Video Game Writer T.J. Fixman on RATCHET & CLANK Comics

RATCHET & CLANK Come to Comic Books

Among the upcoming comic books based on video games, there's one that seems ready made, with characters that already save the galaxy from evil forces.

Ratchet & Clank, the Sony console based game by Insomniac Games, follows the space-based adventures of the clever, cat-type creature Ratchet and tiny, sentient robot Clank. On September 8th, WildStorm brings the characters to comics with Ratchet and Clank #1, the first of a six-issue series based on the game.

The comic will feature art by Adam Archer and will be written by Insomniac Games writer T.J. Fixman, who confirmed that the events of the comic will be canon. The story details the pair's exploits after the 2009 game Ratchet & Clank Future: A Crack in Time.

Newsarama talked with Fixman to find out more about the comic.

Interior pages from Ratchet & Clank #1.

Newsarama: T.J., what appealed to you about bringing Ratchet and Clank into a comic book?

T.J. Fixman: To be honest, I just thought it would be fun. The Ratchet and Clank universe is so vibrant and unique, it seems like it’s almost self-sustaining. It’s funny, because I don’t think it was planned that way. We all just did what felt right, or made us laugh. And all of it was done, rightfully, in the name of good gameplay. Suddenly, we turned around and saw dozens of characters and worlds and relationships fans cared about and said, “Hey, look at that! People are debating which character Ratchet should date!” Fans were hammering my twitter account with questions about the universe. So the comic seemed like the next logical step in exploring what makes our characters tick.

Nrama: Are you a comic book fan?

Fixman: I am! But I have to admit, I’m a recent convert. When I came to Insomniac four years ago I was surrounded by cubicles filled with comic books. It was only a matter of time before I tried one and got hooked. My favorite so far is Ed Brubaker’s Sleeper — such a cool story. I’m also thoroughly enjoying Mysterius the Unfathomable. Recently Ben Abernathy sent me a care package filled with Wildstorm goodies, so I have enough reading to keep me occupied for a while! Thanks, Ben, for killing my productivity!

Nrama: At what point in Ratchet and Clank continuity does the comic book take place? And will future games pick up on any elements from the comic?

Fixman: The story takes place sometime after the events of A Crack in Time, and it’s definitely canon.

Nrama: What's the story you'll be kicking off in the comic book's Issue #1?

Fixman: In issue one we’ll find a different Ratchet than we’ve seen in the past. I won’t ruin the end of A Crack in Time for those who haven’t played, but he’s still feeling the sting of what he was forced to do in order to save The Great Clock. It was an interesting character turn because Ratchet’s always had a sort of go-get-em attitude, and now he’s been hurt by the repercussions of it. He wants to retire and live a quiet life back on Veldin, but as we’ll see, retiring isn’t always so easy. A Markazian planet thief has been stealing planets, and it isn’t long before he turns his eyes to Veldin. It’s a fight Ratchet couldn’t run from even if he tried.

Nrama: What characters will be the focus of the six-issue comic?

Fixman: I don’t want to spoil the fun, but I’ll admit there’s a lot of fan service in there. Fans will get to find out what happened to lots of series favorites, but I also wanted to keep things accessible for readers who may not be as familiar with the franchise. That said, you can’t have a Ratchet story without Captain Qwark. We learned that the hard way with Quest For Booty. This time, the big fella gets the worst job a failed actor and superhero can have. So of course, this leads to copious amounts of shenanaganism. Is that even a word?


Nrama: How different has it been for you to write comics vs. video game stories? Have there been any challenges?

Fixman: The biggest challenge was retraining myself in terms of comic delivery. Much of the comedy stuff I write is accomplished through timing and animation, so it was definitely a new challenge bringing the gags into a panel-by-panel format. I think Adam has done a fantastic job delivering the humor in his art, so all of the campy, Saturday Morning Cartoon sensibilities are still intact.

Nrama: How has it been working with an artist one-on-one as you develop the look of the comic?

Fixman: It’s been surprisingly smooth. Adam Archer is a great artist, and Ben Abernathy is a fantastic editor, so between the three of us we’ve managed to move pretty smoothly. It also helps that every drawing he does is passed through Dave Guertin and Greg Baldwin, two of our principal artists, so everything fits within the universe. The style is a bit different than we’ve had in the past, but I think that’s natural. Adam did a great job putting his stamp on the world. I actually met him in person for the first time at Comicon, and he was a really nice guy.

Cover of Ratchet & Clank #2.

Nrama: How would you describe the style of the comic? Is it humorous, or are things more dire? Or is it in the same tone as the game (and how would you describe that)?

Fixman: It wouldn’t be a Ratchet game without humor and campiness, so the gags are definitely there! They’re just a bit different, because the medium is different. Fans might notice that Ratchet’s hit a bit of a snag personally, but don’t expect “Dark Ratchet”. I just wanted to show a side of him that we all have – something we only scratched the surface of in A Crack in Time. Even the best heroes lose their way from time to time, and Ratchet is no exception. What makes us cheer for them is watching them survive the struggle and come out better for it.

Nrama: Will readers get a Trophy for reading the comic?

Fixman: That’s a good idea, I’ll email the tools programmers! 

Nrama: Anything else you want to tell fans about the comic book project?

Fixman: I’d probably say that though the comic book was written with fans in mind, this is a story for everyone. You don’t htave to know the entire lore of Ratchet and Clank in order to enjoy the adventure. It’s a fun, humorous, action-packed space adventure about a furry alien and his robotic sidekick. What’s not to love about that?

 Ready to make the leap to comics with Ratchet & Clank?

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