Magdalene Visaggio and Jason Smith's "snarky-ass space opera" Vagrant Queen returns this with with a second volume, A Planet Called Doom.
Created just as a Syfy adaptation of the first volume is underway, in this Vagrant Queen sequel Vissagio and Smith continue this galaxy-reaching story by keeping it personal - about the life and the desires of Elida, a former child queen of a space empire who was desposed but came back decades later to help her people. Now, with the immediate threat removed, she's being tugged on in different ways as she seeks to seperate herself from her past and fights what some people call 'fate.'
Visaggio and Smith spoke with Newsarama about the sequel, returning to this universe, and and their involvement in the upcoming Syfy show.
Newsarama: Magdalene, what can you tease about this upcoming story arc?
Magdalene Visaggio: Vagrant Queen has always been about Elida’s complicated relationship with her past and the ways she is commodified and consumed, worshiped as a god by loyalists and hunted and hated by the new republic.
The first arc principally concerned the revolutionary government as an antagonist, but we didn’t get to see a lot of her partisans, those people who wish the revolution had never happened and still support their absentee queen against her wishes. So that’s where we’re turning now, and there’s a crisis afoot led by a masked cult leader with impossible technology and mysterious designs on our heroine.
Nrama: Vagrant Queen: A Planet Called Doom is a limited series, would you like to continue to explore this franchise through a furthur volumes or as an ongoin?
Visaggio: That’s really up to Vault.
Nrama: How do you feel this chapter is different from the past volume?
Visaggio: I think A Planet Called Doom is more internal than the last one, and Elida struggles more with what’s going on because it’s all happening in her name.
A Planet Called Doom is explicitly about fate and its relationship with the choices we make. Everything is bound up in promise and prophecy and Elida is smack in the middle, someone who still just wants to get away from all of this and finally have some peace.
Nrama: Jason, were there any new characters you were able to draw for this volume?
Jason Smith: Yes, absolutely. There's a new bad guy of course and he has a group of followers that are brand new. We've also added in a couple of new characters that are with Elida. So overall, there's a handful of new characters in the new story.
Nrama: What’s your favorite aspect of drawing this franchise?
Smith: It's definitely all the crazy stuff that I have to draw - from alien worlds to technology and cultures - almost every page there's something new to come up with.
And then Mags always manages to throw in a bunch of crazy action and crowd scenes to keep things interesting. Plus, Elida and Isaac are a ton of fun to work with. I just really love drawing them.
Nrama: What made you want to return to this character/franchise?
Visaggio: I mean, with the TV show, it seemed like a no-brainer. It’s a fun book to write, too; I sometimes get too in my head about what I’m working on but Vagrant Queen is a big space adventure full of thrills and entertainment, and honestly that’s such a great place to be.
It’s not Eternity Girl, you know? I can kind of relax and let the story ride without needing to play weird structural games.
Smith: I had a lot of fun drawing the first storyline and I felt like we had more to say. It was an easy decision for me when we started talking about doing more.
Nrama: What are you most excited for fans to see with this new volume?
Visaggio: The twist at the end!
Smith: Everything! I hope people really enjoy where we are taking things. The story is definitely going in a different direction and it just keeps getting bigger issue after issue. And then on the art side, I'm hoping that we've upped our game.
I think Harry and I were starting to figure things out towards the end of the first storyline, so it's great to be able to continue on with that. And it's been cool to come back to these characters and see what else we can do with them.
Nrama: Vagrant Queen has been picked up for a SyFy TV show, how involved have you both been in the process?
Visaggio: Kinda minimally? It’s Jem’s baby, not mine, and while she’s really nailed the tone and the characters, she’s doing some interesting stuff there that was never in the book. I had a blast visiting the set last summer and meeting the whole team, but while Jem and I talk, any role I have is purely at her discretion.
Smith: I haven't been too involved in the process. I got to read the pilot script and provide some feedback on that and I saw concept art too as they were developing things. We got to do a set visit and meet all of the cast and crew which was a great experience.
Nrama: What was the most important thing you wanted to see adapted from panel to screen?
Visaggio: There’s an implicit critique of power in Vagrant Queen, but also of the abnegation of responsibility. I like to think we’re being pretty ambiguous about what Elida actually wants out of her life, because she keeps saying she wants to leave but seems to always be there when her erstwhile people need her.
Smith: I think the thing that Jemreally nailed in first script was the tone of the story. On the art side, it's been amazing to see how much they've pulled inspiration from what was in the first volume. I wasn't expecting that. So, it's cool that things that we made up are now real things.
Nrama: What’s it been like seeing your project come to life into a new medium?
Visaggio: I got to sit in a spaceship I made up. How do you think it feels?
Smith: It's been completely surreal. It is definitely not something that I was expecting and it's been amazing to be part of the process. It's also great to see the cast and crew really embrace our characters and love them as much as we do. It's awesome to have more people in the Vagrant Queen family!