The following is an interview with Peter J. Mellini regarding the launch of the Kickstarter campaign for the all-ages, sci-fi adventure comic book, Gordo: The Teenage Flying Saucer #2. In this interview, Fanbase Press Editor-in-Chief Barbra Dillon chats with Mellini about the shared creative approach to bringing the story to life, what he hopes that readers will take away from the story, the incredible backer rewards available with the campaign, and more!
Barbra Dillon, Fanbase Press Editor-in-Chief: Congrats on the launch of your Kickstarter campaign! For those who may be unfamiliar, what can you share with us about the premise of this story, as well as its inspiration?
Peter J. Mellini: Gordo: The Teenage Flying Saucer is about a 13-year-old boy with the powers and abilities of a flying saucer. Along with his friends CeeCee (a shapeshifting alien bounty hunter) and Otto (an extraterrestrial AI), they protect the desert town of Stardust from extraterrestrial threats, as well as shadowy government agents.
It’s an all-ages action, sci-fi adventure comic, fun for the whole family!
The whole thing started when I bought a collection of comics and found a book by CC Beck and Otto Binder, the creators of Shazam, called Fat Man The Human Flying Saucer. In all my time reading comics and working at comic shops, I had never heard of this book, and the title and the idea were so weird they grabbed my attention. So, I started hunting down the rest of the issues even though there were only 3 issues in the series. It took me over a year to find them all. This series was so obscure, it felt like no one knew what I was talking about. This was surprising when one night I was talking with my friend, Miguel Acedo, and he knew about it. After talking about it for a few hours, we realized the original intellectual property was public domain.
The gears started turning. We spent another year or two trying to develop this project – everything from a straight adaption of the original series to a kind of serious sci-fi take on it – and it seemed like nothing worked. Then, we realized we just had to roll with the silliness of the original concept for it to work, so I pitched making the main character a kid and having fun with it.
Once we started working with that mindset, the book became less of an adaptation and more of an inspiration from the original concept.
BD: This project is a collaboration with co-writer/co-creator Miguel Acedo and artist/co-creator Valeria Ontiveros. How would you describe your shared creative process in working with Miguel and Valeria to bring this story to life?
PJM: I’ve known Miguel for almost 20 years now, and every time we get together, we talk about comics and pitch ideas for stuff we’d love to work on. This is the first time we’ve written something together, and it took a little learning curve. We have different writing styles, but I think it works because we’re fans of the same kinds of stories and comics and we have a clear vision for where we want this to go.
Valeria is the best. We met during my comic expo, The East LA CAPE, where I became an instant fan of her artwork. I wasted no time in approaching her about the project, and she was on board right away. I’m glad she did, because she made the book 1000 times cooler. She went above and beyond on the designs. Her design on our main character’s mask alone really defined the whole look of the series. You wouldn’t be able to tell from looking at the pages, but this is Valeria’s first comic book and her style gets better with each issue.
BD: How do you feel that this story may resonate with readers, and what do you hope that readers will take away from Gordo?
PJM: Our goal with this project is to give people that feeling of watching a Saturday Morning cartoon. A fun action-adventure story! Putting together the East LA CAPE, I got to see a lot of kids from the community who enjoy comic books and superhero pop culture. I wanted to create something that a kid from East LA could look at and feel represented. Representation is important, and it’s gotten a lot better over the years, from Quince and Blue Beetle to the classics like El Muerto and Sonambulo, I wanted to add to that.
BD: In light of the Kickstarter campaign, are there any particular backer rewards that you would like to highlight for our readers?
PJM: We have some cool stuff, everything from sticker packs which include stickers designed by artists Tara O’Connor, Candy Briones, and Crystal Gonzalez, to variant covers by J. Gonzo and Rafael Navarro. From original sketches on blank covers by our own Valeria Ontiveros to getting the chance to own one of the 31 pieces, she hand-drew during this year’s Inktober.
BD: Are there any other projects on which you are working that you would like to share with readers?
PJM: We have 5 issues planned for this storyline, and we’re currently getting those ready for future releases. Other than that, my store Nostalgic Comic Shop in San Gabriel keeps me pretty busy with events and just weekly new books. I might be a little early to say, but we are currently working on hopefully bringing back the East LA CAPE in 2023.
BD: Lastly, what would you like to tell fans who want to learn more about the Gordo: The Teenage Flying Saucer #2 Kickstarter campaign and your other work?
PJM: To learn more about the book, please check out TeenageFlyingSaucer.com and follow us on Instagram, Facebook, and TikTok (@TeenageFlyingSaucer) and @TeenageUFO on Twitter.