SPECTATORS - Part 75 (and a SAGA update)
Plus, an exclusive interview with writer Rob Williams!
How’s your Hot Labor Summer going?
Brian here, and the WGA has suspended striking in the Valley today because of an excessive heat warning, so I’m hiding out in the conditioned air with you instead. But if last week on the picket line was any indication, exactly zero film/tv writers were swayed by the AMPTP’s attempt at what I just learned is called “Boulwarism,” so I hope the powers that be will get back to bargaining in good faith with our trusted negotiating committee immediately.
Regardless, I’m more grateful than ever for your continued support of our wholly independent graphic novel Spectators, illustrated by illustrious co-creator Niko Henrichon and lettered by the legendary Fonografiks. You can read the first 185 pages of of this unconventional (and often NSFW) ghost story for FREE anytime via the Exploding Giraffe Archives, then come right back here for our latest installment, as voyeuristic spirits Val and Sam explore the Central Park of New York City’s distant future…
To be continued with a few new pages next week, but for now, I promised an update about the long-awaited sixty-sixth chapter of Saga… which I’m very pleased to say finally reached our printer last week, and will be on shelves at your favorite local comic shop September 20th.
That shifts the release of the collected Saga Volume 11 slightly to November 15th, still with plenty of time for you to gift our next beautiful trade paperback to your weird aunt for the holidays.
I’m so incredibly sorry for this unavoidable delay. I’ve always taken solicitation dates extremely seriously, but our entire creative team is still just Fiona Staples, Fonografiks and me, and when something unexpected happens in our private lives, everyone’s well-being has to take precedence over stuff like scheduling.
But all is relatively okay now, thanks so much for your patience and understanding. And if I do say so myself, this issue is FUCKING AWESOME. Some of Fiona’s most stunning work ever, over a story inspired by a particularly brilliant idea of hers from a while back (though as always, I deserve any blame for whatever harrowing developments you despise).
Plus, Fonografiks worked his ass off assembling our best Saga Costume Contest yet for this issue’s “To Be Continued,” so you faithful Wednesday Warriors will be treated to several pages of full-color photos that won’t be available anywhere else. This year’s winning cosplayer literally made me fall out of my chair.
And yes, that letter column will also detail our plans for the impending next “season” of Saga (a storyline we’ve been dying to tell for a very long time), but more pressingly, it’ll debut our new collection of Fiona-designed OFFICIAL SAGA MERCH, and reveal how you can get your consumerist paws on this bespoke goodness.
Difficult for me to articulate exactly how important this series is to my collaborators and me, but I hope you’ll be able to feel it in these upcoming pages. Thanks so much for sticking with us on this action-packed road trip to our ultimate destination of Saga Chapter 108, and please feel free to share all this with any pals who might appreciate the update:
I’ve been a huge fan of 2000AD writer Rob Williams since his book CLA$$WAR (with excellent art from Trevor Hairsine and Travel Foreman), a superhero story unlike any I’d ever read.
Since then, Rob and I have become pals (and, against all odds, occasional hiking partners), and I think he’s one of the nicest, smartest chaps in the medium. So when he reached out with a PDF of his latest work, there was only one thing to do: trick him into generating content for this dopey newsletter.
You generous paid subscribers in The Tower will get exclusive access to my complete interview with Rob, and commenters in this week’s private chat thread will also be eligible to win a signed variant cover to the first issue of Petrol Head, his rollicking new sci-fi book with the pulse-pounding Pye Parr.
Their oversized first issue features eye-popping dystopian spectacle:
Plus, gripping human drama:
And most importantly, plenty of robot-on-robot violence:
But as Starfleet’s greatest engineer used to say, “You don’t have to take my word for it;” just check out the baskets of glowing praise Petrol Head has already received.
That first issue will be out in November, so you have a few more weeks to ask your friendly neighborhood retailer to set aside a copy (and if you really want to make your shopkeeper’s day, you can give them this helpful “Lunar order code”: 0923IM323).
Right, hope you enjoy my conversation with Rob, and I’ll see you back here next Monday for more Spectators!
BKV SABOTAGES ROB WILLAIMS WITH TEN AWKWARD QUESTIONS
1) Hi, Rob! Congrats on the furiously fun first issue of PETROL HEAD. For our readers here in the States, what the hell is petrol?
A: Thanks! Cars run on Petrol here in the UK. In America, I’m aware, cars run on hopes, dreams and last chance power drives - although I might have been listening to too much Bruce Springsteen, there.
2) How were you lucky enough to find an artistic collaborator who can not only draw great-looking vehicles, but also clearly loves to do so?
A: Pye Parr used to be the Designer on 2000AD. He was drawing all these insane robots and futuristic racing cars on posters and prints that were just so ridiculously good, I did the ‘don’t look a gift horse in the mouth’ thing that smart writers do and asked him if he wanted to create a comic filled with… robots and futuristic racing cars.
And it turns out he’s drawn it ridiculously good, with chase sequences that feel kinetic and have actual movement on the page. Play to your strengths, right? Then I just had to come up with a cool story and fun characters that people care about. The easy stuff.
3) I’m guessing you were raised on 2000AD and the like, but who’s your favorite yankee superhero?
A: Growing up in the UK we’d get black and white Marvel reprints and some DC comics that were occasionally sent over to be ballast on cargo ships (true story). So you’d get the first part of a killer George Perez-drawn Justice League issue and never the second part. That probably explains some fundamental holes in my character.
That said, favourite yankee superhero is probably Superman. He’s a pretty decent sort of guy.
4) What else have you been working on these days? Come on, give us a goddamn exclusive, even a tiny one!
A: A handful of long-running Judge Dredd stories with artists like PJ Holden, Henry Flint and RM Guéra (of Scalped fame - there’s your goddamn exclusive). I’ve got a few Hellboy universe stories on the way and an Emilia Harcourt story in DC’s The Brave & The Bold.
But Petrol Head’s been taking up a lot of time and effort this last year. Doing an Image book’s a bit like running your own little business. You have to do everything.
5) Our mutual chum Garth Ennis is a very private individual, so what’s one hilarious anecdote he would hate for you to share with us?
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