When the news hit yesterday that Marvel Comics would be releasing a new "Disney•Pixar Presents" magazine this May kicking off with reprints of recently-published BOOM! Studios material featuring the "Cars" characters, plenty of people found the news a bit surprising. And that group included "Cars" comics creators Alan J. Porter and Allen Gladfelter.
Porter has written a number of comics for BOOM!'s kids line while Gladfelter drew every "Cars" comics cover in print as well as the interior art for "Cars: Rally Race" -- the miniseries whose contents will appear in Marvel's first magazine. Reached by CBR News for comment, both men expressed surprise at the announcement and the inclusion of the comics they worked on. Though that isn't necessarily a bad thing.
"The first I knew about it was when the press release hit the web, and I started to get phone calls and emails from various friends. It was a very pleasant surprise," Porter said. "It's very flattering that they picked one of the 'Cars' stories to launch the title, and this one in particular as it's perhaps my personal favorite of the 'Cars' story arcs I've written to date. It was a real team effort and working with artist Allen Gladfelter, letterer Deron Bennett and colorist Rachelle Rosenberg was an absolute pleasure."
"I'm not the least bit surprised, however," Gladfelter added. "I have not been working on any Pixar-related properties for the last several months. We had a project or three well in development when BOOM! abruptly called a halt to everything. All the artists I know who were associated with BOOM!'s Pixar books have been circling the well, in anticipation of the relaunch of the line, whichever publisher it might go to. (At various moments over the past several months, there has been speculation that Marvel would do it, Disney would do it and maybe some other independent publisher might do it.) The impact on our working life has been that we haven't been working on Pixar books as God intended."
Porter agreed that he had wished to continue with the material, telling CBR, "I had some more 'Cars' stories plotted out, plus some story pitches for 'Finding Nemo' and 'Ratatouille' in the pipeline, so hopefully this might be an opportunity to go back and work on those, but I've really no idea at the moment what the future holds in terms of Pixar work. I will say that working on this property was a pleasure from day one. It gave me any opportunity to introduce the medium of comics to families and hear some great stories about the impact they had.
"In terms of my working life, I have pitches out for another all-ages licensed (non-Disney) property that I'm waiting to hear on, and I'm hoping to soon start another issue of an educational science comics series I produce for a local non-profit , but most of my comics focus at the moment is on a historical/horror original graphic novel project, and getting a new webcomic series rolling."
Asked if they had any interested in continuing Pixar comics work with Marvel, both creators responded positively. "I would leap at the chance to work on 'Cars' again," said Gladfelter. "I loved working on 'Cars.' We had such terrific ideas of what to do with them that were cut short when BOOM! lost the Pixar license. Nnothing would make me happier than to work on 'Cars' with Marvel Comics."
"It was a Marvel comic that bought me back to the medium when I was in college (a book I still have framed on the wall in my studio), and like most writers I have my wish list of Marvel characters I'd like to write someday," Porter said. "I was chatting with another writer friend recently, discussing how much I'd like the challenge of doing one of the short eight-page back-up stories that are running in some of the Marvel books at the moment. Telling a complete story in just eight pages is a great way to hone storytelling skills."
For the moment, though, the creators of Marvel's latest series are waiting -- along with fans -- to see what the next step is. "I'm a big advocate of all-ages comics and introducing families to the medium of comics and everything it has to offer, so I was especially pleased that the press release mentioned that Marvel and Disney will be 'ensuring these books are available in locations that parents and kids frequent,'" Porter said. "It's also great to have some 'Cars' material out there for the opening of the upcoming 'Cars 2' movie in June. I already had arranged some signings and events around the movie opening weekend, but having this new magazine to promote will be a huge plus. But most of all I wish everyone at Marvel and Disney Worldwide the best of success with the 'Disney*PIxar Presents' concept."
"Most relevant to me is the news that Marvel is going to be producing 'Cars' comics," Gladfelter added. "Now I must do my best to shake the trees and see if I can find out who the editors are who are assembling that book and see if they would like to have me take up my pen in the service of Lightning, Mater, Sally and the rest of the Radiator Springs gang."
Check back with CBR next week for more on Marvel's plans for Pixar comics.