by Nick Brokenshire. It’s called Amelia Cole Versus The End of Everything, and I think we wrap up this 30-issue saga quite nicely. We’ve been working on Amelia’s adventures for five years or so, so it’s bittersweet to see it end. Luckily, we’ve moved onto another project… that I can’t talk about yet. I also have a pitch in the works that hopefully will find a good home. Right now, though, yeah, I have two books ending. That’s kind of strange to me, but the stories have been told.

What are you currently geeking out over?

There’s so much great stuff out there! I just read the sixth volume of SAGA. That book never ceases to entertain, horrify, and amaze me. Anything Michael and Laura Allred work on is an immediate buy, read, and love for me. Power Man and Iron Fist by David Walker and Sanford Greene is great fun. Michel Fiffe blows up my mind with Copra. I’m really enjoying Dean Haspiel’s Red Hook comix on Webtoons. Adam gave me The Unauthorized Biography of Superman by Glen Weldon for my birthday last month, and I just devoured that. I love reading about that character because he’s just the best.

As for TV, I kind of love that The CW has basically become the DC TV network. Their shows are fun and entertaining– my TV happy place. Star Trek Beyond was good popcorn fun. Nothing can beat the original series, but these movies entertain me. As for music, my wife got me a record player for my birthday, so I enjoy the occasional afternoon going to the local record shop to find good deals and enjoy simply putting on an album and listening from start to finish. Um… I’ll spend the rest of the day lamenting the stuff I’ve forgotten to mention– especially for the comics. There really is so much great work being published right now. It’s an exciting time.

The Biggest Bang #4 arrives in comic stores and digital on 9/14

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