Beautiful Color Art
Written by PJ Haarsma & Alan Tudyk
Funded by fans
Question: You’ve published sci-fi novels in the past, but this is your first comic book. What’s that been like?
PJ: Well first, I did not know that comics were created at such an incredible pace. It’s insane how much work has to be done, and done quickly. I’m not sure if people realize what goes into making a new comic every month. I didn’t. As for the writing, I found it. Comics are a visual medium, of course, and I found myself sketching out the panels before I even started writing. I didn’t do this at first, but then realized it was almost impossible to translate the words and actions into each panel. You have to be extremely efficient with your words and what you show. There simply wasn’t enough space to put some things in the comic that I might put in a novel. The most rewarding, and exciting part was seeing the finished pages come in from Sarah each day. That was awesome.
Q: The Spectrum story takes place in the same world as your Softwire series. Can you explain the connection?
PJ: The Spectrum arrives at the Rings of Orbis, the setting of The Softwire, and picks up a few characters during the trip. Ketheria ends up on the Spectrum and we run into the Neewalkers, the Keepers and a couple of other characters. (I don’t want to spoil anything.) We also use the main conflict of the Knull and the philosophy of OIO, but the story of the Spectrum crew is unique. The team will go off on their own adventures while JT, from The Softwire, will running around the universe doing his thing. When I finished The Softwire series, I wanted to continue the story with two different threads: one from JT’s POV and one from Ketheria’s. The Spectrum lends itself more to Ketheria’s storyline.
Q: And you are working on a Spectrum novel?
PJ: Yes, the fourth comic in the Spectrum series ends where the first novel starts. We have a great editor on board and we’ve had several discussions with different publishers. I am, however, looking at some alternative ways to distribute the story. We haven’t done anything traditional so far in this adventure, why start now?
Question: You’ve been on comic book covers before. Does it feel any different to be on your own comic book cover?
Nathan: Being on the cover of a comic is great- but it’s REALLY great when you walk into a comic shop and see it on the shelf. There’s a 12 year old nerdy kid inside me that does a victory dance when that happens.
Q: You are a Captain again on Spectrum. It seems you are everyone’s Captain. How does that feel?
Nathan: I like it. Instead of going into a big list of things I’ve done, there are fans who simply stop, nod, and call me Captain. I stop, nod, and say, “As you were.”
Q: You share the comic book cover with Skylar Haarsma and you worked with her shooting the Spectrum scenes for Con Man. In fact, you were there when she was born! What was that like?
Nathan: Skylar has been a part of my life all her life. What Alan and I do for a living was once a thing we had to explain to her, and maybe confused her a bit when she saw our stuff on TV. I remember once she asked, “What are you doing in there?” Now, she’s participating. To me, that makes perfect sense.
Question: What’s it like being on the cover of a comic book?
Sky: It’s cool. I like seeing the different versions of Ketheria. It’s a character I’ve always wanted to be so this was special to me.
Q: You acted in the Con Man series as Ketheria from the TV show, Spectrum. What was it like working with Alan and Nathan?
Sky: The best! I love them. I was very nervous, but I’ve known them my whole life. They really made me feel special and helped me with my lines a lot. It was funny to hear Nathan to tell me to use my “imaginathan”.
Q: Did you get to have any say in how Ketheria looked or dressed?
Sky: In the Softwire books, Ketheria has brown hair so I got my Dad to make it more blonde, like mine. Also, I didn’t like the first dress designed for her. They made it more goddess-like which fits her character better. My Mom helped me with that and the clothing designer was really nice. I still have the dress from the show.
Editor & Producer
Question: What’s it been like working with the boys from Con Man?
Shannon: It’s been a heckuva lot of fun. I love jobs where all the hours of work you’re doing are enjoyable and that’s what working on this project has been like. Hard work but fun hard work! Really looking forward to helping bring the amazing world the guys created to life. Plus it’s great working with folks who appreciate my background in video games, animation, toys and live-action film in addition to my work in comics. It’s one of the first times I’m able to bring my 20 years of experience creating worlds for every major company to bear in a meaningful way. That’s a great feeling.
Q: What was it about Spectrum that made you jump on board?
Shannon: I’ve been a friend of PJ for years and I’m a huge fan of his mega-popular SOFTWIRE book series. So starting off with PJ’s involvement and my obvious awareness and love of Alan Tudyk and Nathan Fillion’s work it was a no-brainer to join the team when I was asked. I’m also a huge believer in hussle, hard work and folks pursuing the things they love. It’s infectious and I’m lucky to get to be a part of this incredible new galaxy the guys have created. Plus I’m pretty sure when the movie gets made I get to be in it and shoot laser guns and fly spaceships and meet space-babes…as is standard for comic book editors.
Q: What will Free Comic Book Day do for the Spectrum comic series?
Shannon: It’ll launch Spectrum out into the world. Alan and PJ have created this amazing story and Sarah Stone is bringing it to life with her amazing illustrations and I’m so looking forward to be able to share this with everyone. Our FCBD issue will launch the rest of the regular series from Red Bear Films (and published by Automatic Publishing) so it’s an exciting time to be making comics!