ENORMOUS – Interview with writer TIM DANIEL

Terry Hoknes of www.HoknesComics.com has been praising Enormous as the best comic of 2014 and the comic has been a huge success story all summer long with constant sell-outs. Hoknes spoke with writer/creator Tim Daniel in August 2014.

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Enormous was first released as a one-shot treasury sized large comic from Image in 2012.
Starting in 2014 a new monthly ongoing series began with 2 covers for each of the 3 issues released so far and this will continue with future issues. So far #1-3 have all been instant sellouts and have gone up in value.

WHEN DID YOU FIRST BREAK INTO COMICS PROFESSIONALLY?
As a designer, back in 2008. I created a logo and cover treatment for Nick Spencer’s Shadowline-Image book entitled, Existence 2.0. As a writer, 2012 with the Enormous One Shot.

WHAT ARE SOME PERSONAL HIGHLIGHTS OF YOUR CAREER SO FAR?
Popgun Vol. 2 was my first published story, a short I wrote and Ming Doyle illustrated. That was an unparalleled thrill, getting published for the first time. I have Joe Keatinge (Shutter) and Mark Andrew Smith (Amazing Joy Buzzards) to thank for that. July 2012 seeing Enormous on the booth table at SDCC. For that I owe a debt of gratitude to Jim Valentino. And finally, Curse which I co-wrote with Micheal Moreci (Roche Limit) – that was an amazing creative experience in getting to work with Riley Rossmo, Colin Lorimer and Mike. The unforeseen reward of that book was getting to work with editors Eric Harburn and Chris Rosa at Boom. I have to thank Boom Managing Editor Bryce Carlson (HIT) for putting that team on our project.

WHAT WAS THE PROCESS OF IMAGE PUBLISHING THE OVERSIZED ENORMOUS ONE-SHOT ?
Long and arduous. Since Mehdi and I were both working on our first book we we’re both experiencing on the job training and growing pains at the same time. I had a big, sprawling epic in mind, which is now playing out in the ongoing series and I made the error of trying to do too much in too little space. The Treasury Edition is 64 pages cover to cover. We had a lot of ground to cover. In retrospect, I’d have approached it much differently.

ANY IDEA OF PRINT RUN OF THE ENORMOUS ONE-SHOT?
5500 copies printed was the last figure I saw.

WHAT IS THE DEAL WITH A SPECIAL LIMITED EDITION OF THE ONE-SHOT THAT DIAMOND USED TO CARRY?
You might be referring to the unpublished Deluxe Hardcover Edition that was solicited, which was subsequently cancelled when we switched publishers so that we could continue in a new monthly ongoing format. A casualty of change really. And that’s okay, because I definitely would make the same decision again. One reprinted edition against an entire series of monthly books is much more challenging and rewarding. We get to tell our story now the way it was originally intended to be told and we have 215Ink to thank for that opportunity.

WHAT HAVE BEEN THE PRO’S AND CON’S OF PUBLISHING ENORMOUS THROUGH 215 INK?
A lot of pros I can tell you that right now. First, their belief that we could actually pull this off in a monthly format. Andrew DelQuadro and Michael Perkins are responsible for that decision and working with them both has been wonderful. They’re diligent, professional and multi-talented that’s for sure. It’s interesting to me that people refer to publishers in terms of size – “Big Two” or “Small Press” when in fact, they both accomplish the same goal – publishing a book. Should that matter in terms of buying and reading the book from either “type” of publisher? Not at all. Buy and read the material you like and not because of what logo is on the cover dress. The perception is the quality of a “small press” publisher cannot possibly be on par with other larger publishers. When in fact, that’s simply not true, not in all cases. Enormous is at 215Ink for one reason – they wanted to publish the book and we wanted them to publish it.

WHY 2 COVERS FOR EVERY SINGLE ISSUE?   ARE THE PRINT RUNS EQUAL EACH TIME?
Having two artists for every cover was something that I thought readers would enjoy – and I had a hunch Enormous monsters were something artists would enjoy drawing. The idea was to give a lot of different looks at this world through the alternate artist’s depiction, whereas Mehdi’s covers would give readers consistency. I’m a comic book reader and huge fan of the artist – so getting to see Enormous through the prism of Riley Rossmo, Christian DiBari, Michael Avon Oeming, Colin Lorimer, Sara deLaine, Johnnie Christmas, Andrew Huerta, Valentin Ramon, Jason Copland for instance – is really cool. And I’d love to see more and have a serious wishlist of folks like Jenny Frisson, Fiona Staples, Geof Darrow and Eric Powell.

The print runs for each cover are dictated solely by pre-orders. This is not an incentive variant – the covers are printed by demand basically and readers can choose one, the other or both.

DID BOTH COVERS OF ISSUE #2 SHIP ON TIME OR IS THE DELAY WITH ONE OF THEM IN PARTICULAR?

I have yet to officially confirm there was a delay in shipping. There were scattered reports in terms of one cover or the other reaching stores while the Diamond shipping manifests suggest that delivery was purposely staggered. Why, I’m not sure. Why #3 shipped a mere 2 weeks after #2 is also a mystery but appears to be a blessing in disguise as each issue was sold out at the distribution level prior to reaching stores.

PRINT RUN OF #2?
Less than half of #1. Issue #3 is the same – less than half of #1. Issue #4 appears to have experienced a really nice pre-order bump. We’re really excited by that too since it is often pretty standard for a title to see numbers begin to settle and even decline at that stage.

WHAT IS THE LONG TERM PLAN FOR THE SERIES?
Long-term, we plan to do 10 volumes with each collection consisting of 6 issues. 60 issues with a definite ending to the tale. We’ll get there if we stick to our short term plan for each arc which is to publish 6 issues, then a digital only Field Guide detailing characters, creatures and process reveals along with an original episodic short story. Then we’ll publish the collection and the month following – the first issue of the next arc. We’re definitely emulating the Saga-styled schedule in that we’ll have a publishing break while we have a production ramp-up. Only we intend to fill that space with both the Field Guide and Trade. In the case of the first arc, we’ll also be releasing the digital files for each issue.

CAN READERS BUY AN ENORMOUS RELATED PRODUCT DIRECTLY FROM YOU AND/OR 215 INK?
Not to my knowledge but that may change. I’ve definitely had substantial requests already for such things and we might have pulled it off, but we’re completely out of stock on Issues #1-#3! A good problem to have and for that we have collectors, retailers and readers to thank!

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