Regular readers of The Blog From Another World know that we’ve had a long and interesting relationship with the mega-talented Sam Humphries, one of the folks behind MySpace Dark Horse Presents and writer of indy comics like Our Love Is Real and Sacrifice.
Well, his extreme work ethic and knack for promotion has paid off in a big way: not only is he writing the John Carter: Gods of Mars comic book series for Marvel and two more creator-owned series, Higher Earth and Fanboys vs. Zombies, for BOOM! Studios, but he was announced as Jonathan Hickman’s new co-writer on Ultimate Comics: The Ultimates, starting with issue #10.
Whew! Did we mention we’re entering convention season, with WonderCon and Emerald City Comicon right around the corner? With all that on his plate, we feel very lucky that Sam had the chance to chat with us about his plans for The Ultimates, what intrigues him about the alternate-Earths premise of Higher Earth, and what comes next (sleep?). Read on!
TFAW.com: First off, congratulations! With all of the comic-book series on your plate, I guess my first question has to be, have you made a clone of yourself? When will you share your knowledge with the world?
Sam Humphries: I haven’t made a clone of myself, I just started moving twice as fast as normal. The side effects have been Cosby-releated hallucinations, rapid hair growth, and reverse aging; I am on some Benjamin Button shit right now.
TFAW.com: It was announced that you’ll be co-writing Ultimate Comics: The Ultimates with Jonathan Hickman. How exactly will that work?
SH: We will be co-writing the book starting with issue #10, shipping in May. Hickman always has a long plan for the book, but he’s given us license to step back and take a new path. You’ll see elements of both Hickman and Humphries in our issues.
TFAW.com: Did you have a relationship with Hickman prior to this? Have you worked together before?
SH: We have never worked together before, unless the kids these days consider a lost summer in Prague “work.”
TFAW.com: What’s your theme, or your main idea, for the book?
SH: My theme is “Watch the Throne.” This is the Marvel Universe equivalent of Kanye, Jay-Z, Lil Wayne, and Drake together at Coachella. These are the biggest characters set loose on a wide screen stage where anything can happen. Who gon’ stop them??
TFAW.com: From the cover art, the book is clearly meant to appeal to fans of the movies, but the characters themselves can be pretty different than the “standard” versions. How do you reconcile that?
SH: I just try to get away with as much as I can that you can’t do in the movies or the regular Marvel Universe books. I’m trying to do things with these characters you won’t see anywhere else. Shake them up in ways you’ve never seen before, and through that, get to know them in ways you never have before.
TFAW.com: I’m personally fascinated by Jamie Braddock as Captain Britain. Do you have any plans for him?
SH: Jamie is definitely in the mix, we have a six-issue origin story about his misspent youth as a Britpop fan. (Dear everyone, I’m kidding. Love, Sam.)
TFAW.com: Are there any other characters you’re especially eager to play with?
SH: Aside from the big names, I’m really looking forward to writing Monica Chang, the Black Widow.
TFAW.com: Can you introduce Higher Earth to us?
SH: Higher Earth is a sci-fi revenge story set in an empire that has conquered over a hundred earths across alternate timelines. We follow Rex, a ronin of sorts, and Heidi, a girl born in garbage, as they slash a bloody path through the empire.
TFAW.com: In some respects, it’s akin to the Ultimates because it deals with alternate Earths. What fascinates you about that concept?
SH: Well, the Ultimates don’t know they’re an alternate earth. In Higher Earth, going from one timeline to the next is as natural as taking a flight from New York to London. It’s a massive cognitive leap that is now a day-to-day reality for a civilization of a thousand billion citizens.
TFAW.com: What does the tagline, “You Are Illegal on This Earth,” refer to?
SH: Higher Earth is an empire that rules a network of connected earths. They heavily regulate passage between timelines, and who is or is or not “legal” on any earth can shift rapidly.
TFAW.com: You’ve been really strategic about your career and promoting your books. Is that a happy accident, or did you sit down and write out a business plan?
SH: I have certainly been strategic in my career–I’ve planned things out in a considered way, managed my resources, and tried to make the most out of every single opportunity presented to me. But you can’t plan everything. Sometimes the most you can do is be bold, be prepared to take advantage of the unexpected, and work your ass off.
TFAW.com: What books are you enjoying right now, as a reader?
SH: My favorite book right now is Is That All There Is? by Joost Swarte. I’ve been waiting almost 20 years for a book of his work in English, ever since I saw him for the first time in RAW Magazine in the ’90s. This book does not disappoint!
TFAW.com: What’s next for you? Do you have time for anything else?
SH: NO ELISABETH! Nothing else! No new books, no new announcements, NOTHING! Ya can’t make me Elisabeth!! I guess the next things will be WonderCon, Emerald City, a thousand scripts, and then death.
Our thanks again to Sam for taking a break from writing his many scripts and giving us the inside scoop. You can pre-order Ultimate Comics: The Ultimates #10 and #11, Higher Earth #1, and Fanboys vs. Zombies #1 and #2 now and save 20% off the cover price!
What do you think about Sam Humphries writing The Ultimates? Are you looking forward to Fanboys vs. Zombies? Post your comments below!