Ghost Racers #1
Credit: Marvel Comics
Credit: Marvel Comics

Go Ghost Racers. Go Ghost Racers. Go Ghost Racers Go-o!

The final issue of All-New Ghost Rider may be fast approaching, but that doesn't mean we've seen the last of Robbie Reyes - or any of Marvel's other Ghost Riders, for that matter. In Ghost Racers, a new Secret Wars series, the many Ghost Riders of Mavel's multiverse race for freedom in Battleworld's arena.

Newsarama recently sat down with Ghost Racers scribe Felipe Smith to discuss the finer points of Marvel's hellish new Secret Wars title.

Newsarama: Felipe, what can you tell us about Ghost Racers?

Felipe Smith: Ghost Racers takes place in Battleworld as a result of Marvel Universes colliding.

Credit: Marvel Comics

Nrama: This comes hot on the heels of All-New Ghost Rider and its finale - can we assume Robbie Reyes is in this?

Smith: Yes you can! 

Robbie Reyes is back in the driver's seat, this time in a heavily armored, fully weaponized and souped-up black Battle Charger. 

With some hefty upgrades under the hood and some new  maneuvers up his sleeve, he's ready to set the roads ablaze with scorching fury! 

Nrama: What other Ghost Riders can readers look forward to seeing in this series?

Smith: I don't want to give things away, since seeing them make their entrance is part of the fun of this new series, but I can say this: Expect your favorite Ghost Rider to be there!

Credit: Marvel Comics

Nrama: Okay… Any new ones we haven't seen yet primed to appear here?

Smith: Once again, I'm afraid to give too much away, but definitely expect to see new characters, new vehicles, new powers, and race & action sequences cranked up to eleven.

Nrama: What can you tell us about the Arena on Battleworld where this takes place?

Smith: The Arena is situated in the entertainment capital of Battleworld, and it houses a variety of spectacular events for the entertainment of the masses; much like a coliseum in ancient Rome.

Nrama: You're working on this one with the enterprising newcomer Juan Gedeon. What's your appraisal of him as a co-pilot on this series?

Smith: I'm ready to absolutely tear it up with Juan Gedeon!

He's a great fit for this new series. His design sense is strong, his vehicles, characters and environments are solid, and his depiction of high speed action and mayhem is superb.

Credit: Marvel Comics

But, more importantly, what makes him a good artist for this high-paced, high octane story is the clarity in his layouts.

Ghost Racers is an action comic, and story-telling clarity is essential for a successful action sequence.

There's a careful balance between drawing clearly to guide the reader's eyes through a page, and putting just enough kinetic energy to keep the reader flipping pages without noticing.

If we've done our job well, you'll be flipping through our pages engrossed in the explosive art and high-paced storyline.
Juan and I are ready to hit the ground, tires spinning, and peel the hell out.

Nrama: Depicting races is a hard thing to do in comics, given the motion and lack-thereof in static comics panels. As an artist yourself, writing a script for Juan, how are you working to pull off the race scenes?

Smith: I see this a lot in articles; people commenting on how hard it is to depict motion (and racing) in comics as a medium. I can't say that I really agree with that statement [laughs].

Credit: Marvel Comics

But I guess the key to doing it correctly is the pacing of your panels, the sizing and distribution of them across the page, and what moment of the described action you chose to depict visually.

The amount of things you choose to show and not show in a sequence is what determines how quickly the reader's eye moves through the page and goes to the next one.

Races (and successful action) are fast-paced, and the key is guiding the reader's eye quickly through the sequence, and then slowing his eye down during certain moments for visual payoffs.

When writing action scenes for another artist I usually give the action beats of the sequence (the actions that need to be depicted on each panel) attempting to write to each individual artists' drawing strengths, and then let them go nuts.

Credit: Marvel Comics

Sometimes, I'm very specific about every single bit of information in the panel, from the camera angle, to the amount of debris flying, to the expressions on the characters faces, and the direction from which smoke, fire, or sparks are flying. I don't do this to be a maniacal control freak, but rather, to make sure the storytelling remains fluid and in tune with the characters' dialogue.

The cool thing about working with Juan particularly, is that we actually talk on the phone pretty often and shoot ideas back and forth.
The better the communication between the artist and writer, the stronger the final product becomes. Luckily Juan is really open to Skype calls about action sequences and character motivations, so hopefully you'll  see the fruit of our discussions on the pages of Ghost Racers!
We're really excited about this new project! We hope you join us!

Buckle up! Let's ride!

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