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DF Interview: Rafer Roberts seeks to bring Immortal Time Traveler to life as one-shot
By Byron Brewer
Aside from being a recent media subject with his new Archer and Armstrong book, writer Rafer Roberts always has a lot of his own irons in the fire.
The quest to bring a comic book to life is one we do not often hear about. So, that said, Dynamic Forces recently got the 411 from the scribe on his quest to bring his long-planned Immortal Time Traveler to life, initially as a one-shot.
Here is Rafer Roberts’ story-behind-the-story:
Dynamic Forces: Rafer, you have certainly been in the industry media lately with A&A: The Adventures of Archer and Armstrong. But you have quite a few irons of your own in the fire. Tell us, for example, about a comic you are working on called The Immortal Time Traveler, how it came about.
Rafer Roberts: Immortal Time Traveler is a story that had been kicking around in the back of my mind for a good long time, and work on it actually began about a year before being approached by Valiant to pitch for A&A. I was, however, doing backup stories for Valiant which gave me a few extra bucks to reinvest into making more comics. I figured that a big, loud, pure sci-fi adventure miniseries would make for a fun time. Luckily, artist Giles Crawford agreed and Immortal Time Traveler was born.
I outlined a 6-issue miniseries and we put together a pitch package to shop around. Unfortunately, while everyone seemed to like it, no one wanted to publish it. Rather than toss everything aside, I’ve written an additional story for Giles to draw and we’ll be publishing a one-shot sometime this year.
DF: We’ll be awaiting updates on that. Tell me, is there anything in particular that inspired the initial story?
Rafer Roberts: As is pretty obvious from the title and from the characters, there is a pretty big Doctor Who influence. However, and this may disappoint a lot of people, I am not a Doctor Who fan. That said, many years ago, an old episode of the Doctor Who show came on while I was on mushrooms. I thought it was amazing and was mad at myself for never giving the show a proper chance. A week later, while straight and sober, I tried watching another episode and was incredibly disappointed that the show was nowhere near as good as it was when I was tripping.
Immortal Time Traveler is my attempt to write something as cool as the Doctor Who I watched while on mushrooms.
DF: Ooooooo-kay. Maybe TMI, Rafer. If you would, tell us about the storyline of Immortal Time Traveler.
Rafer Roberts: Hamilton Chirich is a childish, self-important, full-of-sh*t, immortal time traveler who uses his abilities to get rich and get laid. Nikki Green is a practical, take-no-nonsense, ex-military specialist yearning for more adventure and excitement than her monotonous life as a security guard can offer. When a mysterious enemy threatens the very fabric of reality, they join forces to stop him. But in order to save the universe from this future madman, Chirich and Green will have to fight an army of Mantis People, sad robots, dinosaurs and telepathic jellyfish, all while trying not to kill each other first.
The one-shot that we’re doing now takes place within that storyline, but is a self-contained adventure. They fight flying tentacle brains. If enough people like this one adventure, perhaps we’ll go back and do the whole thing.
DF: The characters are already fascinating to me. More about Hamilton and Nikki?
Rafer Roberts: Appearing to be in his mid- to late 30's, the age he was when he became immortal, Hamilton Chirich is actually about 100 thousand years old. He's not nearly as smart as he pretends to be and his knowledge about how time travel works are guesses, taken from books and movies, or learnt through truly horrific personal error. Most of the time when Chirich talks about time travel, he's talking out of his ass. His favorite trick is “The Bill and Ted” wherein future versions of himself will leave useful items in the past for him to find.
He doesn’t much care about the well-being of other people, but only for what they can do for him. He can be irritatingly charming when he wants to be, but can also be incredibly impatient and annoyed when things don’t go his way. Over the course of this adventure, Chirich learns next to nothing and winds up the same pompous ass as when he started. Chirich does eventually develop a genuine fondness for Nikki, but it’s such an alien emotion that it somehow makes him worse.
After seeing her fair share of combat as a Marine, Nikki Green now leads a quiet life as a security guard and hates every minute of it. She initially joins Chirich as an escape from the boredom of her life, but his recklessness and [foolish] behavior has her questioning that decision. She’s only going to put up with Chirich’s bullsh*t for so long and is justifiably afraid that he is going to get her killed. Despite time travel being much more mind-bendingly weird than she anticipated, she adapts quickly and it becomes clear that Chirich’s mission would be impossible without her.
DF: Can you tell us anything about the initial big-bad, if there is one?
Rafer Roberts: There is someone creating Ouroboros Objects, which are items that loop back on themselves in time with no beginning or end. These things basically carve holes in space-time and threaten the very structure of reality. Chirich and Green are traveling through time, destroying these objects, and following clues that they hope will lead to the big-bad.
DF: You are creating this with artist Giles Crawford. How is he in setting your ideas to paper, and how did the partnership come about in the first place?
Rafer Roberts: I asked him and he said yes! Giles is great. He’s got this almost Herge/European style to his art that really fits the adventure nature of the story. He comes from an animation background so all of the characters feel alive and in constant motion. Everything is fluid and dynamic and wonderful. Plus, I think he genuinely cares about these characters. While I am paying him, I get the sense that this is a comic he enjoys drawing.
DF: Rafer, any projects current or future you may be working on aside from Archer and Armstrong and Immortal Time Traveler that you’d care to tell us about?
Rafer Roberts: Nothing too much. I am working on more Nightmare the Rat comics and hoping to have that series done this year. Once that’s finished, Plastic Farm will jump back on top of the “comics I make while waiting on other people” pile. There’s a modern fantasy comic that I’m in the VERY early stages of working on. Oh, and I am co-writing 4001 AD: Shadowman with Jody Houser for Valiant.
Dynamic Forces would like to thank Rafer Roberts for taking time out of his busy schedule to answer our questions. Keep tuned to DF News for more on the Immortal Time Traveler one-shot!
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