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.
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?
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
Q: The Trade
paperback is coming out late April, what can ongoing fans expect to see
as well as new fans to the series?
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.
That took a lot of work. Collecting the signatures alone…good luck finding
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?
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.
(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
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
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.
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?
Cover of Issue #6
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.
(Seth) Readers of Yodasnews recently were discussing the three-page spread
over at StarWars.com, 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?
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.
(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
Q: With both of you
also working on Robot Chicken any chance we can see some custom Freshmen
Figures battle the Justice League?
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…
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.
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.
It was super cool. Obviously the ideal conditions to see the movies.
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.
(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
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
S: I’m sure we’ll be there as spectators even if we’re not
H: Oh no, you told them! Now they’ll be looking for
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.
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
www.fatboughl.com . 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