Brendan Hay Talks "Eureka" Comics


"Eureka" #1 on sale this week

In a town full of scientific super-geniuses, there's never a dull moment. This week, BOOM! Studios releases the first issue of "Eureka," presenting the adventures of everyman Sheriff Jack Carter not seen on the hit Sci Fi show. Illustrated by Diego Barreto and written by Brendan Hay from plots by "Eureka" co-creator and BOOM! co-founder Andrew Cosby, the comic book takes place shortly after Sheriff Carter arrives in town. CBR News caught up with Hay to discuss the new series, where exactly it fits into "Eureka" continuity, and what it's like writing about people smarter than he is.

Brendan Hay told CBR the first arc will begin with "just your typical day in Eureka"--which, of course, includes "multiple hostage crises, a rogue bio-weapon, and an invention nicknamed 'The Bubble Gun.'" "Also, the Carter/Allison/Stark love triangle is about to become a quadrangle when an old friend returns to town."

"Eureka" is now in its third season on Sci Fi, but the BOOM! comic book will be set earlier in the show's continuity. Hay noted that while his "Eureka" has been described as taking place between seasons 1 and 2 of the television, the first arc fits more precisely between episodes 11 and 12 of the first season. "See, before I started writing this comic, I re-watched all of season 1 plus the season 2 premiere and realized that between seasons, Sheriff Carter and Henry know everything about Eureka's future, thanks to the alternate timeline incident in the Season One finale," Hay explained. "Carter says in the opening minutes of season 2 that he knows of every event in town before it happens. So writing a comic to fit into that timeframe would be near impossible as Carter would be able to solve any case we throw at him in seconds.

"So my solution was to set at least the first arc between the last 2 episodes of season 1. That season 1 finale is brilliant, but it also kicks off all the season 2 plots. Episode #11 of season 1, 'H.O.U.S.E. Rules,' wraps up all the season 1 plots, so for the comic's purposes, following that episode offers us a better status quo. We don't have to worry about the fallout from the alternate timeline or what Carter does or doesn't know about the future.

"Now, that all said, this is just where I chronologically set the comic when writing it. Cosby may disagree and since this is his baby, he gets final say."

Hay sees Sheriff Carter as the heart and soul of "Eureka." "He's a perfect everyman character, offering the audience a relatable POV into this town of eccentrics while still also being a cool, funny John McClane-ish action hero," the writer said, referencing the lead character in the "Die Hard" films. "And Diego Barreto has done a great job capturing [actor] Colin Ferguson's reckless charm on the page, so Carter absolutely stands at the center of our comic."

There are definite comic book plans for Deputy Jo Lupo, played in the television series by Erica Cerra. "One of the things Cosby wanted to do with the comic is use it to tell the stories he wasn't able during the TV show's first season," Hay revealed. "To that end, we're taking a look at Jo's previously unexplored past, from before she moved to Eureka. Subsequent arcs will examine other supporting characters like Stark, Allison, and, well, personally I'd love to write an all-Fargo arc."

While it can be challenging to write tie-in adventures to a current television series, Hay has found a way to balance the need to tell meaningful stories that are significant to the characters' lives while allowing the show to progress through its own story arcs independent of what's going on in the comics: "By only writing all-hoax, all-imaginary stories. Just kidding," he laughed.

Hay continued, "The goal in the comic is to cover things that the TV series wasn't able to," which offers an array of potential stories. "In some cases, that means telling even crazier, bigger stories featuring special effects and epic scales you could never pull of on a basic cable budget. In other cases, like this first arc, it means delving into characters backgrounds so that we enrich your view of that character without changing who they are. By setting this comic in the TV series' past, we actually have more freedom. We can look at everything the series did and pick up whatever loose threads interest us. We can go on any tangent we want, so long as we return the characters to that Season 1 finale at the end. For example, I always got a big kick out of the awkward flirtation between Jo and Taggart in season 1, so I have more fun with that here in the comic.

"There's also a character from the early episodes who disappeared quickly from the TV series due to the actor's availability, so we're bringing him back in the comic too. Think of the book as a way for fans of the show to see what else was happening in Eureka during Carter's first year in town."

Though he's written for "The Daily Show" and "Frank TV," Brendan Hay describes himself as "a relative rookie" in the comic book industry. "While TV's my day job, comics have always been my first love," he said. "I worked at a comic book store in high school, I interned at Marvel in college, and for the last few years I've been contributing stories to different anthology projects at Devil's Due and BOOM! whenever possible. After getting to know BOOM!'s Ross Richie a bit, I pitched him a miniseries mashing up slasher movies with teen comedies. Surprisingly, he went for it, so BOOM! published 'Scream Queen,' written by me and art by Nate Watson.

"'Scream Queen' is how I got involved in 'Eureka.' Since we got along so well working on that comic--and since I already pester [BOOM! marketing manager] Chip Mosher with far too many emails--BOOM! thought of me when they needed a someone for 'Eureka.' By the time I was brought on board, series co-creator Andrew Cosby had already done the tough part--creating a dramatic plot worthy of Sheriff Carter and crew--so I mostly just added the humor."

With Eureka's heavy use of theoretical science and other manifestations of uncanny intellect, some writers may be daunted at the prospect of putting words in the mouths of characters smarter than they are. "Thankfully, Cosby, editor Matt Gagnon and I were all certified baby geniuses, so there is zero research needed," Hay laughed. "Actually, I find that I do the same amount of research on this comic as I do in all my writing. Which is to say, some. The only difference here is that it's largely related to science (and for this arc, the military), while on previous TV shows it was about everything from politics to the life of John Madden.

"Thankfully, though, Cosby and Jaime Paglia have created rich, wonderful characters who never solely defined by their intellect. Yes, they're all smarter than me, but they're also always human. Stark is beyond intelligent, but also as arrogant as anybody you'd meet on the street. And it's these emotions that keep all of Eureka's residents grounded, funny, and surprisingly easy to write -- again, even if they are all smarter than me."

"Eureka" #1 is on sale this month from BOOM! Studios.

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