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Fanbase Press Interviews Rob Williams on the Upcoming Collected Trade Paperback Release of ‘Petrol Head’ with Image Comics

The following is an interview with Rob Williams (The Ten-Seconders, Asylum) regarding the upcoming release of Petrol Head collected trade paperback through Image Comics. In this interview, Fanbase Press Editor-in-Chief Barbra Dillon chats with Williams about his shared creative process in working with artist Pye Parr, what readers can look forward to in the collected edition, and more!

Barbra Dillon, Fanbase Press Editor-in-Chief: Congratulations on the upcoming release of the collected Petrol Head trade paperback!  What will readers have in store with this new collected edition release?

Rob Williams: Thanks. They get all five issues of the initial arc of Petrol Head – and issue one was double-sized – so that’s, what? Over 120 pages of the most beautiful Pye Parr futuristic art with immense colours that’ll make your eyes bleed. That’s a lot of good comics for the price that Image does on its first volume of a new series. $9.99 in the States. That’s a good deal that’s almost criminal.

BD: In looking back at the development and creation of the series, what can you tell us about your shared creative process that really made this series both unique and complementary to your prior work?

RW: Well, its inception came during COVID, when Pye was drawing these posters for fun of futuristic robot racing drivers and their cars. The posters were bright and fun and just had a sense of tone and optimism about them. I asked if he’d considered making a comic in this world, and then we started talking story and characters and a narrative drive (sic). Going in I knew Pye was a brilliant designer and colourist. What came as a hugely pleasant surprise to me was, when the pages started coming in, that he was also a superb visual storyteller. There’s an innate sense of where he puts the ‘camera’ and his ability to sell a character or a comedic beat on the page. The script was a good one. I felt strongly about that. But Pye just made it all sing on the page. So, you get the best of both worlds – some world-class sci-fi concept art with terrific and empathetic visual storytelling on the comics page. That’s a rare combination.

BD: In revisiting the series for the upcoming trade paperback, was there anything new or intriguing that you took away from the story that you hadn’t anticipated when originally creating it?

RW: I think we felt it as we progressed but the collection of the arc really hammers it home – that every new character we introduce along the way really pops and sticks with you. Some of these characters weren’t in the initial pitch, but when you’re writing you sometimes realise you need a character here to satisfy this narrative need, and they just sort of suggest themselves. And then, a few script drafts later and you realise that character is one of the best things in the whole book. Dave the bird, who is kind of Petrol Head’s sarcastic robo-conscience, only appeared because I realised a sequence of Petrol Head living on his own in his garage was going to be pretty dull on the page – he needed someone to talk to. And Dave ends up being a big part of the heart of the book. I wanted Petrol Head’s car to have a Satnav so Satnav Sid was born – a holographic little guy who speaks in future cockney rhyming slang (which is a really weird little creation). By the end of the trade paperback, this has turned into a little team book, really. All these characters were just too good to throw away.

BD: At Fanbase Press this year, our #StoriesMatter initiative endeavors to highlight the impact that stories can have on audiences of various mediums.  How do you feel that this installment has connected with and impacted readers, especially in light of the incredible critical and fan response to the series? 

RW: It’s tough to say. You create something in a bubble. Although when we decided to run a Letters Page, we asked for readers’ emails not knowing if we’d receive enough to actually have a letters page, and we received 53 emails on issue one, all seeming to love the book, some wanting to converse with Satnav Sid in cockney rhyming slang. And that continued throughout. So, that was encouraging. And then something happens in issue four of the series which apparently made Pye’s wife cry when she read it. So, you slowly become aware that Petrol Head has had an effect on people.

BD: Are there any other upcoming projects on which you are working that you are able to share with our readers?

RW: I’m a regular writer on Judge Dredd for 2000AD and I currently have a seven-part story running with the great RM Guera (Scalped) called ‘Rend & Tear With Tooth & Claw.’ That looks absolutely beautiful. The trade paperback of the recent Judge Dredd: A Better World storyline – which I co-wrote with Arthur Wyatt and featured phenomenal art by Henry Flint – that’ll be coming out later in the year, I believe. A Better World received quite a bit of acclaim when it ran in 2000AD, so it’ll be good to see that collected.

BD: Lastly, what would you like to tell fans who want to learn more about the Petrol Head trade paperback?

RW: We have all sorts of details on our website, www.petr,, including some sweet, sweet merch (so sweet, in fact, we have to say it twice). There’s T-shirts and mugs and stickers and prints of Pye’s work. You can contact us via the website too, if you have any Petrol Head thoughts, in cockney rhyming slang or otherwise.

Barbra Dillon, Fanbase Press Editor-in-Chief




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