I’ve been a fan of Jeff Parker’s for ages. His Marvel work includes such all ages gems as X-Men: First Class and his Shazam miniseries was the best damn part of Convergence. Also, if you haven’t read his Flash Gordon Omnibus (Flash Gordon Omnibus Tp)“>Flash Gordon, then you’ve missed out on one of the absolute best retellings of a classic character.
Now Parker is bringing his talent to another classic, the Hanna-Barbera action cartoon characters. To say we’re excited about Future Quest is putting it lightly – this is our fourth article about the series and the third time we’re talking to the creative team. Why are we giving this much time to one comic? Because it’s that good, people. It’s got everything – nostalgia for the parents, adventure for new fans, and great art from Evan “Doc” Shaner.
With issue four of Future Quest hitting the stands today, we sat down with Jeff again, to ask some more questions.
GeekDad: You and I know what Future Quest is about – a series that uses many of the old Hanna-Barbera adventure heroes to tell a larger story. But let’s say someone had a sheltered childhood – what would be your description to sell this to someone who had never heard of Jonny Quest, Space Ghost, the Herculoids, or Birdman?
Jeff Parker: This is establishing a shared universe for several science fiction adventure characters who rarely if ever crossed over in their original versions, and it ranges from globe-hopping James Bond-esque action heroes to alien ones in distant solar systems. You can expect to see monsters, robots, cavemen, dinosaurs, and world-destroying menaces- deadly consequences yet somehow with a sense of fun and optimism.
I might mention that Space Ghost is sort of the Batman of Outer Space.
GD: Saturday Morning cartoons were huge to me, even though, due to the Jewish Sabbath, I caught them on other days. How about you – were you a big Saturday morning Cartoon fan? If so, who was your favorite?
JP: I was, and it was Jonny Quest, hands down. Global adventure, big sci-fi concepts, cool action, it shaped my tastes tremendously.
GD: I’m curious: were there any HB characters you wanted to use, but could not or didn’t have space for?
JP: No, in fact we added in Dino Boy because Shaner kept doing drawings of him, though he wasn’t in the original plan. So we had to ask for permission. Glad we got it because now it’s hard to imagine the story unfolding without his section and the Lost Valley of Time.
GD: As a follow up to 3, can we expect to see Galtar (a personal favorite)?
JP: For this event, we’re only doing the action adventure heroes of the 1960s. I assume if things go well DC/HB will progress chronologically onto other properties.
GD: I was very impressed with how Hadji was updated to be Johnny’s adoptive brother instead of, well, some kid they found and kind of… took. Will we be seeing any more updates of old tropes for modern sensibilities that you can share, or is that too spoilers to ask?
JP: He always was Jonny’s adopted brother! They never had time to go into the formal details but Doug Wildey later in the comics spelled out that Dr. Quest formally adopted him.
I just did away with him having a different last name, really–if he and Jonny are brothers, he’s a Quest.
We try to be more inclusive with other parts of the cast and flip some of the disappearing-mother convention that seemed so prevalent. With the Frankenstein Jr. cast, Buzz Conroy’s father is the one who’s dead, and his mother is the famous roboticist.
Also the big intelligence organization Inter-Nation is largely represented by Deva Sumadi who ties a lot of the separate story elements together with her involvement. I think a lot of the writers in the ’60s at HB assumed since the audience was largely young boys that they wanted mostly male characters, hence how dude-heavy the cartoons are, so that’s where a lot of the course correction is devoted.
GD: I did not know that about Hadji at all. The wider range of race and gender is certainly welcome in my household.
If you haven’t checked out Future Quest yet, I strongly urge you to. Issue 4 is on sale today!