Tag Archives: vandroid

Tommy Lee Edwards Discusses Vandroid

Vandroid.02.coverVandroid, the new series from Tommy Lee Edwards, Noah Smith and Dan McDaid and Dark Horse Comics sees its second issue released this week. The series is a throwback to the amazing action movies of the 80s. The team has put together nostalgic entertainment that feels like it was ripped from another time.

Not only does the comic feel like a lost movie from the 80s, Edwards and his team have put together an experience that evokes the time including movie posters, live video, music, mocked-up video games, a fan club and more.

We got a chance to talk to Edwards about Vandroid and the awesomeness that was the 80s. We also have some preview pages of the comic as well images of the live action movie below!

Graphic Policy: Where did the idea of Vandroid come from? And what got you interested in making it into a comic?

Tommy Lee Edwards: Nic Nicola came up with the idea of Vandroid and created a beautiful soundtrack for the fictional movie from 1984. He and I met when I was in London directing The Random Adventures of Brandon Generator with Edgar Wright and Microsoft. Nic and I hit it of and thought that there was a great story to be told in comic book form, but also as a cross-media project.

GP: How did Noah Smith and Dan McDaid come to be a part of the project?

TLE: Noah and I have been buddies for ten years or so. He’s a great screenwriter, with a knack for original concepts. I find it much easier to write comedy with a partner. Since Vandroid is supposed to be over-the-top and silly, I invited Noah to co-write with me mostly for fun. We sit at my kitchen table and work and laugh for hours. It’s great. But we are also really pushing ourselves to elevate the story’s 1980s action roots into a really cool character study with some really tight structure. I’m really proud of the way we’ve stayed true to the “accidentally funny” vibe we wanted while putting in some exciting and original ideas that readers will really be surprised by.

When I decided that illustrating Vandroid myself was not in the cards, I went on an “artist hunt”. Through friends’ recommendations, I settled on Dan. I love his work, because it has some traditional roots to the past while being extremely unique. Dan understood where Noah and I were coming from on the story, and was looking for the same kind of fun collaboration I was yearning for.

My regular partner-in-crime John Workman is lettering the book, with my wife Melissa on the colors. So the Vandroid comic is all in the “family”. A very tightly-knit group with lots of communication and mutual respect. This whole project has been an utter joy to create, and has helped remind me why I got into comics in the first place.

Screen Shot 2014-03-26 at 10.15.56 AMGP: There’s an impressive amount of work that has gone into promoting Vandroid including a live action video and audio, what inspired you to do all of that?

TLE: Like I said, it all started with the music. Nic and Dan and Noah and I all grew up watching the same movies and tv shows. The whole Vandroid project is our love letter to an era of genre storytelling. Although everything we are doing echoes the techniques and style from our favorite childhood films, comics, toys, and music, I feel that our individuality really shines through. It’s the easiest thing in the world to be inspired to create, because Vandroid is paying homage to many of the things that made us all the artists we are today.

GP: I noticed in the first two issues, there’s visual cues to the fact it’s the 80s. Was there a balance that needed to be worked out to reference the time of the movie, but not go overboard?

TLE: The whole thing is played very straight. It’s a fine line to walk, but all of us chose to deliver Vandroid in a very ernest way. It’s done with a lot of hard work and love, and is not really meant to be as “tongue-in-cheek” as one might guess.

Noah and Dan and I didn’t want it to be “about” the 80s, but the story really could only be told in that era. I grew up watching, LIVING, the things referenced in Vandroid. The malls, the hair, the clothes, and especially the slang. We could’ve gone a lot further, but that just seems like a lot of jerking of to me. A young reader may think it’s a little overboard on the references, but it’s not.

GP: You’ve also brought back the fun “fan club.” Where did that initiative come from?

TLE: I miss those things. I miss the pre-internet days of having to mail away for special subscriptions and exclusives and not knowing everything about a comic or movie before it comes out. There was a mystery to things, and an excitement when I walked to the mailbox. I loved going to the pharmacy, browsing the comics rack with anticipation for new issue of G.I. Joe, Transformers, Shogun Warriors, or Rom. So basically the Vandroid “Van-Club” is another love letter. Issues 2 through five of the comic have fun games and puzzles in the back. I wish we had a Vandroid coloring book to add to our trading cards, stickers, and personalized letter from Vandroid himself!


GP: Why do you think stories like Vandroid fell out of vogue after the 80s?

TLE: Primarily, the audience became more interested in other genres. But beyond that, video stores began to die. Movies like Vandroid did well because of the VHS box art. Illustrators and designers sold those movies. In the 80s, you rented movies based on how cool the movie looked on the outside. What was the title? “Vandroid? Sounds cool… I like vans and guns and androids and stuf.” Then you’d flip it over and read the premise. Or maybe not. Then you brought it home and watched it with friends and family with popcorn, pizza, and soda. Sometimes the movie ended up sucking, and often times it was great. Either way, and had a great time around the tv set experiencing a story that you took a chance on just because you liked the cover. That’s kind of a foreign thing to many people today.

GP: When it comes to 80s action movies, I think sequels. Are there plans for a follow up?

TLE: Yeah, Noah and I already have the story figured out.

vandroid.00GP: Is there a chance we’ll ever see a full Vandroid movie or soundtrack?

TLE: The soundtrack had been done for quite a while, and is being released through a huge label out of France called Ed Banger Records next month, along with my full-length extended movie trailer. Maybe some day we will “discover” the entire movie. I sure hope so.

GP: The big question is who today could play Vandroid?

TLE: Man, I don’t know. I’ve never thought about that. There aren’t many of those kinds of guys in Hollywood anymore. Kurt Russell or Stallone could’ve done it back in the day. Actually, that dude from Thor would work.

GP: What else can we expect from you this year?

TLE: I’ve got a music video coming out soon that I directed for David Holmes’ new band called Unloved, and am directing a short film this fall hopefully. Beyond some Star Wars work for Disney, I’m writing and illustrating my own comic that won’t come out for quite a while. I’m also writing and directing an animated project with Film Roman right now that hopefully becomes a series. Fingers & toes crossed on that one.

A preview of the Vandroid comic:

And stills from the Vandroid live action movie:

Graphic Policy’s Top Comic Picks this Week!

WKE_Cv6_previews_ikd7i9cxxu__527d5ffaed0b43.28413751It’s a packed week of comics, with a lot of solid choices coming out from numerous publishers. So, to help you out , some of the Graphic Policy team has compiled our picks of the comics we’re looking forward to this week.


Top Pick: The Wake #6 (Vertigo) – It’s back. Scott Snyder and Sean Murphy’s merfolk horror story jumps 200 years in the future. I liken the break in this series with The Walking Dead’s mid-season hiatus, it’s been WAY too long.

King Conan The Conqueror #1 (Dark Horse) – This is the second part of Tim Truman’s adaptation of Robert E. Howard’s novel The Hour of the Dragon…and its start is just as fantastic as last year’s run. I can’t envision Conan any other way than this.

Pariah #1 (Dark Horse) – Genetically engineered geniuses known as “vitros” must band together and create a plan to get back to Earth before their failing satellite turns into a deathtrap. After watching Gravity, this series looks interesting.

Vandroid #1 (Dark Horse) – Tommy Lee Edwards and Noah Smith resurrect an early 80s grindhouse film script that was nearly lost in a studio fire. A rich playboy and a drugged out genius engineer create a humanoid entity that takes matters into his own hands. The cover of this issue alone deserves awards.

Trade Paperback/Graphic Novel: Breath of Bones A Tale of the Golem HC (Dark Horse) – This rounds out Dark Horse’s near sweep of my top picks this week. Steve Niles creates a poignant, gorgeous story of a Jewish boy’s stand against the Nazis…and the monster under his bed that helped him.


Top Pick: The Wake #6 (Vertigo) – It’s been too long since this series hit shelves, but boy am I ready to dive into the second part of writer Scott Snyder and Sean Murphy’s horror/sci-fi/apocalyptic story. He said to expect a twist at the end of the first volume and he was right. I can’t wait to see what he has in store for us.

Black Science #4 (Image Comics) – This series from Image mixes crazy science fiction with an almost Jules Verne vibe about it all. The action is awesome, science fun, and art fantastic.

Furious #2 (Dark Horse) – It’s celebrity meets superherodom. The second issue continues the fantastic story of a superhero in today’s age of 24 hour news and social media.

Hacktivist #2 (Archaia/BOOM! Studios) – The comic that focuses on online activism continues as the government and CIA make an offer to our keyboard jockeys.

Tomb Raider #1 (Dark Horse) – Writer Gail Simone takes on the recently rebooted video gamer heroine. Should be a great combination, and while I haven’t read the issue yet, it’s high on my anticipation list for the week.

Trade Paperback/Graphic Novel: Megagogo Vol. 1 (Oni Press) – A new ongoing graphic novel that lets us know what happens when you put a washed up loser, an awkward teen going through puberty, and an immortal being into a giant robot. Monsters have returned to wreak havoc on the South, and while the team must defend Atlanta, they must first get past the KKK! How does this not sound awesome?