|ALAN TUDYK & PJ HAARSMA
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DF Interview: Alan Tudyk & PJ Haarsma bring Con Man parody show to comic book in Spectrum
By Byron Brewer
Alan Tudyk and Nathan Fillion's crowdfunded web series Con Man centers around a fictional science fiction TV series titled Spectrum, which starred both Tudyk and Fillion's characters. Now that show-within-a-show is becoming a comic book, and debuting in 2016's Free Comic Book Day.
The four-issue Spectrum miniseries will be published by the LA-based Automatic Publishing and co-written by Tudyk -- the creator of Con Man -- and sci-fi author PJ Haarsma, a producer of the web series. Sarah Stone will illustrate the series, and comics veteran Shannon Eric Denton is on board as editor.
To learn more, Dynamic Forces spoke with a Tudyk, Haarsma and Denton.
Dynamic Forces: Alan and PJ, this is truly going to be a fascinating concept in this comic book. Tell us how it came about.
Alan Tudyk: We wanted the Spectrum television show within Con Man to be as fully formed as possible. So, we outlined the novel that the show Spectrum was meant to inspire. We immediately thought that a comic and graphic novel would be a great way to tell the origin story that preceded the series. Earth has been degraded by several attempts to colonize by competing extraterrestrial species. The final attack, which begins the Spectrum comic, tells the story of the characters and introduces the spaceship, Spectrum. That piece of the story would be impossible to tell in a live action format without an enormous budget. A comic is the perfect place, especially given the Con Man story. It is set in comic conventions, after all.
PJ Haarsma: Yes, Spectrum is an integral part of the Con Man story. It was important to us that we did it justice. A comic book series, a novel series… using both mediums allow us to tell a complete story. We were discussing this part of the adventure from the very beginning.
Shannon Eric Denton (editor): When the guys approached me about coming on board the project, I was beyond thrilled. They’ve created an entire galaxy worth of stories and it’s exciting to be a part of such a groundbreaking project.
DF: So tell us about the storyline for this first arc.
PJ Haarsma: The toughest part was deciding where to start since it’s such a huge universe, but I think we picked an exciting point in each character’s life. The first comic explores Nathan Fillion’s character, James Raaker. We meet him at a very low point in his journey when he’s suddenly given an opportunity to redeem himself, but the aliens that are now attacking don’t plan to make this easy for him. By the end of the first comic, you’ll wonder if it’s even possible.
DF: Who are your protagonists?
Alan Tudyk: Nathan Fillion’s character, Captain Raaker, is the protagonist. He drives the story. Him and his demons. That would be Captain Raaker’s demons, not Nathan Fillions’.
PJ Haarsma: Raaker is the main character, but we pick up Cash Wayne (Tudyk) in the second comic. That’s going to be fun and the character of Ketheria the Scion will play an important role in the novels.
DF: What can you tell us about the invading aliens?
Alan Tudyk: They are called the Cartographers. They have been dormant in monoliths left behind from the last invading force commemorating the peace accord reached after years of fighting. They are non-organic and seem to be looking to locate something or someone in particular. For what reason -- read the comic. Mwahahahahahaha.
PJ Haarsma: They are actually sent here from another universe, but if we give away any more it would spoil some surprises we have planned in the next issue, as well as the novels. Mwahaha—ah, I can’t do that.
DF: Aside from the invaders, any hints about a big-bad?
Alan Tudyk: In the Con Man series episodes 11, 12, and 13. The big baddy mentioned in the show, Con Man, is the big baddy here. If you want to know who the big baddy is, watch Con Man. Mwahahahahahahhahahahha.
PJ Haarsma: Yes, you see their potential in the last few episodes of Con Man so please go and check those out.
DF: PJ and Alan, you guys are co-writing this. Can you take us into the process?
Alan Tudyk: We outline the story of each comic together, then PJ writes it and I come in and ruin all his hard work. Mwahahahahahahaha.
PJ Haarsma: I love working with Alan. I can’t say enough good things about him. He is smart, insightful… OK, that’s enough. I think the biggest challenge in our process is Alan’s success. When I need notes, he’s either working on some Disney film or traipsing across the globe shooting Star Wars. He’s had to work around the clock for the last year in order for us to stay on schedule. I don't know how he does it.
DF: Is this a finite story or will we perhaps see more?
Alan Tudyk: The story will be continuous in the novel we are writing. The process for that will be the same as the comic. We have already outlined it. PJ is the most informed on the novel and the comic because it borrows characters and a portion of the world he created in his 4-book Softwire Series. Spectrum is an independent story with a different style from his first books, but I’m sure he can explain it better than me.
PJ Haarsma: We use the larger good and evil struggle from the Softwire and we borrow the character of Ketheria. When we get to the Rings of Orbis in the novels, we will borrow more of the world building that has been done over the last ten years, but Spectrum is a unique storyline that lives within that larger universe. As the story expands, the crew will have its own goals that were hinted at inside the Softwire. It’s challenging, but I think it will be an amazing saga when it’s completed. I would love for Spectrum to swing back and connect with the next books in the Softwire series for the finale, but I haven’t told Alan that yet. Mwahahahahahaha!
Shannon Eric Denton (editor): Be sure and like the Con Man and Automatic Publishing Facebook pages and follow us on Twitter and #SpectrumComic with your posts. We read them all. And please tell your local comic shop to pick it up. JAN160018. The guys and artists Sarah Stone and A Larger World Studios are doing an amazing job. Thanks!
Dynamic Forces would like to thank Alan Tudyk, PJ Haarsma and Shannon Eric Denton for taking time out of their busy schedules to answer our questions. Spectrum #0 makes its debut in comic stores on May 7th, Free Comic Book Day!
For more news and up-to-date announcements, join us here at Dynamic Forces, www.dynamicforces.com/htmlfiles/, “LIKE” us on Facebook, www.facebook.com/dynamicforcesinc, and follow us on Twitter, www.twitter.com/dynamicforces.
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