“I’ve always loved the silver age, and I’ve always wanted to create my own take on it” Andy W Clift talks all-ages family space adventures in Captain Cosmic
The last time we saw Andy W Clift’s work on show was in the blood-soaked pages of Mike Garley’s Samurai Slasher, so were a little bit surprised when we heard his newest book was an all-ages sci-fi adventure about a father and daughter superhero family in space called Captain Cosmic. Released via the Comichaus app, we caught up with Andy to find more about his love of silver age comics and what inspired him to make an all ages family adventure.
So tell us a bit about the inspiration and the back story for Captain Cosmic – it feels like quite a departure from your previous work like Bertie Bear? Had you always wanted to tell a classic slice of old school sci-fi?
Andy W Clift: Absolutely. This is a passion project that I’ve been working on for a long time. I’ve always loved the silver age, particularly the sci-fi aspect of it and I’ve always wanted to create my own take on that. I grew up on sci-fi and Superhero TV shows as well as comics. I loved Batman the Animated series and re-runs of incredible shows like Star Trek and Captain Scarlet. These all played into the formation of Captain Cosmic.
But I also think, that although there are a lot of clear differences between Bertie and Captain Cosmic, the approach in the end, was the same. I just wanted to tell fun adventure stories.
There is a lot of crossover in the influences between Bertie and Captain Cosmic. The Phantom was a big influence on both.
It has a really lovely all ages tone, and seems to avoid being a parody or homage, was it important to you that it was a good old fashioned space adventure story and not too snarky and post-modern?
AWC: Very important. I wanted to create something positive and fun. Something that anyone of any age and gender could pick up and maybe find something in it for them. Also, I wanted to showcase a family/legacy superhero team up. The idea that the mantle will pass from parent to child was very much a part of the idea from the very beginning.
It feels like you have been very faithful to golden and silver age art styles for this – the Kirby krackle is amazing and the muted colour scheme makes it feel really vintage at the same time – was important to you to get it looking and feeling like an authentic period piece?
AWC: Thanks! Authenticity was one of my main priorities when creating the book. I didn’t just want to create a homage to the silver age, I wanted to create something that felt like it could’ve come from the silver age. I own a lot of books from that era, so I did a lot research and design work, probably more than I’ve done on any project before this, and I tried to replicate as much as I could, while trying not to be too much of a direct copy cat.
Were there any particular artists or series which you took inspiration from for Captain Cosmic? Obviously Kirby, but it reminded me a bit of Space Ghost as well.
AWC: Alex Toth’s work on the Space Ghost cartoons was a major influence on Captain Cosmic. I don’t think I can do anything without looking to Kirby. Darwyn Cooke is a huge influence of all my work, as is Dick Sprang, Curt Swan, Mike Oeming, Bruce Timm, Mike Allred, the list could go on. But also Pulp stuff, Flash Gordon, Buck Rodgers and the Phantom.
It feels quite difficult to pin down your art to one specific style. Do you try and mix up your art style for each comic you work on to try and keep things fresh?
AWC: I always learn something new from each project I work on and I’d like to think my work evolves with that. It helps that I get to work with some amazing creators. Mike Garley in particular is someone who always pushes me to do better whenever I work with him.
You’re going for a digital only release for now, and released it via the Comichaus app initially, which feels like a slightly different way to release it compared to other small press books. Is that your way of trying something new and to get it out to a wider audience and build the fanbase before doing a print run?
AWC: It wasn’t a conscious choice to try something new, more down to circumstance. I’m not doing very many comic cons this year, so launching with print being the main finished product, didn’t make sense to me. As soon as the book was done, I wanted to get it out there for people to see and digital is a good way to do that. Comichaus felt like the right move because it’s an incredible app with an amazing library. The response on there has blown me away. I am planning a kickstarter very soon to fund a small print run, hopefully with in the next month.
Is Captain Cosmic planned for an ongoing series for you or just a limted run or one-off?
AWC: I’m currently planning for it to be an on going series, but made up of self-contained issues. That way, each issue can be a jumping on point for a potential new reader. That’s the current plan anyway.