When it comes to big ideas and big set pieces, Mark Millar and Sean Gordon Murphy come by both naturally. So when the two teamed up for Chrononauts (which sees it's Vol. 1 collection out out this week), fans knew they were in for a wild ride.
With buzz around the movie, and the release of the trade paperback, we took the first chance we had to chat with the series artist about his experience working on the story and what fans can look forward to as work begins on Vol. 2.
When you guys were promoting the book - you created the optical illusion that went viral. Was that something you just whipped up and put together? Or was it something that you had in the chamber waiting to get out there?
Im not really sure how that happened. I think Mark had an idea to do a special printing and so I pitched the watch idea and we were able to make it happen.
Were you surprised with how quickly it spread?
Oh yeah! I woke up one morning and I had Nick Frost tweeting at Mark and I saying “I see a watch.” When things like that happen it’s totally crazy. Totally distracted me the whole day.
You’ve worked with great collaborators in the past, and so has Mark - so when the two of you finally got the chance to work together, what was it like?
It was the easiest project ever. He’s amazing when it comes to communication not to mention, he had everything ready to go. Scripts, dialog, you name it, it was all done and ready to rock.
From a genre standpoint, this book was a bit of new territory for you. What about Chrononauts got you the most excited for it?
I had been doing a lot of big, post apocalyptic stuff and heavier material. I had really wanted to do a comedy book and there are so few good ones out there that I thought, I could do it with this.
As an artist, what are some different approaches you have to take with a comedy book that say you wouldn’t have done or couldn’t do in Punk Rock Jesus?
For me the best comedy books were written and drawn by the same person. That way the artist can play with the timing, beats, and facial expressions. That being said, Mark’s scripts were loose enough for me to make some tweaks and add some comedic bits of my own. There’s a part in the book where in an alternate timeline the girl he intends to marry has a kid, and that kid punches him in the nuts. Little things like that I was able to add here and there and I think the results were perfect.
When I was reading this, I loved that the tech and the sci-fi elements were not far fetched. A lot of it felt plausible for something to happen in the near future. When building a world like that, how do you go about making sure it feels authentic not only to you, but the reader?
What I tried to do was stick to familiar sci-fi designs and ideas that we’re used to. For example, their timegate - looks like a Stargate. Also I wanted to give the uniforms a bit of a retro feel.
Are there Easter Eggs you’re especially proud of?
Quinn's dad is basically Kurt Russell. When he goes to see his dad, there is a Snake Plissken uniform hanging on the wall. It;s not even very subtle. Even the gun he uses is hanging on the wall with his eye patch. There are also newspaper clippings that say “Chrononauts win Eisner Awards.” I love little things like that. I’d love to get a collection of all those in one book.
If someone was picking up the trade this week, what would you suggest the soundtrack be.
Top Gun. On repeat. Just over and over again. Or some metal band.
Are you ready to jump right back into this world and tell more stories?
Absolutely, I signed on with Mark to do three volumes of Chrononauts. We’re starting the art on Vol. 2 next year and a lot of that has to do with the movie buzz. Ever since Universal picked us up, people have been really excited. Our goal is to have Vol. 2. by the movie, and depending on the reception between that and the movie, we’ll move forward on the third.
As you go into 2 & 3 - have you already set up pieces in the first volume that you’ll pick right up with or will there be some pretty drastic changes in mood and location?
Well, this arc focuses on time jumping through history, so we’ll definitely stick with time jumping, but when and where? You’ll have to keep reading.
The one thing I do know for sure is that I definitely want to take the characters in a bit more of a cartoon-y direction. I want to streamline things as we move forward and not make it feel so gritty.
What are you looking forward to the most with the second volume?
A car chase! I’ve been begging Mark to let me do one with time jumping. I also sent him an article about those Google self-driving cars, the little smiling egg looking things. I’m thinking the scene goes like this. The two guys are running from something, they come across this egg shaped car and are like “Oh no - I’m not making my awesome escape in this thing” and when they look across the street its this awesome Ferrari museum. The rest writes itself.
So what do you think ComicBook.com readers? Did you love this series? If you haven't read it yet, why not check out the first issue FOR FREE (thanks Mark Millar!). Just click here and have a blast!