Love & Leveled Landscapes In Leviathan
Jun 17, 2018
by Vince Brusio
John Layman was given the key to the city when Nick Pitarra’s schedule was clear, and the artist was open for business. A fan of the destructive power of dynamite, Layman decided to set off nukes in the form of Nick Pitarra’s artwork for Leviathan #1 (JUN180012) from Image Comics. The damage report is a creator-owned series that burns out your eyes, and leaves you numb and speechless. Layman, however, is not tongue-tied, and he talks to us in this PREVIEWSworld Exclusive interview to tell us about his new book really just uses a giant monster as a jumping-off point because…why let the monster have all the fun?
Vince Brusio: So what bad acid trip inspired Leviathan #1 (JUN180012)? A guy goes out on a beer run and his buddies summon a demon from hell as a Jackass-style prank on a fellow bro? Did either of you have a bad experience with a Ouija board, or what? This sounds like a Lovecraftian nightmare set against Shaun of the Dead: everybody dies…but it’s funny.
John Layman: Leviathan was conceived when Nick Pitarra called me up and wanted to do a book. I wanted to do the most “Nick Pitarra” book possible. And I figured a giant monster book would be the best way to showcase his talents. Of course, it just STARTS as a giant monster book, but it rapidly devolves into one crazy thing after another, delivered at a pace designed to give you whiplash.
Vince Brusio: We’re being told by the book’s solicitation text that this series is tailor-made for people who thrive on Godzilla carnage and Game Of Thrones dragons. Yet, we have what appears to be Ryan DeLuca on the front cover of Leviathan getting a big smooch from his lady love Vivian Monroe. How do these things go together? Or is the right question, how do you take them apart? Does torturing the village natives play a big part in the book’s execution?
John Layman: I think for the sake of a tagline it’s easiest to compare it to Godzilla, but Leviathan just uses a giant monster as a jumping-off point. It’s an action movie, a giant monster movie, an adventure, a tragedy, a horror movie and, at its heart, a big, sloppy, sappy romance.
Vince Brusio: So give us some background on the Generation Z-types we’ll see in this book. Those who use Siri to find the nearest convenience store. We get a glimpse of them on some of the sample pages provided in the June PREVIEWS catalog. They’re debating the best monster of all time since they’ve left the kaiju movie marathon. Is it these same nerds that summon a monster from Hell? Did they ask Siri how to do that as well?
John Layman: There’s really no point in getting to know the party-goers that summon the Leviathan. Except for Ryan’s poor, doomed girlfriend Vivian, and the creepy devil-worshipping “Goth Jimmy” whose idea it was to do the summoning ceremony, everybody else is picked off in the first issue— and in the most violent and terrible ways. The Leviathan is out to kill every last person who participated in the summoning ceremony, and in a very short time he’s set his sights on Vivian and Vivian only. This sorta puts the kibosh on Ryan’s plans to propose. Now the challenge is for him and Vivian to get out of this alive.
Vince Brusio: If we’re dealing with a giant monster from hell in this story, than that means the genie is out of the bottle. Anything can happen because now there’s, literally, Hell on Earth. So how did you take that premise and run with it? How did you know how far to go? Is the objective to be absurd? Ridiculous? Is this a case of once you take off the handcuffs, you never want to put them back on?
John Layman: This entire book is an exercise is breakneck gonzo excessiveness, where I’m coming up with the craziest stuff for Nick to draw. Giant monsters, demons, exorcisms, mechs, dinosaurs, radioactive dinosaurs. It’s a relentlessly fast-paced exercise in ever-increasing action, adrenaline and madness.
Vince Brusio writes about comics, and writes comics. He is the long-serving Editor of PREVIEWSworld.com, the creator of PUSSYCATS, and encourages everyone to keep the faith...and keep reading comics.