Gibson is best known as the co-creator of "Tiny Kitten Teeth," his welcoming with Becky Dreistadt, but is poised to reach a brand new audience with the launch of the latest animation-based comic from BOOM! on June 11.
Created by Ben Bocquelet for Cartoon Network, "The Amazing World of Gumball" follows the adventures of Gumball (a cat) and his adopted brother Darwin (a goldfish), a pair of goofballs who often get into shenanigans in the town of Elmore. Their brainy sister Anais often tags along as the pair navigate a wacky world and a household run by their Rainbow Factory worker mom, Nicole, and oafish, stay-at-home dad Richard. In the vein of cartoons like "Adventure Time," "Gumball" has gained a huge following of kids as well as adults, including Gibson.
CBR News talked to Gibson about getting the "Gumball" gig, the transition from working on webcomics to monthly print books and how Jeff Smith's "Bone" helped lead to "Gumball."
CBR News: How did you get the gig writing "The Amazing World of Gumball?"
Frank Gibson: I've worked with BOOM! on a bunch of small projects, culminating in the "Adventure Time 2014 Annual" that Becky and I are working on right now. I love working with everyone at BOOM!, so when the opportunity to try out for the job arose I took it immediately. Also I think "Gumball" is a wonderfully funny show. The optimism and positivity in it really appeals to how I want to write comics right now, so it was a great fit. Oh, and getting to work with Tyson is a dream too, I've known him for years. His comics are hilarious and his "Bravest Warriors" work looks incredible -- can't wait 'til his episode of the show comes out!
How would you describe "The Amazing World of Gumball" to comic readers who might not be familiar with the show?
"Gumball" is a lot of things. First and foremost it's a really smartÂ look at kids and how they view their world. It's incredibly funny, full of action and has some wonderful characters. Also it has a charmingly disparate art style that you don't see in a lot of contemporary cartoons, it has a bit of everything we've all loved and puts it together in a way where it all somehow perfectly fits! I'm super excited to be working on it!
Story-wise, will there be a set presentation for each issue? By that I mean, is each issue broken down into a certain number of shorter stories or one long one?
I think we're going to mix it up a bit. Tyson and I both have a bunch of ideas. The first issue is definitely a longer one, we've packed a lot in there, but I think it'll be fun to do some gag strips too.
What can you tell us about the story of your first issue?
Something that I think translates really well from the "Gumball" animation to the comics is escalation. "Gumball" starts grounded and then goes off the rails, maybe we can throw some more outrageous things at the characters and see how they deal with it.
Earlier you mentioned being excited about working with Tyson. What has that been like so far?
Tyson's great, I'm super lucky to work with him, the process is really organic already. Neither of us are particularly precious with our ideas and just want to make the best comic we can.
It sounds like you and Tyson have a really solid collaboration process. Did that come about naturally since you've known each other for a while?
Totally, we're both really at ease with the idea of collaboration and "ownership" of a created work. The goal is to make a great book, not for it just to be our book or Frank's book or Tyson's book.
Are there secondary or tertiary characters from the show you're looking forward to digging into?
We're focusing on the Watterson family right now, but I think we can do a lot with Nicole and Anais. There are so many kids at Elmore that I think are great too. Banana Joe never fails to make me laugh, so I'd love to do some stuff with him.
Was it at all tricky in terms of the writing to match the voice and tone of the show?
I think a trap a lot of people can fall into with working on someone else's material is trying to keep it too close to the source material, that's how you end up with fan fiction. Comics and cartoons are totally different. However, character and tone translate incredibly well, I hear the voices of all the kids when I'm writing it and I want to do justice to the spirit of the show.
Have you had any interaction with the "Gumball" TV folks at all?
We've been given a huge amount of freedom by the creators and Cartoon Network. We're very early on in the process but everyone has been nothing but supportive.
How has the process of working on a monthly book like this differed from your previous webcomics experience?
Compared to other webcomics, mineÂ is an especially slow one. At our peak we were really only updating once a week because each page was hand-painted. HavingÂ the ability to tell more succinct stories that come out a lot faster is really appealing to me. I got used to bottling up ideas for later. Now the ideas are coming out.
When you were growing up, what were some of the all ages comics or cartoons you dug into?
The first comics I picked up were the "[Teenage Mutant] Ninja Turtles" books. Not the gritty original ones, but the goofy TV adaptation ones. While at the store I'd pick up some "Donald Duck" reprint books, as well as "The Simpsons." The biggest moment for me was going with my buddy Loch to Quality Comics inÂ Perth, Western Australia. We'd been reading a lot of Marvel books, got burned by the Onslaught saga,Â but somehow we ended up picking up a copy of "Bone." That was almostÂ 20 years ago. "Bone" was a life-changing comics experience, one that I share with my partner Becky, and inspired me to make comics.
"The Adventures of Gumball" #1 by Frank Gibson & Tyson Hesse debuts from BOOM! Studios on June 11.