NYCC 2011 EXCLUSIVE: Jim McCann + Rodin Esquejo Announce MIND THE GAP at Image Comics

Mind The Gap

Earlier this week, we speculated about what the mysterious teaser image Jim McCann tweeted was and how it was related to an upcoming announcement at the New York Comic Con.  Well, today the mystery was revealed during the Creator Owned Comics panel hosted by Robert Kirkman and Eric Stephenson of Image Comics.  That’s right, Jim McCann’s new project is a creator owned, ongoing series at Image Comics called Mind The Gap.

Eisner award winning Jim McCann (who won Best Graphic Novel for Return of the Dapper Men) will be teaming up with the art team of Eisner nominated artist Rodin Esquejo, who’s best known recently for his covers to Morning Glories (also from Image Comics), with colors by the talented Sonia Oback.

On the heels of this exciting announcement, we tracked down Jim McCann to answer a few questions about Mind The Gap, and to fill the gaps for us on what exactly it is and what we can expect in 2012.

iFanboy: Today at the New York Comic Con, you announced your new project, Mind The Gap at Image Comics. What can you tell us about it? What is Mind the Gap?

Jim McCann: Mind The Gap is my next foray into the world of the creator-owned world. It came from a germ of an idea I had been kicking around. Then, one day in the shower (I swear, I have read about more writers doing their best thinking in the shower), the story turned just enough to the darker side and suddenly, I saw it all in my mind. The beginning image, what happened in these characters’ lives before, who’s who and how they may or may not know others, and most importantly, I met Ellis Peterssen. Ellis, or “Elle”, is our main character, and literally at the center of this story. She is Mind The Gap.

What was the question? Oh, yeah, the story! Sorry, can’t tell you that. I can tell you parts of it, but there are so many pieces to this tale that I don’t want to tip my hand too soon. At its core, Mind The Gap is a mystery, a whodunnit. Something happens to Elle (hint: see the other teaser image) that sets everything into motion. Elle is now trying to solve the mystery of who apparently tried to kill her. Only problem is, she’s in a coma. And amnesiac.

I really wanted to play with the idea of identity and how others opinions seem to define us sometimes, so Elle is learning about her life and her attack from all the different peoples in her life’s point of view. You know how they say coma patients can still hear you? That’s played up here in a big way. They can hear you, see you, but the horrible thing is they can’t do anything about it. It’s like there’s a vast gulf separating them from their physical bodies.

So, how is this not a story where a bunch of people sit next to a bed talking? That’s where a twist comes in. The first of many. You’ll have to read the first issue, but I lay out all the “rules” there (for the most part). This is a preternatural story. It’s my X-FILES meets TWIN PEAKS. In this mystery only two things are certain: Everyone is a suspect. No one is innocent.

iF: Is this going to be a graphic novel or an ongoing series?

JM: This is going to be an ongoing. I Like I said, I saw the whole story in my mind. Well, now I have a flow-chart. Seriously. (Thank you, Michael) This has a definite beginning, middle, and end, so I know where we’re going. And when we’ll end. But one of the best parts about this is that YOU GUYS won’t know where it will end (until the solicitation for the finale) because there are so many twists. Just when you think you or Elle have figured it out, something else comes along and WHAM! It’s fun.

iF: How did you get hooked up with artist Rodin Esquejo? How has working together been?

JM: Rodin & I have met at different cons over the past year and we’re friends with some of the same people. At SDCC this year, he was at Christina Strain’s table, right next to mine, and I walked up to him, handed him my e-mail, and said “I want to work with you. Seriously. If you’re interested, I have an idea and you are THE person to draw it.” A few days later, he emailed and I sent him the pitch. He jumped at it, and also at the fact that Sonia Oback would be coloring. Sonia’s amazing and I’ve been dying to work more with her. Now we all three get to work together. For the next XXX years. (that wasn’t Roman Numerals. This book is not 30 years long. Just thought I’d clarify.)

As for how it’s been so far? Dream team. Why these two haven’t been paired before now is like why didn’t that guy with the peanut butter not run into the guy with the chocolate sooner?! The art alone is going to blow you away.

Mind The Gap Teaser #12iF: The teaser image you posted was very intriguing, what can you tell us about it? It had some distinctive colors, and the title Mind the Gap is used in the London Tube System – how is the teaser image linked to that?

JM: Very nice eye, Mr. Richards! Maybe Ellis Peterssen will need you to help solve this story. It is, indeed, a play on the “Mind the Gap” signs in the London Tube System, with different meanings. One is because of the title of the book and what that means to the character of Elle. The other is because, as you may notice in the second image, something awful appears to have happened to Elle (and…Elle?!) in an underground station.

I sent Rodin reference of the sign and told him I wanted us to do something based of off it, where there was a brain above the bar. That was all I had in mind…until Rodin flipped it and made it a cross-section of Elle’s head, a sliver of her face, and then the blood dripping down. I was in love. It’s so simple yet striking. It feels iconic to me, so yay! Go Rodin!

iF: After several years at Marvel Comics, and an Eisner Award winning Graphic Novel at Archaia, why publish with Image Comics?

JM: My work at Marvel had started to slow down (and this is a story that wouldn’t work at either of the Big Two, really), Janet & I were digging into the second part of the Dapper Men trilogy with Archaia, and I don’t know- I just wanted to do something…different. I spoke to a number of creators and looked around and ultimately, based on the experiences a number of pals have had, I chose to bring it to Image. Fortunately, they said yes, otherwise I’d be at Prom with two dates, but in an empty gym.

iF: Do you feel any pressure post Return of the Dapper Men in terms of what readers expect from you?

JM: Absolutely! I feel pressure about what readers expect in interviews! But, after winning the Eisner for Dapper Men and having developed a fan-base from my work mainly with Hawkeye & Mockingbird, I feel even more pressure. But at the same time, it’s freeing. This is not a Marvel super hero book. This is not an all ages modern fairy tale. This is Mind The Gap. It is it’s own creature and people will either come to it based on my past work or the art, or they won’t.

We are at a very interesting time in comics right now. If you look at sales and readership and the market overall, people aren’t following the characters or teams as much as they used to- they are following creators – writers and artists – to see what people they like will do next, be it with an existing property or something creator-owned. And that excites the hell out of me! I say, if you like what you’ve seen before, it doesn’t matter if Elle doesn’t have a costume and a bow, or that her beau isn’t sporting a pin-stripe suit and a green bowler hat. You’ve seen works from all three of us (me, Rodin & Sonia). But you’ve never seen us like this!

iF: When will we see more from Mind the Gap?

JM: I have the script for the thing we’re doing in— ah, almost had me! The first issue (double-sized, 40 pgs, $2.99) will come out in April just before C2E2. But you will see more Mind The Gap before then. Trust me, it’s me. You KNOW I’ll be out there pimpin’ this out more than Julia Robers. Yeah, I made a Pretty Woman reference. Let’s end with that.


  1. After two amazing covers this week (Morning Glories and Generation Hope), I was wondering what his sequential work would be like. I can’t wait to see this.

  2. I am really excited for these creator owned titles.

  3. Image continues to destroy Marvel and DC in big announcements! Good creators = good comics!!!

  4. All the creator owned announcements coming out today intrigue me but this one has me the most excited. I’ve not read Dappermen yet but the premise for this really works for me. As a Londoner too i’m really digging the whole underground symbolism. That 1st image would look so cool as a sticker on a tube train or poster on a station platform. Can’t wait to check this out.

  5. Love that concept! Will defo get this when it lands in April.

  6. I dig Jim McCann. Could be great.