‘Pacific Rim’ comic writer continues tradition of fully-realized female characters

The fate of “Pacific Rim 2” still hangs in the balance, but the show must go on. Branching out the lore of this fascinating world, Legendary has tapped creator Guillermo del Toro, screenwriter Travis Beacham, and writer Joshua Fialkov to bring Jaegars and Kaiju to life on the comic page. PACIFIC RIM: TALES FROM THE DRIFT #1 goes on sale 11/04/15.

From the press release:

Following the best-selling graphic novel Pacific Rim: Tales from Year Zero, Legendary takes you back to the frontlines of a larger-than-life battleground with Pacific Rim: Tales from the Drift, the official new comic series presented by director Guillermo del Toro and Pacific Rim screenwriter Travis Beacham. Prepare to do battle with all-new Kaiju creatures in this thrilling continuation of the Pacific Rim universe.

Hitfix Harpy spoke to writer Joshua Fialkov over the phone about what it was like to put his stamp on this monstrous universe.

Image Credit: Legendary Pictures

HITFIX HARPY: How did you feel when you were brought on board to help flesh out the world of “Pacific Rim”?
JOSHUA FIALKOV: The story that Travis [Beacham] and Guillermo [del Toro] came up with is very character driven and it's something that really speaks to what I think I do well. It's great getting to work with a franchise that I genuinely think is one of the best new franchises of the past 20 years. It's just original and fun and a mash-up of so many things that I love. Just getting to work on it is an absolute thrill for me.

Were the characters and plot already in place or did you get to help create the story you wanted to tell?
JOSHUA: The overall story was there and some of the terms where there but what my job was finding the characters. Finding out who these people are and finding a way to execute it that spoke to what Travis and Guillmero wanted to talk about within the universe.

What can fans of the movie expect from the comic series?
JOSHUA: It's funny because there is so much in it and I don't want to spoil anything. It's set before the movie and it's about two Jaeger pilots who have a very strange history. [When we catch up to today] they are one of the best teams. The story sort of follows how these two people came together and how the relationship between them makes them different and special as Jaeger pilots.

But these characters are not in the movie?
JOSHUA: No, but there are some characters from the movie that show up as the series go on.

Just from what I've read, your series continues the “Pacific Rim” tradition of fully realized female characters. Mako Mori resonated so much with fans that they came up with a brand-new test named after her since the film didn't past the Bechdel test.
JOSHUA: Our characters pass both tests in the comic. I have a five-year-old daughter and she wants to be doctor. The reason she wants to be is a doctor is two-fold: One is she has a pediatrician who is a wonderful woman. And secondarily is Doc McStuffins which is a children's cartoon about a little girl who is a doctor for her stuffed animals. She has a magical stethoscope. It didn't really dawn on me until I had the conversation with [my daughter] but the idea that by putting positive role-models into media, things I can show to her as proof of the great things she can do and can be, it makes a difference. An actual tactile difference. I try to do it without thinking about it because I like my characters to be interesting but it's something that after having a little girl I'm very aware of it.

That's the power of stories. Realizing how my interests as a kid and all the things I loved and made me ME came from stories. They spoke to me as a child. What we tried to do is the comic and what I really focused on is looking at the humanity side of what it means to be a Jaeger pilot. What does it mean the entirety of your life with another person both in terms of who you are and where you came from and everything you've ever felt and suffered alongside the fact that you're standing on top of a nuclear bomb fighting a monster? That side of it is in the movie but we get to really play with it in the comic. 

In the prequel comic that came out before the film, readers were treated to a more visual version of the Drift. Can we expect more of that?
JOSHUA: Yes. The second issue actually opens with essentially how two people who have been drifting together for a long time find peace and balance. You can't have a place that's 100% you, instead you have to find a way to create a shared world between two people. [It's about] what happens when there's two people who are complete mismatches but find through drifting they find love.

If you like Fialkov”s work on PACIFIC RIM, check out his other series! THE BUNKER is a story of five friends who find letters to themselves from the future telling them they”re going to cause the apocalypse. THE LIFE AFTER is about guy who wakes up in the afterlife of suicides and doesn”t remember committing suicide, so he goes on an epic adventure with Ernest Hemingway. And finally, KING follows a dude who just wants to get to work. The only problem? He”s only man left alive after a mysterious apocalypse.

Release Date: 11/4/15
Presented by: Guillermo del Toro
Story by: Travis Beacham
Writer: Joshua Fialkov
Artist: Marcos Marz
Colorist: Marcelo Maiolo
Format: 4 issue monthly series
Price: $3.99 single-issue cover price