The following is an interview with Joe Aubrey and Eric Peterson regarding the launch of their Kickstarter campaign for Space Bastards: Volume 2, published by Humanoids. In this interview, Fanbase Press Editor-in-Chief Barbra Dillon chats with Aubrey and Peterson about the creative process of returning to the world and characters of the series, the impact that the story may have with readers, and more!
Barbra Dillon, Fanbase Press Editor-in-Chief: Congratulations on your return to Kickstarter for the second volume of Space Bastards! For those who may be unfamiliar, what can you tell us about the series’ premise?
Joe Aubrey: Thank you! In the future, mankind has colonized the cosmos. Unemployment is rampant, and basic services are unreliable. The Intergalactic Postal Service offers the best paying, yet deadliest jobs in the universe. When you’re unemployed or otherwise have nothing left to lose, you sign up and become a postal carrier.
Eric Peterson: Postal carriers are encouraged to intercept, kill, and steal from each other to complete deliveries. The courier that actually delivers the package gets paid – the ones that don’t, if they survive, get nothing.
BD: How would you describe your shared creative process in bringing this story to life alongside co-creator Darick Roberston, and what (or who) were some of your creative influences in terms of the characters and tone?
EP: Joe and I were making spaceship sets in my backyard and shooting Space Bastards short films when I was in film school, and around that same time I was having my mind blown by Transmetropolitan. So, it is a real lifelong dream to get to collaborate on Space Bastards with Darick, who we thought of immediately when we decided to make Space Bastards into a comic. I also grew up on a healthy diet of Vertigo books, 2000AD, and other pulp fiction, as well. I think many different things roll up into the style of stories we tell in this universe.
JA: We presented the idea to Darick, and he got it immediately. His artwork is our visual baseline for the series. With Darick, we got a special blend of humor and grit in the visuals that is absolutely distinctive. We think of him as our director or cinematographer – he makes everything we try to do clearer and more fun to read. Influences for Space Bastards? Hell, everything. Real-life workplace stuff mostly. For media influences, see the Hitchhiker’s Guide series of books, Repo Man, Cannonball Run, Punisher Max, and Destroyer Max.
EP: For me, it’s too many to name but certainly all of those that Joe mentioned. The great thing about the Space Bastards universe is that ultimately we can explore many different types of stories and corners. For me, some of the more unusual influences are The Wire, Guy Ritchie movies, Terry Gilliam, the DCAU, and also certainly a lot of the works that I know the artists from.
BD: At Fanbase Press, our #StoriesMatter initiative endeavors to highlight the impact that stories can have on audiences of various mediums. How do you feel that David’s story will connect with and impact readers, and why do you feel that this story was important for you to bring to life?
JA: We want people to laugh and be entertained. That said, all of our main characters have had significant personal setbacks and disadvantages and are exploited to a certain extent by a gig economy on steroids. We think that will be relatable for our readers.
EP: I have definitely gone through periods of sleeping under my desk at a job, working to the bone, and feeling like I could lose it at any time. I think that is a throughline for the whole ensemble cast, not just Davey. Do you own your life, or does some aspect of your life own you? What does it cost, and what are you willing to put on the line, to change that?
BD: What makes Humanoids the perfect home for Space Bastards?
EP: First off, they’ve been just amazing champions of the book since the very beginning. With everyone on the team, including publisher Mark Waid, from our very first meeting, I felt like the entire company just “got it.” That they understood what we were trying to accomplish.
JA: Humanoids is the honey badger of comic book publishers. They’re small — but they are unkillable and they do not give a shit. Look at their catalogue. It’s like a cosmic zoo – historical figures, erotica, giant sharks, John DiFool. And Mark Waid is Taneleer Tivan. Perfect fit for us.
BD: There are some incredible variant covers planned for the launch. Are there any details that you’re able to share with readers that are interested in garnering a copy?
EP: Support your local comic shop! I’m thrilled with these variant covers for issue one. At the same time, all of Darick Robertson’s issues are stellar, and I’m excited for readers to experience the treats in each of these as they come out each month. Humanoids has done a triumphant job treating these issues as collectible timely treats. Also, they’re huge. Each installment is 28-44 pages.
BD: Are there any other upcoming projects on which you are working that you are able to share with our readers?
EP: My life is Space Bastards. I’ve done some comics before, but in terms of the future? I don’t have time to fuck around. It’s Space Bastards for life for me, or at least that is my hope. It is a vehicle for most of the things that are closest to the chest for me.
BD: Lastly, what would you like to tell fans who want to learn more about Space Bastards?
JA: On January 18th, we are running a second Kickstarter campaign where die-hard fans can purchase Space Bastards Volume 2. Like Volume 1 that we sold via Kickstarter in 2019, this will be a limited edition, oversized hardcover collection of Space Bastards stories presented in an exclusive reading order. Volume 2 is stuffed with two more installments (50 pages total) of the “Tooth and Mail” story arc drawn by Darick, a heist featuring the origin of “Resurrection” Mary drawn by Colin MacNeil, and a gritty tale of retirement cut short rendered by Clint Langley. We will continue the Kickstarter campaigns so that we can pay the artists/colorists/letterers in advance and offer our fans exclusive oversized prints and other goodies not available through traditional retail channels. Kickstarter is the best way we’ve found to keep the comic alive and our artists busy in a post-pandemic world.