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Randy Queen Returns with “Starfall”

by  in Comic News Comment
Randy Queen Returns with “Starfall”
“Starfall” coming soon from Randy Queen and Top Cow

When writer-illustrator Randy Queen came onto the comics scene in the 1990s, his artistic stylings were immediately noticed. In 1996, Queen launched “DarkChylde,” the story of a cursed teenage girl who becomes the creatures she sees in her nightmares. The book was an instant success, remaining a hot title through 1996 and into 1997. The character has remained in publication in different forms ever since, appearing most recently in the 2005 series “Manga DarkChylde” published by Dark Horse.

Queen is set to return to comics stands with “Starfall,” a new Top Cow miniseries coming later this year. Co-illustrated by Sarah Oates, “Starfall” follows a group of space pirates who crash land on an uncharted jungle planet. In doing so, they unknowingly unleash a degenerative nanobot technology that turns the local dinosaur and cannibal populace into raging zombies.

CBR News caught up with Queen to get more on “Starfall” and find out what else he’s up to these days.

Randy, why don’t you introduce us to the cast of “Starfall.”

The story’s main protagonist is Sierra Starfall, a female Flash Gordon/Tarzan type character who’s hotwired with Dragon DNA and over 100 years old, despite not looking a day over 25! Sierra is legendary and considered by many to be the Galaxy’s Greatest Warrior. She is commander of a fiercely loyal rogues’ gallery of alien mercs who have survived and vanquished many perils. This time they won’t.

“Starfall” coming soon from Randy Queen and Top Cow

I wish to keep a lid on the other guys for now — we’ll be rolling them out a little later — but the first storyline chronicles what becomes the last mission of these characters. In the tradition of Captain Kirk and “Star Trek,” they’re thinking they’ll make that last minute escape, but they don’t. It will be a study on how the dynamics of a team book become the dynamics of a solo book as the pirates meet their collective fates on this savage planet. And they do not go quietly into that good night!

How did “Starfall” come together for you and what were some of its early influences?

If you’re going to try and build something new that will hopefully last and you’ll participate in for years, it had better be something you love and are passionate about, right? So you take a look at what’s out there and what isn’t, and it’s what isn’t that sparks me. I can’t reinvent the Space Fantasy or the Jungle Adventure, but I can offer a unique fusion of those genres with my own perspective and ideas so that it becomes it’s own animal.

I want to draw a female Tarzan/Flash Gordon type character. Something of the flavor of “King Kong” crashing into “Star Wars.” So “Starfall” dovetails my love for jungle adventure, space fantasty, and horror films. Bad Ass Space Pirates vs. Zombie Dinosaurs on a lost planet? Are you kidding? I’m there!

How’d you end up publishing “Starfall” through Top Cow?

[Top Cow president] Matt Hawkins was kind enough to remember a project we whispered about doing in 2000 and thought to ask if I had something. I told him we now had something much stronger, having benefited from years of cultivation, and when ready we’d show Top Cow first. We kept in touch over 2006, and in March ’07 we presented the property and were delighted Top Cow immediately got the potential. So we didn’t shop “Starfall” anywhere else and I’m happy to be back in [Top Cow head] Marc Silvestri’s camp because he was the guy who first hired me to draw a comic book in the summer of 1994. Then as now, I think he’s our best with a pencil, and puts more soul in a line than anyone currently out there.

Who else is joining you on the creative team?

Sarah Oates and myself are a two-person production team. We can put everything creative right down to the design and lettering for you on a shiny little disc.

What sort of goals or challenges have you laid out for youself with “Starfall?”

To create a gorgeous, well crafted, memorable statement. To create something fans and peers will respond to and something that solidifies Sarah’s position as one of our great new digital painters.

“Darkchylde” trade paperback

I’d also like to successfully establish a great new character in a medium dominated by characters created in the ’30s and ’60s. Movies and literature do this everyday, not so much with comics and I cannot see that as a positive. As far as getting new readers, we are stymied by popular perception.

With “DarkCyhlde” and now “Starfall,” your work focuses primarily on strong female leads. What is it about these characters that appeals to you as a storyteller?

I thought the idea of doing a female version of a sort of Flash Gordon/Tarzan hybrid on a lost Jungle Planet would be interesting, and those archetypal characters already have male counterparts, so then it becomes what can you bring that’s different and engaging. I’ve been fortunate to have success writing female characters, and I prefer the lines and curves of illustrating them, than to say, a bowl of fruit or something.

How would you say “Starfall” differs from “DarkChylde?” Will the two casts of characters ever meet?

“DarkChylde” is about a young girl in search of hope, and “Starfall” is about a much older soul trying to preserve it internally as it dies around her externally. “Starfall” will be a little rougher, harder, with a tougher edge. If “Starfall” is successful, it would be terrific fun to do a crossover book down the line.

What’s the latest on the “DarkChylde” franchise? Any new comics on the horizon? A “DarkChylde” feature is in development. What’s the latest on the movie front?

Have to keep quiet for now, but I’m thrilled to working with some of my heroes on it, and I believe we have something terrific and fresh.

Now discuss this story in CBR’s Image Comics forum.

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