Starstruck #1, page 1
Our three-part interview with the creators of IDW’s Starstruck
continues today, with a look at the staged reading of the original play
to help comics legend Gene Colan, a look at the new material in IDW’s
reprints, and more. Plus, we’ve got more preview pages from the
Newsarama: Overall, how much work was involved in presenting this version of the series, and is there any new material?
Lee Moyer: One of the great joys for me has been as a sounding
board for Elaine as she brings an important but hitherto background
character to life as he looks back on all the amazing events that these
books chronicle, the lead-up to the Great Change.
Elaine Lee: This character is the previously mentioned Dwannyun
of Griivarr. Lee has been a great help to me in figuring out what sorts
of extra information it might be useful for the reader to have. It’s
tricky with Starstruck, as some readers enjoy being kept off-base, while others would like a bit of additional info.
For every answer we give away, we try to include another couple of
questions. This way of storytelling was sometimes a problem for us in
previous incarnations of the book. When we were first published, people
were used to comics with linear stories about a main character. But
now, with an audience used to shows like Heroes and Lost, with large
casts and non-linear storylines, we’re hoping that Starstruck will find an even larger readership.
LM: Ensuring that the revised panels are seamlessly integrated
sometimes means tweaking things I never imained touching - lettering,
layout, et al. There are new panels, and new pages where the pacing and
story require. New covers, new texts and new titles as well...
EL: And the new Guide episodes!
NRAMA: How does it feel to have the series collected and completed after so long?
EL:: Ha! I may have to see it before I can tell you!
Michael William Kaluta: Me Some Too... don't tease fate, folks... and
remember, this terrific 13-book series will bring only a third of
Elaine's full Starstruck Expanded Storyline to the slavering public! Fingers are crossed in my pocket.
LM: To paint the first new cover was a thrill, but to know that
the story inside is at long last the best it can be is a great feeling.
NRAMA: Tell us about your upcoming reading of the play to help Gene Colan. This might be a launch for a new series, yes?
Starstruck #1, page 10
EL: The staged reading of Starstruck is being produced by
the not-for-profit audio theatre company, Play it by Ear Productions,
and will be presented at the Henry Miller Library, an outdoor
performance space surrounded by gorgeous giant redwoods, in Big Sur,
The play will be performed by professional voice-over actors and some
of composer Dwight Dixon's music from the original New York production
is being used, as well as pre-recorded and live sound effects performed
by a team of professional foley artists.
The library takes a percentage of the ticket sales but, other than
that, all proceeds go to Gene, including the rest of the ticket sales
and bids from a silent auction. We have some great donations to auction
The Big Sur show will be recorded (for timing purposes only) in
preparation for an official recording of the play, which will be
produced by AudioComics ,
a collaboration between director, Lance Axt, voice-over actor/audio
book narrator/sound installation artist Dan Bernard, and the voice of
Bob the Builder (and in the UK, Peter Parker/Spider-Man), William
The Starstruck play will eventually be available on
compact disc and pay-per-MP3 download. This recording will lead into an
audio series featuring several brand new Starstruck and
Galactic Girl Guide pieces written for audio, the intent being to
present each piece a la Dirk Maggs' 1990’s Batman and Superman serials
for the BBC, making 5 to 10 minute pieces available every few days,
with the CD and MP3 of the finished piece available for purchase at
So… Big Sur, CA, Saturday August 15 ($12 advance admission, $20 at the
door - the Library taking care of that through their site), with a
reception at 6:30pm and show time at 7:30pm. Be there or be square!
NRAMA: Give us an idea of what to expect in the new material.
LM: What's interesting is that it'll all be new material to most
people - I tried to pick up a second copy of the old graphic novel at
Powell's City of Books here in Portland, Oregon, and they told me they
haven't so much as seen a copy for a dozen years! Its presentation will
be beyond what even the oldest fans (like myself) have ever seen, and
Michael's work thrives in color –
As much as I loved the black and white versions of 1990, there's just
no comparison. As great as I'm finding the new introductions, panels,
and details, the truth is that I'm getting even more from the old pages
that I'd never fully grasped.
issue #1, back cover
NRAMA: What’s it like working with Charles Vess?
EL: I met Charles at pretty much the same time I met Michael, as
they were roommates back in the day. Charles also worked on the play,
building incredible helmets for several of the actors and helping
Michael with the sets, so we’re all old friends. Lots of work, lots of
fun, lots of parties! Charles’ inks on the Girl Guide episodes are
extraordinary, but were done after my bit was completed.
I worked mostly (and very closely) with Michael. But I worked more
directly with Charles on some little fantasy stories called The Morrigan Tales, and scripting his plots for the Prince Valiant series Marvel did back in the late 90’s, which I dearly loved. I also adapted the ballad “Tam Lin” for Charles’ Book of Ballads and Sagas.
Michael and I are extremely lucky to have Charles and Lee, both
talented artists in their own right, to do ink and color art for Starstruck.
MWK: Charles is a quiet powerhouse. He knows his own strengths,
and is aware of the limits of time and place... working with Charles on
the Starstruck play, my over-enthusiastic world view in set
design was made closer to my vision than my "now that I've thought of
it, do I have to build it" personality would have accomplished on its
Having Charles as the Inking Hand on the Galactic Girl Guides was even
more of a breath-saver... it was like having 14 tons of coal to dig
that was then loaded into The Little Engine That Could. When Charles
Vess is in the team, the result is always great and on time!
NRAMA: What does Starstruck mean to you personally?
Starstruck #2, page 9
MWK: Though I did suggest Elaine do a comic book version of the
play when all the rest of the rights were tied up by the then producer,
I didn't want to draw the comic book. I'd stopped drawing comic books
about 5 years before and had big doubts about ever doing so again. But
the material, and, esp (and always) Elaine's witty approach to
everything she writes set a small fire under me in which I found my
long-somnolent story-telling talents rising to a high rolling boil.
Before long I was at full steam (a few fits and starts), drawing page
after page of material I'd never have come into contact with otherwise.
I was totally remade (in my exuberance, I drew the first 60 pages about
twice-up from a regular comic book page: they are too big to scan in
one go, even on my 12 x 17 inch Epson).
I've drawn four times as many Starstruck
pages as anything else in comic form. And, though I may be my harshest
critic, revisiting this art from 1980 and 1993, I find myself
constantly remarking: "Who is this guy Kaluta?" Being impressed by my own work really rings the bell on what Starstruck means to me.
EL: Starstruck in all its forms is, quite simply, the
best project I have ever worked on. After my beautiful sons, it’s my
favorite baby. It was incredible luck that I ran into Michael all those
years ago, just as I was working on the play!
There’s lots of nostalgia involved, as the project takes me back to my
twenties when it was first created, when I was a wild young girl in
Manhattan and the characters were all my best friends. If you had
walked into one of our parties, you would think you had walked into a
party on Rec Station 97! When I went back to the material, I found I
was still very proud of it. It’s been a joy to slip back into the
LM: I was lucky to work with Michael back in 1984 on a video for
the Alan Parsons Project called "Don't Answer Me," and not long after
encountered the graphic novel that collected those incredible stories
I'd longingly poured over in those old Heavy Metal magazines I was not allowed to bring home.
When I bought the first issue of the Epic series, I wrote Michael a
little note offering my services "if there is anything I can do". Four
years later I had the honor of writing the introductions to Dark
Horse's Expanded Universe stories.
Starstruck #2, page 10
EL: When Michael introduced me to Lee, he was a green kid Starstruck
fan (cute as a bug’s ear!) who wrote messages to his friends in android
Stark Verse. I saw that Lee was very talented, but had no idea he would
become such an important part of our universe.
LM: A few years later I worked with brilliant game designer Keith Baker (Eberron, Gloom) on a cutting-edge online game for AOL that, like so many excellent game designs, went nowhere slowly... I used Starstruck
characters in a game I ran (coincidentally a block or so from Michael's
childhood home), manufacturing Girl Guide Cookies, Krystals as big as
the Ritz, Bajar shillings, et al...
EL: I still have one of Lee’s Girl Guide Cookie boxes from the game on a shelf in my office.
MWK: As do I, along with at least one Krystal.
LM: Later, my wife Annaliese played a properly glamorous
Verloona Ti using some parts of the original stage costume. Five years
ago she was visiting NY City and I suggested that she bring some of
Michael's never-painted pages home so I could show the painted
treatment I had in mind. They were well received, and now, 25 years
after my note to Michael, I'm finally bringing everything I can to my
favorite comic ever. I only hope my work lives up to the brilliance of
Elaine and Michael's magnum opus.
EL: Trust me, it does!
MWK: I concur!
In the conclusion of our series, Kaluta discusses his upcoming run on Vertigo’s Madame Xanadu, and what readers can expect from the revised series.