We’ve all experienced that feeling of abject helplessness in the face of adversity. We’re taught to resolve our differences through nonviolent, peaceful mediation, to seek alternate routes of conflict resolution. Still, sometimes you can’t help but wonder what would happen if you took the matter into your own hands. That’s exactly what happens in Big Man Plans, the new creator-owned Image Comics series from fan-favorite writer/artist Eric Powell (The Goon) and Oni Press VP of business development Tim Wiesch. And make no mistake — things are going to get brutal.
The ultraviolent crime drama follows a mysterious, rage-filled character called Big Man as he takes his revenge on a society that has largely marginalized him. What follows is, well, pretty freakin’ crazy. Case in point, we have the exclusive first look at Lee Bermejo’s wicked-looking cover for Big Man Plans #1.
Be warned: it’s pretty gruesome.
That’s quite the rump if I do say so myself. In case this didn’t set the tone for what you can expect from their new Image Comics series, I also caught up with creators Eric Powell and Tim Wiesch to take you deeper inside the forthcoming crime comic.
Nerdist: How did you guys first conceive of the comic? From what I understand, it has been gestating since 2012.
Tim Wiesch: It all started as a weird personal hashtag that Eric and I were only using when talking to each other. The phrase “Big Man Plans” was what we would call our ludicrous fantasy life goals that would happen when we were big important men. Something along the lines of “I’m going to hire Prince to dress up like a clown and fight children at birthday parties while singing Purple Rain. #BigManPlans” After a year or so of texts like that between us, Eric texted me one day and said we should do a comic called Big Man Plans. Within five more texts we had the rough outline of what we’re doing now.
Eric Powell: Yeah, it started out with Tim applying the hashtag #BigManPlans to some text conversation we were having about what we were going to do if we ever got f–k you money. We then both started applying it to random conversation. “Going to get tacos. #BigManPlans”. That’s where the title came from. The story slowly evolved from us then taking the phrase and applying it to an actual person nicknamed Big Man. “Oh, Big Man wouldn’t stand for that.” “Big Man did some time in ’Nam.” It all started as an inside joke and the more we added to this fictitious guy, the more serious it got until we both thought, “Shit, this has to be a comic.”
N: I love the logline from what I’ve seen so far — “even the most marginalized in society can exact revenge if they don’t care how they do it.” What can readers expect from the new book?
TW: Once it gets into issue #2, Big Man is on a rather specific quest for revenge, but in issue #1 we got to have a lot of fun filling in his back story and building up to how he’s qualified to do what’s to come. We got a lot of story into that first issue. His rough childhood, Vietnam, a brief yet notable stay in prison… plus within the first five pages he punches a teenager in the face. That page makes me smile probably more than it should.
EP: That pretty much sums it up. Lots and lots of violence. This is in no way a feel-good tale.
N: What attracted you to this idea of an unlikely, marginalized hero?
EP: We rational people who try to rely on justice and solving problems in a civilized way still like to daydream about taking a bat to the heads of the truly awful people out there. Fiction is a release to live vicariously through characters. To do the things we would never do. Plus, it’s just fun to watch stuff explode.
TW: Because who wants to see another good looking superhero save the day again? I want a miserable SOB charging head first into an unwinnable fight, kicking and cursing as he goes. There is just so much more personality there.
N: It sounds pretty brutal and violent — why do you think we’re attracted to over-the-top ultra violence?
TW: Yeah… this gets a little rough. I’m not sure why we like it so much but it does seem pretty ingrained in our cultural DNA as Americans. It’s probably not super healthy for any of us, but let’s not fix it until after our books are out.
N: Is it going to blend violence and comedy a la The Goon or is this going to be a bit darker in tone?
EP: NOPE, NOPE, NOPE. This is not a humor book. There may be some funny lines here and there, but this is a full on crime drama.
N: Do you have a set number of issues planned or is it meant to be a free-flowing ongoing series?
TW: For now it’s only set up as a mini-series of four issues. We’ve certainly got some ideas as what we would do next with it so if things go well there could be more.
EP: The first story arc is four issues. We have other ideas, though.
Big Man Plans #1 is available March 4, 2015.