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Under The Hood of the CARS Comics: Getting to Radiator Springs

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With the Disney publicity machine gearing up for the release of CARS 3 in June I’ve seen a renewed interest in the CARS comics that I was lucky enough to write back in 2009/2010 following on from the original CARS movie. So I thought it might be fun to post a few short articles reliving my time hanging out with the denizens of Radiator Springs  and sharing a few of the behind the scenes insights, and some of the references, homages etc. that we sneaked into the scripts.

Getting to Radiator Springs.

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I’m often asked how I landed the gig to write the CARS comics, and my answer is that I simply begged to do it. It was at ComicCon 2008 in San Diego that comics publisher BOOM Studios announced that they would be producing a line of comics based on the Disney*Pixar movies. The announcement also included the news that the editor of the new line would be one Paul Morrissey, who had joined BOOM from manga publisher Tokyopop. It so happened that Paul had been my editor at Tokyopop on the GOD SHOP project.

As a total gear-head CARS was my favorite Disney*Pixar movie, I also think it is a straight forward fun movie with a great message even if you aren’t that interested in cars. So at San Diego I tracked down Paul and basically begged saying something along the lines of, “I don’t care what anyone else is pitching for, I want to write the CARS comic.” It turned out that most people had asked about writing The Incredibles, or Toy Story*, so the list I was competing with was shorter.

As we walked and talked I pitched Paul a story I had in mind that he seemed to like, so he asked me to come back the next day with four story ideas. I was back at the BOOM booth at 8:00am the next morning with five, the last one being a throw away idea of doing a ‘prequel’ to the movie that told Lightning McQueen’s back story that I knew that Disney would never let me do. I mean if anyone was going to do an ‘origin’ story for one of their lead characters it would be Disney. Right?

Paul reviewed the ideas and took them to Disney, who also approved them. The last day of the convention I got the news from Paul that I was to be the writer on the new CARS comic book series, oh and Disney wanted to kick things off with the origin story.

It was time to start writing – Ka-Chow!

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* I also  also asked to pitch for Toy Story and developed a four issue story arc that was approved and even announced and promoted, but that never saw the light of day – but that’s a whole other story for another blog entry.

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The Weekly Haul – 8/3/11 – What comics I picked up this week and why.

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Haven’t done this since February, but it’s about time I got back to doing it. So with out any acclaim or fanfare whatsoever, a look at what made it into the stack of four-color fun I bought home from Austin Books this week.

Elric: The Balance Lost #2 (BOOM!) – Interested to see where Chris Roberson is taking the Michael Moorcock multiverse concepts and characters. He shows a real understanding of them here.

Essential Amazing Spider-Man #1 (Marvel) – I’m ashamed to say that I didn’t have a complete run of the classic Lee/Ditko Spider-Man issues in my comics library. That oversight has now been rectified thanks to the reissue of this first Essentials volume.

Heroes For Hire #10 (Marvel) – This is the book closest to the classic Marvel action I used to love. Just superheroes teaming up to catch the bad guys – it’s that simple, and its so much fun.

House of Mystery #40 (DC/Vertigo) – Just a couple of months left for this innovative and thought provoking series by my buddy, Matt Sturges. I’ve been there since before issue #1, and I’ll be there to the end.

The Infinite #1 (Image) – I normally wouldn’t have touched this with a cattle prod due to the name on the art credits, Rob Liefeld. But I heard writer Robert Kirkman (He of “The Walking Dead” fame) talking about the book, the time-travel premise, and his ideas for it on a recent podcast, and he sold me enough to pick up the first issue.

Punisher #1 (Marvel) – I really don’t like The Punisher as a character or as a concept, yet I picked the first issue of his new series up. Why? Simply because Greg Rucka is writing it, and none do urban, gritty thrillers any better. Let’s see if one of my favorite writers can change my mind about Frank Castle?

Rachel Rising #1 (Abstract) – A new series from talented Terry Moore.  Do I need say any more?

Red Skull Incarnate #2 (Marvel) – Stunningly designed and evocative covers, a well scripted story by Greg Pak examining the psyche of one of the Marvel Universe’s most perverse bad guys, all interwoven with the rise of Nazi influence in Germany during the 1930s equals one of the most intriguing “superhero” books on the stands at the moment.

Retro-Active (DC Comics) – Lumping these books together as one. I’m really enjoying these nostalgia themed books from DC using classic writers and artists. In fact I’m enjoying them more than the current mainstream DC Universe books. This week picked up 1980s era Flash, Batman, and Wonder Woman books. And the best part of these books – the newsprint pages. They look, feel, and smell like a comic book should. Way better than the modern slick glossy pages.

Superman #714  (DC Comics)- The end of an era as this is the last issue of the current Superman title that started the whole super-hero thing off back in the 1930s/40s. I’d have picked it up anyway as I’m really been enjoying Chris Roberson’s take on the Man of Steel, and he had me picking up the Superman books on a regular basis for the first time in years. It’s a shame DC didn’t carry his vision over to the new DCU relaunch next month.

Zorro Rides Again #1 (Dynamite) – With my penchant for pulp style generational heroes, Zorro has always been among my list of favorites. Over the years some of the comics series have been hits, and some definite misses. But I give each new one a try. Let’s see how this one pans out.