Love is a many-splendored thing. All you need is love. And other songs quoted by Ewan McGregor in “Moulin Rouge.”
Love is a powerful, universal force, and it’s coming to comic books in a big way with the new series “Jonesy,” from writer Sam Humphries and artist Caitlin Rose Boyle. The comic stars a teenage girl named Jonesy who has equal affection for Bikini Kill and One Direction, and also happens to have the power to make people fall in love — well, except for herself. Announced as part of the currently ongoing Diamond Retailer Summit in Baltimore, the four-issue “Jonesy” is scheduled to debut in February 2016 as part of BOOM! Studios‘ BOOM! Box imprint, which launched the Eisner Award-winning hit “Lumberjanes” among other unique series.
CBR News has the exclusive first interview with Humphries on the series, discussing its connection to his Marvel work like “Legendary Star-Lord,” the power of “shipping,” the art of relative newcomer Boyle and the importance of laughing until near-puke status.
CBR News: Sam, “Jonesy” appears to be a different type of book for you — not just compared to your Marvel books, but your earlier, non-superhero work, as well. How much are you enjoying the opportunity to tell this kind of story? Is this scratching a creative itch that had heretofore been unfulfilled? (Awkwardly phrased, but I’m going with it.)
Sam Humphries: Heck yeah, I am enjoying myself. I am happy to defy expectations with “Jonesy.” This may surprise people who know me primarily through my Marvel work. Or I dunno, maybe not. The vibe of “Jonesy” has a lot of things that have been bubbling under my other work for awhile, you know? Humor, love, a little bit sweet, a little bit wicked, lots of bad puns… romance influences, manga influences, cartoony influences… all of these get the full embrace in “Jonesy.”
Love is a big story, maybe it’s the biggest story, maybe it’s the only story, really. Just love and death. So, yeah, “Jonesy” is about tackling that through the lens of a sarcastic teenage girl who only wears black and neon, and listens to Bikini Kill and One Direction, and makes zines.
But yeah if you’re the kind of person who gets upset about people taking selfies then this book might not be for you.
Of course, this book also looks different, thanks to series artist Caitlin Rose Boyle. Most fans aren’t familiar with Boyle’s work at this point — how did she arrive at this series, and what makes her style right to tell this story visually?
Caitlin I found online, via her Twitter and Tumblr. I found her via our mutual friends (and insanely talented creators), Iasmin Omar Ata and Mia Schwartz. She’s produced some fantastic webcomics and comics and designs, I recommend “An Itty Bitty Summoning” and “MICE.” And she’s doing work with Nickelodeon. If you don’t know her yet, you will. Her style is fun, and warm, but cartoony, and wicked, and a little weird. There’s a real heart to her work… “Jonesy” did not really begin until she came aboard…I had this idea, and this character and I just…did nothing with it. I didn’t know what I should do with it. “Jonesy” wasn’t clear to me until Caitlin and I started working on it together. Our first emails were a year ago, today, exactly! So yeah, we’ve been developing this slowly, and carefully. We love Jonesy because there’s so much of both of us in her at this point.
Based on what I’ve seen, the character of Jonesy already seems rather fully formed, and as you noted, you had the idea for a while. What can you share about how this series came together, for you?
This was actually one of those fabled ideas that occurred… in the shower! Me and my friends used to joke about “shipping” — the phenomena of wishing for a relation-“ship” to develop, traditionally between two fictional characters. But our jokes would be like, “Hey, I ship you with a fart” and go from there. You know, only the top shelf jokes!
Then, in the shower, I thought, hey what if shipping worked like… a superpower? What if it worked on anyone? You could make anyone fall in love with anyone else! And instantly I had the character of Jonesy in my head — someone who would simultaneously be the best and worst person to have this power. I saw someone say once that shipping is beautiful because it’s falling in love with people falling in love. And it’s so true! It really is beautiful. What an amazing, hopeful, human thing to feel.
But there’s gotta be a hitch, right? So Jonesy has this power, but it doesn’t work on herself. She can make anyone fall in love… except herself. She’s a cupid in plaid, with a Tumblr.
Romance and shipping is something you’re already familiar with — your run on “Legendary Star-Lord” features a romance between Star-Lord and Kitty Pryde, and inspired the #StarKat hashtag and plenty of shipping of its own. What made you want to explore it further in “Jonesy”?
Well, love is a complicated and beautiful thing, isn’t it? It’s this amazing thing that happens, hopefully, to a large percentage of every human who has ever lived. Yet we struggle to explain exactly what is happening. We can teach a teenager about sex, we can explain death to a child, but love eludes us. That opens a big window for us as creators… a window of “no one can say we’re wrong because no one knows any better.” [Laughs]
Jeanine Schaefer is editing this series, and it’s something of a rarity for BOOM! to have a non-in house editor on a book. What makes her the right pick to edit this series?
Jeanine is editing all my creator owned comics, starting with “Citizen Jack” (coming from Image Comics in November), through “Jonesy”, and into a slate of a few creator-owned books that we’re developing for 2016. She’s been invaluable to me, and crucial in developing “Jonesy” with me and Caitlin. Jeanine is just is an all-star. She’s razor sharp and brought a lot to “Jonesy.” And we all agreed that Jeanine should very much remain a part of this project. That’s very much how BOOM! works — if there’s a good opportunity to work with good people, they go for it.
Speaking of BOOM!: Some of your earliest comics work was at BOOM!, “Fanboys vs. Zombies” and “Higher Earth.” What made BOOM! — specifically the BOOM! Box imprint — the right home for “Jonesy”?
We are soooo excited about working with Shannon [Watters] and BOOM! Box. She’s built an amazing imprint of stellar books. We’re huge fans, and now we get to have her in the “Jonesy” family. How rad is that? More wonderful people means more love around this comic.
But, to get practical about it, “Jonesy” would not have been feasible a year or two ago. Back then, “common knowledge” would have deemed this book “unsellable.” Well, Shannon and BOOM! Box have helped changed all that. Do I need to say “Lumberjanes”? Is there anyone who doesn’t know what a success it is? Do I need to show you my homemade scout patches? “Jonesy” seemed like a natural fit. Thank god they agreed!!! And it’s wonderful to return to the BOOM! fold. Lots of great friends and great comics people. It was really a matter of time and the right project.
Overall, “Jonesy” feels like a comic that’s very comfortable with being “fun,” something that we all know isn’t a given in mainstream comics. How much of that is the appeal for you here — telling a fun story, and having fun while doing it?
Mark Gruenwald once said that “If you don’t laugh so hard you almost puke once a year, that was a waste of that year.” I cannot agree more. It’s been three times for me so far in 2016. Albert, how many times for you?
… let’s say three, too.
Wanna make it 4?
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