Why not tell us a little about yourselves, for folks not familiar with your work. While some people may know Fred from radio or TV, there may be some people unfamiliar with his writing. Miko, I understand you studied at Sheridan College but please tell us about some work you’ve done between then and now?
Fred: What could you want to know about me? Hmmmm ….well I have a fine appreciation of sweat pants, and I’ve recently begun wearing slippers. Like … all the time. It’s the new me.
I had a done a few 24 hour comic book challenges, but had never actually written anything of substance until the fall of 2009 when I began working on Teuton with Adam Gorham and a weird post-apocalyptic book called Helos with Andre Fernandes. I realized that what I had planned with Helos was a bit too much ... too out there ... so I pulled back and focused on Teuton with Adam.
We wound up doing about 300 plus pages with that one. Three trades each year. At Fan Expo we'd debut a new chapter. I'm still really proud of that book. If I could ever do it again, I would. I think it was a cool idea but I missed the mark due to lack of experience.
But it was the lessons I learned from that that led directly to The Fourth Planet.
When not writing I have a day job ... or rather a morning job at 102.1 The Edge here in Toronto. And then I go home a do battle with two children who seek to usurp my status as alpha male in my home. They are wily, but have yet to defeat me in open combat. As of yet my wife hasn't chosen a side, but we have a longstanding alliance with her kingdom, so I expect victory to be swift when my eldest son finally raises his blade to challenge me.
Miko: Since graduating from Sheridan College, I've been doing illustrations for web articles, magazines and newspapers. Some of my clients include The Globe & Mail, Scientific American and The New York Times.
Okay Fred, so when did you decide the Fourth Planet had to be made?
Fred: I had been tinkering with the idea for years, and it went through a million changes from the time I thought it up to the time I made it. But initially the idea came from a very rant-y conversation I had with my wife about the end of Battlestar Galactica. And we totally pay heed to our influences (there are a few) during the course of the story.
I decided I wanted to finally do it in the fall of 2013. I wanted to work on something new and it just felt like the right time.
How did you two meet?
Fred (& Miko): We tabled next to each other at FanEXpo 2011. Me and Adam Gorham had this massive annoying obnoxious wooden sign and It sort of blocked Miko off … I remember thinking “Oh man this guy must HATE us” the entire weekend.
But then we all got talking and really hit it off. We bonded over our love of medieval History and just kept in touch. He even did a pin up for my book, Teuton.
So what do we need to know when we pick up your first issue from Chapterhouse Comics in comic shops worldwide?
Fred: You don’t really need to know anything. There are humans who have crashed on a planet with three warring alien races, and the concept of gunpowder is just emerging as a major game changer in the balance of power.
Obviously the humans, with their energy weapons and advanced technology really throw everyone for a loop.
Miko: A massive intergalactic exodus of humans crashes into an alien planet. The native species on this planet are in the midst of renaissance-era enlightenment and war.
The exiled humans have advanced technology, and are now in a position of power similar to that of their former oppressors.
Let’s talk about your inspiration in two parts:
1) Why were you inspired to actually start making comics?
Fred: My love of comics began at the 7-11 at Londondale Shopping Plaza when I was in Grade seven. I was always waiting in line to play Street Fighter 2 and while my quarter sat on the machine I would read comics from the spinner rack. When I read the Infinity Gauntlet I remember thinking, “Well this is it, the high water mark of comics.”
I still kind of think that.
There was a critical moment in actually writing comics:
I met Kevin Smith in the summer of 2009. I told him I had these great ideas and was gonna get them on paper, and he said “Stop talking about it. Just fucking do it.”
I put pen to paper that night.
Miko: I prefer stories with pictures. Comics are intimate, and could eventually be animated, turned into film.
2) Was this particular series inspired by anything specific? Let’s face it, Space is awesome and full of potential stories, but why did YOU choose to tell a sci-fi adventure?
Fred: Honestly, the space element isn’t the tie that binds with this one. It’s the humanistic nature of how this story plays out that matters.
I think I have read too much about the Spanish conquest of the Aztecs, and that is always the vibe I get from the story.
Cause people have this idea that the Spanish showed up and just butchered EVERYONE. Which they sort of did in the long run, but initially, they landed and found all these local tribes that HATED the Aztecs and were more than eager to help the Spanish out.
However … once the Aztecs were gone it was just a matter of time before someone else found their head on the block.
Miko: I am inspired by history, and I think it compliments Fred's futuristic space opera. The Fourth Planet is our interpretation of a dramatic clash of civilizations vastly separated by time and space.
How did you come to partner with Chapterhouse Comics to publish and distribute your book and will there be more from you coming down the line?
Fred: I asked Fadi (Our Publisher at Chapterhouse Comics) if he liked the book. And he did. BUT I never would have asked if not for Jason Loo (the Creator of the Pitiful Human-Lizard). He liked The Fourth Planet and bluntly told me I should talk to them.
So everyone, go buy The Pitiful Human Lizard. Buy dozens of copies. It’s brilliant!
Speaking of which I actually worked on an issue of PHL with Jason that will be coming out in a few months. It’s a crossover with Gull Girl … a villain from the True Patriot series.
Miko: Fred and I have been working towards an opportunity like this. In this new light we will keep making fourth planet great. Of course we also have other stories to tell.
Lastly, tell us something about yourselves that you might deem quirky or unique. An interest, hobby or favourite thing to do people may not know about you?
Fred: I LOVE opera. I do. If you’ve never seen live opera you need to go. That many instruments going at once and the music … it’s just amazing.
If you ever get a chance to see The Magic Flute by Mozart or The Flying Dutchman from Wagner, YOU MUST GO!
Miko: I'm fascinated with the stories of various faiths. Lately I've been exploring the Bhagavad Gita, it is intense and beautiful.