As I stare out the window and at the snow freshly dropping on our postman, I can’t help think what a crappy job it can be sometimes. But still not as crappy as delivering mail across the universe as you’ll see in this week’s debut issue of the darkly humoured Space Bastards from Humanoids.
Out today, I got to chat with co-writers Eric Peterson and Joe Aubrey to talk about the book, as well as the announcement that their next Kickstarter for a second volume is going live… well, read on and find out.
Olly MacNamee: Space Bastards was originally a successfully funded Kickstarter campaign, so how did it end up at Humanoids? Which, by the way, seems the most appropriate home for this bad-ass series.
Eric Peterson: Thanks Olly! I think so too. It was really fortunate that Humanoids also really “got” Space Bastards in a big way. From our first meeting with them we felt we were talking to extensions of our own current team.
Joe Aubrey: Our plan was always to partner up with a publisher who had industry connections and marketing power. For the Kickstarter we produced a premium format oversized hardcover. Having that enabled us to get it in front of publishers and collaborators more easily because we could prove we could execute.
OM: You present a very high octane and darkly humoured take on the future of the postal service. Where did this idea germinate originally? Mark Waid states it’s been a labor of love for a good few years now.
JA: Eric came up with the original idea – a guy, in over his head, delivering packages for the Intergalactic Postal Service in a ridiculously hostile universe.
EP: I first started doodling the universe when I was 13. When I was in film school and met Joe, it really started garnering unique legs, such as the setting and themes. It has been with me just about forever, and with me and Joe now for about 15 years.
OM: I must admit, when reading the first issue, it initially reminded me of The Boys – for obvious reasons – but as the issue progressed, I was pleasantly surprised by the changing dynamics of the core relationship between veteran postal service courier Manny Corns and the down-on-his-luck rookie, ex-accountant David S Proton. He certainly leaves his mark on this first issue. So, what can we expect from him in future issues, given he seem to be a quick learner, and then some?
JA: He’s really going to enjoy his job. And he’s going to have more to worry about than Manny.
OM: Speaking about The Boys, how did you ever get Darick Robertson involved?
EP: I met Darick once through a mutual friend, and luckily for me, Darick was receptive to the fact that I really loved what he has crafted so far. I grew up glued to Transmetropolitan, and then later The Boys. We stayed in touch. When Joe and I decided to make Space Bastards into an ongoing comic we thought, “who would be perfect to co-create the visual look of the universe with us?” Darick was the instant first pick.
JA: There’s a video re-enactment of our pitching Space Bastards to him at www.spacebastards.com.
OM: Manny Corns is a great anti-hero too. It must be so much fun to write him. Or, is Proton the real delight, given his development in this issue alone?
EP: I think, to date, we’ve written 15 stories. I can say that depending on who or what we are exploring at that particular time, either one really is a delight. It’s a lot of fun trying to plunge through relatable character depth in a satirical setting, amidst stakes being so high.
JA: They are both fun to write. We try to delve into every character and give the reader a chance to really know them and root for them. We have some standalone Manicorn stories coming soon. Those were very enjoyable and very cathartic. Writing that gave me more serotonin than a Bob Ross painting.
EP: There’s a lot of twists coming. David and Manny certainly take center stage in the first issue, but we will gradually introduce a full ensemble cast. This is a workforce born out of competition but with one thing in common: the universe has left them behind, desperate, or disenfranchised in one way or another.
OM: Behind every good series is an equally bad guy. But here you’ve given us a rather unique Machiavellian match. I’m not too sure how much you can tell us about the two co-conspirators without giving too much away… but, do try.
EP: Uh… Oof. Ask me in, like, a few issues I think. He’s one of my favorite aspects of the story, for sure. I think in the ‘Tooth and Mail’ issues by Darick Robertson, exploring the differences between the characters in the Intergalactic Postal Service and some of these other facets of society are the most fun.
JA: I’ll say this – when the main characters are a bunch of assholes, the antagonist or “bad guy” probably actually has some good ideas…
OM: And, you’ve even announced a black light variant cover from Robertson too. Who came up with this funky idea?
JA: The black light variant was done by Dan Panosian. Darick also drew a “virgin” variant with colors by Diego Rodriguez. Both are amazing whether they glow or not.
EP: That was 100% championed by publisher Mark Waid. It’s incredible. Mark really understands what we are doing with these stories, which is amazing to me. I grew up reading Waid stories, and to hear him articulate certain things about Space Bastards to Joe and I has been a real surreal treat.
OM: And, what’s more, after this initial seven-part run, you’re bringing in 2000 AD legends, Simon Bisley and Clint Langley onto Space Bastards. Again I have to ask, how did you get these two involved? You’ve certainly collected an impressive list of artists for the first year or so.
EP: I grew up reading 2000AD. I hit it off immediately with Simon, Clint– and even Boo Cook and Colin MacNeil who we’ve also worked with. They are all just amazing to collaborate with. They are also all unique. Each issue is written specifically for the artist we think is best to tackle that particular corner of the galaxy.
OM: I suppose my final question has to be whether you have any further plans beyond what has already been announced. How far ahead have you planned this sci-fi saga, and is there an endpoint?
EP: There is an endpoint. I won’t say when it’ll happen. I will say we hope readers allow us to make many more years of Space Bastards. I want to tell all of the stories we have in us, and we have a lot.
JA: On January 18th, we are running a second Kickstarter campaign where die-hard fans can purchase Space Bastards Volume 2. Like Volume 1, this will be a limited edition, oversized hardcover collection of Space Bastards stories presented in an exclusive reading order. Volume 2 is stuffed with two more installments (50 pages total) of the ‘Tooth and Mail’ story arc drawn by Darick, a heist featuring the origin of ‘Resurrection’ Mary drawn by Colin MacNeil, and a gritty tale of retirement cut short rendered by Clint Langley. We are going back to Kickstarter so that we can pay the artists/colorists/letterers in advance and offer our fans exclusive oversized prints and other goodies not available through traditional retail channels. Kickstarter is the best way we’ve found to keep the comic alive and artists busy in a post-pandemic world.
OM: Eric, Joe, thanks for your time, and all the best with Space Bastards when it comes out this January 13th from Humanoids.
JA: Thank you.
Space Bastards #1 is out today from Humanoids while the new Kickstarter for Space Bastards: Volume 2 goes live on Monday, January 18th, 2021.