Dan Fogler is known for bringing characters to life films like Fantastic Beasts, but he's also had a major hand in shaping new parts of the Heavy Metal universe, and that isn't stopping anytime soon. Fogler has two new series on the way from Heavy Metal, those being Brooklyn Gladiator and Fishkill, and at first glance, they couldn't be more different. ComicBook.com recently had the chance to speak to Fogler all about them though, and after he breaks them down you can see they have more in common than you initially think. First, we asked where his love of the brand started, and what a Heavy Metal book allows him to do that he couldn't necessarily do elsewhere.
"Well, there's that R rated thing that I just always go pedal to the metal on, but Heavy Metal magazine was how I learned to read, man," Fogler said. "That was the first book I was like, 'You know what? I think I'm going to start reading comic books like my brother. Oh, what's this?' I was like f****** nine or ten, and I pulled off Heavy Metal magazine from my brother's comic book shelf because it was oversized. I was like, 'This probably has big pictures.' I opened it up, and I was obviously too young, but it made such an impression on me, the storytelling."
That love of Heavy Metal increased 10 fold when he saw the movie. "So I saw Heavy Metal the movie over and over again, and I loved it. I loved the storytelling," Fogler said. "For me, it was like the perfect combination. It was like chocolate and peanut butter. I was like, 'Holy f***. It's animated, and it's voiced by the SCTV people and f****** John Candy.' I couldn't get enough of it because it was so close to me. I was like, I know the universe. I read it, and I f****** laugh at all these voices on the side, and it was just so perfect. So that obviously made a huge influence on me."
That love would eventually manifest itself in a series he wrote titled Moon Lake, which was an homage to Heavy Metal, and it ended up paving the way for joining the Heavy Metal universe full time.
"Moon Lake was my homage essentially to Heavy Metal, and I did that with Archaia," Fogler said. "I did two volumes with Archaia of Moon Lake, and at the first Comic-Con that I was signing Moon Lake, I went over to the Heavy Metal booth and I said, 'You guys, I want to give this to you. This book is an homage to Heavy Metal,' and they were like, 'We like you', and they've been letting me squat at their booth for the last 10 years at every Comic-Con letting me sell stuff. Whether I had a story in the magazine that year or not, they were still nice to me."
"And then obviously as time went by, I started writing my own stuff, and now here I am, and I'm publishing more Moon Lake, and the two new titles, Fishkill and Brooklyn Gladiator with them. It's just surreal. It's like full circle here," Fogler said.
First up is Brooklyn Gladiator, which embraces conspiracy theories and combines science fiction elements with a noir detective story.
"Brooklyn Gladiator was my dystopian sci-fi cautionary tale with the heart," Fogler said. "At the core, it's Orwellian. I basically say, 'All conspiracies are true in Brooklyn Gladiator. They will all be revealed to be true.' So at the very heart of our society right now is are we headed toward a technocracy? Are we f****** in a technocracy already? Is it already 1984? Has it been 1984 since 1984? We're trying to get to the bottom of that. So I thought, 'Wait a minute. We're living this sci-fi dystopia right now, why don't I write the seeds of 2020 that blossom into the world of 2033, which is Brooklyn Gladiator?'"
"So I went back and I said It takes place now, and there's only just a little sprinkling of sci-fi in this, but it's mostly a gritty noir detective story," Fogler said. "It's really my need as a conspiracy theorist to get to the bottom and raise a lot of questions about our society today, and it's a love story, both Brooklyn Gladiator and Fishkill are love stories at the heart of them, but they're both reluctant heroes, on the hero's journey."
Fishkill still takes on the world of conspiracies but from a much different and more personal angle, following the story of a police officer who witnessed 9/11, which is what inspires him to join the military, though things don't go as planned from there.
"Fishkill deals with a very dark side of conspiracy theories," Fogler said. "Brooklyn Gladiator is dealing with technocrats, but our hero, Bart Fishkill, in the Fishkill comics is dealing with the system that sets up the technocracy. That system is the pyramidal system that we're living in today, deep state, that realm, the MK Ultra mind control realm, that dark side of the spectrum of conspiracy theories. It's all in the same universe."
"Bart Fishkill is a detective who witnessed 9/11," Fogler said. "He was a cop straight out of the police academy. He was there on the day, standing there, and he vowed that he was going to go and join the Army and try to win the war on his own. Then he realized this war is not what they're selling us, and he gets involved in remote viewing. He gets involved in MK Ultra, and he becomes a real weapon, but he's got a heart of gold and can't bring himself to do certain things, specifically hurt children. He just can't do it."
"They have a thing where they hit a button, and he becomes a berserker monster," Fogler said. "He's a one-man army. He'll kill everybody barehanded, but he can't bring himself to hurt kids. So this is the malfunction, this is a glitch for them, and they decide they're going to keep an eye on this one, and he gets kicked out of the Army. His brain gets wiped, and he just now finds himself as a policeman, making his way as a detective. He's a great detective. And he finds himself navigating his career toward saving kids. He's considered the patron saint of saving kids, street kids."
Despite his heroic deeds, he ends up on the wrong side of the law after being framed for a terrorist attack he had nothing to do with, and now he has to survive long enough to clear his name and figure out who is at the root of the attack.
"And he knocks on the wrong door," Fogler said. "He's chasing a child trafficking ring, and he knocks on the wrong door that leads to a specific secret society, and the next thing he knows, he's put on f****** bridge duty. He's demoted. He pissed off the wrong people, and now he's stuck on the Brooklyn Bridge in a f****** three-wheel meter maid car. It's like his own personal little penalty box. If you've ever been on the Brooklyn Bridge, it's like those guys are like animals in a cage. They just sit there. It's like they're totally being punished, and they're just watching life go by. They just can't move. They can't do anything."0comments
"And so here he finds himself sitting on the Brooklyn Bridge," Fogler said. "He's trying to make the best of it, and then suddenly the f******* Brooklyn Bridge, there's an attack, bombs go off, and it's horrendous. He blacks out, and he finds himself underground in the sewers, and he starts to collect his memory. He finds out through the grapevine that, holy f***, he's being blamed for the attack. He's the f****** Black Friday Bomber. Now he's the lone wolf, homegrown terrorist. He's the patsy. Everything is being pinned on him. So now he's the fugitive. Now he is a detective who has gone rogue, who is up against the world to try and prove his innocence. That's what we're setting up here."
You can get lost in the world of Heavy Metal once more when Brooklyn Gladiator hits comic stores this August. Fishkill #1 hits stores on August 12th, while Moon Lake Midnight Munchies hits stores on August 19th. You can also check out more from Fogler on his podcast Dan Fogler's 4d Xperience, which can be found right here.