This April, "Quantum and Woody" adds another artist to its already impressive roster as Kano makes his Valiant debut. Alongside series writer James Asmus, Kano will help launch an all-new arc of the series, one which sees the World's Worst Superhero Team involved in a series of smaller stories, including a murder mystery, a blast from the past and more appearances from the villainous E.R.A.
Asmus and series editor Alejandro Arbona spoke with CBR News about the upcoming arc and what it means to them to have Kano join the comic's creative team. Plus, be sure to check out the exclusive, full solicitation info for "Quantum and Woody" #9 after the interview.
CBR News: James, Alejandro -- "Quantum and Woody" heads into a new arc with issue #9, and it features robots! What are the brothers facing down during this arc, both in terms of super-villainy and life challenges?
James Asmus: This arc is actually going to feature a bunch of smaller, tighter tales for our guys. We'll see Woody forced to get his act together (for money!) right as his criminal past come back in a big way. The way the current arc has given us a glimpse into what Eric had been up to in the intervening years, we'll start to see some of that for Woody. There'll also be a locked room murder mystery where the only suspects are the guys, Woody's teen girlfriend Sixty-Nine, her sister-clone Detective Cejudo, and the Goat. A lot of dirty laundry is going to be aired, there.
As for villains, we'll start to see what's left of the E.R.A. creeping back in from their mad-science hidey-holes in a few different ways. The guys Woody stumbled across building a death robot aren't done trying to build a death robot. There's also a criminal element from Woody's past returning. And ultimately, we're going to get Quantum vs. Woody!
Alejandro Arbona: The terrifying return of that big robot that Woody stumbled across in a warehouse he thought was a club from issue #5!
In the ongoing tragi-comic soap opera of Eric and Woody's lives, they still have a lot to deal with that got derailed by the unexpected suicide mission of the last arc. For one thing, their father died, so now they embark on a thrilling adventure into…estate law! Attorneys! Who inherits what! But in all seriousness -- yes, that happens. And while Eric deals with the grown-up responsibilities that come with losing a parent, Woody recoils. Responsibility just isn't his strong suit. Then again, neither is fighting crime, but he's going to have to face both of those fears when Eric makes him start behaving like an adult, and also he has to stop a gang of mad-scientist bank robbers armed with said robot.
Something I can't and won't spoil here, but we also start seeing fallout from the shocking, shocking revelations of Quantum and Woody: Goat #0, which comes out the month before this arc.
The new arc also marks Kano coming onboard as the new series artist. What about his style do you think makes it a good match for the next arc?
Asmsus: He can really tilt things askew and cut loose. This next arc is going to be a little more rapid-fire and exploratory, and Kano's work is always surprising and dynamic without ever sacrificing his rock-solid and fully rich worlds and characters. His work has a sense of play to it, even in more serious (or "serious") comics. I'm excited to see him cut loose in that direction.
Arbona: I've worked with Kano as an editor more times than I can count, in all sorts of different genres and styles, and the three things he's always brought to all those different jobs were a huge, unbridled sense of FUN, a strong emotional core that makes his characters breathe with inner life and personality, and a solid work ethic of disciplined, thoughtful storytelling. In the same way that Tom Fowler and Ming Doyle have both done for the series, Kano is in the perfect wheelhouse to make the reader feel Quantum and Woody's joy and pain, to tell a clear, vibrant, visual story even as the stuff that happens is madcap, fast-paced, and insane, and to make everything just feel hilarious and exciting.
Kano is the third artist to lend his talent to "Quantum and Woody," following both Tom Fowler and Ming Doyle. How do you think this diversity of artists helps to evolve the series' identity?
Asmus: Well, first, I think each of them have wonderfully expressive styles. And for a book built on the frenetic comedy of human emotions and reactions - my editors (Jody LeHeup and now Alejandro Arbona) picked wonderful partners for me. And with Tom, Ming, and now Kano - you can see significant changes in style in texture, but the vibe and spirit of the characters and the comic feel completely spot-on to me.
I guess I'm not quite sure how it evolves the series' identity as you put it. I have a Platonic ideal in my head for how these characters feel and sound. But I absolutely love seeing them come alive through these wonderfully unique artists. It feels more exciting and gratifying to have such strong and distinctly stylized collaborators rather than a string of different artists all trying to match a mimic one more generic "comic book style". Quantum and Woody are unique. And complicated. And always revealing something new about themselves. And I like that the visuals for the series can be those things as well.
Arbona: Do you like breeding show dogs? I don't like the idea of breeding show dogs. It's about opening up a deeper gene pool. Every artist who's graced our series takes ownership, and contributes something totally new and strong every time. Each new artist builds on the strengths of their predecessor, adding some new take or some fresh approach, for another artist down the line to take and run with while they add something else new in turn.
James, what are you most looking forward to seeing Kano take on in your script for the upcoming arc?
Arbona: I'll jump in here with something to add. When Kano and I started talking about Quantum and Woody, the first thing he told me was that all his life, "gitanos" -- the Romani people who've settled in Spain -- would travel the streets peddling their wares, and to draw crowds they'd put on a show making a goat climb a small ladder and stand with all four hooves on a pedestal or a coffee can or whatever. Kano's been seeing this all his life, and now he's really excited to get to draw a goat. We already got a sneak preview on his variant cover for issue #9. Well, I for one can't wait to see more of Kano's goat.
Asmus: After seeing his work on "Swamp Thing" -- I am hellbent and determined to get someone on a drug-trip that'll earn us an opportunity to have Kano play so brilliantly with layout and perspective as he has there.
QUANTUM AND WOODY #9 (NEW ARC)
Written by JAMES ASMUS
Art by KANO
Cover by TOM FOWLER
Pullbox Exclusive Variant by TOM RANEY
Variant Cover by KANO
ALL-NEW ARC! START READING HERE! The world's worst superhero team welcomes critically acclaimed artist Kano (Swamp Thing, Gotham Central) aboard to stop the latest scourge on the streets – ROBOTS?!
Eric needs to know he can trust Woody -- and that means Woody needs to get a job, open a bank account, sign up for a library card, and do all the things a responsible adult does. But when a new gang of rogue mad-scientist super-criminals launch a wave of ROBO-CRIME, will Woody stop them…or join them? Plus – the return of EDISON'S RADICAL ACQUISITIONS?!