“Had I been left to my own devices the comic would likely be full of space suit fart jokes and little else” Chris Baldie talks Space Captain
Space Captain (Captain of Space) blasted its way on to our top 10 list of 2016 thanks to its irreverent charm and it’s all-action, moustachioed hero. With a new issue launching on Kickstarter this week, we took the opportunity to have a chat with artist Chris Baldie to find out the secrets of the last man in the universe, and discover why he has such an awesome tash!
For those who are new to the world of Space Captain how would you introduce them to it?
CB: I never know how to do an elevator pitch for the Space Captain series, not because I think it’s a “modern classic” or too complex to define, but just because I’m really terrible at this stuff. Maybe this is why I don’t write comics. I’ve had a lot of people tell me it’s a space opera, which sounds cool, so we’ll go with that. The story itself follows our protagonist “Space Captain” (the last human in the universe) as he makes his way back home to Earth. He jumps from planet to planet, encountering both friends and foes along the way, slowly uncovering his tragic past..
And for those who are old hands, what can we look forward to in book 4?
CB: Issue 4 is (in my opinion) the most exciting yet. We uncover more of Captain’s past, we see new relationships form and old ones change. And space suits! There are space suits in this issue. I’m really excited about drawing space suits.
How did you and Michael Park join forces and come up with this fantastic series?
CB: Michael and I actually work together as our respective alter-egos of iPhone Developer and Graphic Designer. One day I came into the office and joked around with the idea of making a comic called “Space Captain: Captain Of Space” based around a little doodle I had done of an astronaut riding through space on a comet. A few days later I learned that Michael had secretly written a full script that, upon reading, I knew had to be made into a book.
One of things I love about SC is the emotional depth you give the book with the back story about his wife. Was it important for you to include that in order to stop it being just another ‘last man in the universe’ story?
CB: As I said previously, a lot of the emotional punches in the story are from Michael’s original script. Had I been left to my own devices the comic would likely be full of space suit fart jokes and little else. My attitude toward storytelling has changed a lot since starting this series, and with each new issue we seem to be trying to outdo each other by coming up with deeper storylines and more intricate plot points. It’s come a long way from the original space farce I had planned.
But there’s also lots of cool aliens which must be a lot of fun to draw?
CB: The aliens are actually the part I dread the most… that’s why most of them tend to just be some configuration of “humanoid but with bigger ears”. It kind of plays nicely into the old cliché of early TV sci-fi, were all the aliens were clearly just humans with a little added makeup. But if I’m being honest, I just wish I was better at character design and had more of a knack for coming up with unique and refined characters on the fly. The ships, planets, costumes, etc. are super fun to do though!
Space Captain reminds us a lot of Tintin as well as those classic 40s serials, what are your influences as an artist?
CB: Tin Tin and Asterix were the two big comics of my childhood, and I can’t help but think they’ve influenced me in some way. But I would say my big visual influences these days are mostly indie creators and small press, especially those with a stripped back and bold style. For example (to name but a few) Meredith Gran’s “Octopus Pie“, Ramón Pérez’s “Kukuburi“, Andrew Maclean’s “Headlopper“, Luke Pearson’s “Hilda“, and Mike Mignola’s “Hellboy” of course. Always Hellboy. Forever and ever.
As a bit of a Kickstarter veteran can you offer any hints or tips or wisdom based on your experiences? Is it easier doing a fourth volume as you have your loyal readership or does it make it harder to get new readers?
CB: My number one tip for Kickstarter is make your rewards a fair price. It bugs the heck out of me when I see someone selling their items for way more than it would cost to buy in person. People who back your project should be rewarded for having faith in your ability to finish the project. Also all the usual stuff, like making your video short and concise, clearly label what the rewards are, and, most importantly, keep it simple (something we’re only just learning ourselves).
Where do you see the series going? Will it have a finite arc or will it be ongoing? And would you like it picked up by a publisher?
CB: Originally we started off with the idea that it would be a long, sprawling adventure with endless possibilities of planet jumping, alien encounters and quirky new characters, but that changed really quickly when we started actually telling the story. It became obvious that our characters had a trajectory and were leading up to what we think is a perfect little ending. Our goal is to wrap up the saga in issue 6, which I am now very excited to draw. For the time being I like to control how, when and where I distribute my work, so I have no ambition to work with another publisher. I’m also incredibly hard to work with. Ask Michael.
Last, but by no means least, what’s the deal with the Captain’s epic tash?!
CB: I can’t quite remember how it came to be, if I’m being honest. I know in my original comet doodle, I gave him a moustache simply because I thought it was comical for the little Captain to have one. Fun fact though: I actually had my friend Dave Morrow drawing the comic to begin with. he’s an incredible artist, and like with Michael’s involvement, came into the office one day with some impromptu sketches. Unfortunately he had to pull out of drawing the whole comic, but I took some of his designs and adapted them to my style. So somewhere along the way, his whiskers just sort of kept getting larger and larger.
You can pledge your support for the Captain of Space on Kickstarter here and to check out the first 3 issues and more of Chris’s work then visit his Never Ever Press Store (but you can also get them as part of a pledge on this campaign!)