Starburns Industries, the company that brought you Rick and Morty, is proud to present an original graphic novel by Dan Harmon (Community, Rick and Morty, company co-founder) and Eric Esquivel (writer for DC, Archie, IDW). Gregory Graves is the result of a conversation between Eric and Dan that began with a simple question – what if Lex Luthor was right and Superman was wrong all along?
The conversation began on Dan Harmon’s podcast, Harmontown, and grew from there. In Esquivel’s words, “Dan is kind of the reason I moved to Los Angeles, years ago. I love his podcast, HarmonTown, and before that, his show Community, and SCUD, the comic book he wrote with Rob Schrab. I was a huge fan of SCUD. So, the first thing I did when I came to Los Angeles was go to the Harmontown podcast, and I always sat in the first or second row, and on one of the episodes he was talking about his hatred for Superman and his love for Lex Luthor. And I hadn't met Dan yet, but I was vibrating with hatred, and like glowing in the dark, it was so obvious that I was upset by what he was saying. I wasn't calling out or anything, but he could sense it and he saw me. And he laughed and called me up on stage, and we wound up arguing for like the whole podcast, and about how much I love Superman and what I think he represents.”
Eric successfully defended the Man of Steel and even won Harmon over to some degree. Esquivel continues, “The argument kind of kept going after the podcast. We traded contact info and emailed back and forth about it. Eventually, I had a meeting at Starburns just to talk about Superman, and he knew that I worked in comics, and I guess after the argument he read a little bit of my stuff, and we talked about what we would do if we had full control of the characters. We had, like, three meetings where would just pound Mountain Dew and Taco Bell and talk about Lex Luthor and it was really fun. Eventually, we had this pretty solid structure of a pitch of what we would do with Lex. I called my guys at DC Comics, and we went and pitched it to Bob Haras, the publisher, and the whole Superman team was there - all of the editors. They liked it in the room, but, you know, as things are, DC is so well-oiled that they had Lex stories already in the pipeline. This is before he joined the Justice League, so they already had plans for the character that we equally awesome.”
DC had to pass because Geoff Johns was already working on Lex, but they weren’t willing to let the idea go. Starburns has become notorious for doing things themselves when other doors aren’t open, and that’s exactly what they did here. Esquivel elaborated, “We decided to just kind of file off the serial numbers and do it anyway, and fans of Rick and Morty know that it's actually a Back to the Future cartoon, just with the names changed from Doc and Marty to Rick and Morty. So, it's kind of Dan and me doing the same with the names and some facts switched around, but it came from our love of comics and our love of superhero comics and Superman, in general.”
In Harmon and Esquivel’s graphic novel, the world breathes a sigh of relief as the mad genius, Gregory Graves, is finally behind bars. He is granted a death row interview with the reporter alter-ego of “Luminary,” his sworn enemy and the Superman to his Lex Luthor. As Luminary in disguise interviews his supervillain nemesis, his story, motives, and the details of his plan are revealed. Graves tells his side of the story in a world where so-called "heroes" with the power to snuff out the sun ask us to trust their pinky-promise that they won't. But when the secret of Earth's mightiest hero comes out, Graves might not look so crazy anymore.
And in case you’re wondering what the next installment of Gregory Graves might look like, Esquivel says, “We're already knee-deep in volume two. Each volume of Gregory Graves is going to deconstruct and rebuild an old superhero archetype. So, our first one is very clearly a Superman-type guy, in volume two we deal with the urban vigilante. -- Batman, Daredevil, Green Arrow, Punisher. The sort of gritty, '90s, trenchcoat, kind of unshaven creeper guy. And every volume will deal with one of those. And it's great that our first volume is a Superman type, and that the second one will be more of a Marvel-type guy. So, we can play with all the different universes.”
Gregory Graves Volume 1 will be available July 31, 2018. For more information on how to order, please contact your DBD Sales Representative. For a access a digital review copy of the graphic novel, click here.