With Ahoy Comics having announced their second wave of comic books coming out over the next few months, we took advantage of this news and caught up with writer Stuart Moore once again to grill him about his new sci-fi/fantasy series Bronze Age Boogie which we previewed just the other day. We asked him more about his new book, the pop cultural influences at play within its pages, and more.
Olly MacNamee: Stuart, this is a book that traverses the boundaries of space and time, with the action split between 1975 AD and 1975 BC, and space-travelling apes to boot. This isn’t the most serious of sci-fi/sword and sorcery mash-ups now is it? How would you describe Bronze Age Boogie?
Stuart Moore: It’s an odd one! To start with, the inspiration wasn’t just comics of the 1970s, but a whole variety of pop culture trends. Grindhouse movies were a crazy playground where some great actors and filmmakers got their start; those movies tended to fall into genres like martial arts, African-American interest, dystopian futures, and crime dramas that were more violent than the ones on TV at the time. A lot of comics were influenced by them, especially at Marvel—books like Luke Cage, Shang-Chi, that sort of thing.
I love all that stuff, and I wanted to see if I could combine as much of it as possible into a sort of “team book” where these odd characters came together in the face of a massive threat. Naturally, that threat is a Martian invasion. What else would it be?
OM: You seem to be homaging a good number of 1970’s era culture. The nation’s obsession with kung-fu and disco are but a few of the influences at play on this book. Are there any more that we should be aware of? Sniffer Ape certainly seems to be narrating a fiction to the Bronze Age heroine, Brita, that echoes the Pierre Boule’s original Planet of The Apes novel, and that’s not the only classic sci-fi allusion either.
SM: There will be more as we go along, yes. I don’t want to blow all the surprises, but there’s a strong element of trippy cosmic adventure that will gradually bubble up.
OM: Is this, then, something of a love letter to the 70’s and to your favourite sci-fi and fantasy stories?
SM: It’s definitely a love letter, yes. But it’s also a story, one that I hope is relevant to our time as well. It’s big and kinetic and the first storyline barely fits into six jam-packed issues.
OM: Brita is an interesting character. A Bronze Ages badass, but with a smattering of a more modern dialect to her speech. What can you tell us about her, and her father?
SM: Brita was originally a pretty minor character, but she sort of took over the book—the early chapters, at least. At some point I realized that no one had ever done a modern teen story about the daughter of a barbarian king. Huh. That sentence sounds really weird when you say it out loud.
In all seriousness, though, the focus on Brita just opened a lot of doors, character-wise, and anchored the story nicely. Brita has a connection to other times that will become clear in the first issue. More than that, though, she’s just restless—tired of living a nomadic lifestyle, in a world where the most common form of death is sword-through-the-larynx. She wants something more.
OM: Your artist on this new book, Alberto Ponticell, is a great choice. How did he get involved and what’s the collaborative process like when it comes to designing the two worlds of this comic? I imagine there are certain 1970’s era-appropriate artifacts you want to include, but how free is Ponticelli in designing these two very different eras?
SM: Oh god, Alberto is the best. I’ve worked with him briefly before, but this is the first full-scale project we’ve done together. I threw him some brief descriptions and told him to go crazy. He loves the period—I knew that already, having seen some European graphic novels he’s drawn. But he didn’t just do research and slavishly recreate the past; he’s added his own spin to the Martians, the apes, and the barbarians. The result is something that looks both new and old, to my eyes anyway.
We’re working plot-first on this book, which is new for me. Alberto told me pretty early on that he was a martial arts teacher, which—well, let’s just say I couldn’t believe my luck, because that’s not one of my areas of expertise. So it made sense for him to choreograph most of the battle scenes, and from there I started giving him detailed plots—what used to be called Marvel-style—and adding the dialogue after the art was drawn. It’s a real challenge, especially given the number of characters and plot twists. But I think it gives the story an interesting rhythm, a nice lively bounce. It feels different from other books I’ve written.
I have to mention Giulia Brusco, too. Her colours are evocative and precise; she really brings the whole thing to another level, and she and Alberto are used to working together. I can’t believe how lucky I got with these two.
OM: Finally, there are some pretty big stakes and a world-threatening danger that seems to be simultaneously invading both the past and the ‘present’. What can you hint at, in future issue, of this series?
SM: I can promise a constant barrage of action, character development, and plot twists. The two invasions are related—or maybe it’s more accurate to say that the defenses against the invasions are related. You’ll see what I mean. It’s a big complex spaghetti-tangle of a story; if I’ve done my job right, you’ll just have to hold on for your life and enjoy the ride. But it all hangs together! I hope.
OM: Thanks, Stuart, and all the best with Bronze Age Boogie #1 when it launches this April.
SM: Thank you. Solid gold, baby!
I also want to put in a little plug for the other two Ahoy Wave Two projects launching in April/May. Planet of The Nerds is a brilliant idea—the nerds really have conquered the world, so how would a trio of high school jocks from the ‘80s react to the year 2019? And Hashtag: Danger is…well, anyone who’s read the short features in High Heaven and Captain Ginger knows what it is, but trust me, this is the most selfish, dysfunctional group of scientific adventurers you’ve ever seen. Very funny stuff.
Bronze Age Boogie #1 will be available April 3rd. It looks like a lot of fun and with plenty of funky 1970’s references, I’m sold!