Originally announced two years ago at New York Comic Con, Randy Queen's Starfall is one step closer to being on comic shelves with a second preview in the recently released Darkness/Darkchylde one-shot. Starfall is the story of a space-faring pirate who has the unenviable position of being the last surviving human of her kind after a virus wiped out her kind.. She survived by having her DNA spliced with that of a white dragon, a native creature of her homeworld that was the only species that survived.
After a limited edition preview book was put out last year at San Diego Comic Con, a second preview was seen in the Darkness/Darkchylde one-shot put out by Top Cow last week. The Darkness/Darkchylde cross-over one shot was both a new Darkness story crossing over with a new character, but also an informal re-introduction to Randy Queen's artwork. Best known for his character of Darkchylde, Queen burst onto the comics scene in the late 90s at Top Cow before creating the character which he's become known for. Although relatively absent from the comics scene in the past few years, he's been working on Darkchylde projects both in and out of comics, as well as his new concept Starfall.
With the Starfall series closer to a “to be determined release”, Newsarama spoke with Randy Queen about his new project
Newsarama: In our previous interview, you gave us a little taste of Starfall – but this time we want the whole enchilada. Can you tell us about the lead character, Sierra Starfall?
Randy Queen: Sierra Starfall is a completely beautiful badass, bi-sexual 100 year old Space Pirate who is acknowledged as the Galaxy's Greatest Warrior. She's taken that title. She's infused with White Dragon DNA because they were the only creatures on her homeworld impervious to a devastating, planet-wide virus. When Sierra emerged from her splicing womb, her world was completely dead -- save for the white dragons. So she's this haunted, battle scarred character with a sad legacy. Her best friend is a robot who serves double duty as a digital diary for stored memories. Starfall, the story, is very thought out and well developed.
Nrama: What are these space pirates about?
Queen: Like Super Heroes, the term is very generic. So it's up to the writer to find an interesting angle to make them worth investing in. I'm confident their rich back stories and various colorful attributes will be worthwhile. This wasn't something thrown together to pitch a film to Hollywood, (although Olivia Wilde would be a badass Starfall) it's been carefully cultivated to become a comic book franchise first. Hopefully. It's all up to the fans.
Nrama: You mentioned a "planet-wide virus" that decimated everyone on a planet save White Dragons and those like Sierra Starfall who have their DNA in them. What’s it about, and what does it do exactly?
Queen: The nano-tech Sierra's crew transported was supposed to repair damaged tissue -- only after the crash they go a bit nuts and do the exact opposite to the surrounding dino and cannibal populace. Or were the nanos always engineered to do just that? Hmmmmm.
Nrama: The preview you gave us shows a very cool looking alien planet. How does that factor into the big picture?
Queen: It's basically a planet-sized Skull Island, but we can go even more over the top. It's interesting we had the glowing flora in the preview, and that popped up in Avatar.It's an easy visual to agree as being cool, but we're not following Cameron. We are however, drawing upon the same source material, which is undoubtedly the 1933 King Kong. Best. Jungle. Ever.
Nrama: Along with classic movies, I also see some definite inspiration from pulp comics of yore. Am I reading too much into it here?
Queen: You hit the nail on the head. Al Williamson, Frank Frazetta, and EC comics. Real, old school drawing combined with modern photoshop sensibilities and a compelling story = Starfall. There you go!
Nrama: When does the first issue of Starfall come out, and is it a mini or ongoing?
Queen: I don't know when it will be out, we're sort of beholden to our publisher on that. We can only go if they say go. So it's important for fans and retailers to let their voices be heard that they'll be supportive of something that isn't Superman or Spiderman. You can't fly if you don't try, and someone reading this may have a truly unique voice and vision that could become the new canon. As a consumer and fan, I want to see those new ideas. If Sarah and I are allowed to get this done -- I can promise you -- it will be a formidable work. And I'd be happy to produce Starfall for the foreseeable future with Top Cow. Perhaps until I can't draw anymore.
Nrama: You’ve said you’ve been working on it for years – are you a bit ahead of the curve now that publication time is coming?
Queen: Well, it was decided we would jump off Starfall to do the Darkness / Darkchylde crossover, so that was 30 pages that would have otherwise been 30 Starfall pages, an issue and a half basically, so again, I am beholden to my publisher. Sarah and I spent a long time making sure Darkness / Darkchylde was as well crafted and as gorgeous as we could make it, as we knew that book had become the return foray ahead of Starfall #1. We wanted to come back with something welcomed, so we agonized over it. Top Cow made every possible effort to make sure the book is top of the industry, including getting hard copy proofs in an age when it's all digital. There was a strong commitment from Filip and Phil to make sure what was printed was spot on before presses rolled to preserve all those thousands of hours spent. We've worked with people who've cared a lot less and it's disheartening. I cannot express enough how important and how valuable that is, not only to the artists working on a title, but for the consumers it's intended for. Everything we do is for them. The Crossover book is 30 pages of Darkness / Darkchylde, 10 pages of Starfall, plus a free Digital Sketchbook, AND a Bonus Starfall Back Cover. Fans are getting a lot, and I feel confident that on May 26th, it was be the book with the best value, because we sort of made sure of it. And Sarah Queen kicked mighty ass on her colors!