It’s time to don your astro-spurs and refill your martini glass, because The Thrilling Adventure Hour will return to comics with collections and new stories from creators Ben Acker and Ben Blacker, this time at BOOM! Studios. CBR has the first details.
The hilarious and talented writing duo of Acker & Blacker (Star Wars: Join the Resistance, Deadpool) first brought their Thrilling Adventure Hour podcast to comic books with a graphic novel published by Archaia in 2013, before launching miniseries based on Sparks Nevada: Marshal on Mars (illustrated by J. Bone) and Beyond Belief (illustrated by Phil Hester) at Image Comics in 2015. The famous live stage show, presented in the style of old-time radio, is set to flourish in new releases from BOOM! Studios later this year.
First scheduled for release is The Thrilling Adventure Hour Vol. 1 Discover Now Edition, slated for July 2018, which will finally collect the entire Beyond Belief series, previously published by Image Comics. This edition will be available in print exclusively at local comic book shops, and never reprinted again. Another edition of the Beyond Belief series, The Thrilling Adventure Hour Vol. 1, will be widely available at comic shops and bookstores in October 2018. This (ahem) thrilling debut will be followed by a future collection of The Thrilling Adventure Presents: Sparks Nevada limited series, also published originally by Image Comics. If that isn’t the best new on Earth and G’loot Praktaw (which we designate Mars), there will also be a new monthly series of Thrilling Adventure Hour comics, with Acker * Blacker and other creative talent to be announced, later in 2018.
The Thrilling Adventure Hour is a long-running Nerdist Industries podcast based on a live radio-inspired show that ran for over a decade between March 2005 to April 2015, recorded at the Largo in Los Angeles. With a new home at BOOM! Studios, The Thrilling Adventure Hour stories will have room to grow in serialized comics. As editor Cameron Chittock said in a statement, “From its inception, The Thrilling Adventure Hour has been a bold creative endeavor made with love and inspiring enthusiasm — and that’s a great fit for BOOM! Studios.”
As is evident in this conversation with CBR, Acker & Blacker could not be more pleased with their new home at BOOM! Studios. With creators, publishers, and collaborators as excited as the podcast’s die-hard fans, the new adventures of The Thrilling Adventure Hour crew are sure to be, as the Doyles would say, the toast of the upper crust.
CBR: Beyond Belief from Image Comics was never finished in physical form. What does it mean for you and for fans to see this series and Sparks Nevada finally collected and widely accessible?
Ben Acker & Ben Blacker: “Finally” is the correct word. People, ourselves included, have been clamoring for collected editions of both of our Image miniseries. As with everything, there are so many moving parts involved that it took so damned long to finalize a collected edition. So, the first feeling is relief! But also excitement. We were sort of curtailed in our plans for a Thrilling Adventure Hourcomic book universe, and it feels like an exciting step forward to get these minis out into the world, collected, and paving the way for more.
Previously, we’ve seen Thrilling Adventure Hour comics from Image in single issues, and an original graphic novel you (very successfully) Kickstarted and published through Archaia. How does it feel to be working directly with BOOM! Studios to publish brand new material?
BOOM! is home. From the very beginning, BOOM! expressed interest in publishing Thrilling stories. Since our TAH OGN, BOOM! has been ridiculously supportive and enthusiastic about our work. When we brought BOOM! our Death Be Damned miniseries last year, we were treated so well, and everyone there is so collaborative, that it only made sense that BOOM! would be the new home for Thrilling Adventure Hour comics.
From Star Wars to Marvel and Puss in Boots, you’ve played in other properties’ sandboxes a lot recently. What have you learned from working with licensed properties that helps shape the way you approach your own creations?
There are a couple of big lessons to be gained by working with beloved properties. The first is to understand not only that they are beloved by fans (ourselves included) but also to figure out why that’s so. What are the aspects that people love about the property? And what do we love about it? It’s weird to ask ourselves that about our own property — it requires both a distance and really digging into why we started writing The Thrilling Adventure Hour in the first place. Every time we bring TAH to a new place, it’s a rediscovery and refining of the material and the worlds we love.
The other big lesson is to treat the property, and therefore the fans, with respect. They have entrusted us with telling stories about a thing they love. At some point you simply become a curator of a property, even if it’s one you invented. We take that responsibility seriously.
Creating a comic is a lot like creating a podcast. There is a big team and everyone plays a part. How does a decade of writing original scripts for a rotating cast inform the way you produce a serialized comic?
Writing and producing the stage show for over a decade really was a great lesson in showrunning. We learned to collaborate, and we were lucky to have some of the greatest actors and directors in entertainment making our work better. It’s really the same in comics. We have some of the best artists, editors, colorists, letterers and everyone just working at the top of their unbelievably high abilities. We can’t take that for granted, and we have to give them material that deserves their immense talents.
Fans of the Thrilling Adventure Hour podcast love the rotating stories. With the new Thrilling Adventure Hour monthly series, will we be seeing some more old friends, like Colonel Tick Tock or Amelia Earhart?
That’s the hope! Right now, we’re focusing on our two anchor series: Sparks Nevada, Marshal on Mars and Beyond Belief. But we love exploring the deep corners of the TAH universe (as anyone who picked up the OGN saw), and we still have stories to tell with Phillip Fathom, Deep Sea Detective, Ace American,and the hobos Down in Moonshine Holler. So, as long as people buy the books, we’ll know there’s an interest in getting more of those stories. We’re ready to tell them, if fans are ready to read them.
Hype for The Thrilling Adventure Hour has not died down, largely due to your dedication to maintaining the stories through special performances, panels, etc. A new series from BOOM! will further reach new audiences. How will the monthly Thrilling Adventure Comic welcome new fans to the world created by the podcast?
Our goal with every new TAH venture is to make it accessible to a new audience while still pleasing fans of the stage show and podcast. The Image series of Sparks Nevada and Beyond Belief are examples of that, and we’re mindful that, even though the work we’re doing for BOOM! is referred to as “second arcs” for both of those books, there will be lots of new readers through BOOM!. So, we’re treating even the second arcs as jumping-on points.
There’s a pretty low barrier to entry for Beyond Belief. Those stories, even in the podcast, were always one-and-done. For Sparks, we’re hoping to help out new readers by making it a sort of “Better Call Saul of the Sparks Nevada universe,” setting the new series (beginning with the Image books) in the years preceding the podcasts.
What can we expect from the new monthly series? Will it be different from the Thrilling Adventure Hour comics we have seen before?
Every new beginning is an opportunity to refine what worked about what came before. We see the move to BOOM! as a new beginning. There was a lot of great stuff in the Image books, but we also learned a lot from the process. The new books will build off of what we’ve already done in both those books and the podcast and be an even more fulfilling Thrilling Adventure Hour experience for fans both new and returning.
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