KaBOOM!’s Regular Show comic gets taken over by awesome mole-girl Eileen both literally and figuratively in issue #13, when writer Minty Lewis guest-scripts a new arc. It’s a double-dose of behind-the-scenes action, as Lewis not only voices Eileen on the show, but also serves as one of the writer and storyboard artists, helping helm such episodes as “A Bunch of Baby Ducks,” “Survival Skills” and “The Heart of a Stuntman.” We talked with Lewis, who’s an Ignatz-award winning cartoonist of such books as Fruit Salad Days, about taking her character to comics with a special preview of the new issue, which hits shops on July 30.
Newsarama: Minty, tell us about what Mordecai and Rigby get on up to in your tale.
Lewis: This story isn't so much about Mordecai and Rigby (although they do go to some great lengths to get a free meal) as it is about Eileen and what she does when she's not hanging out with the park bunch.
Eileen doesn't really "get into" anything in this episode. It's more about her taking a break from the action for an "Eileen day" to relax and spend some time on her hobbies.
Nrama: How did this comic storyline come about?
Lewis: Shannon [Watters], the editor, basically said I could do whatever I wanted, which opened up the possibilities quite a bit. I knew I wanted this story to be a little different from what fans might see on TV, and of course I love Eileen, so it just seemed obvious that we should spend the day with her.
At the same time, I know watchers of Regular Show expect a certain series of events, so I tried to include that stuff in there, too without making it the center of the episode.
Nrama: You previously did P.S. Comics, but have mainly been working on Regular Show for the past few years. How has working on this story arc been different from your previous comics work?
Lewis:My comics tend to have a quieter humor and a slower pace than Regular Show, and that comic writing sensibility is definitely evident in this story. These are JG Quintel's characters though, and readers already have a strong sense of this world, so I tried not to diverge too far from what has been established.
Nrama: What are some of the things you can do in an issue of an RS comic that you can't do on the show, and vice versa? (obviously, use of sweet '80s rock for montages is out)
Lewis:Yeah, music doesn't translate so well to comics. Aside from the sound aspect, I don't think there's really anything you can’t do in one that you can do in another, it's just that the handling will be different. Like with action, you have to edit differently.
Storyboarding an action sequence requires way more images than a conversational scene, but in a comic you don't want to spend 10 pages on a car chase because it will start to seem like a really long, boring car chase and you'll lose the reader's interest. So you choose a couple of shots to get your point across and move on.
Nrama: What's it been like collaborating with Allison on this story?
Lewis: To be honest, I haven't collaborated with her at all! I haven't even spoken to her, I just turned in my script and that was it. I'm really excited to see what she's done with it, though.
Nrama: And to talk about your work on the show: Eileen has become an increasingly important character, going from this slightly pathetic counterpart to Margaret to kind of The Best, growing more assertive and showing off different mad skillz with each new appearance. How much have you gotten to contribute to the development of the character, being in this unique position where you actually get to write stories and dialogue for "yourself?"
Lewis: Well, I've always thought Eileen was The Best, because that's what I wanted her to be since her first major appearance in "Do Me a Solid." When Kat Morris and I first got that outline, there was very little information about Eileen. All we knew was that she was a girl that Rigby wasn't into, so we had a lot of freedom to in building her out.
I tend to go for the weird, so I put that sea turtle line in there and even Kat was like, "OK, I guess you can pitch it and see what they say" (sans confidence), but I don't know if I've ever had any material more enthusiastically received in the entire time I've been at Regular Show.
It was two or three seasons before I wrote any further Eileen dialogue besides what's in "Do Me a Solid" and "A Bunch of Baby Ducks" though, so at this point just about everyone on staff has had a hand in making her who she is today.
Nrama: And you recently got to work on the utterly insane anime "Food Chain" episode of Adventure Time, and I have to ask what that experience was like.
Lewis:That was really fun! Having never done any voice acting besides Regular Show, I was very surprised to get a call asking me to do a voice on Adventure Time. They sent me the storyboard and it was just bananas.
Not only was the content like nothing I had ever seen before, but it didn't follow the typical format either since it was very, very rough and originally in Japanese (a vertical format, as opposed to the horizontal format of storyboards for American cartoons) and then translated. It seemed like they put a lot of trust in Masaaki Yuasa to make something amazing without really understanding what he was doing until he was done.
The recording session was pretty bananas, too. There were multiple steps of communication between Masaaki Yuasa, his translator, the director, and the actors, so it was kind of like playing telephone so I had no idea if what I was delivering was what was desired.
Nrama: Do you see yourself doing more comics in the future, either RS or your own work?
Lewis:With a kid and a full-time job, I probably won't be drawing comics any time soon, but I really love writing and can definitely see myself doing more of that. I have written a couple of stories that my husband Damien Jay has illustrated (Tales from Leisure Cove) and that has been really fun. Maybe we'll do more of those, maybe more RS comics, who can say?
Nrama: What are some of your favorite current books and creators out there?
Lewis: I'm not super caught up on the latest offerings, but I always enjoy the work of Michael Kupperman, Keiler Roberts, Nicole Georges, Robert Sergel, Jason Martin, Dan Zettwoch, Lauren Weinstein, Anouk Ricard, Melissa Mendes... those are just a few of the rascals I like.
Nrama: Give us some mad-hard sell on this book.
Lewis: It's almost as good as polishing rocks! Read the story, it's relevant.
Nrama: What's next for you?
Lewis: Going to San Diego Comic-Con at the end of the month for the Regular Show panel and another secret project that I hope to be able to share with the world one day – but not today!
Regular Show #13 hits comic shops on July 30 – and Regular Show hits San Diego Comic-Con on Saturday, July 26!