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    Hype Machine: Tim Daniel and Mehdi Cheggour’s Enormous

    By | September 30th, 2011
    Posted in Columns | % Comments

    Back in late August, budding superstar writer Nick Spencer spread some love to an upcoming Shadowline Comics title I’d never heard of: Enormous. He said keep an eye on it and to check out the website for it, and so I did (check their Facebook page too). What I found was not a lot as of yet, besides some teasers for the book from artist Mehdi Cheggour that were absolutely stunning. Curious for more, I asked Shadowline publisher Jim Valentino about it in an interview this month.

    Nick Spencer recently hyped up an upcoming Shadowline book on Twitter — Enormous from Tim Daniel and Mehdi Cheggour. While this book doesn’t come out until 2012, what can you tell us about it, and do you think it could be your next big hit?

    JV: Did he? Well, that was very nice of him! Will it be our next big hit? Man, I hope every book will be our next big hit! Here’s what I can tell you about it for now…it’s Tim Daniel’s freshman stint as a writer. Tim has been doing exceptional design work for me, Bendis and Kirkman for the last couple of years–now he’s stretching his wings as a writer. Mehdi is an exceptional artist already and I’ve been dying for a chance to work with him for a year or so now. I believe that he’s going to become HUGE! We’re planning on releasing the book for next year’s San Diego Con, it will be self-contained and will be a treasury size edition because, well, it’s Enormous!

    Afterwards, I talked to the creative team, saw some of what we can expect, and I can safely say this: this is a book to watch out for. It’s coming next July and is a book that everyone needs to keep an eye on, as people like Valentino and Spencer have made it apparent that this book is going to be a high quality one.

    For those interested, take a look after the jump to hear from writer Tim Daniel the inception of the idea for Enormous, as well as a first look at what you can expect from the book for both art and plot. (And when we say “for those interested,” we mean just click beyond the jump because you’re going to want to read this.)

    Inked Page from Enormous

    Tim Daniel: GIANT MONSTERS.

    Enormous is all about giant monsters.

    This past spring on a plane with my daughter, looking down upon California, something below – I can’t recall specifically now what, caught my attention. Whatever it was instantly brought to mind giant monsters. Right then and there, Elle and I launched into a conversation about ‘what if there was a giant monster down there’ and from there we composed a list of giant monster ‘rules’, of which we wrote out approximately 14. To give you a few examples, here’s an excerpt from my notes:

    The giant monster…

    – unites humanity

    – teaches us a lesson about ourselves

    – is a solitary beast

    – is horribly misunderstood

    – must die!

    And so on. These rules, really just a means to pass the time as I squirmed in my seat, got me thinking about a couple of things; Robert Kirkman’s approach to zombies, and the fact that if one giant abomination existed, why not a whole lot more? Why not an entire sprawling ecosystem? An entire strata of creatures so big and fierce and powerful they would destroy cities and our way of life just through their natural existence. Kind of like how we might affect a colony of ants by stomping around the front yard. With regard to Robert’s ‘The Walking Dead’ the idea there was – he took that basic structure of zombie tales that have been repeated ad nauseum and stepped beyond it into the next layer of story. Most, if not all, giant monster tales are akin to zombie stories in that way. We all know the basic structure – the monster appears, destroys the city, and is vanquished by some unlikely but equally determined hero, the end. So my daughter and I started exploring those rules and when I asked where we would live if there were giant beasts roaming about and she nonchalantly replied, “underground”. I knew instantly there was a lot of fun awaiting me.

    Continued below

    So, before I stuffed my notes back in my backpack at the top of the page I wrote the word ‘Enormous’.

    From there, all I wanted the story to do is break every single one of those rules. Because if you’re like me, the lack of truly excellent giant monster tales only means I end up watching the same handful over and over. And really, how many giant monster comic book titles, can you name?

    This dearth of giant monster tales seems almost criminal in that the scale and scope of this kind of story is so perfectly suited to the micro-budgets of comics. Enormous can be the big budget action epic of 2012 at a fraction (hell, several decimals points) of the cost of a film or event television series aspiring to present the same thrills. What’s not to love about giant monsters and comics? A perfect match for the right price!

    The real excitement started after discovering and befriending a truly talented collaborator in artist Mehdi Cheggour. I do design and some production for Nick Spencer’s Shadowline series ‘Morning Glories’. Mehdi was busy posting character pin-ups of the Glories on Facebook. Upon visiting the page, I discovered his beautiful work. After friending and messaging Mehdi (he’s from Morocco and I hail from Montana), I asked if he had any desire to read the pitch for ‘Enormous’. He responded positively to my inquiry and enthusiastically to the pitch. Together, we dug right in and created some material — some concepts, a few character designs, a cover and 8 pages of story. Thankfully, Shadowline publisher Jim Valentino saw enough there that he accepted the project and was willing to help coach me up and develop the story even further. He’s been generous with his time, patience and sharing his considerable expertise gleaned from years in this business and I think ultimately it has made the story that much more compelling. ‘Enormous’ has shaped up into a fast-paced, action-oriented giant monster tale that has also revealed itself to have some surprising depth I hope. There was also one question I jotted in my notes that day on the plane that truly intrigued me about these types of stories and that one I’ll leave for the book to answer.

    Enormous’ Ellen Grace

    Now if you’ve read this far, here’s a brief synopsis of Enormous:

    You are at the bottom of the food chain, a fading point of light in the course of evolutionary history. You are a dying species. You are human. You are a child — and Ellen Grace is coming to collect you.

    A cataclysm of unparallelled proportion has spawned the ‘Enormous,’ massive beasts that have ravaged the planet. In their wake of destruction, mankind struggles to survive. The race to stave off extinction has begun.

    Enormous debuts next July 2012 in a one-shot, over-sized, treasury edition hardcover from Shadowline Comics!

    David Harper

    David Harper mainly focuses on original content, interviews, co-hosting our 4 Color News and Brews video podcast, and being half of the Mignolaversity and Valiant (Re)visions team. He runs Multiversity's Twitter and Facebook pages, and personally tweets (rarely) @slicedfriedgold. By day, he works in an ad agency in Anchorage, Alaska, and he loves his wife, traveling and biscuits & gravy (ordered most to least, which is still a lot).