Boom! Studios and crew have knocked it out of the park again. This time, Ian Brill and Leonel Castellani bring back Chip ‘N’ Dale Rescue Rangers! Although only one issue has been released, we’re eagerly looking forward to what’s in store. To that end, as part of Kids Comics Month, we interviewed Ian Brill and Leonel Castellani!
TFAW.com: How did you become involved with Chip ‘N’ Dale Rescue Rangers?
Ian Brill: Because of my work on Darkwing Duck, Boom! asked me to write another title starring characters from the Disney Afternoon. So now I get to create the current adventures of both Darkwing and the Rescue Rangers, a task I take quite seriously and am having a lot of fun with!
Leonel Castellani: Some time ago a Boom! Assistant Editor contacted me to work on a Toy Story project that I couldn’t accept due to other work commitments, but he was cool enough to keep me in mind and offer me the Rescue Rangers project some time later. I’m super glad he did because I’m having a great time working with these characters.
TFAW.com: Has series creator Tad Stones, been involved with the new comic book series, or have you pretty much run with it?
Brill: I come up with the situations and write the scripts. Tad is a friend and I have talked to him about these characters, his insights are extremely helpful.
TFAW.com: You’ve already done a great job of getting us reacquainted with Gadget, Monterey Jack, and Zipper in issue #1. Was that decision because you felt your audience already knew Chip and Dale well enough to get the series started?
Brill: Writing issue #1 I tried to give everyone a piece of the spotlight. Plus we included a Who’s Who of the cast in the beginning of the book, giving me more room to tell our story. I think we hit the perfect balance of reintroducing these characters and giving them a new story.
TFAW.com: Can you tell us a bit more about the first arc, “Worldwide Rescue”?
Brill: Something from both Gadget and Monterey Jack’s past is being misused by an arch-villain. It’s a global event that takes the team to various locales, each of them a new challenge.
TFAW.com: What’s been the most rewarding part of bringing these characters back into action?
Brill: Capturing the voices, these fantastic personalities. These are great characters that are so versatile, and I love thinking about where to take them.
Castellani: Getting the chance to work with such great characters and awesome scripts by Ian is simply amazing. I’m having a lot of fun drawing these little guys, and it’s very special to see the reaction of the fans everywhere. I’ve received many emails from fans that are super excited to see their beloved characters back in action. Some of them are especially thankful for getting the chance to introduce these characters to their kids. That’s pretty amazing.
TFAW.com: What’s been the most difficult part?
Brill: I work hard to make sure that every character is given their due, plus that the threat they’re up against is made clear. It’s important to me these are clearly told, entertaining stories that feature many elements that all generations an enjoy.
TFAW.com: Who’s your favorite RR to write or draw (and why?)
Brill: I like them all, but Dale and Monterey Jack can be the most all-out fun because because they are always moving forward, blustering into situations.
Castellani: To be honest, I don’t really have a favorite. I just try to concentrate on the acting and reactions of the characters to every situation, and above all things, try to tell the story as clearly as possible. But it’s super fun to draw all of them.
However, I must say there’s something in this particular storyline related to Monterey Jack, and the way he’s beginning to see the world in a different perspective, that makes him very interesting to draw.
TFAW.com: The world of RR seems much larger than ours, with virtually endless possibilities for adventures. What are you excited to show us in the coming months?
Brill: I’ve been thinking a lot about what happens when other critters in this world step up and be as ostentatious as the Rescue Rangers, whether they be heroes or villains. How do the Rescue Rangers deal with other parties who really want to carve out their own piece of the little but also giant world?
Castellani: Fun and adventure in every way possible.
TFAW.com: Leonel’s art is absolutely knock-out. The facial expressions are spot-on and the characters really feel alive. What’s it like working with such a talented artist?
Brill: Leonel is fantastic. I’m confident when I turn in a script that he will get the big adventurous parts down, as well as all the emotions the characters get express. He attends to all these aspects of the story. It’s a joy to see these stories come alive with his work, as well as the work of colorist Jake Myler and letterer Jason Arthur.
TFAW.com: What role do you see comic books like Chip ‘N’ Dale Rescue Rangers, playing in childhood literacy and fostering a love of reading?
Brill: I hope these get kids to enjoy both graphic literature as well as the entire spectrum of the written word. I know comics played a major part in my reading experience, leading me to spend a lot of time in the library discovering both comics and prose. I can only hope I pass that on to a new generation.
Castellani: I think it’s very important to encourage children to read, and comic books are an excellent (and sadly underrated) way to introduce them into the world of literature. I think all-ages comic books play an extremely important part in the formation of young readers.
TFAW.com: What other all-ages books are you reading right now?
Brill: With regret I have to admit I barely have time to read new comics. I do revisit Carl Barks’ Uncle Scrooge stories and Jeff Smith’s Bone, which are two brightly shining guiding lights for me.
Castellani: Actually, I’m not following any comic series right now. I did receive a few TPB’s of some awesome comics that I haven’t read before and found great. Mike Kunkel’s Hero Bear and The Kid is great, for instance. My friend Todd Dezago sent me the first Pehapanauts TPB and I enjoyed that one a lot. And of course, I’m always coming back to my old collection to re-read the classics like Asterix by Goscinni and Uderzo, Spirou by André Franquin.
TFAW.com: Do you have any other upcoming projects you’re working on?
Brill: I’m cooking up a lot of new ideas for both Rescue Rangers and Darkwing, I hope people enjoy them!
Castellani: I’m developing an all-ages adventure graphic novel to hopefully be released sometime next year. And that’s all I can say about that.
Thanks again for you time, gents. It’s been a fun interview!
It’s not too late to jump into Chip ‘n’ Dale Rescue Rangers! Jump aboard and get in on all the action!
Fond memories of the Disney Afternoon shows? Was Rescue Rangers one of your favorites? What did you think of the first issue? Let us know below.