Mythology is often a great source to gain inspiration from. Whether its an idea for the Greek Gods, the Norse, Egyptian, and various others. One can likely come up with a story that is yet to have been made. Two men have recently dived into the world of Mythology to bring to life what is likely to be a fantastic and out right fun read for all and straight from BOOM! Studios. Starring the Norse God Loki himself, who's out to Rock like nobody else ever has! And who are these two men you might wonder? Why Jerry Gaylord and Eric Esquivel of course! So if you're ready, read onward my friends!
Interview by: Robert McClelland
First, I just want to say thank you to the both of you for taking part in this interview. Now my first question for the two of you, for those that may not have heard of you previously, could you tell us a bit about yourselves?
GAYLORD:Sure Thing. I'm a self-taught freelance artist who is head over heels in love with the idea of creating art. I'm probably best known for my work on Fanboys vs Zombies for Boom! Studios. That was my first big project in comics. I've also worked on a few books over at Archie Comics like Sonic the Hedgehog and New Crusaders.
ESQUIVEL:I envy Jerry's epic, career defining, 20 issue run on FvZ. I don't really have anything like that. Hopefully LOKI: RAGNAROK AND ROLL will connect with people and this'll be it.
As my Wikipedia would page would suggest, I'm all over the place. Here's what I've got under my belt so far:
Blackest Terror (Moonstone) – Basically “what if Malcolm X were Batman?”
Thor: Unkillable Thunder Christ (Moonstone) – In which the titular characters argues the merits of ultra-violence over prayer.
Freelancers #2-#6 (BOOM!)– Two orphans, raised in a Kung Fu orphanage, grow up to become high-end bounty hunters in L.A.
Legend of Oz: Wicked West #6-#8 (BDI) – A retelling of The Marvelous Land of OZ wherein Jack Pumpkinhead is a steampunky cowboy.
Bravest Warriors #13 – Our young heroes try to impress one another by making up extravagant lies about their respective origin stories.
BOO #2 (Monkeybrain) – A Steve Zissou analog pursues The Loch Ness Monster because of an intense sexual attraction.
THE IN CROWD (BDI) – Your standard teen super team is infiltrated by the embittered son of an Aquaman-like-hero who died in battle because his peers were too embarrassed of him to answer his distress call.
Grimm Fairy Tales: The Dark Queen (Zenescope) – The real-life inspiration for Maleficent sets fire to Disneyland for turning her into a cartoon and trivializing her life's story.
My mom is very proud.
With the recent announcement on LOKI: RAGNAROK AND ROLL, what's the anticipation like for the two of you?
GAYLORD:I just can't wait till people have a chance to hold the book in their hands. I really feel like Eric has done an incredible job coming up with a unique take on these larger-than-life mythological characters, and I know that I have really poured my heart into each page as well. I think that my favorite part of creating art is the part where I get to share what I've been working so hard to produce.
ESQUIVEL:There's this Andy Warhol quote that I try to live by, “Don't think about making art, just get it done. Let everyone else decide if it's good or bad, whether they love it or hate it. While they are deciding, make even more art”...emphasis on the “try”.
It's hard, man. Y'know, I've done licensed work before, writing other peoples' characters--and there's a lot of pressure that comes with that; you want to please the fans, the creators, your editors, blah, blah, blah... but Loki is a GOD. There are literally human beings alive right now who actively WORSHIP the guy.
Doing a bad job on this gig just isn't an option.
Yeesh! Must be some really bad breath!
Well... Looks a fun time! Well.. Maybe!
Look! Its Eric!
As the title's main star is Loki himself, what was it about the God that made it appealing to use him for this story?
GAYLORD:For me I think what makes Loki fun is Eric's take on the character. I think he sees Loki as a much more well-rounded character than I have seen him in the past. His motivations aren't just "I'm the bad guy and I hate Thor". Eric has really made Loki into someone that I think people will like and not just love to hate.
ESQUIVEL:Loki is the best idea we've ever had, as a species. Hands down. He's a God, sure, but he's one of us. He laughs at machismo, he refuses being locked into hierarchical paradigms, he defies gender roles (remember that time he got pregnant with a horse baby?), he champions cleverness over violence... he's the coolest, most progressive God ever, and he's older than the English language. That's fascinating to me.
I don't know if this is spoiling stuff or not, but LOKI: RAGNAROK AND ROLL features a cast that spans the pantheons. We've got Egyptian folks, Shinto entities, a familiar face from the Lovecraft mythos, etc. Our Loki's biggest adversary, after Thor, is Hercules—who I personally think is the biggest nerd to ever live. Hercules was conceived because Zeus tricked his mom into having sex with him by disguising himself as her dead, war hero husband, he pretended to have nothing to do with him when he was born... his step-mom tried to murder him when he was an infant by dropping a poisonous snake into his crib...he's a guy who—by all rights—should have nothing but contempt for divinity...but, instead, he spent his entire life trying to prove that he was “worthy” of joining their ranks. It's the saddest, most pathetic thing I've ever heard. Hercules, in our book, resents Loki for his innate self-confidence and (rational) contempt for the Gods.
Jerry, for fans of your work on Fanboys vs. Zombies. Can fans expect to see that stye of work on Ragnarok and Roll? Or will you be going for a different style with this title?
GAYLORD:I think fans can expect a more evolved version of my Fanboys vs Zombies style. I worked on FVZ for 20 issues, so I grew a lot while I was working on that book. But in the months that have passed since FVZ ended, I've worked on a few other projects that have given me an opportunity to try some new things and grow as an artist. Plus, I think Eric really had me in mind as the artist from the start so there are a lot of things about this book that are really giving me a chance to go big with the pages.
Alexis Zeritt's cover!
Saint vs. Dragon!
How long of a run will readers expect to get to see? Or will this be possibly a mini-series?
GAYLORD:Loki is a 4 issue mini as far as I know.
ESQUIVEL:I'm down to do this series until I die or Jerry quits. The world's big enough for us to go on indefinitely.
What sort of possible shenanigans can readers new and old expect to see with BOOM! Studios' newest title?
GAYLORD:I think that, creatively, readers can expect to see both Eric and me at the top of our game. There are more gods than you can shake a stick at, plenty of action, and great drama. Mostly though I think readers can pick up this book and just have fun.
ESQUIVEL:Loki INVENTED shenanigans, good sir. Expect the unexpected.
Eric, when you were given a definite yes to being able to write Ragnarok and Roll, what was your initial thoughts on getting the okay?
ESQUIVEL:Literally “I can't believe they're letting me do this”. Every step of the way.
My favorite thing about our first issue is that the big, genre-obligatory fight scene resolves with a healthy session of BDSM, orchestrated by a couple of young gals wearing vinyl nun habits and inverted cross pasties. It's Crazy Town banana pants.
Has mythology always been something that has fascinated the both of you?
GAYLORD:My interest in Mythology really is through the lens of comics. Mythology crosses over into some of comics most iconic characters. Beyond that I've always thought Hercules was cool. Who doesn't want super strength?
ESQUIVEL:When I was a little kid I used to bum out all of my religious relatives by being super into all of the crazy Heavy Metal stuff in the Bible that modern Christians are super embarrassed of: Saint George (the dragon slayer), Leviathan (the aquatic kaiju from the Old Testament), the Archangel Michael (who--I swear to God--wields a lightsaber-like flaming sword). I'm into anything that makes the world seem more magical.
And, from an anthropological viewpoint, it's crazy-interesting to me that every human culture—before the invention of the internet—had so many similar elements to their myths: self-sacrifice, resurrection, apocalyptic floods, giant lizards, etc. That either means that some of these things actually happened, or that all human beings need to tell/hear the same stories to develop cognitively. Either one is a miracle.
I'm proud to be part of that grand human tradition with LOKI: RAGNAROK AND ROLL.
Yay for New Crusaders!
New Crusaders!? Man I read the first 3 issues awhile back and absolutely loved it! I've personally been wanting to get the rest of the series, but have yet to do so. And while I don't think anything was spoiled when Hercules was talked about, I've gotten the feeling from some of Esquivel's comments that he'll certainly be around to try and ruin Loki's Rockstar dreams.
ESQUIVEL:Everybody needs a hater. Even Gods. Haters are the white blood cell of the Status Quo organism--they vehemently oppose anything new introduced into the mix. They're necessary and useful... but they're also very boring, and I hate them.
GAYLORD:Hercules is definitely going to be a part of the mix and I have to say he is one of my favorite characters to draw. I am having a lot of fun with him.
As Religion was mentioned at one point, and I do realize this is one of those situations that doesn't exactly have a full on right answer, do either of you have a worry about potential backlash by some for the use of what some would call 'False Gods'?
ESQUIVEL:I respectfully reject the notion that there's any such thing as a "False God". My identity is an amalgamation of traits I've picked up from Jesus, Loki, Aquaman, Buddha, Bruce Lee, etc--each one as vital as the last. If God is real (and I happen to believe that he is), then he's present in and responsible for all things--and that means that there's no such thing as a "False Idol".
Loki's message--if you'll allow me to speak for him for a moment--is that we (everyone--including The Gods) need to calm down, and stop taking ourselves so seriously. Chaos is life's natural state. It's Holy. Imposing rules onto it should be a sin.
GAYLORD:As a creator I don't think you can spend too much time thinking about what fans will and won't like. I think you just have to go with your gut and create art that you enjoy and hopefully everyone else will come along for the ride. I think I would drive myself crazy if I tried to second guess what fans will think ahead of them actually having the book in their hands.
If there was any one thing in particular either of the two of you could go back and change, would you?
ESQUIVEL:Not a thing.
GAYLORD:Not really change. I think whenever I'm done with any project there are panels that I wish I had a few more hours to work on, but I think issue one stands pretty strong. I'm very proud of it.
As for my final question for the both of you, for those just starting out in the Industry, or even for those wanting to get into it, what kind of advice would the both of you give?
ESQUIVEL:Enjoy paying your dues. Appreciate the fact that you don't have any suits telling you what you can or can't do and self-publish something that the big publishers are incapable of. Use your youth to your advantage. Change the world because you're too naive to know that you aren't supposed to.
GAYLORD:Get off your butt and get out there creating comics. Go to a convention, learn from other creators, then make a plan and start your own book. You'll never make it in comics if you don't get started. No excuses.
Editor's Note:A big huge thanks to Jerry and Eric! Plus, not only that. Another huge thanks to Stephanie Hocutt for helping make this possible! And remember folks, LOKI: RAGNAROK AND ROLL is out on the 19th! Miss at your own peril, for the Gods don't like that sort of thing! Can also order the title right here!