Top Cow and Image Comics announced this week that their excellent new title, ECLIPSE by Zack Kaplan and Giovanni Timpano, will continue as an ongoing series thanks to its initial success right out of the gate. This is great news, so All-Comic.com jumped at the opportunity to sit down with the creators once again, to get their reactions and to find out as much as we could about their long-term plans for ECLIPSE.
All-Comic: Congratulations! This is very big news. Did you guys prepare for a situation like this, or were you taken by surprise? Give us some behind the scenes insight if you can. Is it your understanding that all miniseries have the potential to do more if the numbers are good?
Zack Kaplan: First off, thank you, we are thrilled and can’t wait to do more ECLIPSE. When I first got the news, yes, I was caught totally by surprise. Within a few days, stores were sold out of Issue #1, we were rushing to a second printing and next thing we knew, we were talking about keeping the series going. We always thought that it was ripe for more than just four issues, and so we hoped for that outcome, and in many ways we prepared for this possibility. We tried to create a world with scope, characters with deep backstories, mysteries to explore and a fascinating hook that could go on and on. So I don’t think that all miniseries or four issue arcs have the potential to expand just because there is success. It think it comes down to the story and the concept.
Giovanni Timpano: I’m incredibly happy about it, but I’m not surprised. I was just sure there would be the chance to explore more stories from the ECLIPSE world, because putting my own involvement aside, and looking at it as a reader, I honestly thought this isn’t just “simply” another good Image series. Before its release, I never thought, “This is awful. It’s going to be a total flop and it will be finished at four issues.” And it’s not just because I’m a creator, but because I’m a massive Image Comics reader, and I knew ECLIPSE could measure up to other similar series. I always believed in this project, and today, I believe even more.
All-Comic: If your ideas for ECLIPSE always included a bigger picture beyond the first arc, then how much runway do you have as far as story content? How much more of this world can we expect to learn about?
Zack Kaplan: I think every story is different, but for ECLIPSE, the runway seems long and wide to me. I think ECLIPSE is about something more than just a cool gimmick with the sun. When human beings face survival on a primal level, there is a natural dilemma: do we protect ourselves or protect others as well? Do we go dark or go light? So because there’s this powerful question that’s connected to the hook about a deadly sun, it feels bigger than one person. And there is a lot of world to explore, and we intend to explore its landscape and its past. Our approach is this: as long as fans want more ECLIPSE, we’d like to give it to them.
Giovanni Timpano: Well, while Zack is off writing the story, I’ve been exploring the world. I’ll send Zack ideas for ECLIPSE, images in my mind, ways to expand the environment and explore the backstory of what happened through the visuals. And as long as the story keeping unfolding, there seems to be a lot of opportunity to invent stunning new visual components and landscapes in ECLIPSE.
All-Comic: That’s fascinating! So maybe it’s obvious, but Mr. Timpano’s art is a huge selling point to this book. Considering ECLIPSE is no longer just a mini series, what are the chances that the artist will change one day, or is this creative team staying together?
Giovanni Timpano: Okay, what an embarrassing question! I just really hope to stay on ECLIPSE for as long possible. It’s always up to Top Cow Productions, but for me, ECLIPSE is like my child, so I never think about leaving. Now, I’m upset by the thought of it! Just kidding. But I do hope that Zack will reply with something like “Giovanni is the only artists that I want to see on Eclipse, and it does not exist without him.”
Zack Kaplan: Meh, I can take him or leave him. Just kidding! Giovanni is the only artist that I want to see on ECLIPSE, and it doesn’t exist without him. I’m so appreciative and happy about the level of passion and dedication he has brought to the project. And we have such a great collaboration, one that gets better every Issue. I can’t do it without him. Hopefully, the creative team is here to stay!
All-Comic: We’re glad to hear it and can’t wait to see more results from such a wonderful collaboration.
David “Bax” Baxter is a great character, and it’s so cool to have a Solar Engineer as the hero in a world being destroyed by the sun. We know you can’t give too much away, but is this Bax’s book or just Bax’s story? Do you have any plans to introduce more characters at some point, whether they are primary or otherwise?
Zack Kaplan: What a tricky question! And yes, I dare not give too much away. Of course, there will be new secondary characters that come in as the series continues. Currently, ECLIPSE is Bax’s and Cielo’s story. However, will the story shift to another character’s story? My lips are sealed. The world of ECLIPSE is a dangerous place and people get burned alive. What I will say is that this ECLIPSE series is not an anthology. We’re not going to jump to a whole new cast of characters in a new location, at least, not without changing the title to FEAR THE ECLIPSE, or without implementing a spin-off application.
All-Comic: Again, not asking you to reveal too much, but with a premise like ECLIPSE, one has to wonder if there’s an expiration date for planet Earth…is time running out and how would that affect the comic overall now that it’s an ongoing series?
Zack Kaplan: I love it, because this question reveals the mystery to this world. What happened to the sun? Is it repairable? Is it a threat that will manifest itself more? Is the sun going to explode? Or is it an unexplained phenomenon that just happened? What I will say is that this mystery will continue to be explored in the background, but the even greater mystery, the one that will truly propel the plot forward is this: how is one man able to withstand the deadly rays of the sun? Because in a world where the sun burns everyone, the ability to not burn is a power that most men will kill for. And that is a central conflict in ECLIPSE.
All-Comic: As the story evolves, will there be any differences to the approach artistically? Will the look or feel of the comic change at all as the stakes get higher?
Giovanni Timpano: There is always an evolution, page after page, panel after panel. Sometimes you notice it, sometimes not. But if you look at my previous work in series like THE SHADOW, LONE RANGER, DOC SAVAGE, etc., you will notice how different the style is from my work in ECLIPSE. For me the biggest (r)evolution already happened when I started this series. The first thought I had was “I can’t draw a post-apocalyptic story the same way I drew the New York City of the 1930s.” But ECLIPSE is not yet finished, and I have other style fixes and artistic changes to apply in the future issues. Basically, the first arc was a tryout for me: a successful tryout, but one that need some corrections.
All-Comic: This must be exciting for a writer that literally just entered into the comic industry. You’ve basically found instant success. Is your focus going to stay on ECLIPSE for a while, or do you have aspirations to break out and write more comic book titles whether they’re your own or existing properties?
Zack Kaplan: It’s surreal. I’ve always wanted to write comic books, and now I have an ongoing Image Comics/Top Cow series. I’m very lucky! I’m trying not to think about how or why it happened. But beyond being passionate about ECLIPSE, I feel a responsibility to it. So yes, I very much want to explore other stories, my own concepts, or other worlds and characters already in motion, but we are digging in our heels to continue to explore ECLIPSE for a while. The response to ECLIPSE has been so rewarding, so I have no intention of letting down the growing ECLIPSE fandom.
All-Comic: Last question…can we expect a pause, or a gap, between the originally planned series and launching into more issues, or will it be a seamless transition? If readers do have to wait, then how long before we get more ECLIPSE?
Zack Kaplan: We’re doing everything in our power to avoid a gap, so if all goes according to plan, in January 2017, the Trade for Issues #1-4 will drop, and then by February, we are going to ride the heat and keep the issues coming! But fans should not worry. While they will have a steady stream of ECLIPSE, I intend to try my best to torture them with twists and turns and all sorts of gut-wrenching cliffhangers that make that month until the next ECLIPSE Issue feel really painful!
Well, we will certainly be looking forward to that! Thanks again for taking time out to talk with us, Zack and Giovanni! We can’t tell folks enough how good this book is and, if it isn’t obvious already, everyone should check it out. Issue #1 is in its second printing and issue #2 hits stands this week. If for some crazy reason your local shop doesn’t have it on the shelf, then give them the heads up and make sure they order ECLIPSE! Meanwhile be sure to follow Zack Kaplan and artist Giovanni Timpano online.