Dynamite Entertainment's newest series, TERMINAL HERO is about a man who is dying of an inoperable brain tumor. He is given an experimental treatment but the side effects make him question who he is. Writer of this new book, Peter Milligan, talked to Mark Waid about where the book came from and his work on it.
MARK WAID: Pete: long time fan, first time interviewer. Tell me about the origins of this story.
PETER MILLIGAN: Hi, Mark, nice to hear from you, in this slightly formal setting. The origins of this story was a friend- Nick, my guitar tutor - being diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumor. We spoke about it a bit, and I watched him through his (unsuccessful) treatment. I wouldn't say that I wrote Terminal Hero in search of some kind of catharsis, but Nick's tumour was the starting point in me cogitating on cancer, death, life, what it means to live, what it means to be alive. From there, Terminal Hero kind of grew or morphed.
MW: What motivates Rory Fletcher?
PM: Though it seems that Rory's motivations shift through the story, they essentially stay the same: to stay alive, and then to stay alive while living the kind of life he feels he should have. The first part seems straightforward, the second part involves him in what you might call moral and philosophical questions about what a good or a worthwhile life is, at least for Rory Fletcher.
MW: What motivates you to write ABOUT him?
PM: I refer you to my first answer, about the origins of the story. What really interests me about Rory is that though his situation is highly abnormal or even unique, the stuff he's struggling with, the questions he must ask himself, are the kind of things we all have to deal with.
MW: How much digging around in neuroscience have you been doing in the writing of this?
PM: Well, I didn't need to do too much digging around. I had first hand - via my friend - knowledge of the process that a brain tumor patient goes through. Also, I suffer from epilepsy so I've done a fair big of reading about the brain, and I've become pretty friendly with one of my neurologists, and we spend hours talking about the brain, music, and Spiderman (his kid's crazy about spiderman).
MW: What of your vast body of past work is this most like? What’s it LEAST like?
PM: That's really hard to say. There's an ELEMENT of Shade the Changing man to it, in that we follow a character who sometimes seems to mess around with reality and must face some pretty weird and nightmarish stuff, but the feel is quite different. I'd have to say that ultimately TERMINAL HERO is unique. Unlike anything I or anyone else has ever created!
Make sure to check out TERMINAL HERO from Dynamite Entertainment. Issue #1 is currently available and issue #2 comes out on September 3rd. Here's a full preview of issue #1.