Alan J. Porter writes the comic book World of Cars, based on the Pixar movie, for Boom! Studios. He's also an editor at large for RevolutionSF. The new ongoing Cars series starts this month. Our comics guy Jay Willson rounded him up for this interview.
Alan J. Porter: I'm really looking forward to it. Last year we did two four-issue mini-series, "The Rookie" which gave a look at the hero, Lightning McQueen's back story and was sort of an unofficial prequel to the movie; and "Radiator Springs" where each issue told the stories of how various characters ended up in the town and why they stayed. "The Rookie" is now available as a trade-paperback, and the paperback collection of "Radiator Springs" should be in stores in February.
I have been delighted by how well the Cars books have been received both by comics fans, Cars collectors and. most importantly, families. I get lots of feedback from parents who tell me they love reading the books to their kids, or that their kids have read and re-read the book.
One parent e-mailed me to tell me his son insisted on having a copy of Cars under his pillow every night before he went to sleep, and at a convention last year a lady stopped by to tell me that it was the Cars comic that had been the trigger to get her disabled son to start reading. How cool is that?
With the new ongoing we are focusing on new stories set after the movie exploring a little bit of where these characters went, plus having some fun along the way. The first story arc (issues #0-3) tell how McQueen organizes a charity race at his new race track in Radiator Springs and gives us the chance to bring the two sides of McQueen's life together as we bring the race track crowd into town. Central to the story is a new character who will act as a foil between McQueen and his rival Chick Hicks.
The second story arc (#4-7) is planned to be a fun cross country ride in the spirit of Cannonball Run and Wacky Races as various characters from the Cars franchise team up for the "Route 66 Dash."
Jay Willson: For the new series, are you working with the same artist from the previous series?
AJP: No, and Yes. We had different interior artists on the first two mini-series, but we always used the same cover artist, Allen Gladfelter. Like me, Allen is a real gearhead with a genuine affection for and knowledge of these characters. For the new ongoing series, Allen will now also be doing the interior art as well as the covers and I am really looking forward to working with him.
JW: Do you have any other projects lined up with Boom in the future?
I have been asked to pitch some ideas for other properties and had discussions about possible new titles, but for the moment my focus is solely on Cars. But who knows what the future holds.
JW: You’re now devoting most of your work time to your own company, the 4Js Group. What does your company do?
AJP: 4Js Group is my consulting company, where we help out companies with their technical & business communications. Along with the more traditional services such as content strategy planning, writing white-papers, blogging, PR, training, etc. we are also developing a niche for doing corporate comics. We have two such projects being worked on, and yesterday I was talking to a company about the possibility of turning their training materials into a graphic novel format.
JW: What are you working on now?
AJP: My current book project is a change for me as it will be my first technical/ business type book. It's called WIKI: Grow Your Own for Fun & Profit and is a look at the use of wiki technology in business. It is scheduled to be launched in May. I have a couple of pop-culture related projects lined up after that, but we are still working on finalizing contract details.
JW: You've also produced some terrific book collections about comic series devoted to well-known TV shows. Your recent book on the comics of Star Trek was really packed with terrific detail.
Thanks for the kind comments about Star Trek: A Comics History. It was a fun project to work on and seems to have been well received. I was very flattered when one of the top Trek websites named it the "Best Trek Reference Book of 2009." Which, considering there were a lot of Trek books out last year, came as a complete surprise.