2011: The Year in Horror—Jeff Lemire on “ANIMAL MAN”

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Originally published at Fangoria.com on Dec 27, 2011

Earlier this Fall, DC Comics launched a massive overhaul, with all books reverting to #1, and while it’s been interesting to say the least, it’s also been surprising. Case in point: ANIMAL MAN, reborn as a psychedelic horror tale to behold. FANGORIA spoke with author Jeff Lemire (SWEET TOOTH) about the ANIMAL MAN relaunch during DC Comics’ THE NEW 52, depicting the gory imagery with artist Travel Foreman, and his upcoming action/horror comic, FRANKENSTEIN: AGENT OF S.H.A.D.E.

FANGORIA: How did you get on board?

JEFF LEMIRE: I had written a couple of books for DC Comics at that point. DC kind of approached me, telling me they were going to be re-launching their entire line, starting everything over with first issues. The first couple of different projects they thought I might want to do. I wasn’t excited about either of them very much. I kind of pitched FRANKENSTEIN: AGENT OF S.H.A.D.E to them, and they liked that one. I asked if we could do something else and they suggested ANIMAL MAN, finally. I’m a big fan of the old ANIMAL MAN series from Vertigo, back in the 90s. I really liked the character, and I thought there was a lot of interesting stuff for me to do with it. I was really excited about it and pretty much accepted the job right away.

FANG: ANIMAL MAN was created by Dave Wood in the 1960s. In the late 1980s, he was revamped for a mature audience. How will this reinvention, during DC Comics’ THE NEW 52, be different?

LEMIRE: For me, I really liked what they did in the 90s, especially the Grant Morrison stuff. It was a lot more about him and the relationship with his family. I thought that was pretty cool. I pick up where he left off, as far in the New 52. I wanted to bring a more horror sensibility to the book. I wanted to balance the lighter more emotional stuff of the family, offset with the horrific things going on around them. I wanted to challenge them, see if they can stay together or be torn apart. For a superhero book and in the regular DC Universe, it’s really more of a horror book and a really dark take on it.