Life as a crew of bandits in a sci-fi future is harrowing, and as it turns out it is even moreso when your newest recruit has an angry father figure after him. Factor in a gangster named Sir Penny who is still seething over the destruction of his prized spacecraft The Dark Lightning, and it's a recipe for
This week, Mark Roslan's creator-owned series BubbleGun returns with a second volume and a new artist - Angel Tovar. Riding on the same wave of sci-fi inspiration of the new hit movie Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, BubbleGun aims to bring some pop to futuristic action stories in comic books.
Newsarama talked with Roslan about the writing of this new volume, where it picks up from the previous run, and what his big goals are for the franchise going forward.
Newsarama: Mark, what's going on in this new volume of BubbleGun?
Mark Roslan: The story picks up pretty much right where we left off in the first volume; our team of mercenary thieves has a new member to their group, a young cyborg boy named Asher. He has incredible potential for power and yet he is just learning to be a part of this pseudo-family. There are a number of people in the world of BubbleGun that would like to get their hands on Asher: his father who created him, the gangster Sir Penny, the BubbleGun crew’s old teammate Roman, as well as a technology conglomerate that has very evil intentions for not only him, but society as we know it. So, everybody wants him! He is the newest member of the BubbleGun crew, and they don’t even realize how valuable he is. The first volume focused a lot on Molli’s growth, whereas this volume we will have the whole team share the spotlight. They will be tested more than ever and question their place in the world. Every aspect of the first volume has been dialed up to eleven.
Nrama: For people that didn't read the first volume, what do people need to know coming in?
Roslan: First, they need to buckle up because things move fast! BubbleGun is a flashy and energetic cyberpunk series following Molli, Devyn, Kyo and Roman - along with their mentor, Zuse, that form a confident team of mercenary thieves that walk the edge of the law. They take on the most formidable jobs in the NeoCapital’s underground world, and the work tends to be more than they bargained for. In the first volume, Molli was forced to borrow a very fast and expensive hovership from a well-known gangster, Sir Penny. The ship ends up getting destroyed, and in volume two, the team is now forced to do some unkindly jobs for him to repay the debt they owe.
The series is intended to move quickly and be very fun and action-orientated. If you enjoy Mission: Impossible with a sprinkle of The Fast and the Furious and a smidgen of Blade Runner, you’ll really enjoy BubbleGun. I urge new readers to check out the first volume, now also out in trade paperback, at their local comic books store.
Nrama: Can you tell us more about Sir Penny?
Roslan: He’s a crafty guy with ambitious intentions. Sir Penny showed up in the first volume, but only for a couple pages. In volume two, we really get to know him and his operations tangled in this futuristic city’s underworld. He is a gang leader - yes that form of evil still exists in the future - whose empire is growing. He grew up as a street rat and started with nothing more than a single penny in his pocket. His charm, intellect, and ambition made him respected amongst the streets. Over time, he built arguable the most powerful gang in the city. He wants to put a failed medical drug on the streets called, “Nectar” that would really make him a threat to the people of NeoCapital.
Nrama: And what's the team like at this stage?
Roslan: While Molli had stepped up as the team’s leader in volume 1, her sister Devyn is back, and the team is in flux. Molli has matured, but is still rebellious while Kyo holds a secret that he isn’t willing to give up. After a major betrayal in volume 1, a strained romantic relationship, the naive Asher learning how to be a cyber-thief, and their debt to Sir Penny looming over their head, the team’s future is as questionable as ever.
Nrama: What's it like working with Angel on this new volume?
Roslan: Angel is incredible. He has been a collaborator that most comic book writer’s can only wish for, bringing a lot of excitement and enthusiasm to the project from the start. I would share some reference or ideas, and he would soak them in really elevate the series. Even though the book takes place in the future, he made the costumes more functional and believable. He has this anime-infused, yet contemporary comic style that was a perfect fit for the book. He practices his facial expressions a lot, and you can really feel the characters come to life in each and every panel. I truly believe we’re bringing out the best in one another. There are two amazing double page spreads in issue one that are truly captivating: the glider scene in the beginning, and the raid of the ArmorCorp tower. Angel took a few words from the script and turned them into imagery that you just don’t see very often in comics these days. I think Jim Lee and Chris Bachalo would be impressed.
Also, I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention the color work of Peter Steigerwald on #1 and Federico Blee, the colorist taking over the remainder of the series. Both artists are color wizards - the way they balance the style of the title and the mood of the story. Angel and I are very lucky Blee agreed to work on the book, as he elevates the story to another level with his color palette.
Nrama: What do you think you learned from the first volume?
Roslan: I learned it’s difficult to balance a team book with only a few issues. Haha! Aspen presents their series in volumes, much like television seasons, and what I wasn’t able to fit in volume one, I was able to put into volume two, but there is still a lot I want the characters to say and do. I really came to love these characters. I know I created them and they’re like my fictional babies, but the more time I spend with them, the more I care about the choices they make and paths they take. I try to balance each character to have their moments and each help push the story onward.
Nrama: What are your big goals for BubbleGun volume 2?
Roslan: I created BubbleGun because I felt like there wasn’t enough super fun sci-fi material on the comic shelves. Of course, we now have Guardians of the Galaxy and a couple great Image titles, but my goal is to have BubbleGun be the indie comic leader for Sci-fi adventures. We’re pushing ourselves to give readers something they haven’t seen before in comics, with inventive page layouts, fresh dialogue, and even the funky lettering styles from the book’s letterer, Zen. Angel and I hope fans find the characters fresh, the story entertaining, and artwork that blows away their expectations of what to expect from comic book visuals. At the end of the day, I think we’ll be happy if we turned a few new comic readers in to die hard sci-fi fans.