War Rocket Ajax #28: Chris Roberson and Rich Ellis Talk To Us About ‘Memorial!’ [Podcast]
Chris Roberson has been one of our favorite guests on the War Rocket Ajax podcast for years, and this week he returns to the show with artist Rich Ellis to talk about their new book for IDW, Memorial! Rich gives us the lowdown on a few secrets that he dropped into the panels, Chris reveals the shocking secret of whose voice a talking cat speaks with, and you can listen to the whole show right here at ComicsAlliance!War Rocket Ajax v.2, #28: Straight Clownin’ with Chris Roberson and Rich Ellis
(WARNING: Contains NSFW language)
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On this week’s show, Chris Sims is excited about two things: The circus and a television program produced for children. He is twenty-nine years old. Meanwhile, Matt Wilson has been on stage doing stand-up comedy, so get ready for plenty of laffs — that’s two Fs — as he takes us through his history as one of those talky jokey types. Plus, we dip into Listener Mail for a question about how to get sketches at conventions.
When Roberson and Ellis join us, the conversation turns to Memorial, and Rich tells us how he got involved with the project:
Ellis: My first interaction with it was via Paul [Tobin], being introduced to Chris via email. He sent me a pitch for it and I read the pitch and my immediate thought was “Somebody’s writing the book that is my dream book, basically.” If you had sat me down a month before I had even heard of Memorial as a property and asked me my ideal book to work on, it would be as close to the pitch for Memorial as I could possibly say.
I wanted to work on a book with a female main character, because I really enjoy that, fantasy stories have always captivated me and especially contemporary fantasy. So I read the pitch and it was like “Yes, I would love to do exactly the thing that I have been wanting to do for a while.”
The only problems I’ve had with how it’s run so far is me being afraid of waking up and it’s all been a dream.
Roberson also tells us about the genesis of the idea, and how it changed form its original form:
Roberson: The genesis of the idea actually started as an idea I had maybe eight years ago, for a thing I was going to pitch to the BBC as a spin-off series of novels tied into Doctor Who.
I just liked the idea of a young girl and an old guy in one of those kind of magical shops where you’d buy a gremlin, wandering from place to place having adventures. And I couldn’t make it work. I realized very quickly that it wouldn’t work as a Doctor Who spin-off, so I never even pitched it.
But over the course of the next seven years or so, more and more of the stuff that I was reading informed the kind of story I wanted to tell, and I think you’re not far off the mark from the kind of “modern-day fairy tale” sort of thing. I was looking at a lot of children’s stuff, a lot of prose fantasy like Diana Wynne Jones and Roger Zelazny and guys like that, and trying to figure out how the structure of the story worked. And I finally cracked it in 2010, and by that point I’d broken into comics, so I figured, well, I’ll just make it a comic, and spent about a year figuring out how to make it a comic.
That’s why the tone of the narration and the way the story’s structured and the kinds of things you get are very much an attempt to do in comics the kind of modern day, for kids and adults fairy tale stuff that a lot of the best fantasy prose stuff has done in the past 20, 30 years.
Plus, just who does Schrodinger’s Cat sound like? Find out this week!
See more of Ellis’s art on his website!
If anyone wants to catch up on House of Anubis so that you know what the hell Sims is talking about, it’s available to watch for free at Nick.com.
Chris’s Rec: Nickelodeon’s House of Anubis.
Matt’s Rec: The Autobiography of Mark Twain: 1910 – 2010.
Batman #5: “Now we’ve got Scott Snyder writing an issue of Batman that’s very reminiscent of The Prisoner.” “Snyder did a terrific job writing this issue. It thought the framing piece with Gordon and the Bat-Signal, the bookends, were a really nice way to get the Batman story in the middle and have a touchstone to what’s going on outside. I really have to give it to Greg Capullo this issue. When we talked about #1 of this comic, you were already totally in the bag for Greg Capullo and I was a little iffy on the guy. Every doubt I had about him is gone now.”
Wonder Woman #5: “Unfortunately Cliff Chiang didn’t draw this issue. It was Tony Akins, who does great, great work following up on Cliff Chiang, but any time I don’t get to see Cliff Chiang’s art, I feel sad.” “I know Azzarello has referred to this as a horror comic, but it reads to me like more of an intrigue story.”
Wonderella: Everybody Ever Forever and She Came From Outer Space: “The premise is ‘What if Wonder Woman was an absolutely terrible person?’ The paperbacks came signed and sketched, one of them had a sketch of Wonderella and the other had a sketch of Dr. Shark, there was a bookmark in there, and also a glossy card with ornate lettering that just says ‘Eat a Dick.’”