Arthur Baltazar and Franco Aureliani, the creative team behind Tiny Titans, are bringing their kid-ifying creativity to Dynamite for January's all-ages comic, L'il Battlestar Galactica.
The comic, which interprets "little" versions of the characters in the 1978 Battlestar Galactica TV show, is part of Dynamite's five-week "L'il Dynamite" event. Each week, a different Dynamite licensed property will get a "little" version: the Bionic Man in L'il Bionic Kids, by Brandon Jerwa and Ian McGinty; an Vampirella in L'il Vampi by Eric Trautmann and Agnes Garbowska; Evil Ernie in L'il Ernie, by Roger Langridge; and L'il Sonja by Jim Zub and Joe Carroll. The series of one-shots will be kid-friendly, in celebration of Dynamite's 10-year anniversary.
In L'il Battlestar Galactica, the Cylons are still chasing the Galactica as the ship heads toward Earth, but in this version, the girls are playing with dolls and Apollo spends time looking through his telescope.
For Art and Franco, the opportunity to "kid-ify" a licensed property for Dynamite is just the latest in a string of such projects. Since they began winning Eisner Awards for their DC title Tiny Titans, they've since created Itty Bitty Hellboy for Dark Horse (which was so successful that the series was expanded and featured during Free Comic Book Day), plus they launched their self-published Aw Yeah Comics line (initially funded by their hugely successful Kickstarter campaign.
And DC recently announced that they were bringing back Tiny Titans in 2014.
Now that Art and Franco are working on "kid" versions of Apollo, Starbuck and Boomer, Newsarama talked to the pair to find out more about L'il Battlestar Galactica.
Newsarama: Franco and Art, although Dynamite has built quite an extensive Battlestar Galactica comics universe over the last few years, the idea of this "little" universe seems pretty unusual. What did you guys think of the idea when you first heard about it?
Franco Aureliani: We thought it was the awesome! Out of all the Dynamite properties, that's the one we wanted.
Nrama: You got to pick from all the Dynamite properties?
Franco: They gave us a few options.
Arthur Baltazar: Yeah, Battlestar Galactica was the one we wanted. We didn't even hesitate. We wanted to make little Cylons.
Franco: And we knew the TV series. I used to watch the TV series every week when it was on. I was so excited about watching a space show on TV. So I was very familiar with Apollo and Starbuck and all those guys.
Art: I knew them from the toys. The only episode of the show I ever saw was the pilot episode — the two-hour movie. But I know all the characters from the toys! I had the Cylon Marauders and the Colonial Vipers and stuff, that shot the little bullets that the kids would eat? That was back when they had the rocket firing Boba Fett and they never released it because the kids choked on the Battlestar toy. So that's how I remember it, was those toys.
They made toys that were the same size as the Star Wars toys.
But also, the movie. We had the VHS of that movie, so I could watch it again and again.
Nrama: So tell me about the comic. What will we see from L'il Battlestar Galactica? Are they all kids?
Art: Some of the leaders are still adults. Adama's still big, and the Cylons are adult-sized. But Starbuck and Apollo and Boomer and Cassiopeia are all kids. We don't have Boxey. We gave the dog to Boomer. We figured Boxey could be in there, but he would be a baby. Bffit's in there. He's Boomer's dog.
Nrama: Are the Cylons still a threat?
Art: Yeah, in one issue, they get attacked by the Cylons. They have guns.
Franco: Yeah, the Cylons are still in there with their guns.
Art: It's pretty cool so far. There's a lot of action.
Nrama: And the setting is the same? On a battlestar?
Art: Yeah, they're on a battlestar.
Franco: They're on the Galactica. They've just put in the Art and Franco universe.
Art: And Apollo is crazy, neurotic and loses his mind all the time. And Starbuck's always sipping some kind of drink.
Franco: It's cool.
Art: Yeah, and in our universe, it's hot chocolate, because you can see the marshmallows and they're floating. 'Cause he's always drinking something and just chillin'. And Apollo freaks out all the time. Every story we have right now, he's freaking out and screaming, because I like to draw people with big mouths, like, yelling. "Yeeeeeeeaaaahhh!!!" So he's the guy who screams.
And the guy with the pointy head is in there too.
Art: Yeah, Lucifer. He's blue and he has the red robe and he glows. He's in it too. He's small like them.
Franco: Lucifer was weird, too, because he had those rotating eyes. They were all over the place.
Art: And we have that weird guy, the Imperious Leader. He looks like a toad?
Franco: Baltar too. He's an adult. Him and Adama are adults.
Art: Yeah, we have Lorne Greene with really thick eyebrows. And he's got good hair.
Nrama: And he's an adult.
Art: Yeah, he's the dad.
Nrama: But the characters are doing kid-type stuff, right?
Art: Yeah! The girls play dolls. And Apollo looks through his telescope a lot. They're doing kid stuff.
Franco: The main premise is the same as it was in the series. They're on their way to earth, and they're being attacked by the Cylons. And it's a one-issue thing, so we get right into it. They only plot you need to know is they're heading for earth. And that the Cylons are bad guys.
Art: We've got a joke here about a sandwich too.
Nrama: Don't give it away!
Art: No, I don't want to give the joke away.
Franco: The good thing is that if you ever watched the old series, you'll pick stuff up. Like, you'll know who the characters are, and their characteristics are there. And I don't want to give it away, but there are all kinds of little, like, fun things in there. There are characters you'll recognize. There are relatives of people in the show. You'll know if you watched the show.
Art: Yeah. It's going to be good stuff. And it has a musical connection. That's all I can say.
Nrama: And Art, you did a bunch of covers for the L'il Dynamite books?
Art: Yeah, I did! And it was a really fast turnaround, because when they asked me if I'd like to do them, I said yes, and they were like, well, we need them in two days. And I was like "What??" But I got them all done! It hurt a lot, but I got them all done.
And all the covers will connect too. You can put them together and they'll make a big poster.
Nrama: What do you guys think of the idea of Dynamite doing all these "L'il" versions of Dynamite characters?
Art: I think it's cool!
Franco: I think every company should be aiming toward the kids' market in some way. A lot of these books, kids aren't going to be able to read. I mean, it's not that they can't read, but you know, it's not for them.
Art: I think these books are a good start. But it would be great if they were more than one-shots. I would love to see mini-series of each title. 'Cause Battlestar is for all the adults who remember the show. But if I show my kids the book, they aren't going to know who the characters are. But they'll know the characters if they read our book. It's just like we did with Tiny Titans and [Itty Bitty] Hellboy. Kids don't know that Darkseid is the big evil guy in the DC Universe. They think he's the lunch lady.
It's an entry point for kids to get into it. With this comic, it's an entry point to get into Battlestar Galactica. And I think kids are going to want more. So one-shots are great. They're a good start. But I think it would be great to have a mini-series. More L'il Red Sonja. More L'il Battlestar Galactica. I'm really curious how L'il Evil Ernie is going to play out, because that's Roger Landridge. He's awesome. So they're going to be good.