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'Pacific Rim: Tales of Year Zero' graphic novel has an anchor in kaiju waters

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Pacific Rim
Legendary Comics

Unleashing the Kraken would surely satisfy any appetite for cinematic destruction, right? Think again because Clash of the Titans screenwriter Travis Beacham went looking for bigger fish to fry (or, uh,  more substantial sea monsters to sauté?) and the result is the Guillermo del Toro-helmed Pacific Rim, one of the most-anticipated genre films of 2013 and one of the very few that is not a sequel or a prequel, a remake or an adaptation, or (as in the case of Star Trek Into Darkness) some meta-hybrid of the above. Beacham has taken the story one step further and turned the origins of Pacific Rim into a companion comic, Pacific Rim: Tales from Year Zero.

The story is set in a near-future where coastal cities are ravaged by giant beasties who enter our world through a mysterious inter-dimensional portal down in briny depths. Out this week, Pacific Rim: Tales from Year Zero (112-page hardcover, $24.99 from Legendary) was written by Beacham and illustrated by Sean Chen, Yvel Guichet, Pericles Junior, Chris Batista, and Geoff Shaw. The Warner Bros and Legendary Pictures movie stars Charlie Hunnam, Idris Elba, Rinko Kikuchi, Charlie Day, and Ron Perlman and opens July 12 in 3-D and IMAX 3-D.

EW spoke with Beacham about the challenges of fitting the huge scale of the movie into a companion comic.

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: The skyline scale of these machines and monsters is perfect for the IMAX screen but I’m curious if that led to any tricky storytelling issues when it was time to move the fight into the comics medium? 

Travis Beacham: It was definitely a learning experience. A lot of comparisons are drawn between comics and movies as visual mediums, but they’re quite different in terms of writing. A theatrical film is crafted to be experienced in one unbroken, linear chunk.

A graphic novel is an entirely different narrative artifact. You can put it down in the middle to make a sandwich and pick it back up later. You can dwell on a page or a moment for as long as you want. You can go back and re-read a bit. I actually think that frees you up to be a little more subtle.

NEXT: Three-page preview