Headbanging. Sweet guitar solos. Time travel. Party on, dudes!
Following the events of both “Excellent Journey” and “Bogus Journey”, Bill and Ted are back in the aptly-titled mini-series Bill & Ted’s Triumphant Return, coming from BOOM! Studios. This time around, Bill and Ted are back and trying to turn one of their most hated enemies, Chuck De Nomolous, less hateful by meeting up with a younger version of himself, all the while trying to become rock legends. Nothing can go wrong, right?
Newsarama recently spoke to the creative team behind the main story, writer Brian Lynch (Angel) and artist Jerry Gaylord (Loki: Ragnarok and Roll) about the fandom of the duo, alternative timelines that will be explored as well as an exclusive look at some of Gaylord’s designs for Bill, Ted, and Rufus.
Newsarama: So Jerry, Brian, a Bill & Ted comic continues recent tradition of BOOM!'s recent 80's throwback licenses. They've had an animated program, and a possible threequel in the works, but why do you think Bill & Ted makes such a great comic?
Jerry Gaylord: Bill and Ted is perfect for comics! The concept of two loveable goofy guys traveling through time just has so many story possibilities. Plus all the different settings involved with time travel keeps the entertainment fresh. I really think comics should be fun most of all and there is so much potential for that with Bill and Ted.
Brian Lynch:Bill & Ted is all about the characters. Two best friends and the world around them. That said, they have access to a phone booth that can literally take them anywhere. A comic book has an unlimited budget, so we can get creative as to where Bill and Ted go, and who they meet. As long as we keep the journey about Bill and Ted, we can get big with the journey. This story gets pretty epic.
Nrama: What's the timeline here for Bill & Ted’s Triumphant Return? Does it start at the end of “Bogus Journey”, or does it play out somewhere in between?
Gaylord: That's a good question. It starts where we left off from bogus journey, but it's a time travel story so who knows? Brian probably can answer that one better than I could.
Lynch:You're exactly right, it begins a second after “Bogus Journey” concludes. Bill and Ted have the attention of the world, and now the world wants to know what's next. So the pressure's on for them to fulfill their destiny with everyone in the world watching. At the same time, they're still thinking about De Nomolos. They never even met the guy, why did he hate them so much? Plus, Station is staying on Earth, and is hard at work on something interesting.
Nrama: The Bill and Ted characters have reached this sort of cult status over the years, what do the films and these characters mean to you?
Gaylord: I was a big fan of the original movie as a kid. I must have watched my old VHS version a million times. I've always loved time travel stories and the implications of that kind of power. I mean its so silly to use a time machine to get a good grade on a test, but at the same time who hasn't wished they could go back in time and fix something? I think it taps into a fantasy that we all have.
Lynch: I just adore these characters, you have no idea. Two best friends who don't have an ounce of cynicism in them, the last people you'd expect to be anything are destined to be the saviors of the world. They're so cool that George Carlin is their number one fan.
The first movie was such a brilliantly written comedy, and Alex Winter and Keanu Reeves (not to mention Carlin) are just so letter-perfect. But it's that second movie, while maybe not as tightly written as part one, that took the characters and exploded the universe into something so original and incredible. From Bill + Ted University, to giving Bill and Ted an arch nemesis who builds evil robot duplicates, to Death starting out as an adversary, but slowly becoming a friend that really wanted Bill and Ted's approval as the movie went on, the movie just rocks.
And don't get started on Evan Dorkin's comic book. I was/am a huge fan. I had a page of original art from his run hanging on my wall that I bought directly from him at a New York convention when I was in high school. He's an inspiration.
Nrama: Jerry, how are you approaching the artistic styling here? This book seems to be a good fit with the likes of Adventure Time and the likes. Do you plan on keeping it just as animated?
Gaylord: Well, I know the back up stories will have a bunch of different artists working them so I think we'll get to see a lot of different takes on the characters. For the main stories that I'll be drawing I would say I'll be using a fairly animated style. I think this story can handle a style that's a little more animated and over the top than what my last couple of BOOM! books (FVZ, Loki: Ragnarok and Roll). I want to keep the book as visually stimulating as I can make it. Keep an eye out for easter eggs. I love hiding things in the art.
Nrama: Are we going to see any new characters introduced into the fold?
Gaylord: Can't do a new story without new characters right?
Lynch:Oh yes, but any character we introduce is there to serve our two main characters. It won't suddenly be “Bill & Ted & Jordy’s Excellent Adventure”.
Nrama: Will their mentor Rufus still be involved as well?
Gaylord: Yup! He was one of the first characters I had to design to get the gig. If there is no Rufus who will be there to point the boys in the right direction?
Lynch: Bill and Ted need Rufus. He believed them in the get-go. Ted's dad wanted to ship him away (even in part two when Ted was way too old) and Bill's dad seemed distracted by all things Missy to pay attention to his son, but Rufus was always there for them. He's a substitute father figure. But now that their destiny has officially begun, Rufus is trying to hold their hand less, and that's scaring them a bit.
Nrama: What are some fun historical figures you're really excited to have show up?
Gaylord: I don't know the full extent of what Brian has planned, but I would love to draw some dinosaurs!
Lynch: We don't do a ton of digging in the past. We go into the future a lot, including the period of time from the beginning of “Bogus Journey”, with Bill + Ted University. We'll see what it's like to live in a world that is founded on the songs of Wyld Stallyns. We also visit alternate timelines, including what would have happened if Ted did go to the Alaskan Military Academy. There are no dinosaurs, but if we get to tell a sequel story, please Jerry, stick with me and I will put them in. I promise you Bill and Ted will be running from raptors.
Nrama: In this relationship, which one of you is Bill and which one is Ted?
Gaylord: Ha! I'm totally Rufus! He has it all planned out. I just dig his vibe.
Lynch: I'd be happy being Bill or Ted, but realistically I'd be more like Grim Reaper in the back of band's van, really wanting Bill and Ted to acknowledge the good job I did making the robot's wigs.