by Vince Brusio
The freedom to create new settings, motivations, and take a left-turn into crazy character development was a primary reason for creators Marcus To, Jackson Lanzing, and Collin Kelly to make Joyride #1 (FEB161214) for BOOM! Studios. In this PREVIEWSworld Exclusive interview, the trio try to express their unbridled passion for making a new sci-fi adventure that has absolutely zero need for precaution, or a parking brake.
Joyride #1 (FEB161214) is in comic shops April 20.
PREVIEWSworld: The three of you have worked together on two volumes of Hacktivist. What is it about your shared chemistry that made you want to invest in the creator-owned project, Joyride #1 (FEB161214)?
Marcus To: What we want to do with Joyride is bring adventure back. The stories we want to tell are ones that make you believe that you can do anything, and I think that the common theme is that even though you might have a past where bad things have happened, or you’re just different than everyone else, you are still always capable of doing amazing things.
Jackson Lanzing: Exactly. The book is, in a lot of ways, a reflection of our synergy as creators. Three totally different individuals with varied and diverse backgrounds, heading off on a crazy mission into uncharted territory. It just felt like the right fit.
Collin Kelly: Plus, we just love working together!
PREVIEWSworld: Joyride is said to be a space epic that appeals to readers of Young Avengers and Runaways. Could you expand on that a bit? What does Joyride have in common with those books?
Jackson Lanzing: Look, we didn't set out to riff on two of our favorite superhero books, but I think it's safe to say that without the influence of Brian Vaughn, Adrian Alphona, Kieron Gillen, and Jamie McKelvie, Joyride would be a very different book. A lot of the similarities are readily apparent — for instance, the story's about teens who reject a destiny defined by their parents, finding instead a family they choose along an adventure — but the DNA runs deeper still.
Collin Kelly: What inspired us about those books, and so many others, is that they come to their genre with a fresh aesthetic while still operating as thrilling stories with awesome stakes. Yes, Joyride is a book about fantastic teenage space adventures, but it's also a story about refusing to compromise who you are, for the sake of a society that doesn't even care.
PREVIEWSworld: Outside of Young Avengers and Runaways, what previous works have inspired you as writers?
Collin Kelly: Planetary and Lucifer were my absolute books of choice for the longest time; both have these amazing protagonists who barge through their own stories with extreme confidence, knowing that whatever mess they make, they can always pick up. Mignola's work on Hellboy inspired me in the opposite direction, with a character who was so concerned about his legacy that he abdicated responsibility, all told with blacks so dark they swallowed up the details. But in regards to Joyride, one of the works that really influenced the storytelling was Cowboy Bebop — brash, dangerous, sexy, and with a soundtrack that won't quit, and that energy infuses every panel of the book.
Jackson Lanzing: In comics, I'm greatly inspired by the amount of consideration and poetry that Alan Moore brings to each and every story—his current ode to Lovecraft, Providence, is appointment reading for me. I've also been an absolute nut for Kieron Gillen's work since Phonogram began — the lyricism at play in every page is a standard I'd someday like to be able to hold myself to. I love the fearless darkness and fun of Marguerite Bennett, and the deeply odd psychotropic world-building of Si Spurrier.
But the most powerful inspiration for Joyride is Star Trek. This dates me, but watching The Best of Both Worlds, Pt 1 with my parents is one of my earliest memories, and that need for discovery has consumed me ever since.
PREVIEWSworld: Could you give us a brief background on the book’s characters, and how they function within the mechanics of Joyride?
Marcus To: Uma is the type of person we all want to be: confident, fun, exciting, and capable. She is the one with the conviction in her purpose that brings the team together.
Jackson Lanzing: Dewydd is her best friend in the world — really, her only friend — but he’s got a very troubled mind and a dark secret. He wants to be everything Uma is, but so far in his life hasn’t lived up to that rebellious spirit. He’s a conformist that wishes he weren’t. Catrin, meanwhile, is every bit the model citizen — essentially a member of Earth’s new Hitler Youth — but she’s going to discover a thirst for adventure she never knew she had… even as she deals with self-loathing she’s never had to truly face before.
Collin Kelly: Rounding out the cast are our misfit weirdos: Bot and Kolstak the Wander. Bot, on the surface, is what he seems to be: a super powered, transforming robot that provides an interface for our team to utilize their ship. But for our story, Bot represents something more: the kid who seems a little strange, and maybe even a little broken, but who shows up to the punk show anyway and rocks the hell out. Kolstak is our hard-eyed stranger, the “old man” of the group. And though our team might have things to learn from him, he has absolutely no interest in teaching.
PREVIEWSworld: What is it about this book that gets you excited? What makes you want to sit down and bang out pages so that other people can enjoy the same head rush?
Marcus To: The aliens! It's so much fun to come up with all the crazy things in this world. The thing I brought up when we first started to develop this idea was that we can literally do anything we want.
Collin Kelly: The freedom! Never before have we had the chance to cut loose, get strange, and tell the stories that we’ve always wanted to see. This book is our punk rock anthem for living the best possible version of your life, and we can’t wait to share it.
Jackson Lanzing: The weirdness! Though it might seem like a void, space is filled with possibility, and any time that things start to feel a little too normal, this book has the chance to shake $#*^ up. Science fiction is all about exploring what’s possible, and the deeper we get into this story, the more we start to see avenues to innovate.