ANIMAL MAN: Jeff Lemire Talks Animal Man Arc & Art

by Kyle Cashulin
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Next month starts a new story arc for Animal Man. “Splinter Species,” DC Comics promises that we will find Buddy Baker dealing with immense tragedy and increased personal fame when he finds himself nominated for Best Actor at the Academy Awards. Critically acclaimed writer Jeff Lemire (Animal Man, Constantine, Sweet Tooth), is excited at “Splinter Species” prospects.

“I felt that Buddy’s celebrity is an aspect of his character that makes him unique from other super heroes. He’s one of the ANM21_12-13few DC characters whose identity is known to the public, but also who has this bizarre cult following as a minor celebrity. To me, that seemed like a perfect opportunity to explore, what I see as a real sickness in our culture, that being our obsession with fame and celebrity,” Lemire said in an interview with MTV Geek.

“This is the Baker family’s darkest hour. They will either be destroyed completely or evolve into something new. And, just as Buddy hits rock bottom emotionally and personally his celebrity explodes, making everything even more complicated and difficult.”

Lemire is also happy with the arc’s new villains, the Splinterfolk.“They’re a group of…animal rights activists. But they’ve pushed it so far and gone so far in the extreme with it that they’ve actually started surgically grafting animal parts on their

animal-man-23own bodies, to be closer to the Red. So they’ve become these horrible mockeries of animal rights activists, these Frankenstein kind of half-human, half-animal creatures that Buddy tangles with,” Lemire told Newsarama.

“After The Rot, I really wanted to expand Animal Man’s rogues’ gallery. I wanted to add a number of new villains both old and new as a way to help keep the book fresh. So in addition to new creations like The Splinterfolk we’ll be seeing a reimagined version of Brother Blood emerge as Buddy’s rival as well. Blood seems like a natural choice for Animal Man because his powers lend themselves to a possible connection to The Red. But it’s more than that. I’m going to give him a new origin that makes him even more of a perfect fit for Animal Man. He grew up with [ties to] The Red like Maxine, but Blood never had a stable family life it the support of parents like Buddy and Ellen. As a result, it corrupted him.”
Animal Man #21 hits stores June 19.

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