Dynamite Friday Pre-vinterview: Tony Lee on BSG: Starbuck #2

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It’s Dynamite Friday here at The Beat with DEJAH THORIS writer Robert Napton interviewing various peeps. Here’s Tony Lee on that rogue, Starbuck:

Q: As a fellow writer of Battlestar comics, I think focusing on the time before the destruction of the colonies and specifically the origin of Starbuck is a very compelling idea. How did this story come about?

LEE: I’d been talking to Nick Barrucci about doing something around Starbuck and while discussing this, in particular his connection to the battle of Umbra the suggestion of playing with his past, perhaps something like a ‘Starbuck Year One’ sort of story came up and I jumped at the chance. As a fan I wanted to answer the questions I’d always asked myself, things like ‘how did Starbuck and Apollo meet, why did Starbuck and Athena break up’, that sort of thing. It was also a chance to show young, fighter pilot Adama!

Q: Dirk Benedict who portrayed Starbuck in the classic series was obviously a key to Starbuck’s popularity, Did you go back and review anything in his performance for writing this character?

LEE: Oh, I watched everything. And then I watched it again, and that includes his flashback special during ‘Galactica 80′. I wanted to try to get his mannerisms down, and more importantly his psychology. I wanted to ensure that my Starbuck not only sounded like the original, but also acted and thought like the original.

Q: As revealed in issue #1, Adama and Apollo played a huge role in Starbuck’s younger life, much more than we knew about before, how did you come to that conclusion?

LEE: I always felt that Adama treated Starbuck like a surrogate child, and his friendship with Apollo was almost one of brothers.nIt made sense to extrapolate that Starbuck had been involved with Adama’s family since at least his cadet days. I liked the idea of Adama being at the battle of Umbra, and owing Starbuck his life. The rest came together naturally after that.

Q: There is a bit of a mystery to the story in Issue 2 — Starbuck is doing some detective work. Can you tell us about that?

LEE: Well, Starbuck’s finally learning that someone in the Quorum was involved in the attack, and therefore allying the Cylons. And while he and apollo hunt this thread down, he has to find something conclusive before he can take it to the others. And of course the numbers are against him, especially when he;s accused of a crime he didn’t commit and forced on the run!

Q: Through the character Counselor Osiris we see a bit of the political landscape prior to the destruction of the colonies. Was that fun terrain to explore?

LEE: I wanted a ‘bad guy’ that wasn’t Baltar – someone that was squeaky clean and trusted on the Quorum. It also made a nice twist for Baltar to be actively helping Starbuck against him, for reasons of his own, obviously. But the politics of Battlestar Galactica have always interested me – there were twelve colonies before the attack, so I wanted to show a couple of the ones we never really saw in the show after their destruction.

Q: Artist Eman Casallos does an amazing job evoking the classic Battlestar era. What does he bring to the table for you as the writer?

LEE: Eman’s really hit the ball out of the park here, his art is spectacular. And, as a writer, having a good artist involved forces you to up your game when writing. After seeing what he could do with issue #1, I actually went back and rewrote chunks of #2 onwards, knowing now what he could do on a page. And having seen future issues, he keeps getting better every panel.

Q: Lastly, as classic fans know Fred Astaire appeared as a character Chameleon in the classic series that we believe is Starbuck’s true father. Will he play a role in this origin story?

LEE: That would be telling!

Robert Place Napton is currently writing the monthly series WARLORD OF MARS: DEJAH THORIS 9In stores this week) for Dynamite. His past work includes WARLORD OF MARS: FALL OF BARSOOM, WARRIORS OF MARS, THUN’DA, and BATTLESTAR GALACTICA: ADAMA also for Dynamite. His other recent projects include SON OF MERLIN for TOP COW and he wrote the graphic novel adaptation for Terry Brook’s story DARK WRAITH OF SHANNARA for Del Rey/Random House.

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