This Wednesday we see the release of ‘The Fix’ #1 from Image Comics. It marks the return of writer Nick Spencer and artist Steve Lieber in a comedy crime story which they’ve already proven they can pull off successfully tenfold with the amazing ‘Superior Foes of Spider-Man’ series. Can the magic strike twice by using original characters over some familiar B-Listers from Spidey’s villain gallery? After reading the first issue I can tell you that 100% YES they can! The comic is a great read and we were able to strap Lieber down to a chair and get him to answer a few questions for us.
Science Fiction (SF): First if you can tell us a little about ‘The Fix’?
Steve Lieber (SL): The Fix is a crime comedy about Mac and Roy, a couple of police officers who are also unrepentant crooks. Just terrible people.
SF: How has it been working with Nick Spencer again? If the first issue of ‘The Fix’ is any indication, you two have a great chemistry for what you bring to print.
SL: I love telling stories with Nick. He’s funny and has a great ear for dialogue. And most important for the stories we tell together, he’s able to conjure an endless range of horrible human behavior.
SF: Where did the idea for ‘The Fix’ come from? How did you two develop the series?
SL: After Superior Foes, we knew we wanted to work together again. He pitched me three ideas. They were all good, but I knew instantly that this one was the one I wanted.
SF: Is ‘The Fix’ planned to be a short series or an ongoing one? It feels like a world that could have a very extended lifespan.
SL: It’s ongoing. Nick has an end in mind, but it’s a while off.
SF: While both comedy/crime stories, ‘The Fix’ and ‘Superior Foes of Spider-Man’ couldn’t be further apart from tone. Was there a conscious effort in the artwork and storytelling to keep them separate?
SL: I think the biggest difference is that Superior Foes had the enormous absurdity that comes with a ground-level observation of Marvel Comics Universe. The Fix is set in the real world, in Los Angeles, which is, like… a little less absurd.
SF: There will, of course, be a lot of comparisons drawn between the two. Did you have a preference on the more whimsical style you used in ‘Superior Foes..’ or the more realistic style used in ‘The Fix’?
SL: I’m comfortable with both. Honestly, I don’t think of my drawing style for one being more realistic than the other. In both cases, I’ve tried to tell the story the way it needs to be told. Rather than thinking of style, I ask myself what a moment needs to feel like to sell a joke, communicate a mood, or make a reader understand something.
One exception: I’ll sometimes switch styles inside an issue. This is usually because someone’s telling a story within the story. It’s a way to indicate the way a storyteller puts his own spin on what he’s telling you.
SF: You’ve worked on quite a few books at this point. Which has been your favorite to work on and why?
SL: I loved Underground (written by Jeff Parker) and the two Whiteout books (written by Greg Rucka.) Man-against-nature stories are always a big favorite of mine. And the Hawkeye story I did with Matt Fraction was a career highpoint. (Also a man-against-nature story, come to think of it.)
SF: The way you staged the scenes in ‘The Fix’ felt like we were reading a live-action film. Was there a specific choice in how the scenes were done to bring that feeling to page?
SL: I love the language of comics. When you lay the right pictures next to each other, magic happens. Comics to me is primarily a rhythmic art. It’s hard to talk about this without sounding like your stoner buddy in college, but every picture has a rhythm of its own, and when you’re sensitive about juxtaposing them, you can make a scene come to life with light, sound, movement and impact, all in the reader’s head.
SF: One thing I love about your work is that even pages that are heavy with text have an eye for details that keep the scenes not just fun to read from Spencer’s work but fun to view through yours. How do you keep each of these pages interesting?
SL: Those are some of my favorite scenes. I love acting on paper, figuring out the gesture and expression that that character- and only that character -would have in a certain circumstance.
SF: If you could work on any existing character for an extended run, who would it be and why?
SL: Honestly? It’s be The Fix. Mac and Roy and Donovan the producer, and Pretzels the beagle. This book is funny and surprising and it’s like nothing else on the shelf.
SF: Can you tell us a bit about what else you have in the works at the moment?
SL: I’ve been working with a writer on some linked stories set among survivors and beachcombers on the Oregon coast after a societal collapse.
SF: What is your favorite work of another’s visually right now? Is there a specific artist whose work you can’t get enough of?
SL: Jim Woodring. There are a lot of people who play around with surrealism in various media, but Woodring is the real thing. His strangest stories always feel real and terrible and true.
SF: Thank you for taking the time to sit down with us today!
We’ll be eagerly awaiting news on Steve’s upcoming work in progress and hope that you enjoy the first issue of ‘The Fix’ as much as we have! You can find out more about Steve Lieber at stevelieber.com or by stalking him on Twitter at @steve_lieber.