Cosmic Detective is a new Kickstarter comics project from writers Matt Kindt and Jeff Lemire with artist David Rubín, and the creative team recently made time to talk to The Beat about the project, which funded basically immediately and is continuing to roll out new tiers for backers.
In fact, just yesterday the project began offering this new print by Rubín.
In addition, the project is offering an incentive to retailers with 10 copies for the price of five, which will likely ensure plenty of these books on store shelves upon release. Anyway, you can find the Kickstarter Campaign here, but first check out what the trio of popular comics creators had to say about the project…
THE BEAT: This is the first time you, Jeff, and David have all collaborated on one project, although you’ve all worked together separately in the past. What is it about COSMIC DETECTIVE that makes it an ideal project for all three of you to come together?
Kindt: It’s a very “out there” idea – so there were really no limits creatively to ideas and strange concepts and the world building of the book. If we could dream it up? It was in the book. We approached it like the Key & Peele Gremlins 2 skit. “Crazy as hell? Never been done in comics? It’s in the book.” (laughs)
We really wanted to come up with a cosmic mythology and then have a character that grounds the entire thing – imagine taking the idea of these all powerful cosmic gods who are unknowable – and walking around in that world as a normal guy trying to solve a mystery. It’s going to be crazy and fun – but also absolutely terrifying. This idea also just gave David permission to run absolutely wild with character and world building design – his visual creativity is unmatched in comics so I felt like we were just teeing him up to do what he does best…
THE BEAT: I read on the campaign page that this book was written specifically for David Rubin, which is a familiar situation for you having most recently collaborated on ETHER. I’m curious given the singular and imaginative nature of David’s work, how many of the visual ideas come in the script and how often does David utterly surprise you with the work? I read a brief preview and there’s some striking visuals that have to do with the trunk of a car…
Kindt: With David, I try not to describe too much. Just enough to get his brain cooking, so we can see what he comes up with. He really just takes a crazy idea and then puts it through his filter and it comes out 1000x just…MORE. And then his visuals spawn even more ideas. We just end up feeding off of each other and having this great creative/artistic back and forth.
THE BEAT: Between yourself, Matt, and David, this is a project with some pretty big names within the comics industry. What drew you to take this book to Kickstarter rather than one of the publishers you all have relationships with?
Lemire: Matt and I sort of thought it would be fun to go back to our roots. We both met when we were self-publishing our early work and doing small press shows. And that DIY spirit was something we missed. This seemed like a great opportunity just to do this ourselves. Also, I really like to have my work spread out and not put all my eggs in one basket, or with one publisher. And the current situation in the word has highlighted how fragile the comic industry can be. So trying new ways of getting your work out there is never a bad thing. But really it just came from Matt and I having fun and wanting to do something without having to worry about publishers or editors. Something just for ourselves.
THE BEAT: This is a story about a detective investigating the murder of god, and religious themes are certainly no stranger to your work. Without giving too much away, how significant of a theme is religion in this story?
Lemire: Honestly, I don’t think this book has a lot of serious religious themes or commentary. When we speak of gods in Cosmic Detective we really mean big, fun, crazy cosmic science fiction entities. This story is really about mythology not religion, if you can differentiate between the two. But there is a real theme of how small mankind is in the greater scheme of the universe, so there is a real existential dread there and our Detective is struggling with that.
THE BEAT: One thing I really love about your work is the way it blends gritty and relatively familiar imagery with high imagination cartooning seemingly from another world. I got to read a brief preview of COSMIC DETECTIVE, and I was struck by how it was at once clearly a David Rubín comic but also wholly new. Can you talk about how the visual approach to this story is different from your other recent books like ETHER or GRAND ABYSS HOTEL?
Rubín: When I start with a new project, I try to imagine what I could contribute to it, and how I should adapt my style to tell the story in the best possible way.
As an artist, your style is recognizable, it is part of your DNA, but within it you can search for new paths on it that make the story more interesting. The story always drives your work. For example, my style is recognizable in works like ETHER or RUMBLE; it’s the same, but in ETHER I drive it to a more pop, brighter and crazy terrain, and in RUMBLE I create a darker, more ornate and baroque one.
In COSMIC DETECTIVE, my style is in a more pulp, detailed terrain, trying to approach from a graphic point of view the sensation that writing styles like Chandler or Spillane transmit to me.
And at the same time, I mix that with all the Kirbyesque’s mythology, the vibe of the superhero comics from the ’60s, the kaleidoscopic exuberance of the classic pulp covers and the feelings that I have when I first saw a David Lynch film.
I hope that the final result of mixing such different ingredients in the same dish will be a good taste for the readers.
THE BEAT: Also in the brief preview I read, there’s an homage to one of my favorite painters, Edward Hopper, and my all-time favorite painting, Nighthawks. It’s really deliberately placed at the beginning so you can’t miss it. How much is Hopper going to be an influence on the visuals here and was that placement at the beginning perhaps a hint of more homages to come?
Rubín: Yeah, Hopper is one of my favorite painters too. His influence is present in COSMIC DETECTIVE in different ways, some more obvious and literally, like the Nighthawks’ sequence that you said, and others in a more subtle way.
There are another influences that hit me strong to approach my work to Cosmic Detective: Some Fritz Lang’s films –specially Dr. Mabuse series or Spione. Orson Welles too. Of course David Lynch –Lynch’s films are Hopper’s influenced too.And some films by Wong Kar Wai or Nicholas Widding Refn that I adore.
The Kickstarter campaign for Cosmic Detective is running through Wednesday, June 3rd, at 9:00 AM Pacific.