Today is Arvid Nelson Day. Zero Killer returns, and today marks the end to his epic Holy Grail saga Rex Mundi.
Rex Mundi stands for “King of the World,” and follows Dr. Julien Sauniere in his quest for the Grail. Alot of people use this book in the same breath as The Da Vinci Code and you could not be more wrong, this book was actually produced years before the Dan Brown’s meal ticket even hit book stores.
So, with the book ending today, we sat down with Arvid to talk about it.
DAILY PLANET: So this is it, any last words for your epic story? Any regrets? What are you missing? How are you feeling about it being over?
ARVID NELSON: You know, there are lots of things I could have done differently, things I could have done better. I could have been smarter about a lot of things. But I can honestly say I have no regrets because I gave my absolute best for every issue. I did the best I could do with the resources I had. What more can I say than that?
Will you come back to the characters?
I sort of doubt it at this point. I mean, the last issue doesn’t leave a lot of room for a sequel. This has been a long, long chapter in my life. I’m sad to see it end, but it’s definitely time to move on.
Last we checked in Johnny Depp was attached to the Rex Mundi movie. How is that progressing?
It’s going really well! There’s lots of stuff going on behind the scenes, but again, it’s all I’ll-have-my-balls-chopped-off-if-I-tell-you stuff. I can confirm the movie thing is steaming along. I can’t say when we’ll make the next announcement, but I’ll be screaming it from the rooftops when it happens. Again, there’s arvidland.com, and there’s rexmundi.net, that’s where I make my proclamations.
You have this thing for decapitated heads. Why is that?
Hah hah! It’s my Celtic heritage!
Moving on to Zero Killer, there’s a very Jamie McKelvie style of pencils to Matt Camp. How’d you end up getting hooked up with him?
Matt and I were part of this merry band of misfits, a bunch of first-time creators who all happened to have books coming out through Image at the same time. This was back in like ’02. Fast forward five years, and Matt happened to be coming to the New York convention. We had lost touch, so we caught up over Indian food. No big deal. But then he showed me his latest art over samosas, and it was one of those magical things. It was how I felt when I first met EricJ, the original Rex Mundi artist. I just knew Matt would be perfect for Zero Killer.
What’s the deal with the abbreviations? Extensions of religious swear words like “Christus,” and “Holy ‘Esus”?
One of the amazing things to me about New York City, especially about the African and Caribbean populations, is all the weird, wonderful religions going on, like Santería, Voodoo, Rastafarianism… utterly fascinating. The people in Zero Killer have blended these traditions together into one smorgasbord faith. Jesus, or “Esuchristus”, is the highest god, but he’s not the only one…
In all the comics you’ve always done newspaper stories from the alternate world you’re depicting. Is it because you want to immerse the reader in that world or you just enjoy doing that kind of thing?
Yes! All of the above. It lets me detail parts of the setting I just can’t get to in the pages of the comic itself. It’s also a great way to tie up little loose threads in the comic, or to tell parallel stories. But it’s never critical to the plot. You can read or not, it doesn’t matter! I mean, $3 is a lot to spend on a single issue. All the extras I cram in there hopefully make it worth the price of admission.
Is there going to be a second miniseries? I feel like it left things open ended at the end with the case?
I really hope so! I have a lot of great stuff planned for the second series, we’ll get much deeper into some of the mysterious things I left floating around. But! We’ll have to see how sales are for this series. That’s going to be the deciding factor. Dark Horse is going to a trade paperback, for which I’m eternally grateful.
You mentioned there was a long delay with this series. Why was this?
Alas, it’s comics! It’s a problem any time you’re a part of a collaborative effort. I finished writing Zero Killer a long time ago, but I can only put out issues as fast as the slowest member of the team. That’s about all I can say. It kills me, because I know the delays have hurt Zero Killer very badly. I only hope readers will be understanding and come back to it.
It seems like the entire series was an allegory to a previous Administration. What kind of parallels were you looking towards with this work?
Yeah, Zero Killer was inspired by 9-11. Dick Cheney, in particular, bragged about how safe he was right after the attacks happened, because “they had done lots of preparation for a nuclear strike during the Cold War”. That really made me mad, and it’s not a partisan thing, either. If there’d been a nuclear war, those scumbags would have saved their own skins in their taxpayer-funded secret underground bunkers, while all of us saps would have died hundreds of millions of horrible deaths. Left, right, blue red — it doesn’t matter. It pissed me off.
So what’s next after “Zero Killer” and “Rex Mundi” wrap, besides Thulsa Doom?
I’ve got a few interesting projects lined up, but I can’t talk about ’em yet, or I’d have my balls chopped off! I try to keep my online journal, arvidland.com, up to date with all the news I’m allowed to talk about. If there’s anything to proclaim, I proclaim it there.
Zero Killer seems very Road Warrior-y. What other influences contributed to it?
Mad Max is a big one. I love Fist of the North Star, too. The Warriors and Akira were two other big influences. I wanted Zero Killer to have an urban, “hip-hop” feel to it, for lack of a better word.
Both Zero Killer #4 and Rex Mundi #19 hits stands today.