“There Was Only One Rule… No Superheroes”: Talking With Stuart Moore About Bronze Age Boogie

by Olly MacNamee

Bronze Age Boogie was released as a trade collection recently from AHOY Comics, writer Stuart Moore and artist Alberto Ponticelli. With its nostalgic mix of all things 1970’s; martial arts, blaxploitation and Bronze Age comics, this series was certainly a lot different toy your average series and another example of AHOY Comics pushing the boundaries of comics and genre. We caught up with Stuart Moore once again to discuss the book now that it’s all done, dusted and collected. Just in time for the Holidays.
Olly MacNamee: Bronze Age Boogie has just been collected recently by AHOY Comics, and as well as evoking the more kitsch Disco era music and fashions, the title to this fun series also harkens back to the Bronze Age of comics too. 
Judging by the genre bending in your tale, is it safe to say you were inspired by the genre expansion of comics in the 70’s? Titles like Heavy Metal, Conan the Barbarian, Killraven and Star Lord? It all seems to have a place in your madcap world.
Stuart Moore: That’s a good list. Also Warlock, Howard the Duck, Luke Cage…the various black and white magazines of the time, too.
What I really wanted to do was have some fun with a particular time and place, both in terms of the pop culture of the day and also what was going on in the real world — specifically, New York City in the 1970s. I realize that’s a strange thing to say about a book set largely in barbarian times, featuring a godlike entity and two or three Martian invasions. But that was my starting point.
The challenge I set myself was to throw as many characters and concepts as I could into a blender and try to fashion a coherent story out of it. Now, time-travel stories never REALLY make sense when you break them down. But this one has a certain logic to it. I hope.

OM: You say in your introduction that this is and isn’t nostalgic. I take it you are looking at your own past more for inspiration than to simply create a fond fuzzy feeling of yesteryear for you and the readers? 
SM: My own past, yes, but even more than that, I wanted to dust off some character types that either aren’t used in comics much these days, or have mutated into something a bit different. Everybody loves a smartass talking animal— ours is called Sniffer Ape, because of a bad little habit he’s given up (or so he says). Our “mad” scientist, Doc Lunar, is a cheerful blend of Timothy Leary and Bruce Banner. And so on.
But Brita, the teenage swordsgirl, totally stole the show. I still can’t believe I’m the first person to write a story about the daughter of a barbarian king. She was so much fun to write.
OM: Meanwhile, Alberto Ponticelli’s art certainly defines this as a very contemporary looking comic. You’ve worked with him in the past, but what made you think of him for this particular project? What does he bring to the (drawing) table?
SM: Alberto is an amazing storyteller with a gift for odd compositions and strange angles, and his character design is the best in the business. He’s an open and helpful collaborator, and a hell of a nice guy too. I’m very lucky to be working with him.
Plus he actually teaches martial arts, which helped immensely with the fight scenes.
I should also mention Giulia Brusco, Alberto’s hand-picked colorist. She adds immensely to the look of the book…her lush color schemes really set the mood, whether that mood is dark, bright, or zany.

OM: Focussing now on the very weird and wonderful cast of characters you introduce in this book; this is certainly one of the more bizarre cast I’ve seen for some time. As well as referencing the comics of the era, it would seem the silver screen of the 70’s certainly had some influence on some of your cast. There’s Lynda Darrk, Sniffer Ape, Jackson Li, and of course, our hero, Brita Constantina, to name but a few.
SM: Thanks! It was a challenge to give each of them their moments, but I feel like I know them all. I hope the readers agree.
There was only one rule, and no one’s picked up on it in any of the reviews: no superheroes. Every other pop entertainment genre was fair game.
OM: We should not forget the story itself. It’s scale is immense; a blockbuster of a series before blockbusters were even a thing! Where did this saga originate from in the first place. And, how do you go about plotting and planning such a series? There’s the time travelling, the Martian invasion, and so much more going on. 
SM: I started big — Martian invasions, barbarian hordes, giant arena battles — and then tried to bring it down to a personal level for each of the characters. Brita is desperate to figure out where, and WHEN, she belongs. Jackson Li has father issues. Lynda Darrk keeps losing people. Sniffer just wants to go home.

OM: And then there’s the extra additions, such as Moon-Thing and the prose pages in each issue. What can you tell us about these choices and additions? 
SM: The prose pages were an homage to a similar device used in some of the more literary Marvel comics of the ‘70s…Killraven, The Defenders, that sort of thing. They helped me lay out the plot, and let me indulge my novelistic side at the same time. 
As for the Moon-Thing, his identity is a little mystery for the readers to figure out. The clues are there, but we’ll probably reveal the answer in Season Two.

OM: Finally, then, with a cliffhanger of an ending, what can we hope to see in the second season of Bronze Age Boogie? 
SM: More romance, more craziness, and of course some new characters. Also, more New York! But not QUITE the same New York you see in this volume. I’ve written a script and a half, and Alberto is working on the first cover as we speak.
OM: As always, many thanks for your time, and enjoy the forthcoming Holiday season, Stuart.
SM: You too, and thanks so much!
You can check out our previous interview with Stuart Moore here.
You can follow all of our coverage of Bronze Age Boogie here too, which is available to buy as a trade paperback now from AHOY Comics.

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