The following is an interview with writer D.J. Kirkbride and artist Nikos Koutsis regarding the upcoming release of the collected trade paperback of Errand Boys from Dark Horse Comics. In this interview, Fanbase Press Editor-in-Chief Barbra Dillon chats with Kirkbride and Koutsi about the creative process of bringing the world and characters to life, what readers will have in store with the collected edition, and more!
Barbra Dillon, Fanbase Press Editor-in-Chief: Congratulations on the upcoming release of the collected trade paperback for Errand Boys through Dark Horse Comics! What will readers have in store with this new collected edition?
D.J. Kirkbride: Thank you! We’re happy the trade is coming out, and it’s great to chat with you about it.
I think Errand Boys might read best collected for some readers, as the story has a beginning, a middle, and an end. Folks who read the first issue and judged the characters from that was essentially like pausing a feature-length movie after 24 minutes and not sticking around for the story arcs and character growth. My hope is that having the full story in one volume will encourage readers to go on that full journey.
Dark Horse has also done a great job with the design of this book, and we’ve added some fun extras to it. It’s kind of like the nice Criterion or Arrow version of the original series, which is the type of stuff I love– and I know I’m not alone.
Nikos Koutsis: Any chance I get to share thumbnails, draft layouts, finished pencils, etc. with the fans lights my day, and – thanks to our DH editorial – there’s plenty of it in the book! You’re welcome to come aboard.
BD: In looking back at the development and creation of the series, what can you share with us about your creative process that really made this series unique?
D.J.: This is a story that’d been percolating with me for a while. I even had a pitch with another artist before this version. It didn’t work out, though, and the artist gave me their blessing to find another collaborator. ENTER THE NIKOS.
NK: Well, when we first discussed with D.J. about this book, he was very open to hear what I would have to bring to the table, so I went wild and made a suggestion about having little brother Tawnk being half human, half alien. This started shaping up everything else around it to me visually, and this has been a great playground to me. For example, I have great respect for American [Native American] culture, so while shaping up Tawnk’s design I started referencing related material to put down on paper.
DJK: Nikos helped inspire how the story developed and progressed, especially the tone. It ended up being such a great collaboration, and I think it became the comic it was always meant to be. The look and feel became so much more fantastical than I initially pictured, and it really embraced the magic of comics.
BD: At Fanbase Press this year, our #StoriesMatter initiative endeavors to highlight the impact that stories can have on audiences of various mediums – even out-of-this-world sci-fi comedies! How do you feel that Errand Boys’ story has connected with and impacted readers throughout its run?
DJK: The series can be read as a fun sci-fi romp, which is fine, and it functions that way, but some readers have picked up the emotion behind it which is nice. The two lead characters both go through so much over the course of the story. They both have a lot of growing up and learning to do at the start, and by the end, they’ve experienced and learned a lot. The importance of empathy and forgiveness, of others and of yourself, is explored amidst all the chaotic action and mayhem.
NK: Growing up I was lucky enough to have access to both US and European Comics. I had Kirby in one hand, Uderzo in the other. Neal Adams on one side and Moebius on the other. Byrne and Zeck vs. Bilal, Eleuteri Serpieri and Manara and this list goes on forever. Different worlds created from artists coming from different backgrounds, telling stories for different audiences, making this world a great place to live in! Any chance I get consuming stories mixing those different attributes is pure joy and pleasure to me. In a perfect world, we might have succeeded giving a little piece of this mixture to our readers!
BD: Do you have plans to extend the series to additional story arcs?
DJK: The comic book has a satisfying ending, but the characters clearly have more adventures ahead of them. If there was demand for it, I know Nikos and I could come up with some fun new misadventures. I have a title for it that amuses me. I know I’d love to revisit these characters and their worlds if given the opportunity. What say you, Nikos?
NK: I’m very proud of our (Errand) Boys. I would love to tell many more stories with them, and Dark Horse is a great place to do it.
BD: Are there any upcoming projects on which you are currently working that you would like to share with our readers?
DJK: I have a couple pitches in the works, but nothing is currently set yet. Fingers are crossed! In the meantime, you can find my other comics work (The Once and Future Queen, The Amelia Cole Omnibus, The Bigger Bang & The Biggest Bang, and Never Ending) at your local comic shop or from your favorite bookstores.
NK: Cartoon Network writer Tom Pinchuk and I recently co-created Remember Andy Xenon?, a self-contained one-shot about a kid adventurer who abruptly loses his powers at 18 and must get used to life as a regular guy real fast!
To sidestep the disruption the pandemic caused the comics industry, Tom published this one-shot through his own imprint, Chuk Entertainment, and distributed it directly to readers and retailers through the Zoop crowd-funding platform. It’s found a really enthusiastic audience in fans and fellow creators alike, and we think everybody involved has done great work worthy of recognition.
Tom and I have more goodies coming out for you real soon, so, stay tuned!
DJK: I really dug Remember Andy Xenon?, by the way. It gets the D.J. seal of approval!
BD: Lastly, what is the best way for our readers to find more information about Errand Boys and your other work?
DJK: My website is very simple, but it has some good links: djkirkbride.com. Nikos created a nice page for the book on his site that I just recommended to someone recently.
You can also find me talking a lot about Errand Boys and my cats on social media: @djkirkbride on the tweeties.
NK: True, koutsis.com and my social media pages have plenty of Errand Boys development material to look at to please you! You’re welcome to take a look!
Also, this is a good place to say thank you to D.J. for sharing his Errand Boys ideas with me in the first place, giving me the opportunity to be a part of it, and bringing it to life with him!
DJK: Aw, shucks… thank you, too, Nikos. It wouldn’t have happened without you.