Sometimes you look at a comic book for the first time and you can describe it in one word. And sometimes that one word is a positive thing. That is exactly what happened when I got a sneak peek at IDW's newest offering Monster Motors from Brian Lynch and Nick Roche. The book is coming out in June and I got a chance to bounce some questions off the writer and try to figure out just where the idea of turning classic monsters into automobiles came from.
BLEEDING COOL: I got a chance to look over the book and it looks to be a blast. Victor Frankenstein is a mechanic, Igor is a robot side-kick and his garage has a giant creepy gate… what the hell is Monster Motors?
BRIAN LYNCH: With MONSTER MOTORS we're reinventing all our favorite monsters: vampires, werewolves, zombies, invisible man, creature, etc. as all sorts of cars, trucks and other assorted vehicles. Vampire cars suck the gas out of other cars, If the Doctor Jekyll hits too many RPMS he becomes Mr. Hybrid. It's a big fun summer movie in a comic.
In this story, Frankenstein is a genius auto mechanic, but he's terrible with people so he builds iGOR (shorts for intelligent Garage Operations Robot…the "i" is lowercase because he's not that intelligent) to help him. He buys a junkyard/garage in Transylvania, Kentucky with this very weird fence/gate. Vic thinks it's to keep all the weird locals OUT, but in reality, it's to keep something IN.
BL: The cars and trucks are sentient, but the story takes place in our world. There are plenty of humans. Some that will fight the monsters, some that work for them. For instance, in this book, we introduce RM Renfield, a used car dealer that encounters Cadillacula, the vampire car. If we tell more MONSTER MOTORS stories, you can be their paths will cross again.
For the most part the vehicles don't have drivers, but Vic creates a giant truck out of the remains of a bunch of dead trucks, with every intention of driving it to fight the other monsters. To his surprise and dismay, the truck has its own personality and doesn't let him drive.
There IS a Van Helsing. But it's Minivan Helsing. Big heroic minivan packed with every weapon imaginable to fight the evil Monster Motors. Crossbows, machine guns with silver bullets, UV headlights to melt the vampire cars.
BL: It's a one-shot for now, we introduce Vic and set up the world. The story is about him freeing an ancient (or more accurately, classic) evil, and having to deal with it.
The book ends with a bigger look at the world Vic finds himself in the middle of. If people like this issue, AND HOW COULD THEY NOT (false confidence will help sell the book, right?) I have many more stories in mind.
BC: So where did the original idea come from? Were you looking at a Prius and thought "Mr. Hybrid" and it just flowed from there? Were you fascinated with Monster Trucks as a kid? Where did the seed of this idea come from?
BL: When I was working on the SPIKE and ANGEL comics for IDW, they asked if I had any ideas for TRANSFORMERS stories. My head was so filled with vampires, I immediately thought of a vampire car that sucked the gas out of other cars to live. Laughed to myself, went back to work, but then I thought about it some more and realized that could make for a really fun story. If I was a kid and saw a book about a vampire car, I'd be all over it. The name "Cadillacula" came a few minutes later.
I needed someone for Cadillacula to fight. Frankenstein's truck, made from the remains of different trucks, yes, that sounds fun too.
I started listing all the monsters and coming up with their back stories, until I had a list of 30+ characters. About a third of them make it into the one shot, so here's hoping we get to tell more stories, because I have lots more Monster Motors.
As a kid I LOVED monster stuff and I loved cars and trucks, I think most kids do, so I had a ball developing the world. Asked my wife if this was a good idea, and her eyes lit up, she really dug it. I knew I was on to something because she's way smarter than I am.
BL: Yeah, Nick is a master. When I told my buddy Chris Ryall about the idea, he suggested Nick. I always loved Nick's stuff but (A) figured he was too busy or (B) maybe wouldn't like the idea or figured (C) I couldn't afford him.
I contacted Nick, and he loved the idea and we started talking about it. But all his other projects started overwhelming him and he said he felt bad about making me wait, so it looked like, for a while, he wasn't going to be able to do it.
For a long stretch I didn't know who was going to draw it. I talked to a couple of other artists but nothing clicked for me. Nick was always supposed to do this comic, no one else felt right. I told Nick I was going to wait until he was available if he really wanted to draw it, he said "absolutely" and when he schedule cleared we jumped in.
Working with him is so fun. I sent him a long file/character history for each of our cars, and he sent back all these options, each one better than the next. It's not like the movie CARS, our cars and trucks don't have eyes and mouths that move. They are souped up vehicles whose general design suggests the classic monsters, yet each one STILL has this massive visual personality that lets the reader know IMMEDIATELY what they're like. And Nick's humans are perfect.
As cool as the vehicles are, if Vic Frankenstein doesn't work, the book is hollow. But Nick knocked him out of the park. Vic's just as much fun to watch as the flying vampire car.
And don't get me started on iGOR. I sent Nick this really crude sketch of what I pictured iGOR to look like and he came back with half a dozen designs that, while inspired by my third grade-esque scribble, took it out a whole new door. Everyone's gonna want an iGOR action figure.
BL: I think it's coming out the end of July, but you have to pre-order it now or stores won't know to get any copies. As for WHY readers should pick it up?
1. It's the best looking book of the month, if not the year. Nick Roche destroyed it.
2. It's fun. For ANYONE. Not saying it's a kids book, I'm saying that anyone can pick this up and enjoy it.
I'm currently writing the movie MINIONS for Universal. And the director of that, Pierre Coffin, said something that stuck with me. His goal isn't to make a movie a kids film that adults won't be annoyed by. He wants to make a movie that everyone loves equally. And that stuck in my head while making MONSTER MOTORS. If we did our job right, adults will love it, teens will love it, kids will dig it. I want people to buy this and want to re-read it over and over.
3. Our villain is a car named Cadillacula who sucks the gas out of other cars. If that doesn't convince you, you're too far gone.
Look for Monster Motors coming from IDW Publishing this June.