Tad Stones is the co-creator of the Chip ‘N’ Dale’s Rescue Rangers along with being the producer and chief story editor of the popular Disney Afternoon television series. Although BOOM! Studios had garnered success with their Darkwing Duck Comic, Mr. Stones was not about to give them an automatic pass on translating his famous and furrier creations from TV to comic page. He had some questions for Ian Brill, writer of the new Chip 'N' Dale's Rescue Ranger comic.
Tad Stones: And so we meet again, Mr. Brill. Okay, let's do this. You guys did a great job of adapting Darkwing Duck to a modern comic format and got, not just sales numbers but critical acclaim for your efforts. Now you're taking on my earlier show, Chip ‘N’ Dale Rescue Rangers. Which is your favorite to write... and if you answer incorrectly there will be repercussions.
Ian Brill: I…I must choose? How could I possibly choose between two great projects that come from such a brilliant mind? Well, never let it be said I shy away from a challenge!
Darkwing Duck is my favorite book to write that features a duck in a purple cape. Chip ‘N’ Dale Rescue Rangers is my favorite book to write that features a cheese-crazed Australian mouse.
Stones: Oily answered, Mr. Brill. You have future in politics and infomercials. The first issues of Darkwing established a break in the old continuity, Darkwing had stopped being the protector of St. Canard and the first arc told the story of his resurrection. Where are the Rescue Rangers when your story starts?
Brill:The Rescue Rangers are still the Rescue Rangers here, they never stopped. Since this is a team I wanted all the elements there from the start so readers old and new can get what these characters are about. This issue sees them start on what may be their biggest adventures yet, one that comes from both Gadget and Monterey’s past.
Stones: The Rangers have a pretty varied rogues gallery. They've faced operatic alligators, mad scientists, crime boss cats and robot dogs. What villains might pop up in the first arc? Spoil me or your pet turtle will find himself without his plastic palm tree and water dish.
Brill:There is a familiar villain behind this worldwide threat the Rescue Rangers take on. It’s a familiar villain using some new tricks. As much as I love that turtle (he’s so innocent, he doesn’t know how ugly he is) I don’t want to spoil who it is for you or anyone else reading this. It is someone you hinted at in your question, though!
Stones: Fine. Have it your way. Don't worry about little Mr. Slowpants. Anyway, those things carry disease. It's best that you didn't get too close.
Back to the comic, Darkwing Duck often has Launchpad back him up on missions and of course Gosalyn tags along whenever she can pick the lock on her room but DW is basically a solo character. Was it hard making the change to juggling the action of a team book like the Rescue Rangers?
Brill:It can be hard but really, the appeal to me is seeing how these characters work together. I can take an issue and focus on one or two members of the team, but I want it to always come back to cooperation and these characters being greater as a unit then they ever could be alone.
Stones: The fun of the Rescue Rangers is having these wildly divergent personalities trying to work together. Did you find a favorite or a character that was harder to write than you expected?
Brill:I don’t know about a characters being harder to write than I expected. After all, I didn’t expect this to be easy! As for favorites…I love them all but here I don’t have to be so political. Monterey Jack is a lot of fun because he is very emotional and is all about action. Like Gosalyn, he’s a character who doesn’t wait to hear “go” before they plow ahead. I love writing characters like that.
Because these characters’ personalities are so vivid there is that strange thing that when you get in the middle of the script and they can write themselves and really surprise you. Each one, with maybe the exception of Chip, is very much in the moment. Monterey Jack especially, like I said. That’s something that’s always fun to play with. I also like how they are not always right, that they have their flaws. It creates for better drama. Gadget is a perfect example. She’s a brilliant inventor but can also be so absent-minded she forgets her right from her left. The characters have multitudes, which makes coming back to them so much fun and rewarding.
Stones: Have you changed the characters in anyway in adapting them for the comic? Has Monterey Jack joined Cheese Anonymous? Has Gadget discovered boys? Has Chip's plastic flamingo collection been exposed? Careful what you say, I can have the Disney lawyers here in a tweet.
Brill:I think Monterey Jack may be feeling his age a little. He is older than the rest of the team. He still pulls his weight, but maybe he has this bit of resentment taking orders from Chip when Monty is the one that’s seen the whole world before. He still loves the cheese though! I can’t get rid of that! It’s a mouse with great appetite for adventure must also have a great appetite for Gruyere.
Stones: Did you watch a lot of the old cartoons to prep for writing the comic, maybe a marathon or two? Are we talking late nights with a TV remote and a case of Ho Ho's?
Brill:Yeah, I watched a ton of episodes. I don’t know about late night marathons, but that’s just because with my schedule I can no longer tell the difference between day and night.
Stones: My threats seem to bounce off your editor, Christopher Burns, so I haven't gotten any advance copies of your arc but the comic previews online look fantastic. I'm impressed with the way Leonel Castellani manages to keep the characters on model yet give them life and energy without being animated. His thick and thin brushwork is amazing. In fact, he probably makes the characters more appealing than we drew them in the show. Was he a fan of the series?
Brill:Your copies are in the mail. You’re still at that place in Calisota, right?
Leonel is so fantastic for the book. He’s got to be a fan, look at all the energy he brings to every member of the cast! I love an artist that can do great facial expressions, which both Leonel and Darkwing artist James Silvani excel at. Leonel is one of the rare artists that get across both the spectacle and the emotional underpinnings of the story.
Stones: All right, Mr. Brill. Answer this and I'll unlock the chain. What are you most excited about showing the fans in the Chip ‘N’ Dale Rescue Rangers Comic? Impress me.
Brill:There’s an entire world that we never see, a world we miss because it’s small. But there’s big adventure, drama, action and comedy there. The Rescue Rangers are in the middle of it, righting the wrongs that affect the people in their community…and what may affect us humans as well. This is a rag-tag group. They may not be the strongest or fastest (although Zipper is one tough fly!) but they have the heart. I’m going to throw new and old threats and enemies their way, and it’s going to take that heart as well as a lot of brain power to save the day.
Something I’m very excited about is a new bunch of villains I’m devising. I don’t want to say much but...Sherlock has Moriarty, Spider-Man has Venom, and of course Darkwig Duck has Negaduck. So who do the Rescue Rangers have?
Stones: You've intrigued me, Mr. Brill, and in doing so you have bought time. Time to show me what you and your friends at BOOM! can do. Use it wisely because I have many furry friends at my beck and call. Heck, the gang from Dragon Con alone, could fill a fleet of armored assault vehicles. And of course there are the smaller ones that you're writing about. If you're wise you'll get back to work. And leave out a plate of cheese and nuts.Ready to revisit your childhood?