The Beat lands an exclusive Descender interview with… Mail-bot???
There’s a multitude of little things Image Comics‘ Descender does above and beyond most books on the market today. From the nuances watercolored by Dustin Nguyen to the catalog of memories inside Tim-21 written by Jeff Lemire; there’s nothing this series isn’t taking to heart. The detail even extends to the book’s letters column curated by the pulse of Descender, Mail-bot. The few issues fans have interacted with this creation have been brutally honest yet loving at the same time, so we decided to traverse the source wall and speak to the unsung hero of Jeff Lemire and Dustin Nguyen’s Descender.
Comics Beat: It’s great to be speaking with one of the most unsung robots in comics, Mail-bot. What have you been doing during Descender’s hiatus?
Mail-Bot: It’s god to be speaking with you as well, Beat-Bot. Let me tell you, Descender’s 2-month hiatus could not come at a better time. Since starting the letter column for Descender I’ve become an extremely IN DEMAND robot. I’ll be starting a new talk show on the UGC’s most popular Holo-channel, called “Late Night Bot Talk”. I’ve also signed a number of lucrative sponsorship deals and may dip my robot-ties into the acting game. I’m auditioning for Wall-E 2.
And on top of all that, I have to keep an eye on Jeff-Bot and Dustin-Bot to make sure they keep on schedule for Descender’s return in November. Those two humans are not to be trusted.
Beat-Bot: With your direct access to both Jeff-bot and Dustin-bot, tell us when Descender returns in November for “Machine Moon” will things pick up where they left off or will the story shift to answer some of the new mysteries brought up with the shocking appearance of Tim-22 and the resistance?
MB: Well, Beat-Bot, if you want spoilers, I am definitely the right robot to talk to.
The relationship between Tim-21 and the Hardwire will be a major focus of our next arc, MACHINE MOON. We will see the hidden home world of the HARDWIRE, the robot resistance. More specifically, Tim-21, Telsa, Quon and the gang will be brought there. But not all of TIM’s companions will make it that far.
We will delve deeper into the origin of TIM-22 and what makes he and TIM-21 unique from one another and what their existence means to one another and to the larger mystery.
Now, the interesting thing will be to see who TIM-22 is. Where did he grow up? What were his experiences in the last 10 years and how did he adapt to them?
There will also be MAJOR new character. One with links to TIM-21’s past and one who will change the course of the series completely.
Beat-Bot: You officially came on board between issues 4-5 of Descender, but obviously have been around it for much longer. How has the story evolved from its inception in your eyes or optical censors or whatever it is robots have?
Mail-Bot: “Optical Sensors or whatever it is robots have” I’ll try to ignore that condescending remark, Beat-Bot. And if you want to know how Descender has changes since I came on board, well, let’s just say I doubt the book would be the success it is without me. Jeff-Bot and Dustin-Bot have a modicum of talent, but it is clearly my sense of showmanship and my knack for interacting with you sentient meat-puppets that has struck a nerve across the UGC and the direct comic book market.
If anything, the story has grown in scope since I joined the creative team. Now, I’m not saying I give Jeff-Bot his ideas. But–well, actually that’s exactly what I’m saying. I give him all his best ideas.
By the way, can a robot be nominated for an Eisner? What about a Harvey? Is there a category for letter columns?
BB: Not yet, but we just got an African-American president and marriage equality so I’m sure it’s on the list. I have to ask; Tim-21’s innocence is such a charming hook for this story especially being set in the back drop of a galaxy that hates and fears his kind. What made Jeff-bot land on telling Descender through this point of view? Does Tim-21 experiencing all these highs and lows for the first time remind you of being a young Mail-bot?
MB: Oh, yes, Tim-Bot is SO precious. SO sweet. Makes me want to gag on my circuit board. If you ask me, seeing the galaxy through the eyes –“or optical sensors or whatever it is robots have” — of a hyper-talented, precocious mail response Bot would be MUCH more interesting.
BB:Every aspect of Descender has so much care behind it. Who’s your favorite supporting character? Bandit? or Driller?
Mail-Bot: Really? Are you really asking me this? Gee, who do you think I think is the best supporting character? Oh, I don’t know maybe ME!!!!
I am clearly the breakout character of the year!!!
Beat-Bot: Ok ok, point taken. Obviously you’ve contributed tons to the success. Let’s talk about where that success is going. The creative union of Dustin-bot and Jeff-bot is uncanny and while it’s exciting to imagine a story like this being on the big screen; it’s also not hard to see a studio convolute what they have and ruin it. How closely are you, Jeff-bot, and Dustin-bot guarding this adaptation to film?
Mail-Bot: I have taken the reigns in terms of all negotiation and dealings with Hollywood. In fact, I am very excited to announce that I have sold the rights to MY OWN story to a major studio. It will be called “Mail Tale: The Life and Times of The Galaxy’s Greatest Mail-Bot”. We’re looking at the guy who played R2-D2 to star, though I may end up just playing myself.
Beat-Bot: It’ll probably be Daniel Day Lewis.
It seems like even though Descender is on a hiatus, Jeff-bot doesn’t shut down. In fact he’s got a new book called Plutona coming in September that’s different in that it doesn’t have any robots (at least so far). What are your thoughts on what you’ve seen thus far from Plutona? Can you enjoy a story about a group of tiny human meat bags… err I mean children?
Mail-Bot: Meat Bags! Ha ha! Or should I say LOL.
I like your style, Beat-Bot. Why would I care about this story at all? Five Kids find the body of the world’s greatest super hero in the woods? Snooooore. Wake me when the letter column comes around.
I asked Jeff-Bot to be a part of this new book and he never responded. Can you imagine.
BB: I’m sure Jeff-bot had his reasons, or maybe it’s his jealousy circuits. In any case, I found myself floored by the book. After reading the first issue, I’m fascinated by how organic this group of kids in Plutona come off on the page. They don’t feel like they were generated by a checklist. Can you tell me if Jeff-bot had to go through multiple incarnations of these characters before landing on just the right balance?
Mail-Bot: Let me tell you something. Emi-Bot Is the real brains behind Plutona. She and Jeff-Bot hatched the whole thing together and from what I understand the characters came together very quickly and naturally. The story you read in Issue 1 is pretty much exactly what they first discussed over coffee at San Diego Comicon in 2014.
Beat-Bot: What can you tell us about the process between Jeff-bot and Plutona artist Emi Lenox? How does it differ from the Descender process?
Mail-Bot: Dustin-Bot is a bit of a hack. Let’s be honest here. I’ve had to step in a paint a few pages myself. In fact, don’t you think it’s time that robots took over the art duties on more comics? We’d never miss deadlines. We can emulate any style. Why do meat sacks like Dustin-Bot and Emi-Bot get all the glory?
And, let me reveal you another well guarded secret here, Beat-bot, Robots have been drawing comics in secret for DECADES. Rob Liefeld? Robot. George Perez? Robot. Paul Pope? Robot. Stan Lee? Robot. Fiona Staples? Robot (a Stapler Robot, actually). Walter Simonson? Half-Robot.
This has been going on for a looong time. We robots have toiled in secret. This industry is built upon our hard work, and it’s about time you human flesh popsicles knew the truth!!
Beat-Bot: You’re blowin my mind Mail-Bot. Though I have to disagree, there’s not a robot built that can do what Dustin does. But it’s comforting knowing once the robot uprising begins we’ll still have comics every month. Stan Lee??? I knew it; no human could be that nice.
To wrap on one last note about Plutona. I have to say the book is some damn fine comic. My emotions haven’t been polarized by a title like this in a very long time. When you read the main story these kids have a sort of coming of age innocence all their own about fitting in, even with the discovery at the end. Then Jeff-bot’s back up pages are a kick in the stomach when you see Plutona herself knowing what’s in store for her. The parallel of the two stories is so complimentary to each other. By the end will we see how they intersect with one another? How critical have you been of Jeff-bot’s art there?
[Note: Contains what could be considered a spoiler for some who don’t read solicits. Highlight gaps if you want to know.]
Mail-Bot: Yes yes, the two stories will dovetail together perfectly, just like I TOLD JEFF-BOT to do. We will learn the secret of how Plutona [ died ] in the back-up stories. Though the book really isn’t about the “mystery” of how she [ died]. It’s really more about how the discovery [of her body}]changes the lives of these five kids.
Beat-Bot: Hiya Jeff-Bot!
Jeff Lemire: The book isn’t so much about the super hero as it is the kids who find her. It’s about how this discovery, and the decision they make, starts to effect their lives and their friendship. It’s a very grounded story told from these kids’ point of view. Super heroes exist sin this world, but they usually only see them from a distance. They are as real to these kids as sports stars or movie actors are to us. Now, not only confronted with a super hero, but with a [dead] one, these kids lives will change forever.
Mail-Bot: How critical have I been in Jeff-Bot’ art? Without me he’d be nothing. I am his MUSE.
Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have a circuit massage scheduled at a quaint little Robo-spa called “Happy Endings” on the third moon of Sampson in a half-hour. I really must be going. It was very nice to meet you, Beat-Bot. I do hope we get the chance to speak again. –Bleep!
Ladies and Gentle-bots that’s been Mail-bot. He or it will be back when Descender returns in November along with Jeff and Dustin for the next chapter of Tim-21’s story, “Machine Moon”. In the meantime pick up the collected edition of the first six issues when Descender Vol 1: Tin Stars hits stores on September 9.
You can even read the entire first issue of Descender for free with the fine human bags over at BoingBoing.
Jeff also pairs with the incredible Emi Lenox on Plutona from Image Comics. The story about both sides of hero worship debuts this week. We’ll have a full review this Wednesday. Don’t forget Dustin Nguyen will be joining us for the Covers @Long Beach Comic Con, September 12.