An Interview With The Unkillable Eric M. Esquivel
Phoenix Comic Con is on the horizon this upcoming weekend and all of us at ComicBookTherapy posses the very same level of excitement as a Norse warrior first entering Valhalla. To further add to that we we’re lucky enough to snag a few words with one of our most favorite, darling, ambiguous, prophetic comic book writers, Eric Esquivel, and his account of what additives his creative juices for his new book Thor: The Unkillable Thunder Christ require, and its pulp contents.
A super quick synopsis of Eric Esquivel: writer, journalist, marketeer, dancer, reader, and a grandeur creator of socially ousted mythological figures.
Ryan: Can you describe the creative origin of Thor: The Unkillable Thunder Christ?
Eric: Sure, man.
In a nutshell: I think about dying all of the time. I write because I’m painfully aware that I’m the son and heir of nothing in particular and it’d be super easy to use my past traumas as an excuse for coasting through a meaningless life, contributing nothing.
On the flip-side, I like fantasizing about beings for whom death isn’t an eventuality. For as much heat as I’m getting about being blasphemous, I really like the Jesus story. I love the idea of a God who realizes he’s doing an inadequate job of guiding a species he knows nothing about, creating an earthly vessel through which he can experience the pain of what it means to be human, and then returning back to his station after his human death a more enlightened, better equipped deity.
The only flaw in the Jesus myth that I have a problem with is that he always knew he was going to be okay. Jesus had firsthand knowledge that life after death was going to be awesome, so he didn’t get to experience any of the doubt and existential horror that defines human mortality.
My book, Thor: Unkillable Thunder Christ, is about a young God who took his immortality for granted being banished to life on Earth (as a mortal) for bringing shame to his father’s house in Heaven.
It’s an examination of the whole “quality over quantity” thing in regard to the longevity of a life.
Also there are like, robots and magic hammers and superheroes and gangbangers and stuff.
Ryan: Fans are really digging the not- so-hair-model rendition of your Thor. Was this done in an effort to make sure no one mixes up Marvel’s Thor and your Thor? To do justice to the masculinity of the Norse gods? Or to bring back the caveman persona that has been absent since the days of the Flintstones?
Eric: I’ve always been deeply troubled by the fact that most peoples’ Gods look like them. I mean, barring multi-limbed elephant deities and flying spaghetti monsters, people tend to impose their physical attributes to those of their Gods–and that seems really weird and racist and sexist.
Growing up, my best friend had a velvet black Jesus painting hanging up in his living room, my uncle had a blue-eyed depiction of the same dude in his foyer, and my aunt had a Mexican Virgin Mary in her kitchen. It confused me then and sort of offends me now.
Marvel has a blond guy. DC has a ginger guy. Ander and I have a guy with ebony hair and glow-in-the-dark Futhark Rune tattoos.
The ending of Thunder Christ was super unexpected and was extremely obtuse, I loved it! Was that done intentionally to mimic those Saturday morning cartoon heroes that fight each other, then, BAM, super best friends and a new adventure begins? Please say yes.
The end of the book is symbolic of my experience with human life as a whole–in that resolutions don’t exist. People don’t exist Stage Left after a nasty breakup, life doesn’t get any easier after graduation, nobody hands you an award the second you accomplish one of your life’s goals.
Life is nothing more than a series of challenges, and whether that’s a product of an ineffable divine plan or the laws of nature I have no idea, but there’s nothing truer.
Can we expect a team-up issue in the future with the giant, crazed, Nazi robot?
That giant, crazed Nazi robot is there for a reason, and astute readers of my stuff will notice its connection to things I’ve done previously and things I have cookin’ for a future release.
In several of your interviews you have mentioned that Thunder Christ will posses several powerful and loaded motifs such as, what are super heroes for? Fighting for oneself. And what makes a God? When you are writing, does the theme write the story, or is the theme the end result from the story?
Everything comes from the theme.
I only sit down to write when I have something to say. When that stops being the case I’ll take up juggling.
On a scale from one to ten, one being Aquaman, and ten being Conan, where do you believe Thunder Christ fits on the scale of manliness?
I respectfully reject the premise, in that pre-New 52 Aquaman is the manliest creation since the penis.
There’s nothing manlier than hacking one’s own hand off with one’s belt buckle in order to free one’s self from a death-trap, and go rescue one’s son from Black Manta. Are you kidding me? METAL!
Also: if we’re going to adhere to masculine stereotypes, I’d like to think that it’s manly to protect the environment, oppose corruption, and defend the animals of the world who can’t speak for themselves.
Same question, but to you as a writer, where do you lie, with one being Norah Roberts and ten being Frank Miller?
I barely identify as a man. I like men’s formal wear but I also really, really like The Pipettes.
You mentioned how the remaining Kickstarter donations will be used to fund your next two books, Super American “The Red White and Blue Knight” and Moon Girl “Princess with a punch.” How are those two interesting projects coming along?
Ander Sarabia and I still plan on doin’ them, but both Blackest Terror and Thor: Unkillable Thunder Christ are one-shots, so there’s now real hurry to crank them out.
The greatest thing to come out of these books’ release is that companies have started hiring me to work on their characters…for real, actual, human money.
My next book is called “Electric Youth #1”, and it’s another superhero one-shot, this time set in Big Dog Ink’s “Critter” universe. It’s about an opportunistic teenage super speedster who gets trapped in a parallel timestream wherein all of the heroes of his world are just as apathetic and self-serving as him–rendering the world a barely inhabitable Hell of science fictional proportions. It’s drawn by Rene Micheletti (Buffy The Vampire Slayer, Gladiator Vs. Supreme)!
And after that I’m writing a 3 issue mini-series about Jack Pumpkinhead, set in Big Dog Ink’s “Legends of Oz: Wicked West” universe. I’m super, super excited about that one. I don’t think I’m allowed to say who’s illustrating it, though…
Can we expect a formation of an anti-Avengers team? If that were ever so, what would you name that team?
Dude, I love The Avengers. I’m never doin’ anything anti-Avengers ever. I want to be Tony Stark so badly it physically hurts sometimes.
There is a general plan to end the first round of Modern Myths books with a team-up called “In The Company Of Immortals”, inspired by the David Ogilvy quote: “Don’t bunt. Aim out of the ball park. Aim for the company of immortals”.
That’s a quote I try my absolute damnedest to live by.
Eric Esquivel will be attending PhoCo this weekend in support of Thor: The Unkillable Thunder Christ and you can stalk him in the flesh at several panels featuring thought provoking topics such as:
Comic Book World of Social Networking: Friday 10:30 am- 11:30am
The Pages: According to Writers: Saturday 01:30 pm- 2:30pm
Spiritual Comics: Sunday 10:30am- 11:30am
If stalking is not your forte and you prefer a face-to-face interaction feel free to drop by his booth/table #929.
Email: [email protected]