Dynamite Week: AW YEAH!! Art Baltazar and Franco Search for Captain Action… Cat?! [Interview]

Dynamite will see an epic clash of the time-crossed titans this April, as a new four-issue miniseries from Art Baltazar and Franco crosses over the cast of Aw Yeah Comics with a whole heap of Silver Age Heroes, as well as Dark Horse heroes Ghost, The Occultist, X and Captain Midnight!

It’s the comic event of 2014, and I got to speak to the Aw Yeah Comics team themselves about Captain Action Cat: The Timestream CATastrophe!

ActionCat01 Cov Baltazar Dynamite Week: AW YEAH!! Art Baltazar and Franco Search for Captain Action... Cat?! [Interview]

Steve: So… what’s going on here? How do the cast of Aw Yeah Comics crash into the silver age of comics?

Franco: It’s a time stream CATastrophe! Things and people from different dimensions will all be swirled and mushed up!

Art: AW YEAH MAN! The Ultimate EVIL lies in the Silver Age! I know! I’m scared too! We soon discover the disturbance in the Timestream and this has everything to do with our very own…EVIL CAT from AW YEAH COMICS!

Steve: Where did the idea for the crossover come from?

Franco: Talking to different people about different things! One thing led to another and here we go!

Art: HA! Good stuff! I am a big fan of the Captain Action Action Figure! I love that they brought him back with all the new outfits! SO! I had the opportunity to get to know Ed Catto (the Captain Action Guy) and I asked him what he thought of a new character based on Captain Action called….Captain Action CAT! He loved it! And he shared a night of laughter!

Steve: How do the Dark Horse characters get involved in all this? And who is Doctor Evil Cat?

Art: My brain is always spinning! My thoughts are in constant motion! I thought, How can we make this cross-over huge? How can we make this something unique and memorable? Has anyone ever done a triple-company-crossover before?

Hmmm. Since Dark Horse is publishing the AW YEAH COMICS trades this year, why not include DH and try to get some of their characters involved in the epicness. So, I asked Dark Horse…and they said…YES!

Franco: We wanted to make this as EPIC as possible!  We have a great relationship with Scott Allie at DARK HORSE and with Nick Barrucci at Dynamite and they trust our vision! Dr Evil cat is someone you are gonna have to wait to find out about!

Art: ALSO! Dr. Evil Cat is the most sinister creature in the known universe. AND, apparently, throughout all space and time! He is the major arch-enemy of our hero, CAPTAIN ACTION CAT!

Steve: One of the most exciting parts about this story is that Action Cat will get to meet Captain Action Cat. Will they get along? Or will they be rivals?

Art: Hmmm. Like all hero-team-ups, there may be a misunderstanding at first. They are both good guys and both are heroes in their own timeline…however…Captain Action Cat may have to “chill-out” with a certain Action Cat from the Golden Age first before he can meet the Modern Day Action Cat! I know, it’s a lot to take in. Trust me. It’ll all make sense.

Franco: OOOOOo…. It will be clashing and confrontation and happiness and action all at the same time!

Steve: Are there any characters you’re particularly looking forward to showing off in the series? Who are your favourites to write and draw?

Franco: We introduce a Golden age Action Cat that will have affects on the Aw Yeah Universe for some time to come!

Art: I like ‘em all! I am really looking forward to see what happens when Dr EVIL CAT meets EVIL CAT! Sure sounds like a lot of evil to be had! Too much for one room to hold! Also! I am really looking forward to drawing GHOST from Dark Horse. She’s all mysterious like. I think X is cool too. WOW! Can you feel the excitement?!

CACatTC02 Cover Dynamite Week: AW YEAH!! Art Baltazar and Franco Search for Captain Action... Cat?! [Interview]

Steve: How do you persuade people to let you play with their characters? From Hellboy to Captain Midnight and Ghost, everybody seems happy to let you transform their creations into an Aw Yeah Comics version!

Art: Ha! I am not sure. I think I make people laugh and they like me. Also, it’s all about fun! Comics are awesome! Plus, I just ask. I figure comic creators are like me, we just want to make amazing awesome comics! So, I ask them.

It’s like when Superman met Spider-Man. That was fantastic! I am SO glad that happened! I kind of look at it that way too. Maybe kids who read my comics will think THIS crossover series was the best thing ever! ….one day. We shall see.

Franco: I think it’s because they know we are such fans and they trust us!  We have nothing but respect for the properties we work on and I think it shows in our work!

Steve: Are some characters harder than others to give the Aw Yeah Comics treatment? For example – how is X going to make his way into the story?!

Art: I think it comes very natural to me. I look at a character, draw them, give them words to say, keep their personality, and go from there. I like when some characters are more of a challenge to give the AW YEAH treatment to. You’ll see him in issue two.

Franco: All the characters make their way into this the same way, as for how they are given the Aw Yeah treatment you’ll have to wait and see!

Steve: How do you design the characters, once you have permission to use them? Do you try a lot of different designs before deciding on what everybody should look like?

Art: YES. I go through a few different designs before settling on one. Itty Bitty Hellboy took an afternoon of sketches to get him right. X took around three different designs to get right.  Superman took a few tries too. I keep working a character until they are true to the original design but when done, they still look like I drew it. Make sense?

Franco: I leave all of that to Artie- he’s got the touch…he’s got the power!

Steve: And how do you write comics together? Do you plan our stories together and then try to see what makes each other laugh? How do you make your stories?

Art: We don’t really script stories. Me and Franco talk a lot! Just about every day on Skype. We talk about stories and take notes back and forth. It gets to the point where we don’t know which idea come from who. THEN, at the end of our sessions, Franco will type up what we talked about, he’ll email it to me, and I’ll make thumbnail doodles of what we wrote. It’s true. That’s how it happens.

Franco: Again- being such fans of the properties and comics in general it truly is a symbiotic relationship between us when we write- the ideas come fast and furious and then we sort it out later truly having no ideas which idea came from who when we are done.

Steve: Dynamite have been doing more all-ages comics recently – many of which you’ve done covers for or been involved with. Do you think more companies should be following their example and doing all ages comics?

Franco: YES!

Art: Yeah man. Every company should make comics for all ages! And you know what, I think they are! It’s very important to get comics in the hands of the next generation of comic readers! Now is the perfect opportunity with movies and i-devices and such.  I think this is a very exciting time!

aw yeah comics1 Dynamite Week: AW YEAH!! Art Baltazar and Franco Search for Captain Action... Cat?! [Interview]

Aw Yeah Comics started last year, from Art Baltazar, Franco, and Chris Smits

Steve: Do you have time to read many all ages comics yourselves? Which current books would you recommend – aside from Aw Yeah Comics – as brilliant comics which anybody can read?

Art: I do. I sample a little bit of everything. But more importantly, I watch what my kids read. They ask me before reading ANY comic…”daddy, did you make this one?” if I say no, they put the book to the side and read mine first. It’s true. I’ve seen it.

But, besides my books, my kids like Gronk by Katie Cook, Strawberry Short Cake, Scooby Doo/Batman, Mini Marvels by Chris Giarrusso, Diary of a Wimpy Kid, ARCHIE, and Adventure Time. There needs to be a MARIO comic. They would read the heck out of that!

Franco: Gosh- so many- Anything from us! My Little Pony, Adventure Time…you’ll find them!

Steve: You’ve been establishing this Aw Yeah Comics mini-empire for the last few years, through Kickstarter, with Dynamite and Dark Horse, and all kinds of other places. Where next for Aw Yeah Comics?

Art: Yes! That’s a true story! NEXT! Coming this summer, Dark Horse is publishing the AW YEAH COMICS! Trade collections! I’m very excited about this!

ALSO! We have a 6 issue Tiny Titans series coming!

AND! There is another Action Cat and ADVENTURE BUG cross-over wrestling its way through the works!

AND! The all new all different AW YEAH COMICS! Issue #7 should be available sometime before March! Bonus! Its features Abraham Linkage! Whew! That’s all I can reveal for now.

Franco: A WHOLE BUNCH OF STUFF!  BIG little THINGS and it’s all going to be fun!

 

Thank you so much to Art Baltazar and Franco for their time! You can find them both on Twitter, as well as at their website. Many thanks also to Nick Barrucci, for arranging the interview and letting me talk to two of my heroes! Captain Action Cat: The Timestream CATastrophe starts this April.

You can find me – I’m Steve Morris! – on twitter here, and writing on t’Vanguard, by ‘eck!

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