For his latest comics project, award-winning former Vertigo editor Stuart Moore has teamed up with artist Gus Storms to bring their sci-fi superteam story, "EGOs," to Image Comics, starting in January.
"EGOs" -- Earth/Galactic Operatives -- were an elite team of powerful heroes defending the galaxy. The team disbanded and mostly stepped out of the spotlight, but when an old enemy returns to wreak havoc, former team leader Deuce must reassemble a new team of EGOs to fight back.
Moore has a rich history in comics as a writer as well as editor, having worked on books like "Namor: The First Mutant," "Wolverine Noir" and "The 99." Storms is best known for his work on Black Mask's Wu-Tang Clan tie-in comic "Twelve Reasons to Die." The pair spoke exclusively with CBR News about their plans for the book, and how "Saga" writer Brian K. Vaughan was involved in their process.
CBR News: What is the overview of "EGOs?"
Stuart Moore: "EGOs" is the story of Deuce, a far-future hero who once belonged to a team that broke up years ago. Now one of the EGOs' worst enemies has returned -- Masse, the Living Galaxy -- so Deuce decides to re-form the team. But to do so, he has to cross a line with his wife, another former team member called Pixel. And that line can't be uncrossed.
Basically "EGOs" is a fusion of two things I love: futuristic costumed adventure and harsh, HBO-style characterization. As the title suggests, Deuce and Pixel are both extremely self-centered people. She's very image-oriented, concentrating on her charity works and her endorsements; the last thing she wants is to be drawn back into super heroics. And he's re-forming the EGOs in order to save the galaxy -- but he's such a narcissist, he can't see that he's also hurting and manipulating Pixel in a pretty cruel way.
Deuce's code-name, by the way, is short for "Seduce." Which gives you a hint about his powers, and his personality too.
"EGOs" is also an attempt to fit as many ideas, concepts, and characters as possible into a comic without making it seem crowded. There's a pretty severe twist at the end of issue #1, which we hope will take people by surprise.
Deuce is set on getting the team from his glory days back together to stop the rise of an old enemy. Why is it important for him to continue in his role?
Moore: First off, there's a gigantic sentient galaxy moving through known space, gobbling up suns and inhabited planets. That's the immediate threat. The original EGOs broke up years ago, and Earthgov hasn't had the same kind of strike force available since then. So Deuce convinces them to let him form a new team, with younger members.
On another level, though, he wants to feel useful. He misses the spotlight and the camaraderie. It's a midlife thing.
What's the back-story on the original team? How did they come to be together?
Moore: They were all very young, very powerful, and they thought they were invincible. But like a successful pop group, they all wound up pulling in different directions, and their (wait for it) egos eventually split them apart. Some of the team have retired, one guy dies rather spectacularly; some are still around but have receded from the spotlight.
One member, a cyborg called Norman Coordinate, is a crucial behind-the-scenes partner in Deuce's plans. But Norman's organic parts aren't working very well with his implants anymore. He keeps shorting out, and he might be sicker than he seems.
In the first issue, we see Deuce do a few things to control image and perception: he uses a device to appear younger, he puts on a show for his audience, and he attempts to use his powers of influence over someone. Is he lying to protect those around him, or is he serving his "EGO?"
Moore: All of the above. That's the core of the whole thing. Deuce is under enormous pressure to assemble this team fast, in order to take down Masse. There's a crucial line where Deuce asks him, "How do you plan to staff, train, and launch an entire superhero team in one week?" The answer: He'll do anything he has to. But yes, he likes the attention as well.
How did you and Gus come to work together?
Moore: Gus was in a coloring class at the School of Visual Arts, taught by my friend and business partner Marie Javins. Marie is handling production and some editorial work on "EGOs" through our partnership, Botfriend Productions. She said, "You've got to see this guy's stuff," and I was floored. His character design is amazing, his drawing is fluid with a slight European flavor, his coloring has a great otherworldly feel to it, and his storytelling is flawless. We worked out a deal and got started pretty quickly.
The art in "EGOs" has a really cool early 90s type feel to it. How did you decide on the aesthetic?
Moore: We went back and forth on Masse quite a bit. During the design process, Gus made some great suggestions about Masse's history and motivations that really snapped the character into place. That's probably the place where Gus has had the most influence on the story, so far at least.
Gus Storms: Stuart wanted something lively, vital; space with a little bombast. He mentioned liking the visual irreverence of the Legion of Super-Heroes, where everyone’s power is neon and just a little bit silly. It seemed like a good fit here, the comic has a pretty black core so I thought a candy-colored shell would fit nicely. I also wanted things to be "clean looking". The central team of the book, the EGOs, really function as a sort of propaganda machine; they'd want their optics shiny, to be sure.
Gus, how did you decide on the design of the villain, Masse?
Storms: That was a toughie. Great sci-fi concepts are commonly un-drawable and Masse is no exception. He's a sentient galaxy, albeit a small one, so questions like corporeality and how he chooses/is able to manifest come into play.
In the end we tried to skirt the line of something relatable to the reader (give 'em a face!) and suitably iconic (the galactic disk.) I think we got him right, but you'll just have to keep reading to judge for yourself.
Gus, did you do the colors or is there another artist on the project
Storms: Nah, that's all me on this one. Coloring's a pleasure when I have the time.
What brought "EGOs" to Image?
Moore: Brian K. Vaughan is our guardian angel on this book. He referred me to Image, and he's actually running a preview in “Saga” #15, on sale very soon. Thanks again, Brian!
Is this planned as an ongoing, or do you have it set to a specific number of issues?
Moore: The initial storyline runs three issues, and I've just written a fourth, character-centered issue as a kind of epilogue. It'll depend on sales, but I have years' worth of notes and ideas. And Gus's character designs are gorgeous.
As the series progresses, the scope will expand, and we'll get to know a lot of the other characters. My favorite is Shara, a teenage girl who will eventually take the code-name N-Brane. She's determined to get off her backwater planet and join the EGOs, and she doesn't take any crap from anybody. Gus did a gorgeous job designing her.
"EGOs" #1 is scheduled to debut on January 15, 2014.