We’ve long since been supporters of Tim Daniel and Mehdi’s Cheggours, from the earliest days of inception up through to it’s eventual release. We’ve never not been excited about this case, featuring gorgeous artwork and the biggest of giant monsters being told across an epic story. Of course, fans who took our word for it and picked up the book will have noticed that it was very much incomplete; on every page there were the inklings of a larger story that was dying to be told in eventual sequels.
Well, “Enormous” fans, here’s the deal for you: “Enormous” will be continuing as an ongoing, but at the bourgeoning publisher 215 Ink! It’s set for a wide release announcement at NYCC this year, but we (alongside 215, Tim and Mehdi) were so excited that we couldn’t wait until the con starts to tell you all about it. One might say that it was too big of a secret to keep, eh?
We’ve got all the information on the upcoming ongoing you below in this exclusive interview with Tim Daniel, detailing the move from Image, the plans for the ongoing, all alongside the first four covers to the series for your eyes only! Enjoy.
So before we begin the interview proper, the first part of Enormous’ NYCC announcements is regarding the new home of Enormous — 215 Ink. How did the decision come about to change publishers for the book, and how did you get set up at 215 Ink?
Tim Daniel: Both Mehdi and I are pretty thankful, because with Enormous we’ve had 2 publishers willing to put their faith in us and in the book. Enormous has shifted from Shadowline to 215 Ink for two very simple and clear reasons; Shadowline saw Enormous as a One Shot, 64 pages, one and done, whereas, 215 Ink sees the book as an ongoing. This is one of best things about independent creatorship, if you decide that a different publisher is the proper setting for your book as the owner of that title, you have the ability to make that decision should the opportunity present itself. Enormous is not the first title to have changed publishers and won’t be the last.
The bigger announcement is that Enormous is going ongoing. I think we all pretty much assumed/hoped it would continue and that you had always planned for more, but how does it feel to get the ball rolling with the greater Enormous mythology?
TD: EXHILIRATING. I’ve already scripted and outlined several issues, and I can’t stop. Mehdi is well on his way with several covers completed, teasers spotlighting our cast, and interior pages drawn and readied. What this really means for Enormous is we can explore everything from the origins of the giant creatures, the back stories and motivations of our characters, and the direction the story is heading – and really knit it together in a much more thorough and meaningful way.
I always liked seeing how much you and Mehdi had put into the teaser campaign of the original One Shot. Do you plan to expand on that in any way for the new series?
TD: Well thanks, that’s definitely something we put a lot of work into, trying very hard to build awareness of the book and a rapport with our potential readers. Let’s just put it this way, we have a lot more freedom this time around, and we’ll be interacting with our readership in new ways. We definitely enjoy having a direct line to our readers and want them to have open access to us as well. We’ll continue to embrace that for the going series. We’re also damn grateful for the support we’ve received through this site and other comic book industry related outlets. That’s definitely an avenue we’ll pursue as well.
Between your original ideas for Enormous and the new ongoing, what’s changed about the series (if anything)? Has the book expanded in any exciting new directions, or are you sticking with your original plan?
TD: The plan remains the same. At the same time the plan is now deeper, richer and much more layered. Maybe the first thing we did is look at where the events of the One Shot fit in terms of the ongoing series. We wanted to account for some readers familiarity with Enormous and hopefully, new readers seeing Enormous for the first time. We wanted the ongoing reading experience to pay off for both types of reader. I definitely feel like we owe a big debt to our original readers as much as we do owe any new readers a satisfying and entertaining read.
In that same line of thought, between the graphic novel and the series in terms of the act of making comics, what has changed for you and Mehdi (again, if anything)?
TD: If we are worth our weight as creators we both better have learned some lessons from the One Shot and applied them to the ongoing. I can tell you process-wise, that is already true. We’re each faster, more disciplined and communicating well. The creation process is tight and well practiced. Everything is happening much more smoothly since we’ve got a common language and have lived in this world together for almost 2 years. What has amazed me right out of the gate is Mehdi’s confidence and rapid evolution as an artist. We concocted this little slogan, “Enormous: More,” and Mehdi is delivering on that already.
With what you’ve seen so far from Mehdi’s new work, what would you say is your favorite new piece of art?
TD: How do I answer this!?! Have you seen those covers? Go click those covers…I’m waiting. Now, I defy you to choose just one. If I get excited by anything, and I do pretty much daily, it would be each time I see a new piece of work from Mehdi. It takes all the restraint I have not to post it or share it or tweet it. Seeing each new panel, page or cover is like fuel in my writing tank. I take that adrenaline and feed it back into the writing, hoping the quality of the words match the art. Daunting and challenging and I love doing it!
How do you find the experience of writing the story in single issues different than a graphic novel? Is it better to have more room overall, or did the compressed space help before?
TD: One word – PACE. The One Shot was a brilliant format choice, especially the over-sized dimensions, and Shadowline publisher Jim Valentino’s decision for that presentation was inspired. However, from a story-telling standpoint, imagine trying to fit the first 8 volumes of “The Walking Dead” into 64 pages, or “Y The Last Man” into one book. I’m not comparing Enormous to those masterpieces quality-wise, each is incomparable, but breadth and scope, Enormous was planned on that scale. The One Shot is to me, like skipping a stone across an ocean. That made for a fine primer but ultimately for a lot of readers, a frustrating experience. We’ve heard those comments, we’ll account for them in the ongoing – you have our promise!
What I’m very excited about in the ongoing series is the freedom to explore a character, a creature, a decision, or the origin and evolution of a story element and show the relationships between each. It is definitely better to have the room to do so. In the One Shot, I could not afford to build even a 2-page confrontation between characters, or a 3-page creature sequence. We might have done that once in the entire book. Story beats that should have required a page got a panel, and ones requiring pages – received a single page. That constant balancing act between story and character development was very challenging, not to mention our desire to satisfy the creature quota. Enormous is a giant monster tale, if anything, and we barely loosed the gates to the zoo in that respect. Plus, I don’t know about you, but we want to see some really kick-ass creature clashes, we know have the chance to do that!
So when looking at the Enormous ongoing versus the One Shot, do you see it as a bit of a do-over of certain areas, or rather filling in the cracks of continuity?
TD: Yes — both do-over to some extent and filling in the cracks. What we don’t want is for original readers to feel cheated, like they’re experiencing the same story all over again. That’s just an awful notion and fairly despicable. So too would be ret-conning our own story. What I think will surprise readers, both original and new, is the breadth of the tale. If original readers had qualms about the lack of creatures or the dearth of character development, they will be satisfied by what we have in store. We’d still like to maintain that sense of action and adventure, so expect the pace to be crisp.
The Enormous One Shot certainly ended on a cliffhanger too big to spoil here. For fans of the book both new and old, what can you tease people in terms of what they should expect to see in the upcoming series?
TD: Here’s the real skinny – Enormous is not post-apocalyptic, it is not an ‘end-of-the-world’ tale. Enormous is the next epoch, the next step in Earth’s ecological evolution, albeit one that is unintended and unforeseen, triggered by humankind’s meddling with nature. We begin at the beginning then, exploring the causes, some very familiar characters and some new. Readers of the One Shot will recognize some scenes and circumstances but they will be much more fully realized and delivered in some surprising ways. We intend to reward original readers with a depth and clarity to the story – if we’re successful, original readers and new alike should have a very similar experience.
That slogan I mentioned, “Enormous: More,” is exactly our intent. Expect more of everything. Especially, more creatures and more fully realized characters.
With the overall narrative, since you mentioned wanting to get more into backstory, do you plan to change things up in that regard? The One Shot was relatively linear outside of a scene or two, but I’d imagine introducing history would inherently change that?
TD: Funny you should mention that structure of the One Shot plot. I felt it was pretty straight-forward as well, but the criticisms did not support my belief. Some readers felt the story jumped back and forth illogically, causing them to lose a foothold on where and when they were in the narrative. I’m going to chalk this up to both my personal inexperience as a writer and format restrictions. I could only spare a page or two for a given flashback, and then return to the present. That definitely does not give readers enough time to settle into either timeframe. Already, the ongoing series gives us the chance to stay with a character in the past or present for a longer period of time. By taking that time and exploring history of a character or the origin of the mutation say, we’ll automatically change the story and just as importantly the reader’s perception of what they thought was “true.” Original readers are in for some surprises. Our characters are not who they appear to be in all instances. Some will evoke much more empathy on the part of the reader, some will be most likely be despised. Other characters that might have appeared as totally insignificant have vital roles in shaping the course of the story.
How long do you have planned for the Enormous series, and do you think that number could change over time?
TD: A great question, exactly our thoughts as well. We have a plan for a finite number of issues as Enormous has a very clearly defined end point. However, after outlining the first arc and seeing Mehdi’s very enthusiastic response, his much speedier level of production – I think it best we let this thing take its course, and let the story wend and weave its way toward its destination.
I remember you mentioning that you had planned Enormous as somewhat of a trilogy of books. Now that it’s an ongoing of sorts, is this still the case? How are you breaking up your bigger plans to be distributed in this new format?
TD: Had Enormous continued to be published in the over-sized Treasury Edition format, I would have wanted that consistency and tried to deliver the tale in 3 books. Each book contained a distinct act. We’ll still follow that outline but if we take 18 issues or 36, or 60 to get all three acts told, then that is what we’re prepared to do. I’ve said this in every interview and I’ll reiterate it here – all grand plans are subject to the reader mandate. We as readers decide the fate of books. The sales on the One Shot and the pretty much universal call for more Enormous, has made us continue. So, thank you readers, our hope is to pay you back – completely!
Since 215 is fairly new, do you know the distribution plan for the series? Is it going to be available through their app and with singles in stores as well, or do you have something different in mind?
TD: 215 Ink, glad we close here. First, our thanks to Andrew DelQuadro for reviewing the Enormous pitch and endorsing us with the decision to publish through 215 Ink. Andrew’s immediate reaction to our proposal definitely pushed us forward very quickly. We’re also pretty damned happy to have Enormous alongside books like Jeremy Holt’s, “Southern Dog” and “Cobble Hill,” my collaboration with Anthony Gregory entitled “Throwback,” not to mention the slew of new titles 215 is launching. The plan for Enormous then is the book will see print in single issue format, and be available through digital distribution and collected editions. Just to be clear, the ongoing series will be a standard size, 22 pages per issue, $2.99 in full color with some extra material along the way.
And now the question that is on everyone’s mind: when are the enormous monster kittens going to show up?
TD: You know, we got that so many times with the One Shot and our response was always a gentle but firm, “We’ve only got 64 pages and how much of it can we spend on enormous monster kitties without it just becoming a tale about giant monster kitties? That is not a story, just a collection of really cool pictures of enormous monster kitties. If you want to read that tale, and it is a tale I know I’d want to read just not necessarily write, then go make that book. You don’t need anyone’s permission. Make that enormous monster kitty book, because to my mind that is an underserved market.”
Oh, and enormous monster kitties show up in issue #78 – mark it.