Published March 9, 2017

Slapstick: Home is Where the Hurt Is

Reilly Brown directs a road trip to Dimension Ecch!

Image for Slapstick: Home is Where the Hurt Is

In Dimension Ecch, the residents live four-color lives to clowning delights. Or, at least, one might assume that looking in from the outside. In reality, however, Ecch serves as a boiling cauldron of anger and resentment due, mostly, to Slapstick. And now, in SLAPSTICK #5 on April 5, the goofy hero returns.

While Reilly Brown apparently had a lot to do to make something called “the dip,” he managed to give us a few moments to discussion a homecoming that promises to be something significantly less the return of a conquering hero. This issue Slapstick leaves the “real world” to jump into a sort of parallel place populated by cartoons, video game characters, cereal mascots, and more. Given that he is basically a toon himself, is this a happy homecoming of sorts?

Reilly Brown: Oh, the homecoming is far from happy! Everyone in Dimension Ecch views him as something akin to Satan because he’s the one who overthrew the previous monarch waaaay back in 1992’s SLAPSTICK #1, and caused the “electroplasm cataclysm” that left them all in their G-rated conditions. Of course Slappy sees himself as a hero, and everyone on the planet is a bunch of ingrates. His A.R.M.O.R. agents are in tow as well. How does this strange place affect them? Do they experience it any differently?

Reilly Brown: It doesn’t affect Teresa [or] Isabel any differently, and Taurette is from Dimension Ecch, so she’s right at home. The only place they’d need to worry is in traveling through the unstable realm of electroplasm between dimensions, which is what turns people into the cartoon-like beings that populate Ecch. At the end of issue #4 we see them putting on hazmat suits to protect themselves from that.

Remember kids, always [wear] your protection or you might lose your dingus too! Regarding the agents, what is the state of Slapstick’s relationship to them? How is it changing, if at all?

Reilly Brown: Slapstick’s relationship with the agents is mostly that he’s infatuated with Teresa, and she thinks he’s more or less an annoying pimple that gets infected when you try to pop it. Although, we’ve all seen how smooth he is with the ladies, so that’s bound to change eventually, right? Right?

He’s also more or less on probation for threatening the complete breakdown of the laws of physics by opening unsafe portals to other dimensions, so unfortunately for Teresa she’s pretty much stuck with him. As part of the art team on the book, what did you love about entering the toon world? What challenges did it present?

Reilly Brown: Dimension Ecch is great fun because [co-writer Fred Van Lente] and I can do whatever we want there. Really goofy, practically stream of consciousness, stuff. A chair that turns into a robot? Sure! A Disney-inspired musical interlude? Why not! It’s especially fun in the fight scenes, where I’m trying to come up with new and interesting and fun ways for the characters to attack each other. There are a lot of chances to get creative when you’ve got Slapstick fighting numerous other characters who are just as invincible as he is. The challenge is to come up with ways for the fights to finish in a way that seems like a proper escalation. If the characters are constantly being crushed, chopped in half, set on fire—what can we do to actually finish them off? That’s the challenge, and I think we came up with a few fun solutions.

Also, when drawing all the toon extras, I’ve really come to rely on [co-artist Diego Olortegui] a lot. He’s brilliant at coming up with tons of characters to populate Dimension Ecch, and they’re all drawn in the styles of other well-known cartoon franchises. Just looking at the characters he puts in the backgrounds and guessing which animation inspired them is a lot of fun all on its own.

Slapstick #5 cover by David Nakayama In Dimension Ecch, Slapstick encounters two significant characters: a wizard and the princess depicted on the cover. What can you tell readers about these characters? How do they, in specific, view the arrival of Slapstick in their world?

Reilly Brown: The princess, well, actually she’s a queen and Princess is her name, so it’s Queen Princess.

She’s the ruler who has risen out of the chaos of all the wars between the fractious toon realms, and is trying to unite them all in peace and harmony and musical numbers. She seems to be the good guy, although…doesn’t she look a bit like a Disney Princess version of Cersei Lannister? I’m sure that’s just a coincidence.

Gorgonzola is the Sorcerer Supreme of Dimension Ecch, and is the leader of the Ecch Victorious Independence League, or E.V.I.L. for short. It’s made up of the last holdouts against the Queen’s rule. Mike actually dressed up as him back in issue #3 when he wanted to frighten the Taurs, because Gorgonzola hunts the little centaurs to fill his bank account with their golden poop. Don’t judge, taking over the world ain’t cheap.

Both the Queen and Gorgonzola see Slapstick mainly as Mike’s extra baggage. Mike is the one who really interests them, since he seems to be the prophesied Champion of Dimension Ecch who is going to cure them of their electroplasm-induced dingus-less situation…somehow. To that end, Slapstick is a useful tool for the [Queen] to recover Mike, and a painful thorn in Gorgonzola’s side. How long before the War Dogs get their own spinoff? They’re ripe to be the character finds of 2017, right?

Reilly Brown: They absolutely are! So many people have asked us about them since they debuted in [SLAPSTICK] #4, so far they’re the real hits of the series. I’m sure it won’t be long before we at least see a slate of War Dog variant covers across all of Marvel’s books!

Pick up SLAPSTICK #5 on April 5, or read ahead in the Infinite Comic!