Exclusive: Christopher Hastings Talks Quantum and Woody Plus an Exclusive Look at issue 4!
Quantum & Woody is the world’s worst, to us one of the best, superhero teams. Fans will be able to get their hands on the finale to the current volume, Quantum & Woody #4, on July 8 with the final order cut off on June 15th from writer Christopher Hastings, artist Ryan Browne, colors by Ruth Redmond, and lettering by Hassan Otsmane-Elhaou.
Home Alone, the boys are left to defend their lair against would-be bandits! What is Woody’s dark secret? The truth is finally revealed!
Writer Christopher Hastings talked to us about the series and we have an exclusive first look at the final issue.
Graphic Policy: Before we get started, I’ve got to warn you that the first three issues have been some of my favorite comics from the last year. I’m really enjoying the approach you’re taking with the story and the characters; how did you end up writing the World’s Worst superheroes?
Christopher Hastings: Well, thank you very much! I’ve been a lifetime fan of these characters, and it’s a massive honor to contribute to their ongoing story. As for how I wound up writing them, that’s all on our editor, Heather Antos. Heather was my editor on Unbelievable Gwenpool, and thank goodness it seems like I did a good enough job that she thought I would be good for Valiant’s best action-comedy characters.
GP: As I read the first three issues, I’ve noticed that the creative team has been in a groove from the first page. Did you know any of the creative team prior to the first issue?
CH: As our scheduling went, I don’t think we actually had our full team set by the time I finished the script for the fourth issue, which is unusual. Heather and Valiant really did me a kindness as far as getting the story down well ahead of time, which allowed us all to really make sure that the story across all the issues is cohesive. That said, Ryan Browne and I came up in a similar time of webcomics, and I think we always had similar sensibilities, so when Heather suggested putting us together, it was a no-brainer. Ryan and I are two celestial objects that have been in a decaying orbit for years, and Quantum and Woody is the project where we finally collided.
GP: How does working with Valiant differ from working with other publishers?
CH: I think the biggest thing is how much I’ve been able to get to know the sales and marketing folks. These are the people who take my insane little fantasies and have to get them into comic shops. It’s been a really wonderful experience getting to talk to them on a regular basis, take road trips to signings with them, and just get to see what that side of the comics industry looks like. It’s easy for the writer of a comic to be removed from the whole picture, but with Valiant, I feel like I get to be along for the whole trip, from inception to every individual reader.
GP: Do you approach writing for an ongoing series differently than a miniseries?
CH: Certainly! If I know a miniseries is 4 issues, I’m not going to introduce something in issue 2 that I’ll “pick up later”. When I write, I’m really conscious of the beats of various plots, and I want to make sure there is room for all of them. I don’t want to do a beat 1 and 2 if I can’t do a 3.
GP: Each issue so far has essentially been a self-contained story; did the series initially set out that way, or did it evolve as you were writing?
CH: This was probably my top priority/artistic goal when I got the chance to even just pitch for Quantum & Woody. I miss episodic comics, and I wanted to make a real effort at putting them out myself. A comedy is especially well suited for this style of serialized storytelling. Drop in for a particularly funny issue, even if you haven’t read the previous! You can watch any episode of Cheers without seeing another one. Why can’t we do that in comics? I’ve also read just about every comic Marvel put out in the 60s thanks to their Essential collections, and it was the same there. If it’s good enough for Stan Lee, it’s good enough for me.
GP: Can you talk a little about your inspiration behind Woody’s “disguise” in the first issue? I thought that the sewer sequence was a great reminder to not see what you wanted to see.
CH: Clark Kent can convince people he isn’t Superman with a dumpy suit, glasses, and his hair parted on the other side of his head. Why can’t Woody?
GP: You’ve been using the brother’s powers in unique ways throughout the series; do you ever feel you’re in danger of making them competent heroes?
CH: Haha, no I think they are far enough down on the ability ladder that it left some room for them to get a little better without totally destroying their entire deal. That said, one of my favorite things in comedy is when the all around idiot happens to show off the one tiny thing they are good at. A little bit of competence goes a long way as far as character likability goes.
GP: Ryan Browne’s linework and layouts have been really exciting at times in this book, especially around the ice-skating scene. I’m always interested in how much direction writers give to artists in scenes such as those. Did it come out how you expected?
CH: Ryan is in my favorite class of artist where he can look at a fairly specific, panel-by-panel, shot-by-shot written out script, see what I’m *actually* trying to communicate, and make changes from the script to do it better, punching up the whole thing. Ryan gets down everything important in the story, and then he just PEPPERS the rest of it with a million fun extra things. It makes the book a very satisfying one to reread several times, honestly.
GP: Was there anything you wanted to include in this series, but had to end up saving it for the next?
CH: I have SO MANY ideas for what I would want to do with Quantum and Woody after this. I sure hope I get the chance. Fingers crossed x1M.
GP: If you could write any other Valiant character, who would it be?
CH: Top choice is easily Archer & Armstrong. Such a great premise, great world, infinite potential for hijinks. Close for second place is Ninjak, just because I am a long time fan. And third place, I’d love to do Bloodshot like an 80s action movie.
GP: Thanks so much for answering our questions!
Check out the exclusive preview below!