Small Press Sunday: Interview with Rafer Roberts
Welcome to our weekly feature, Small Press Sunday. This week I would like to welcome a very special guest, Rafer Roberts, the creator of Plastic Farm and the web-comic Thanos and Darkseid: Carpool Buddies of Doom. I had a chance to interview Rafer this week and ask him about some of his current projects as well as a special signing that he will be doing at Beyond Comics for the release of X-O Manowar #25.
Comic Booked: So, Carpool Buddies of Doom is a great comic. I got to read the special edition comic that was printed specifically for Free Comic Book Day for Beyond Comics and that was very funny. Thanos and Darkseid are two of my favorite baddies and seeing them in this mundane situation is very funny. Where did the idea for this comic come from?
Rafer Roberts: It was Justin’s (Justin Jordan) idea, actually. I was visiting his table at New York Comicon in 2012 and he mentioned seeing a Darkseid and a Thanos cosplayer walking around together at a previous convention and thought it would make for a funny buddy comedy. I pretty much immediately told him that I would draw that, or insisted that he let me draw it, and a week or so later we had created that first 3-page story. I posted it online and a day or so later it got noticed and reposted by a bunch of prominent comics sites and things went a little crazy for a while. We did a second comic, the one with Dr. Doom in the back seat, for a special mini-comic to hand out at the 2013 NYCC. I think Wil Wheaton reblogged the first comic a day or two before we announced the second short which was about the best coincidental promoting we could have asked for. We’ve only talked about it a little but there’s probably going to be more, sooner or later.
CB: I hope there is more, it is really great and I love the art and the way you give it that pulpy classic comic texture. This got you even more notice, right? You got a great opportunity to do some work on the upcoming X-O Manowar #25. Tell us a little bit about that.
RR: My understanding is that Warren Simons, our editor at Valiant, saw the Thanos and Darkseid comic and liked it enough to reach out to Justin (who had done work for Valiant previously) for us to do similar style comics for them. We got offered one page in X-O Manowar #25 and a 5-pager in Harbinger #25 (in Previews now) with the possibility of more work later. In the meantime, I also got to draw a cool Beyond Comics exclusive variant cover for X-O #25. I’m really enjoying this gig, by the way. I think that Justin and I work pretty well together, having Warren and Josh Johns as our editors has been a blast, and I get to draw some pretty goofy stuff. Plus, I’ve had a soft spot for the Valiant universe ever since the early 90’s, so getting to play in this sandbox at all is like an awesome and surreal dream. I really can’t ask for much more than that.
CB: I have been doing full reviews of all the Valiant comics each week for a few months now and really enjoy every book they put out and I did love the original universe, as well. I am excited to see X-O Manowar #25, it will be a cool collectible, especially with that variant cover just for my LCS. What other projects do you have lined up or what is one comic book that you would really like to work on next?
RR: Oh man, I’ve got a bunch on the horizon. I illustrated a 1-page Tiger Lawyer comic (written by Ryan Ferrier) that will be in the back of Joe Keatinge and Leila del Duca’s Shutter #2 from Image, a 2-page story with writer Sean Frost in the Imaginary Drugs anthology that will be coming out from IDW, a page in Locust Moon’s Little Nemo: Dream Another Dream book, a short story about the Salem Witch Trials in Fulcrum Press’s Colonial Comics, a Hammer Films-esque horror story in Christian Sager’s Canaan Cult Revival anthology, and issue 24 of my own Plastic Farm which will be out early next month. Also, my Nightmare The Rat comics is currently being serialized online. I’m probably forgetting something. I just started drawing Plastic Farm #25, though I expect that I’ll be starting and stopping to fit in some other short comics here and there.
In addition to all the drawing I’ve been doing lately, I wouldn’t mind doing some writing in the future. I’ve got a few ideas in mind for some pitches but they need to germinate a bit longer. Though, if anyone from Marvel is reading this, I would kill to write a Devil Dinosaur mini-series.
CB: Wow, and I thought my life was busy. I hope I get to see some of this stuff in the future. What comics do you read regularly, if you even have time for that, or what would you recommend to folks?
RR: The return of Stray Bullets has consumed my world. Evan Dorkin’s recent Eltingville Club is basically a documentary of my time working in a comics shop. I’d recommend Shutter even if I didn’t have art in it. I’m way behind on Saga, but I really dig it. Oh, and every comic put out by all of my friends. None of my friends put out bad comics so if you see me talking to someone at a convention for more than 30 seconds that means you should buy their comics.
CB: All great comics, I really enjoyed the first issue of Shutter. I really appreciate you taking the time to talk with me and tell our readers about what you do and what things you are working on.
For those of you in the Maryland area, Rafer Roberts will be signing his cover and the regular cover to X-O Manowar #25 on May 21, 2014 from 11:30 AM to 5:00 PM. Justin Jordan will also be attending during that time based on his availability. This signing will be at Beyond Comics in Frederick, Maryland. Tune in next week for more Small Press Sunday.