The 1985 movie The Goonies influenced a generation, and an upcoming comic book title is looking to replicate that magic in 2017 - but specifically for girls.
Scheduled to debut May 10, Misfit City follows a teenage woman who lives in a town that is best-known for the filming of a Goonies-esque movie titled The Gloomies. While her and her fellow locals have grown tired of the comparison, the discovery of a real-life pirate treasure map puts her and her friends on the path of treasure.
Legally Blonde screenwriter Kristen "Kiwi" Smith created this loving homage to Goonies with co-writer Kurt Lustgarten and artist Naomi Franquiz, so Newsarama talked to the trio to learn about the town, the people in it, and callbacks to to the Goon Docks.
Newsarama: Kiwi, Kurt, what makes Misfit City a misfit?
Kirsten "Kiwi" Smith: Misfit City is about a group of girls living in a small town that most people have only heard of because it was the filming location for a beloved kids’ adventure movie from the 1980s. They’re sick of their town, and tourists that come to gawk at them, but they end up discovering a real treasure map, which leads them on an adventure even crazier than the one in the movie.
Nrama: And leading that is said to be a young woman named Wilder. Who is she?
Kurt Lustgarten: Wilder is a very engaged 15-year-old who wants to change the world. Mostly, that means getting as far away from home as possible. She wants to do something important, to help other people, but she doesn’t realize that she can do both starting right in her small town of Cannon Cove, Oregon. She yearns for adventure, and she is always trying to get her friends pumped up to get out and do something. She’s not someone who likes to sit still.
Naomi Franquiz: Wilder is a noodle of a girl who noodled too soon and now owns a lot of high-water pants. She feels like the kind of character who thinks of others before herself, and it’s evident in her activism. The only problem is she sometimes tries to see too far ahead and misses the important bits in front of her, but she’s got a great group of friends to remind her.
Nrama: And who are her friends involved in this?
Franquiz: The peanut gallery, really. They seem like such a random collection of aesthetics, but growing up together and being there for each other makes it all mesh.
Smith: There’s Macy, who’s very punk rock and unabashedly sarcastic, and probably the raddest person in the entire town, even though she doesn’t get along with most of the people in it.
And Karma, who’s perpetually upbeat and into auras, crystals, energy readings, etc. She is in many ways the positive force we all wish we could be.
Lustgarten: There’s Dot, the bookworm and absolute brains of the bunch.
And Ed, a born hustler and daughter of the town’s biggest land developer.
Smith: And there’s Wilder’s rescue dog, Pippin, a special-needs pit bull with no sense of smell, who has a bewildering amount of insight and innate intelligence.
Franquiz: Dot’s the brains, Macy’s the flash and the bravado, and Karma’s the bipedal ‘Bright Side.’
Lustgarten: Basically, it’s the group least likely to go off in search of a secret pirate treasure, but once you put them all together, they become a beautiful, shambling sort of Voltron. Their differences are exactly what make them a formidable force.
Nrama: This owes a bit to the 1980s film, The Goonies. Can you tell us about the connection and how deep it runs?
Smith: We came up with the idea for the comic while visiting Astoria, Oregon, where The Goonies was shot.
Lustgarten: I’m a massive fan.
Smith: We drove in blasting Cyndi Lauper’s theme song from the movie and joked that the locals were probably sick of people like us driving through and blasting that song. We wondered who lived there, and were they annoyed to be living in the shadow of this iconic movie? And what if they ended up having an adventure that mirrored the movie?
Nrama: So, speaking of – what’s it like to live in the fictional Cannon Cove of Misfit City?
Lustgarten: Like any town in the Pacific Northwest, it’s pretty rainy and gray. And because it’s so small, it’s also a place where if you don’t quite fit in; it’s hard to disappear. You stick out if you’re different. Which Kiwi knows well because she grew up there. The industry is based on fishing and logging and tourism. And in Cannon Cove, in particular, it relies heavily on tourism built around the landmarks of this famous movie that was filmed there.
Smith: There’s also a lot of boating, and hiking in the woods and rocky beaches - lots of outdoor adventure to be had, and all this natural beauty - which, if you live there, you can become kind of immune to.
Franquiz: We pulled inspiration from real places like Astoria, Oregon and Port Townsend, Washington, a small-town place where chances are everybody knows everybody. There are local businesses and hole-in-the-wall bars, and a smattering of hand-made souvenir and T-shirt shops for the tourists who come to experience The Gloomies, which is our version.
Nrama: How did you two connect with BOOM! Box and Naomi to do this series together?
Smith: Shannon Watters at BOOM! Box reached out to me after we’d been following each other on Twitter, and she asked if I’d ever consider writing a comic. It felt like a dream come true, because I’ve had so many female-driven movie ideas that I’d wanted to launch with a comic, but I literally had no idea how to go about doing it. And then this magical human Shannon appears in my life. We met for lunch and I started tossing out a whole bunch of ideas to her, but the one that really stuck was Misfit City.
Franquiz: I’ve done a few test pages for BOOM! before, so my work has been floating around from desk to desk I imagine, ha-ha. I was contacted by Shannon Watters and given the basic character personalities for the main crew to design the looks. Kiwi and Kurt are amazing to work with, and have given me great feedback and imagery to work with, not to mention a generous supply of photographic updates on the real-life Pippin. (Pippin in Misfit City is based on their dog, Pippin.) I’m a sucker for good dogs.
Lustgarten: We could not be more thrilled to work with a young artist this talented, who is about to jump to the next level of her career. The level of detail and invention that she brings to every panel amazes us every time. She has legit illustration superpowers.
Franquiz: The Goonies was one of my all-time favorite movies growing up, and the theme of having a bunch of kids going on an adventure always appeals to me. As soon as I found out about the story (and the writing talent behind it—thanks, Kiwi and Kurt!), I was sold. This is the kind of story I’d pick up and want to read, so of course I wanted to draw it, too.
Nrama: Big picture, what are your goals for Misfit City?
Franquiz: Dream goals for Misfit City: I want to reawaken this genre of young-adult adventures. More than that, I want this genre to come back with open-arms for a bigger audience. Boys, girls, and all those who don’t fit in either - everyone deserves some adventure and good friends. BOOM! Box is already setting the groundwork for this, so I have high hopes. Also, 10/10 would go see a movie like this in theaters. I’m just saying.
Smith: We want to create an ongoing series in which we can grow up with these girls, and live out the treasure-hunting adventure and the growing-up adventure with them. We also want to make a TV series and maybe even a movie, since that was how we originally conceived the idea. Girls have yet to have their own Goonies, and with Misfit City, we want to give it to them.