Michel Gagné is an Award-winning (Annie and BAFTA) animator, but he’s also known for his charming comics work in the FLIGHT anthologies as well as the fantasy comic The Saga of Rex. Over the year’s he’s also been working on an all-ages tale called ZED, the story of a young alien on the run from a galactic villain. Now a collection of the 10 issues published from 2001 to 2010 is coming out from Image in next month. You can see more of ZED at Gagné’s website.
“I fell in love with comics at an early age, and recall wanting to be a comic artist as one of my first childhood dreams”, said Gagné. “I later became interested in animation and special effects and pursued a career in that field. Despite this new passion, I never wavered in my love of comics and ultimately couldn’t shake the festering desire to create my own series. In early 2001, after finishing up a demanding job as Head of Special Effects at Warner Brothers Feature Animation, I took time off to make that dream come true. This is how ZED was born.”
Doing a comic series after hours, single-handedly, proved to be a more difficult task than Gagné first anticipated. “I planned to tell my tale over a period of ten issues and felt pretty confident, at the time, that I could have the whole thing wrapped up and published within a couple of years,” said Gagné. “Little did I know that it would take me eleven years to finally bring the series to fruition. ZED is, first and foremost, a labor of love which I created at my own pace. The comic series became a way for me to build my graphic novel.”
ZED reflects Gagné’s deep love for golden age science fiction and oddball cartooning. It is influenced by his favorite books and movies, as well as political news, rock concerts and things he has experienced and witnessed throughout his life. With the series wrapped up, Gagné combined all ten issues into a single graphic novel that reads as one uninterrupted story. Because of the time span it took to get the series done, Gagné felt that the writing and art style needed a second pass to make them more consistent.
“The disparity from one issue to the next was less visible when separated into individual comic books, but all strung together in graphic novel form, the inconsistencies became painfully obvious”, said Gagné. “When putting the final book together, I didn’t treat it as a straight reprint book. I spend several months reworking the art and writing to make it more cohesive. I consider ZED: A Cosmic Tale published by Image Comics to be the definitive version of the story.”
Heidi MacDonald is the founder and editor in chief of The Beat. In the past, she worked for Disney, DC Comics, Fox and Publishers Weekly. She can be heard regularly on the More To Come Podcast. She likes coffee, cats and noble struggle.