Rachel Connor Wets Her Whistle On "Regular Show: Hydration"

Rachel Connor wants "Regular Show" fans to beat the heat with her just-released original graphic novel "Regular Show: Hydration" from BOOM! Studios' KaBOOM! imprint. Drawn by Tessa Stone, the graphic novel finds Cartoon Network stars Mordecai and Rigby in a situation familiar to most: trying to figure out good ways to keep cool in the heat. In true "Regular Show" fashion, though, the story takes several unique twists and turns that lead to a huge monster battle in the middle of the book.

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Neither Connor nor Stone are strangers to the world of cartoons. Connor wrote episodes of "Ed, Edd n Eddy" as well as the TV movie "Ed, Edd n Eddy's Big Picture Show." She also had a story in last month's "Regular Show" #14. Stone is an active participant when it comes to the KaBOOM! imprint, having drawn a story in the "Regular Show 2014 Annual," created a variant for "Lumberjanes" #2 and wrote and drew stories in "Bravest Warriors" #15 and 16.

CBR News talked with Connor about making the transition to writing comics, the appeal of "Regular Show" and the mystic origins of partnering with BOOM!

CBR News: How did your creative relationship with BOOM! get started?

Rachel Connor: I drew the pentagram, made the blood sacrifice, and the eternal pact was made. Except I'm a bit squeamish and instead of blood I used Tizer. It all went well enough though, I think. Here I am writing comics!

Do you remember the first time you saw "Regular Show?" What drew you in and made you want to tell stories in that world?

I think "Ello Gov'nor" [from Season 2] was one of the first episodes I ever saw. It obviously tickled my British sensibilities and I loved how manic a character Rigby was. There's a great dynamic to the cast of "Regular Show" where they're a lot of fun to play around with and since episodes always escalate into totally out of left-field fantastical stuff, there are few constraints on where you can go with them.

"Hydration" revolves around a problem most of us can relate to -- trying to find relief from the heat. Was it fun coming up with ways for Mordecai and Rigby to get cool? How many of them have you tried yourself?

"Hydration" starts off with a very literal thirst for the boys trying to beat the heat, but by midway it's sating more of a thirst for over-the-top action and giant-sized monster fighting. I think people will be surprised after the "close to the chest" previews. On beating the heat however, I've always heard that drinking tea is supposed to cool you down more than actual chilled beverages. My boyfriend will have none of that and always kicks off as he doesn't drink tea. Which of course makes him an absolute outcast in British society. Rightly so.

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You mentioned the monster that starts appearing half-way through the book. What do you want to tell readers about the conflict between the cast and this threat?

For an OGN of this magnitude, I knew I needed a threat big enough and resilient enough to stick out most of the book and give those slackers something really tricky to take down. Since I don't want to give the entire game away, I'll say "Full Grown Geese" is one of my favorite "RS" episodes and people can take from that what they want. Seemed like such a roomy cockpit in that episode that was just crying out for a few more seats at the controls.

We seem to be in a kind of cartoon renaissance these days with so many fun and inventive shows built around friendship. What do you attribute that to?

I guess it's like some sort of universal counterbalance to the '90s/'00s grim-dark focus. Having said that, for every Rainbow Sprinkles and "friendship is magic"-focused show I do follow, I can also enjoy watching a giant mechanized prison-warden rip through tortured inmates like fleshy butter in things like "Superjail," or sit down mouth agape at the existential question posed by burying your own alternate reality version self's body in "Rick and Morty."

From your perspective, what are some of the major differences between writing for animation and comics? Did you have to adjust your style or habits at all to get in the comic scripting groove?

As a starting point, you could suggest a comic page is equal to 20-30 seconds of a show. "Hydration" is 155 pages which would be around 50-60 minutes, so I approached it like writing a feature-length "Regular Show." In reality however you have to communicate movement a little more efficiently when you're dealing with solely still images. With this OGN I had the luxury of space to do just that, but I've also written backup stories in the main "Regular Show" comic and when you've only got six pages at a time you have to be pretty economic and swift.

What was it like working with Tessa Stone on this project? What was your collaborative relationship like?

I turned my script in to my lovely BOOM! editor Whitney Leopard, and then an artist was chosen on their end by a council of powerful beings. Tessa is amazing though, and she really brought to life the action and hijinks in the script. I try not to be too stifling with my scripts because leaving an artist wiggle room on how to portray something seems to always result in stronger work. This is a two-girl show after all, not just me barking absolute pin-point orders to a sobbing art-prisoner.

The end of "Hydration" teases that you'll return for a second OGN with artist Wook-Jin Clark. What can you share about that?

Well I've just done blistering heat, so I guess for contrast my next "Regular Show" OGN could be something set in the cold! A tale with a little more mystery to it. I also want to play around with different narrative points of view a bit. Mordecai and Rigby are best pals, but they can tend to see the world from fairly different points of view...

"Regular Show: Hydration" by Rachel Connor, Tessa Stone and BOOM! Studios' KaBOOM! imprint is on sale now. Check out an extended preview right here on CBR.

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