After running a successful Kickstarter campaign, comic book legend Jim Starlin is giving fans an opportunity for those that might have missed out on his remastered Dreadstar collection. Starlin, via Ominous Press and Indiegogo, is offering volume 1 of the remastered Dreadstar that was crowd-funded earlier this year.
"Indiegogo is kinda the second chance for anybody who missed out on the Kickstarter," Ominious' Editor-in-Chief Ron Marz said. "Volume 1 is going into boxes now from the Ominous offices with volumes two and three printing now."
Newsarama spoke to Starlin about the Kickstarter campaign, his Avengers cameo, what needed the most work, and what he hopes a new generation will get out of this remastered collection.
Newsarama: Before we get started, Jim, is it still surreal about your Avengers: Endgame cameo this past summer?
Jim Starlin: I’m beginning to settle down a little bit. I had a weekend out in Buffalo and did this little speech in a movie theater that had a screening, but it was also where one of the screenwriters, Christopher Markus, just had one 24 hours earlier so that was a pleasant surprise. But yeah it’s settling down and life is getting back to normal.
Nrama: Well, that’s good!
Let's get on to what we're here for - Dreadstar. Before we get into it, how do you describe the character to those who don't know
Starlin: When I work on a character, I always try to get a one-sentence tagline. Jack Kirby explained this to me by saying the Hulk was stupidity, the hard you beat on it, the stronger it becomes. And Dreadstar is an anarchist without a second act. He's good at breaking things but not really good at putting it back together afterward.
Nrama: So how does this version differ from the previous reprints?
Starlin: We're doing the whole thing! Dynamite sort of petered out after the second book and we've had the Slave Labor thing in black-and-white that I slapped together and wasn't all that good. But this is a high-quality printing, switched over to digital coloring, and reproduction of over 1500 pages. I personally remastered every page [laughs].
I spent four months going through them, anywhere between an hour to five hours on some of them because they were such a mess.
I think we've got a nice little package here which is the best way for those who want the full Dreadstar experience at this point.
Nrama: How do you feel about your style looking back at it in this era?
Starlin: Well I went through a lot of different styles while doing it. Originally, I started doing it as black and white paintings on green boards. Archie Goodwin, the editor, talked me into getting into color, which I wasn't sure about doing at the time. We had mixed results at first, but got better at it by the time we got to the graphic novel.
We couldn't keep up with those sort of deadlines doing it that way, so we went to a more conventional style of drawing comics and did that for 40-odd issues.
Nrama: What did you feel needed the most remastering?
Starlin: The color. It was such a process back then. These are all hand-separated. We're talking the Dark Ages in comics here. [laughs]
They'd have somebody do color guides, then it'd be shipped over to somebody hand-separate everything, first metal then on plastic plates and they didn't always do the best job on the separation. When we were working on these, we'd constantly have to make sure Dreadstar didn't have pink boots because they'd left the blue plate off or other strange things like that.
It was basically us just going screwy having to make corrections on the patterns on everybody's face. Sometimes colors had to get boosted up and some of the later issues I was disappointed in what I have done because I'd been doing it for ten years and was feeling burned out at that point.
So what I did was go back and augmented some of the later versions of Dreadstar, particularly the last issue.
Nrama: How would you say it looks now?
Starlin: I just got the first volume this past weekend and looks incredible! I can't put it any other way. It's probably the nicest package I've ever had. First book, it's up to issue eight, second book goes to the higher 20s, and then make our way to issue 40, then that's when Peter David took over.
If these sell well, we'll figure out a way to do the Peter David run and add that to the master collection here.
Nrama: How did you pick the variant artists for your #1 covers? You have the likes of George Perez, Bart Sears, Patrick Zircher...
Starlin: Actually, Ominous did most of that. There only one I got into the mix with was Perez.
Nrama: So how'd you wrangle him?
Starlin: We have the same manager and he put us together after we did this convention in Hawaii, and he said sure! He's never gotten around to doing a drawing of Dreadstar before, which isn't surprising because we did this panel at that show, we realized we'd never been on a panel together before! Basically, during Infinity Gauntlet, we realized we worked at different Big Two companies at the same time. We never really spent time together in the same house.
Nrama: Why is Dreadstar so important to you that you wanted to kickstart this reprint? Would you something like this eventually for Breed?
Starlin: Maybe down the line, but Breed was made post-computerized coloring and so there wouldn't be as much to do, but might do a big volume of that down the line.
Right now though, I'm putting all my energy into Dreadstar because I'd like to write new stories and this was the best way to bring him back into the comic book reading population's attention at this point. He's been out of print for at least ten years. I'm hoping to pull in a whole new generation of readers that will enjoy his outer space adventures.
Nrama: If you were to do new Dreadstar, where would you take him?
Starlin: Well, we're talking about it over at Ominous. I have at least an artist set up for the first one, it's somebody I've worked with before and I think he'd do a terrific Dreadstar and we'll see where we go from there.
Nrama: Whatever happened to the proposed TV show? Is that still a reality?
Starlin: Our producer died!
Nrama: Oh! Sorry to hear that.
Starlin: Yeah, we were in the midst of working on the script for the pilot and signed up for Universal and our producer died. That sort of put everything into reversal and talking to other folks about it.
But basically the goal for myself is to get him a home on the screen. Preferably the smaller screen because I feel the story is too complex for a two-hour movie. Even if they did three of them, it's a story that has a lot of different layers.
It's more like Game of Thrones than Infinity Gauntlet.
Nrama: Lastly, what are you hoping a younger generation finds and gets out of this remastering?
Starlin: I hope they enjoy the story! He's an adventurer who takes on great odds and has some great friends like a dead magician who doesn't believe he's dead. I think we've got a great cast of characters in a great galactic struggle that was pretty epic for its time and probably still holds up pretty well. Having gone through it all recently one page at a time, it's not too bad. I'm okay at this. [Laughs]