Doug Wagner is a comic book writer who has worked on Plastic from Image Comics, along with co-creator Daniel Hillyard. Doug has also worked on books like Legends of the Dark Knight from DC Comics and I.C.E from 12-Gauge Comics. With Plastic #1 getting reprinted and released along with issue #2 on May 24, 2017, I decided to reach out to Doug and talk about Plastic and his new book coming out.
Jonathan Aravich: What were some of your influences for Plastic and specifically the character Edwyn?
Doug Wagner: Well, I really do wish I had something cool and trendy to say here, but the truth is the only influence for PLASTIC and Edwyn was a roadside sign in the state of Virginia. No, you didn’t read that incorrectly. A single road sign was the entire inspiration for PLASTIC. Okay… I can tell by that look on your face that you require elaboration. A few years ago, Eric Layton, Brian Stelfreeze, and I decided to road trip it from Atlanta to Baltimore for a con. To this day, that is one of the most surreal trips of my life. There was an entire town of toothless people, a ten-year-old boy locked up in a cage, and a hamburger joint with Bible verses on their soda cups. That trip was insane. However, I digress. At one fateful point when we were crossing the Virginia state line, I read the “Buckle up, Virginia” sign out loud in the most disturbing Southern accent I could muster. Now whether you believe stories come from the Muses, God, the energy of the universe, or from some idiot’s dysfunctional brain, at the particular moment in time… the entire story just popped in my head. Edwyn, Virginia, obsessions with plastic, severed heads, a brown LTD. It was all just there.
Aravich: I know that throughout your career you seem to have written almost strictly limited series. But why did you decide to go with a limited series, with Plastic specifically, and how do you think it can make this story stronger?
Wagner: PLASTIC was meant to be a limited series from the start. I never saw it any other way. When the story came to me, it was finite and had a specific ending, so I felt attempting to extend the story would only hurt it, “stretch it too thin” as you said. I desperately didn’t want to do that to Edwyn and Virginia.
Aravich: Do you hope that readers are invested in the odd relationship between Edwyn and Virginia by the end of the story?
Wagner: I really do hope so. Is it an odd, twisted, and quirky relationship? Absolutely. Is PLASTIC at its core a love story? Most definitely. As the story continues, I hope readers will get a feel of just how much Edwyn loves Virginia and the impact she’s had on his life. Edwyn has a love that I think everyone dreams of…yes, Virginia is a plastic blow-up doll, but to Edwyn, she’s the love of his life.
Aravich: If Plastic was to be turned into a film. Who would you choose to direct and star in the film?
Wagner: Oh man. I’m not one of those creators that usually takes the time to imagine what the film translation of my projects would look like. I write comic books as comic books. I love playing in this medium, so I rarely even think about the Hollywood side of things. If you cornered me into thinking about it, I’m not sure who I’d pick. There are so many great directors and actors out there that I adore. Off the top of my head, I’d love to see what a director like Martin McDonagh or Mark Romanek would do. And actors… John Malkovich, Bryan Cranston, or Steve Buscemi. Yeah, I’m definitely thinking art film versus blockbuster here, but that’s how I see this little mini-series.
Aravich: Is there any information you can share about Plastic #2, and any other projects you have going on?
Wagner: I’ve read a lot of reviews for Plastic #1 and received quite a bit of feedback from fans. The biggest surprise to me has been where most people think this story is going. They’re wrong. I mean not even close. The majority of them have been so far off that it kinda scares me. Issue #1 was by far the tamest issue of the entire series, and I don’t think most people have any idea where I’m headed. I pray that’s a good thing.
My next project is THE HARD PLACE, another 5-issue mini-series from Image Comics. And in case you’re wondering, it’s nothing like PLASTIC. THE HARD PLACE is an action crime story set in Detroit. It features a former legendary getaway driver that finds himself stuck as the wheelman for two psychopathic idiots who have kidnapped the daughter of a Russian crime lord. It’s cops, thieves, Russian mobsters, car chases, gunplay, and general chaos. The creative team on the book is amazing – Nic Rummel, Charlie Kirchoff, and Frank Cvetkovic. The first issue hits stands in August.
Make sure to pick up Plastic #1 if you haven’t already! Plastic #2 hits the stands on May 24, 2017! Do not forget to keep an eye out for Doug’s new five issue mini from image comics THE HARD PLACE, which will hit the stands in August.