Galaxy Quest: The Journey Continues

Never Give Up! Never Surrender!

 

 

In case you didn’t know it, 1983 was a pretty important year for Galaxy Quest.

 

Yes, yes, I know. The Galaxy Quest movie didn’t release in theatres until 1999, and in fact, no one had even thought of Galaxy Quest in 1983. Nonetheless, that year was a significant one for the franchise that gave us the immortal phrase, “Never give up, never surrender!”

 

1983, you see, was the year that five-year-old Erik Burnham lost pretty much everything.

 

“Our family had a house fire,” he remembers. And—poof—everything little Eric owned went up in smoke.

 

You can imagine how that must of have felt for a kindergartner! So his grandfather did what he could. To cheer up his little Erik, he pulled a comic out of his own collection (Avengers Annual #6, if you were curious) and gave it to his grandson as a gift.

 

“It was my first possession after losing everything I’d known up to that point,” Erik says, “and I read it into rags. Just that one book being given to me at that time permanently cemented my love for the medium.”

 

Fast-forward to today, and Erik has turned his love for Avengers Annual #6 (and grandpa) into a thriving career as a comic book writer, including an acclaimed run on the Ghostbusters comic book series from IDW Publishing. And that’s where Galaxy Quest comes in...

 

In 2014 IDW editor, Tom Waltz, was looking for a writer to take on a new comic book series based on the Galaxy Quest movie:

 

“I knew I wanted to work with my longtime Ghostbusters collaborator, writer Erik Burnham…My gut told me he’d bring the same comedic timing mixed with real dramatic flair to Galaxy Quest. So I asked him to pitch me an idea, which he did, and which both the studio and I loved.”

 

And thus Galaxy Quest: The Journey Continues was born—with special thanks to Grandpa and Avengers Anuual #6 for instilling a love for comics in the mind and heart of little Erik Burnham.

 

In case you haven’t followed the movie into the comics yet, here’s the premise of the series:

 

As you recall, the end of the Galaxy Quest film saw our TV-actors-turned-space-heroes saving the universe through a wondrous device called the Omega 13, which miraculously twisted time and took everything backward 13 full seconds. Hooray! But...

 

What if, far across the galaxy, a civil war was raging. And, what if the Omega 13 kicked in at just the moment when the rebels in that war had won a tide-turning, covert battle? And what if erasing that 13 seconds had changed that history, causing them to lose that battle instead?

 

Well, the lizard-like, shape-shifting rebels would know their victory was stolen of course, and begin a search to find out why. That would lead them to Earth, which would put our TV-star heroes directly in the blaster-path once again. And so, as the say, the journey continues…

 

Here at PopFam, we thought this was such a fun idea for a Galaxy Quest comic series, that we cornered “little” Erik Burnham and editor Tom Waltz—and we forced them to tell us all their behind the scenes secrets about Galaxy Quest: The Journey Continues.

 

(See, it’s good to be a friend of this e-mag, isn’t it dear reader?)

 

Ω Ω Ω

 

PopFam

 

Galaxy Quest: The Journey Continues is loads of fun. What goes into making a comic series like this?

 

ERIK

 

Gosh, thanks! Fun is something I consciously aim for in as much of my work as possible!

 

TOM

 

Editorially it’s my job to seek out the right creative team for the project—writer, artist, colorist, etc. In the case of Galaxy Quest, I knew I wanted to work with...Erik Burnham...Next, we had multiple artists try out and the studio made the decision to go with artist Nacho Arranz, who has turned out great page after page for us. And colorist Esther Sanz was a lock from the start—I’ve worked with her on many projects and has become a go-to colorist for me on a majority of my big projects. Then, it was just a matter of getting the first script from Erik, getting that approved by the studio (and it was, lightning fast!) and putting it into the hands of Nacho and Esther to bring it all to four-color life!

 

ERIK

 

In a book like this, based on something else, I first go to the source material and soak that in (in this case, the one movie, sure, but also some Star Trek and movies or TV shows featuring the Galaxy Quest actors, to cement their speaking voices in my head. Makes writing easier!)

 

After that, I’ll put together the story, and get yea-or-nay approval from my editor, Tom Waltz, and the folks at CBS. Then, I write. I drop the plot on the page and listen for those voices in my head to react and transcribe. I realize how loopy this sounds! But it helps the characters breathe on the page for me, and lets me be surprised.

 

What do you want parents to know about this comic book series?

 

ERIK

 

To cover my bases, I’d say there’s a PG level of language in there. No worse than the movie it’s based on, certainly, and nothing I’d be embarrassed to hand to an elementary-schooler, if they were curious to read it. If I want to get pretentious, I’d say there could be a lesson snuck in about being conscious of how actions can potentially affect others in ways you might not have intended, or are even able to foresee.

 

TOM

 

The main thing for parents to know is that, if they’ve seen the movie—and if they liked it and felt comfortable showing it to their children—then the comic is absolutely something they should feel comfortable sharing with their kids, too. The comic nails all the same comedic and dramatic beats of the source material without ever going into overtly mature territory … It’s not necessarily what I’d call an all-ages comic, but it’s darn close.

 

What’s the best compliment you could receive from a parent about this series?

 

ERIK

 

The best compliment? That this book (or anything I wrote, really) made their kids want to read MORE. More comics. More books. More anything. A love of reading is something that comics gave to me, and that’s something I’d love to be a part of passing on to others.

 

TOM

 

And the best compliment I could receive from parents is, “Thanks for giving my kids and us a comic book we can enjoy together!”

 

What are five secrets you can tell us about Galaxy Quest: The Journey Continues?

 

ERIK

 

01. Alexander is superstitious.

 

Like many actors, he won’t even say “MacBeth,” favoring “The Scottish Play.” This is why, when he finds himself going back into space, it’s in full makeup as Dr. Lazarus. It’s for good luck.

 

02. Brandon comes along!

 

One of the requests I had for the story from on high is to include more of Brandon (the Justin Long character) in the story. Thinking about ways to include him brought some fun scenes (and at least one gag in issue #4 that I love.)

 

03. There are tweaks of the tropes.

 

Just like the movie has some loving tweaks at fandom and sci-fi, we do as well. And not in a mean spirited way! Alexander and Tommy discuss something that’s always gotten to me: In any show with universal translation, why are certain things never put into English? I get that it’s to add flavor, but it also makes the translation less universal. I may be the only person bothered by that. (Well, me and Tommy and Alexander.)

 

04. It’s dangerous out there!

 

In the first movie, there was Jason’s fight with the pig-lizard, and Sarris and his men did kill everyone except Jason (but for the intervention of the Omega 13!). Being away from Earth is, like I said, dangerous. And the cast knows it.

 

They know they’re middle-aged actors, not properly equipped for some of the things they might face. So of course, I’m going to make them face at least one of those things in issue 3! (It was inspired by the classic Trek monster the Mugatu; a giant ape-like monster just milling about in the wilderness!)

 

05. The Biggest Secret:

 

I tried to figure out a way to let the cast go back into space again in the future… and you know what? I might have done it!

 

TOM

 

There are more than a few Easter eggs in the story that call back to the original movie and hint at possible future Galaxy Quest comic book tales. Look for those!

 

Imagine we’re sitting around at a barbecue, eating burgers and brats and calmly solving the problems of the universe. What would you say is the most important thing in life—and how does that show up in your work?

 

ERIK

 

Humor. Humor is the most important thing in life, I think. It helps people cope with the harder things. At its best, it de-escalates tensions. Lowers stress. The healing power of laughter is not a myth … So that’s what I go for in my work. That one little smile, that one little moment that can make things feel a tiny bit better. It’s a small thing, yeah, but pebbles add up. (Ask Aesop.)

 

TOM

 

For me personally, the most important thing in life is my relationship with God, followed very closely by my relationship with my family. And because of that, my most important (and most favored) credo is to love others the way I want to be loved. That old Golden Rule. It’s really a simple solution to complicated matters in this troubled world—perhaps easier said than done but by no means impossible.

 

I try to relay that in my work, too, consistently trying to show in my writing that no matter how dark things may seem or may become, there’s always light at the end of the tunnel. Always.

 

(By the way, burgers and brats rule!)

 

--MN

 

All product-related graphics in this article are standard publicity/promotional shots and are owned by their respective publisher.

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Galaxy Quest: The Journey Continues #1 (Cover)

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Galaxy Quest: The Journey Continues #1 (page 1)

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Galaxy Quest: The Journey Continues #1 (page 2)

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Galaxy Quest: The Journey Continues #1 (page 3)

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Galaxy Quest: The Journey Continues #1 (page 4)

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Galaxy Quest: The Journey Continues #1 (page 5)

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Galaxy Quest: The Journey Continues #1 (page 6)

Galaxy Quest images reprinted by permission of IDW Publishing. © 2015 2015 DW Studios LLC. All Rights Reserved. www.IDWPublishing.com.

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