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Five questions for ‘Pacific Rim: Tales from the Drift’ comic writer Joshua Fialkov

Cover of "Pacific Rim: Tales from the Drift" #1

Cover of “Pacific Rim: Tales from the Drift” #1

(Legendary Comics)

Guillermo del Toro has gone back into the world of kaiju and jaegers with “Pacific Rim: Tales from the Drift,” an official new series from the director and “Pacific Rim” screenwriter Travis Beacham that launched last week in comic book stores.

With a story by Beacham, writer Joshua Fialkov (“The Bunker,” “I, Vampire,” “Doctor Who”) guides this new tale, which follows one of the popular jaeger heroes (pilots of the giant monster slaying, robots) as they fight the invading kaiju. The comic series features artwork by Marcos Marz (“Batman Confidential,” “Blackest Night: JSA”), and will have covers by Whilce Portacio, Pat Lee, Francis Manapul and Livio Ramondelli.

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“The Drift” will be a more personal story than a rock-em-sock-em tale of fighting, but with a jaeger -- Tacit Ronin -- that looks like a samurai warrior, there’s bound to be some metallic fisticuffs. The book comes as the movie sequel -- “Pacific Rim: Maelstrom” -- faces an indefinite delay, which could affect a proposed August 4, 2017 release date.

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Hero Complex caught up with “Drift” writer Fialkov and asked him five questions about the comic book series.

Can you describe “Tales from the Drift” for those who may not remember the drift?

There was a previous comic called “Tales from Year Zero” that was set set around the kaiju’s arrival. With this series and what I think the idea is moving forward is to always explore different aspects in the movies that were touched on but you never got to really see. So, the thing in the movie that was the most fascinating to me and the coolest was the idea of drifting. Drifting is when two jaeger pilots are teamed up and they use a system to interface with the robot that literally merges their minds. And that place where their minds merge, that is the drift. It’s a thing where two people have to become a single entity in order to properly pilot this gigantic, hundreds-of-stories-tall robot.

Intense.

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Yea, and what that does though -- and it’s in the movie a little bit -- there’s this idea that when you bond with somebody on that level, it is so beyond any relationship. My wife and I love each other, care for each other, understand each other and can speak for each other, but there are thoughts in the deep recesses of each of our minds -- and mine are 100% clean and pure, just so we’re clear -- that are things that we still don’t know about each other. So the idea of finding another person and sharing so much of who you are is so cool and so foreign that it really is the part that excited me.

What I love about “Pacific Rim” as a franchise ... it is filled with genre craziness. Giant robots fighting giant monsters in a post-apocalyptic future -- it doesn’t get much more genre than that. But, at its core, it’s a love story. It’s a story about what it takes for two people to form a unit to make the world better, and the reality is that every single one of us, every single person on Earth, whether they intend to or not, is looking for that partner. The person who, in some form or another, makes them better. Whether it’s parents or a sibling or a spouse, it’s really so much of what our life is about -- how we rely on other people.

Panels from "Pacific Rim: Tales from the Drift" #1.

Panels from “Pacific Rim: Tales from the Drift” #1.

(Legendary Comics)

Within the comic, it really is a story of two people who could not have less in common and could not hate each other more, over the course of our story, not only fall in love, but become an entity. The robots are not just things that they pilot, it’s a visual representation of that unity. They’re so in sync, and so there for each other that they can do impossible things. [The comic is] the idea of telling that kind of story.

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So you’re writing a love story here, then?

The thing is, every story that’s worth telling is a love story. It’s just what the love is. “Wall Street” is a love story. It’s a love story about money, and people who have to decide if they love money more than they love people. “Die Hard” is a love story. “Die Hard” is a story about a guy who is trying to prove to his wife that he’s still in love with her and the lengths that he goes to to get her back, both literally and figuratively. Every great story at its heart is a love story, it’s just about how you frame it. That was the attraction to me -- to tell this delicate story that’s wearing heavy metal clothes.

What kind of jaegers are we going to see in this story?

You’re going to get to see a few that we’ve seen before, but the focus, the hero jaeger, is Tacit Ronin. In the movies, you got a glimpse of Tacit Ronin, maybe a single shot, but if you saw that single shot, you’d think that it is by far the coolest of all the jaegers. It is from Japan and has a samurai-ish look, which will be perfectly illustrated. It has this sort of elegant style to it that you don’t see in a lot of the other jaegers. Because of that, it moves differently, it glides differently. It has blade arms, so as it moves, it actually looks like a samurai -- when they’re charging each other. It’s super cool and fun to write. Then, we introduce all new kaiju.

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Marcos Marz and Marcelo Maiolo were the artists on the book, and they have done such a brilliant job of realizing them. The best part, though, is when we’re designing the pages and the story, having the franchise’s creator [Del Toro] bless it and seeing how into stuff he really is. It has been one of the real joys. I’ve written lots of media comics and spinoffs from traditional media, but getting to actually work on one that is treated by the publisher and by the franchise owner as being just as important as the movie is really, really rewarding. These stories matter and they won’t be thrown out. You can read them on your own and you don’t need any context -- you won’t have to have seen the movie to understand what’s happening. While at the same time, if you are a fan of the franchise, it’s giving you lots of stuff that you haven’t seen in lots of corners of the world that haven’t been explored.

Are things going to be referenced in the book that are in the “Pacific Rim: Maelstrom” sequel?

I’m not allowed to talk about the movie! But I can say that I know there was stuff that went into the comics that came from ideas that were batted around for the movie. I’ve seen some stuff, a little bit from the movies ... I think a little bit from “The Drift” will be in there. You’re going to see some really really cool stuff that is [referential to the comic].

Can you give us the names of some of the kaiju you might use?

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There’s a bible and a whole naming convention and all sorts of stuff to create these, they actually let me use it. There’s two, offhand, that are my favorites in the book. There’s one whose name is Thunderhead, and the other one is Ragnarok. They’re both awesome, and Marcos designed them and they’re actually menacing. They feel like the movie, but they feel very much in this original world with their own uniqueness.


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