KaBOOM!’s Adventure Time comic has been one of this year’s surprise hits, and they’re following up on it with a new comic based on the new cartoon from that show’s creator, Pendleton Ward.
Premiering on YouTube’s new Cartoon Hangover channel (which also features cartoons from the likes of James Kochalka), Bravest Warriors follows a group of four young heroes battling for justice in the depths of space, along with the various issues that come from being a teenager and having a crush on a female friend who doesn’t seem to think of you that way. You can check out the original pilot from several years back in the embedded video below.
KaBOOM!’s new comic launches along with the Bravest Warriors cartoon this month, and just as Adventure Time reached into webcomics for its creative team by bringing on Dinosaur Comics’ Ryan North, they’ve continued that trend by getting Joey Comeau, co-writer of the long-running hit A Softer World, which we’ll cover soon in our “Wide World of Webcomics” series. We talked to Comeau about the Warriors, and got a look at some of the art and variant covers for the first issue!
Newsarama: Joey, the Bravest Warriors is premiering on YouTube the same month as the comic comes out, and thus there's not a lot of information on it beyond what Frederator Studios has put online. Tell us about the basic premise of the book and why people should spend their hard-earned funnybook dollars on it.Joey Comeau: The Bravest Warriors are a group of friends who want to be heroes, like all their parents were. Now that their parents have disappeared, all they have is each other. And their giant invisible robot base. And their awesome weapons and gadgets.
They might goof around and play pranks on one another, but at the end of the day they are there to defeat evil using the power of respect and love and empathy and their awesome swirling shadow blades of doom and a big bazooka that shoots bees into your eyeball.
Nrama: And tell us about the individual Bravest Warriors. You have a favorite, admit it.
Comeau: I don't know how much I can say here without ruining the fun of meeting the characters for yourself. I could give little rundowns of each character, but hearing that Danny likes to invent things isn't as much fun as seeing the chaos he can cause with his Popcorn Gun, or the fun moment where you realize how his helmet invention helps him deal with his fear of clowns.
But, briefly, the Bravest Warriors are Beth, Wallow, Chris, and Danny. Plum is sort of an unofficial fifth member of the Bravest Warriors, and she's my favorite right now, I think. It's hard to avoid having a favorite character with a team like this. But I find that it changes from issue to issue which character I love the most.Plum has two very different personalities living in her head, which is a lot of fun to write, but I also love writing Wallow's devil-may-care thirst for chaos. And Danny's bewildering, but effective inventions.
A lot of the early material for the show mentions that Chris has a crush on Beth, but I'm much more interested in how much he respects and admires her, how she's teaching him to defend himself in the holo-john battle chess program, for instance.
And Beth! Well. Let's just say that beneath her logical, dry humor, Beth has a strong fondness for cupcake death-matches.
Nrama: How did you come to work on the series?
Comeau: I first came across Pen Ward's other show, Adventure Time when I was on a trip with Ryan North. We had flown down to Florida to watch the final space shuttle launch, and we were staying in a hotel with a lot of time to kill, and that show was on every day, like three times in a row, and we loved it!I'm sure a lot of people have this experience, where you and a friend love some show, and so you start having these in-jokes, and you quote it to each other all the time. And then Ryan got a job writing the Adventure Time comic for KaBOOM!, and it was awesome!
And, because Ryan is an insane person with the biggest heart ever, he gave them my name, too, and suggested that I would be a good choice for writing for the comic. I never did write any issues of Adventure Time, but when Bravest Warriors was announced, and KaBOOM! acquired the rights to the comic, my name was on the list and they liked my other writing and my ideas for the story.
Nrama: One would not think "All-Ages SF Fantasy Space Adventure" after reading your webcomics and novels. What drew you to this type of material, and what have been some of your biggest inspirations for how you approach the storytelling.
Comeau: Well, I've always loved Sci-Fi and Fantasy, and that shows up in the novels and short stories I think - and things like time travel and zombies and ancient nameless elder gods are always showing up in the webcomic I do with Emily Horne, A Softer World. And my love for horror isn't as out of place in the Bravest Warriors’ world as you might think.That's one of the charming things about both Bravest Warriors and Adventure Time - the way it slips into genuinely unnerving images. Nobody ever says, “You can't do that, this is for kids!”
Well, because that's a stupid thing to say, first of all. Nobody wants to read something and feel like they're being coddled or talked down to. I sure don't, and I didn't when I was younger.
People like what they like, and a lot of them like their fun adventures mixed with some danger.
Nrama: What are some of the tales we can expect from these warriors in the first few issues?
Comeau: The first four issues will follow the Bravest Warriors to a clown planet, where there is some confusion about whether they are helping to fight sadness or crazy horror-movie inspired clown monsters from heck. Along the way there are ancient nameless evils and cupcake fights to contend with.
Oh, and there's the problem of sexism. How can the Bravest Warriors solve all the sexism of a whole civilization? I mean, that stuff is systemic. It's not like you can just blow everything up and start over. Or can you?Nrama: Tell us about working with Mike Holmes – loved his work on the "Adventure Tim" story in Adventure Time #5.
Comeau: I like him! He always makes the ideas in the script more exciting than even in my head. That's all I've got to say about Mike Holmes. I never know how to answer questions like this, because I don't want to say anything bad about someone I have to work with, right?
And I know he would read it because he Googles his own name all the time. And you know what? You can Google your name a million times and still never learn anything new about yourself.
Nrama: Unlike Adventure Time-the-comic, Bravest Warriors is based on a cartoon that's just starting out. What are some of the unique challenges and advantages of working on a project based on a series that doesn't have a lot of mythology to draw from just yet?Comeau: It involved a lot of back and forth at first, to make sure that I was getting these characters right - long before the first episode had been created.
But it also meant that I got to have some fun, and add to the characters in ways I probably couldn't if I had started the comic after a few seasons. Plum, for instance, has two personalities, and it was fun to have them banter with one another a bit like Jack Lemmon and Walter Matthau.
Nrama: Have you gotten to work with Pen Ward or the Frederator guys on plotting out the storylines?
Comeau: I talked a lot with the people at Frederator, to see what they were doing on the episodes, and where the show was going. And to run ideas and jokes past them, to find fun little bits of trivia to hide in the comics that fans of the show will enjoy. It seemed important to make sure it all fits together so that the comic and the show feel like different parts of the same world.Nrama: If there was an Adventure Time/Bravest Warriors crossover, who would win?
Comeau: Everybody would win. And the prize would be unspeakable and shocking pleasures down deep in the depths of the human heart. And candy.
Nrama: Man, is Chris ever gonna kiss Beth or what?
Comeau: I can't answer that. You've put us both in danger by even asking me that.
Nrama: If you were a Bravest Warrior, what would your super-awesome weapon be?
Comeau: Cryptanalyst Rats that live in my jacket and help me get access to all digital systems. Obviously.
Nrama: You're friendly with Ryan North – do y'all ever compare notes on these books?NYCC Exclusive
CoverComeau: All the time! When he was writing Adventure Time at first, I would help with jokes. I basically wrote every joke on every page for nothing, just because I am such a good friend and I want him to do well in the world. He does the same thing for me with Bravest Warriors, and then we eat ice cream cake. It's nice having a friend!
Nrama: OK, sell us on this as hard as you possibly can.
Comeau: Haha, you are setting me up! If I try to sell you on it too hard, it will reek of desperation and my desperation is secret desperation.
No comic will appeal to everybody, but if you like adventure stories set in the future with crazy gadgets, best friends, awkward feelings, adorable aliens, Doctor Who references, cupcakes locked in mortal combat and space sharks, then maybe it will be up your alley? Please? For me?
Going to NYCC? You can get an exclusive cover and pick up issue #1 early at the convention! Not going this year? You can blast into space with the Bravest Warriors on YouTube and at KaBOOM! later this month, and keep reading Newsarama for an interview with Joey Comeau on A Softer World!