Star Wars Action Figures
April 7th, 2006

Seth Green and Hugh Sterbakov sit down with Mark from, Again!

The creators of "The Freshmen", a hot new comic book from Top Cow that just finished up it's first mini series discuss how the first series went, as well as their time at Skywalker Ranch, Robot Chicken future projects and of course, toys!

Q:It’s been almost a year since we last spoke and the Freshmen Mini Series just wrapped up its sixth issue and the trade paperback is on it’s way in a few weeks. Overall, how do you think the comic did?
Seth Green and Hugh Sterbakov
Hugh Sterbakov, left, with Seth Green

Hugh: I’m thrilled with the results, it actually turned out better than I anticipated. When I started, I was pretty nervous. This was going to be my first published fiction work, and my first real experience with handing a script off and having other people sort of take the baton. I’ve sold some screenplays and I’ve been hired to write scripts, but nothing I’ve written has ever been produced. It just churns through the Hollywood development cycle. This time, though, I knew it was eventually going to reach the public. Similar to the way a director or actors come in and take over, I knew the artist would interpret things his own way, and that scared me too. But we got really lucky with Leonard Kirk—he made it his job to share my vision rather than reinterpret it into his own. All said… I can’t imagine how it could have gone better. When I look at the trade paperback, I’m really thrilled and proud. Freshmen provided me with very few regrets and so many victories.

Seth: I’m very proud of this book, and of Hugh. I love that people are getting to know our kids, and connecting with them. The trade is an opportunity for the book to reach people that would never go to a comic store, and for fans to read the story in a collected volume.

Q: Following the comic myself in the last 8 months, it was sometimes hard to find at the local comic book stores and only on ebay here and there. Was distribution a problem with getting this in the hands of fans?

H: We couldn’t expect superstar support at the retailer level—I’m a complete unknown and, y’know, I don’t know how much people really counted on Seth’s involvement. And, let’s face it, we had astounding creative competition in the comic industry that’s absolutely unprecedented. All we could hope to do is deliver the best possible book to our fans and strive to turn some heads along the way. We got some really positive reviews, and our fans were very pleased so I hope retailers will recommend the trade paperback.

S: Since it’s a new and untested title, I think we got the support we expected. I feel really strongly about our story, so naturally I was excited when anyone read it and liked it. While I sympathize with anyone who couldn’t find it at stores, I hope they’ll see the trade as a chance to catch up.

Q: The comic has had rave reviews from several major comic book sites and writers, yet the second run is up in the air, do you feel this is due to the distribution of the comic or the break that was taken in between certain issues?

H: I think it just boils down to Top Cow making a decision about their future. They have to figure out what’s right for them, and what their fans are looking for. Top Cow’s new EIC, Renae Geerlings, has been very supportive of us every step of the way, though—she has an almost unhealthy affection for the Beaver, so I know they want to find a way that they can do it. So far, the advance orders for the trade paperback have been well above expectations, so we’re on the right track.

S: We were thrilled with the reviews and the fan reaction. As for the 2nd run, we’re hopeful, and we’re also exploring our options with taking Freshmen to another medium, like TV. We’ve been meeting with producers and show runners trying to find a good creative fit for this type of project.

H: The key to this kind of thing is finding the right creative people who share your vision. That’s something that could take forever, you just never know. Sometimes folks come in and want to change everything, and you’ve gotta take a good long look at what you’re trying to accomplish. Some of the best and most successful film and TV translations from other mediums took years, or even decades, to accomplish properly.

"The Freshmen", Trade Paperback out April 12th 2006!

Q: : Something that many people have commented on is the quotes on the covers from some of the top names in Hollywood, how were you able to get those quotes? Was it you (Seth) having worked with them in past or Hugh’s writing connections?

S: Yeah, the quotes are funny. I always liked the ad campaign for MTV’s ‘the State’ where they touted all of the horrific reviews they got as incentive for people to watch.

H: Well, they all came from different avenues. It wasn’t something we planned out. I didn’t know Top Cow did those quotes until I saw it on the final cover for #1. It was a very nice endorsement, but I thought it felt awfully bland, and I started concocting a plan. Not everyone at Top Cow understood what I was going for when I submitted that quote for #2 from Sarah Michelle Gellar—they were eager for more of an endorsement. But they got behind me—as they have every step of the way, I’m thrilled to say—and it definitely turned some heads. We went back to a standard rave review for the cover of #3, and when I saw that the chatter died down, I knew we couldn’t turn back. I got the quotes from Sarah, Geoff Johns and Mila Kunis—they’re all good friends of mine, and Seth stalked Joss Whedon for 10 straight days to get the quote for issue #6. That one was a nail-biter—we literally got it with two hours to spare. I only met Joss once, many years ago, but I was a fan of his before anyone else—I was an intern at Di Novi Pictures when they bought of a spec script from him in 1994, and I loved it so much that I literally used it to teach myself to write screenplays. Joss told Seth he liked our book, and that was really, really great for me to hear. It’s probably my proudest moment since this began.

Q: The Trade paperback is coming out late April, what can ongoing fans expect to see as well as new fans to the series?

H: We have a new 10-page story featuring Norrin’s Christmas Vacation (guest-starring the Beaver), which bridges the gap toward our second series. It’s told through Norrin’s diary entries, and influenced by a book Seth and I both love called “Youth in Revolt.” And we also have new introductions by both of us, and a great cover gallery. Plus, the standard lettering and color corrections. Oh, and hidden in upside down invisible ink which must be magnified and black-lit to read, we have a very special feature: The secret of the universe. The first person to find it will receive a copy of Freshmen #1 signed by everyone who has ever read it.

S: That took a lot of work. Collecting the signatures alone…good luck finding it.

Q: : The Million Dollar question is will we see a return of the Freshmen past Issue 6? And will it be another Mini Series or a continuation of the 6th issue?

S: We’re hopeful, but there are many things to be considered before that can happen. Hugh’s game, and already brimming with ideas. Like I said, we’re considering some interesting options. Rest assured though, this is not the last of Freshmen. One way or another, you will see more.

H: I’d like to do another mini-series, something darker and more complex, that explores complications and consequences. Sort of our Empire Strikes Back. I’ve fiddled around with some ideas, but ultimately we just have to see how things go for Top Cow and for us.

Q: (Hugh) You also had a chance to write another comic in the last few months, X-Men Unlimited #13, how was that and do you plan to write more in the future?

H: It was a surreal blast to write a Marvel Comic with X-Men characters. It was a short story as part of their anthology X-Men title, and I barely used the main characters, but it was still a very thrilling honor. This is all new to me, of course, and the luster hasn’t worn off at all. I geekgasm every time I look at it. Thank God it wasn’t a Spider-Man story, or I might’ve had an aneurysm on the spot.

I’m working so many things that my head is spinning, but everything is planning stages and development, so it’s sort of hard to talk about. I’ve re-focused my attention on my day job, screenwriting—I have a new script out to actors now, and I’m finishing another while working on two TV projects. And I do have a great comic book project that I’m developing with a fantastic artist named Rob Prior (Rob is Paul Jenkins’ business partner, so he frequently guest-stars in Paul’s column/blog on Newsarama), but we haven’t even taken it out to publishers yet so it’s too early to spill the beans.


Cover of Issue #6
Q: (Seth) You seem to be a man pulled in 20 directions, at one point this year you had 3 shows all on TV at the same time with Robot Chicken, Family Guy and Four Kings as well as Filming movies and working on ideas for the comic, when do you sleep?

S: I’m not much of a sleeper. My contribution to Freshmen was in the initial planning, and then in the promotion. I’ve had very limited involvement, and left the bulk of creative approvals to Hugh.

Q: (Seth) Readers of Yodasnews recently were discussing the three-page spread over at, where they take a look at your current projects and your love for Star Wars as a child and growing up. Without getting into the same questions you answered there, do you see yourself growing out of the “Action Figure” mentality, and think of it more from the business side (Robot Chicken), or do you still like to sit down every once in a while and play with your action figures?

S: Working on Robot Chicken, I’ve held in my hand literally every toy I ever fantasized about owning, so I don’t even have a wish list anymore. Getting professional animators to act out all of our craziest ideas makes me less inclined to just play, but sometimes in the writer’s room we’ll use toys to act out sketches as we’re pitching.

Q: (Hugh) You have a very rare and unique connection with your fans where you take a very active role on the Freshmen message boards to get ideas from the fans and even let them get involved with contests and giveaways, how do you find the time?

H: I usually post in the middle of the night when I should be sleeping. Truth be told, I can’t write very much in a day—I burn out. I’m fast and productive when I do write, though, so it’s not a problem. But there’s a lot of downtime when I just can’t use my brain creatively. So I use all of my wasted, mushy brainpower to lower the collective intelligence of everybody on the messageboards. I think they love me for it, because they get to feel superior.

Q: With both of you also working on Robot Chicken any chance we can see some custom Freshmen Figures battle the Justice League?

S: I think we’d all love to see Freshmen toys.!

H: Holy cow, if only we had the time. I’m still waiting for my fiancée (wife by the time this actually runs, I suppose) to stitch up a customized sweater for my stuffed beaver. Uhm… I could turn that sentence around a little bit and make it really dirty. And uncomfortable for all of us. And yet now we’re uncomfortable anyway. Moving on…

Q: Putting Freshmen aside, is there any chance you two will work together again on another comic book?

H: You never know. Seth and I have written a few screenplays together, and at least one, Revolution, would be perfect for a comic. We just need to find the time and a publisher.

S: Not like he needs me, but I always love collaborating with Hugh.

Q: You have both been to Skywalker Ranch to view the last three films which is a dream for me and most of our readers, how surreal is that?

H: Absolutely brain-futzing bonkers. You can’t believe it the whole time you’re there. The ground feels sacred, the air crackles. Every freaking moment is overload. I thought the muscles in my face would snap from smiling. It’s been seven years now since we were first there, and I STILL can’t believe it happened, let alone the two times since. For Episode III, we went into the archives and walked around, and we were able to TOUCH EVERYTHING. I can’t even talk about it, I get verklempt.

S: It was super cool. Obviously the ideal conditions to see the movies.

Q: If we see a return of Freshmen, will Rodolfo Migliari still be on board to keep up his awesome cover art? How about the rest of the crew?

H: I sure hope we can keep everyone. The whole crew did a fantastic job for us. If Rodolfo doesn’t come back, he’s going to suffer a lot of guilt from me, I’ll tell ya that. Unfortunately, Leonard Kirk has signed a much-deserved exclusive contract with a non-Freshmen-publishing company, but we’ll see what his circumstances are when we’re ready to go.

S: I really hope so. We’ve had amazing fortune with this team.

Q: (Seth) You have been all over the media the last few weeks with Robot Chicken out on DVD from Howard Stern to Tony Danza and it seems like at some point, action figures are brought up from collecting to creating them, being an adult who still actively collects toys and running a site with thousands of 30+year old collectors who still love it, do you feel that the general public still views this as “weird” or “geeky” or do you think it is better accepted today then it was say in the mid 90’s?

S: Toys are definitely more available and accepted now. We live in an environment where porn stars have their own action figures. I’m pleased to find Robot Chicken crossing over with audiences that never collected toys.

Q: In the Coming weeks you guys have some signings and special engagements where fans can meet you and get the trade signed, will you be at San Diego Comic Con or Wizard World Philly again this year?

H: No plans yet. We’ll see.

S: I’m sure we’ll be there as spectators even if we’re not on panels.

H: Oh no, you told them! Now they’ll be looking for you!

Q: Thanks again for taking the time to talk with us again, we really appreciate it as well as our readers. Is there anything else you guys want us readers to know? Feel free to Pimp!

S: If you don’t buy the trade paperback of Freshmen, you will pay the price. Maybe not now, but soon…and for the rest of your life. Oh, and buy Robot Chicken on DVD. Pimps out.

H: I’m jealous of every single one of you bastards who has the Darth Maul FX saber. That’s it. Now I’ll go wallow and cuddle with my C9 vintage ESB Boba Fett, and make FX saber sounds. And hope I don’t slobber. Too much.

A very special thanks to both Hugh and Seth for taking the time to sit down with us again! For more info on Freshmen Comic, check our or . To order the Freshmen Trade paperback for only $11.04 with Free Shipping Click here and you can pick up Season 1 of Robot Chicken out now at stores and website worldwide and be sure to catch Season 2 on Comedy Central.