This week, DC released the penultimate issue of The Kamandi Challenge, by Rob Williams and Walter Simonson, which picked up on the cliffhanger left behind by last month's creative team, Greg Pak and Shane Davis.
The concept of The Kamandi Challenge is that each incoming writer/artist team will leave a cliffhanger to be picked up by the previous team, "challenging" them to get the characters out of the mess they've put them in.
The series was conceived not only as a fun event series and a way to make the long-dormant Kamandi property something that DC can use again, but as a celebration of the hundredth birthday of Jack Kirby, which happened in August.
Williams and Simonson joined us to discuss three quick questions that we've been asking each successive creative team. You can see them below.
You can also check out both of the cliffhangers in question, in the attached image gallery.
Rob Williams: Rending of garments. Gnashing of teeth. You know, the usual measured, calm reaction to being presented with an impossible conundrum when you're expected to come up with some brilliant escape for our hero even though most days you can't remember to put your trousers on one leg at a time. Greg Pak left us with a major headache. Kamandi had searched the entire series for his parents, travelling across the insane landscape of Jack Kirby's version of a future Earth. But, at the close of #10, after finally meeting his mom, she is shot and dies in his arms.
That's just cruel. And unsolvable, right?
You'll have to read #11 to see what we did.
Walter Simonson: Fortunately, I was the penciler of the book so I was spared the difficulty of having to answer the tough questions. That was Rob's department. My reaction was more about – HOLY COW! I have to draw HOW MANY animal commandos in this scene??? In this comic??? I didn't get off as lightly as I'd hoped. Thanks, Rob.
What did you pay forward to the next creative team?
Simonson: I made all the stuff I drew as complex as possible so the penciler after me would have challenging things to draw, assuming the writer of the next issue uses any of the assets from our issue. If not, he's off the hook. Otherwise, good luck, pal!
Williams: Human nature ensures that kindness is met with kindness and cruelty is met with cruelty. It may even 'begat' it. I'd need to look up the meaning of 'begat' first. So, having been given a brain-sweat of a cliffhanger by the last team, we decide to 'begat' the poor sods following us something similar. At the close of our issue Kamandi and his Space Gorilla companions are sucked out into space. Kamandi not only has no spacesuit, he's also just sort of wearing those trunk things. Chilly.
And we see him falling towards Earth's atmosphere, with absolutely no means of saving himself. Certain death. Bwahahahahahaha etc.
How have you been inspired by Kirby?
Williams: If you work in superhero comics at all, you're really following the path Jack laid. But more than that. I came up through the big OTT playground of big sci-fi ideas that is 2000AD and Jack's work was of a similar gloriously crazy bent. I loved the vibrancy and dramatic grandeur of his stories growing up. We're all trying to tell the best cliffhangers and who did them better than Jack? "Who dares???" his characters would ask. Well, we want to know the answer to such questions. Jack's comics were always, first and foremost, huge bombastic fun. That inspires me, certainly. It's a real honour to work on one of creations in Kamandi and to try and ape his writing voice slightly. With space-faring apes.
Simonson: How have I not? Jack is probably the biggest single influence in my work although there are a couple of other artists in the running. Certainly, he's one of my earliest influences and I learned so much from his work. I've done a lot of comics with characters whose creation Jack was central to, but I've never done Kamandi before. Now I can check him—and Ape Commandos—off my Jack Kirby bucket list.
Previous The Kamandi Challenge conversations:
- Breaking Down the Issue 1 Cliffhangers With Dan Abnett
- Breaking Down the Issue 2 Cliffhangers With Tomasi & Adams
- Breaking Down the Issue 3 Cliffhangers With Palmiotti & Conner
- Breaking Down the Issue 4 Cliffhangers With Carlos D'Anda
- Breaking Down The Issue 5 Cliffhangers (SPOILERS!) With Bill Willingham
- Breaking Down The Issue 6 Cliffhangers (SPOILERS!) With Orlando and Tan
- Breaking Down The Issue 7 Cliffhangers (SPOILERS!) With Dan Jurgens
- Breaking Down the Issue 8 Cliffhangers With Giffen & Rude
- Breaking Down the Issue 9 Cliffhangers With King, Eastman & Williams
- Breaking Down the Issue 10 Cliffhangers With Pak & Davis
The first ten issues of The Kamandi Challenge are availble in comic book stores and online at ComiXology today.0comments