Jackson Lanzing and Colin Kelly talk Harbinger from Valiant Comics!

Today Melissa sits down and has a long chat with Jackson Lanzing and Collin Kelly about a lot of things, including their new Harbinger book from Valiant Comics!

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Interview scheduled by Jeffery Haas

Theme music by Ardus

Lanzing and Kelly – RAW.output

[00:00:00] Melissa: This is spoiler country and I’m Melissa searcher today on the show I get to chat with bee hive, mind duo. That is Jackson Lansing and calling Kelly here to talk about comic books and what they are working on next. Welcome to the show.

Jackson Lanzing: Hey, thanks for having us. Yeah, absolutely. Thank you

Collin Kelly: for having us.

Jackson Lanzing: Thanks for being here for the sake of your audience. This is Jackson, right?

Collin Kelly: And this is Colin.

Melissa: Wonderful. I’m glad you could both be here. This is awesome. Appreciate you taking the time out. And yeah, I would just love to know, first of all, how you guys you’ve been working together for a long time. How did that happen?

How did you meet, you know, what’s, what’s the magic behind all of it.

Jackson Lanzing: I just got done telling this story on a different podcast, calling you, go for it, then.

Collin Kelly: Absolutely. Got it. So Jack and I met a bunch of years ago, we were both students at the USC film school. I was in screenwriting, Jack was in filmmaking and we were kind of trucking along and doing well except for one [00:01:00] critical element, which was that I hated him.

I just absolutely did not like anything that this Jackson lands in character was throwing down. But it actually kind of turns out that was a situation of, you know, to like for our own good, we ended up in a writing group together and suddenly I started to see what this guy was actually throwing down, which was some amazing writing talent.

He was writing these small kind of. Black box dramas, you know, with no not a lot of big set pieces, but amazing

Jackson Lanzing: character work. And meanwhile, I’ll call in is, is writing these big blockbustery bombastic $300 million like Michael Bay pictures, which I didn’t know you could do. I really I’d grown up in like such a different context.

And so when I saw the, you could, you could have fun. Writing. I was like, Oh, it doesn’t just need to be like dour and sad. And me and my cups all the time. Like, wow, that sounds like a blast. So I’m sitting there being like, I love your action.

[00:02:00] Collin Kelly: Yeah. And I’m like, and I loved nothing. No. And I’m looking at it like my gummies characteristics, rich and wonderful.

So once we kind of were able to meet in the middle with that mutual respect, well then, then the friendship was able to form. And we found, you know, all those things that we had in common really bind us together. But none of that was more than it was comics. Hmm. So every week we would be a we’d pop in our friends at PT cruiser had to the comic shop, buy our comics, eat greasy pizza, and just hoot and holler about this stuff.

And through that process, Jack and I really started to form a shared language when it comes to storytelling. Which then proved us incredibly useful when we went on a faded trip, post-graduation to the amazing city of Chicago for Lala Palooza. Oh,

Jackson Lanzing: we, we drove, we drove across the country as soon as we graduated just the two of us in my Toyota matrix just rolled, which was a, which was a stick and Colin doesn’t a drive stick.

So I drove the entire way. But that ended up being [00:03:00] truly faded because when you’re in the middle of America and you have nothing to do, and you are a couple of writers, you end up talking about story, it just sort of like happens. And we started breaking an idea in the car and Colin just pulled out a yellow, legal pad and just started.

Writing it down and you know, sort of writing it long hand. And by the time that we’d gotten to Chicago, we’d outlined our first feature film. And by the time we got back to Los Angeles, we’d written a about 80% of it. Wow. And discovered very quickly that we were much more efficient and effective and and really filled in each other’s gaps together.

You know, it created a very different dynamic than where we were individual writers and it was a dynamic we both really loved. So we got lucky enough for that to be how we launched from there. And, you know, we started in, in, in features and then into a little bit of television into digital and into animation and.

All that time. We’re just giant comic book fans. And that’s really what we love. That’s where we met. That’s how we continue to relate. And [00:04:00] so when the opportunity came to work together on on a comic, which I I’d self published a thing with a mutual friend of our state server, the guy who introduced us but when the time came for us to work on a, on a book together, which was Alyssa mulattos hacktivist Rebecca Taylor pulled us in, when that happened, it was a chance for us to finally dip our toe into a medium that meant so much to us that had been.

The thing that had introduced us and would become part of our ritual. And we’ve been lucky enough now to maintain that. Part of our career really stronger than any other aspect of our career. Like we, we left Hollywood for for several years and really just focused on comics. And now we’re back in Hollywood and we, we work in, you know, a million mediums.

Now we, at the time for, for a good, like three or four years after hacktivists, we just focused on comics and it made us, I think, into a much better duo and a much more seamless team. As a result,

Melissa: Yeah, it seems like it came kind of full circle then, you know, if that was your first passion was comic books and then, you know, it’s brought you [00:05:00] back around to it which is really cool that you can live out your passion, work together, you know, as you know, best friends, I’m sure it

Jackson Lanzing: is not, it is not bad.

It is not bad to go from, from enemies to friends and then from friends to best friends and then from best friends to like, Like w a really strong and solid working relationship. That’s now lasted over a decade. Like, I really do think we, we were very lucky. This, it always sounds like when you ask like a couple of how they met, but it’s like, I’m very lucky to have met Collin when I did it.

And and I really feel like what we’ve managed to build together is, is Far superior, what to, what I’d run was probably going to build a loan.

Collin Kelly: Yeah. And unfortunately, as you can kind of tell through the arc of that journey does mean that we will soon need to return to being enemies,

Jackson Lanzing: right? Yes.

Collin Kelly: That’s the plot. I’m sorry. That’s the expected third act twist. But that’s how the narrative is built. So who are we to fight? That’s

Melissa: hilarious. Yeah, we look forward to hearing that chapter [00:06:00] of your lives a lot of time.

Jackson Lanzing: Oh no, that’d be great. Yeah. Great. For the press bad for everyone else, right.

Melissa: Well, you do, you have so many great titles, you know, under your belts you know, things like joyride star Trek, dark one, just to name a few.

What inspires you to pick these projects? I mean, do they find you, are you kind of, you know, just getting inspired by a certain type of story? Like how do you pick that?

Jackson Lanzing: It is different for every project with a lot of things that we do. So out of the ones that you just mentioned, right? Those are three really good examples of different ways that projects come to us.

So joyride was a project that we self-started, that’s a creator owned book out of boom, that we had met Marcus on hacktivist. And we said we should all do a comic book together. And Marcus had a an idea sitting around that was. What about some teenagers who steal a spaceship. And we had literally been working on a project about a bunch of people who got together to steal a spaceship.

And so we turned to him and said, well, yeah, okay. We’re all on the same page. [00:07:00] Let’s do that. And we made joyride Dark one was an experience where we had done a, a similar project created a project called XOJET con at volt in their early days when volt was just starting out and when they would take, I mean, they’ll still take just the wildest risks, but that was the time when, I mean, we gave them one pitch.

We said, here’s this book that no one else will publish, will you do it? And they were awesome enough to do it. And then for the rest of the time, never let us forget that. They publish the book that no one should have ever published. But then dark one came around because we were at I was at Emerald city Comicon.

Collin Kelly: And it was my, it was my what my wedding anniversary, I believe. So.

Jackson Lanzing: Yeah, married over Emerald city Comicon center. So I’ve become our rep at that particular Comic-Con I love it to Hollins it’s Colin’s home show. But we. We were like, all right. You know, I went, I went to vault. I was doing some signings at at XOJET con and I was trying to just figure out something to work on with the volt boys again, because I just love them to death and we wanted to figure something out.

And [00:08:00] so I I’d mentioned to Damian Wassel, you know, the head of the company. Hey, you know, if you have any, if you have anything in the wings or any openings down the line, I’d love to pitch you something. He said, well, actually, we’re talking to Brandon Sanderson about doing a book it’s really early stages.

And they need someone to come in and create the whole thing with him and like write it and build it out. Brandon’s here at the show. Do you want to be Brandon Sanderson? And so within a couple of hours, I was in a meeting with Brandon and by the end of the day, I was able to call Colin and say like, Hey, do you want, you want to sign like a multi book deal with Brandon’s like make a book.

And so that was the thing where it kind of came to us. And, and the initial story was outlined. And then we got to come in and really build it out. And then there’s something like star Trek, which is an IP that normally you, they would come to you and say, Hey, do you want to pitch on star Trek? But we were such fans.

That we chased it for years. I mean, literally years and years of us bothering IDW about it. And saying. We swear, we’re we’re the guys for this we’ll we’ll do wonderfully. Just, just let us at any, any tiny part of this world. And and eventually [00:09:00] it worked out to a two year five, so we really chased that one down.

We had an idea, we really knew what we wanted to do. And then it got shaped by, by chase morose, the, the editor over there until it became something. So, you know, every book is different sometimes it’s sometimes it’s, Hey, we want to know something about this character. Do you have any ideas? Sometimes it’s a fully formed thing that just comes from calling and I geek it out.

Hanging out talking about the things that we love, which is our process. So, so oftentimes stories will come out of that.

Melissa: That’s cool. And speaking of another great comic book idea that you’ve been, you know, writing is when you’ve got coming out this summer with value, which is the harbinger and yeah, I’m excited about this.

What can you tell me about it? What’s your, you know, it’s not a iconic character and it’s a relaunch, what is your spin on it? Like what can we expect from the story?

Collin Kelly: Yeah. I mean, obviously as a character that’s really close near and dear to us you know, value has been, you know, it’s one of Jack and I both, some of the very first comics that we were ever reading.

And it’s another place that we’ve been talking to for a long time in that case we’ve kind of a dancing [00:10:00] around ideas with them for quite a while actually, and nothing ever really landed. And then, yeah, we got this call from Heather and toast asking if we’d be interested in pitching. So we.

Move forward with your, some ideas at her. And one of them hit and that was really the idea that we could take harbinger. We could take Peter Stan check and really make him look at his past, you know, he has made mistakes. He’s awesome. Hero, done amazing things, but he’s also a really troubled young man Nike’s effect.

He’s, he’s very literally a junkie. He’s hurt people. And what we proposed was not running from that, but rather exploring it and letting him take ownership. Of that and really live with the responsibility. And more importantly, attempt to start to make amends and what that would kind of look like not running from your past, but embracing it, acknowledging that you have made some serious mistakes and then working to right.

Those mistakes kind of on the You know, not just by necessarily super hearing around, but by listening [00:11:00] to what the people need really uplifting and protecting voices, who would otherwise be completely marginalized often by people who look exactly like him. And that was the emotional core that we kind of pitched out to her.

And she, she obviously really fell in love with it. And that’s why we’re on the book. Yeah.

Jackson Lanzing: That’s true. It’s a really, it was a really exciting, Oh, I’m sorry not to cut you

Melissa: off. No, no, no, no. I just want to say it sounds like you’re taking him to kind of rock bottom and then bringing them back up.

Jackson Lanzing: Oh, I feel so.

That’s actually kind of, what’s really interesting is that as long-time fans of Peter StanChart, Peter’s like lives at rock bottom. He, he is a, he is a character who he’s a you know, he’s a rockfish. Like he, he lives way down at the bottom of the sea and is definitely. Has a really hard time seeing himself as a hero.

He has a hard time buying into his own narratives and he really has a hard time for giving himself for the things that he’s done. And that leads to like a lot of like real life iterations of this same kind of behavior. It leads to a lot of toxic masculinity. It leads to a lot of drug addiction. It leads [00:12:00] to a lot of mistakes made out of ego and.

We know that in our own lives, we’ve seen that in our own lives. We know what it’s like to go through your twenties and ma like, w we’re both in our early thirties and like, we know what it’s like to go through your twenties and make mistakes and look back at that and be like, wow, I didn’t know how to be a man, or I didn’t know how to be a righteous person, or I didn’t know how to make space for other voices, or I didn’t know how to stand on my morals when things got hard.

And it really felt like a great opportunity for us to at this exact point in our lives, reflect on what it means to start. From that place of like, understanding your own guilt and understanding your own frustrations and those things. I think everybody has this, regardless of your station, where you have those moments where like something happens and, and your, your mind will just trigger back to like, Oh, that thing I did, that was fucked.

I shouldn’t have done that. And I feel like Peter Stanford has a lifetime of those moments and it must be very hard to be him. And so given where we were starting him at [00:13:00] thoughtless. Okay. How about instead of embracing rock bottom, which is. So much of a whole, of this character, if you want that part of this character Joshua Disert has written the Epic to end all epics about exactly that I love Josh’s work deeply.

He’s a friend we’ve talked about this book, but where we needed to start him with, by giving him a fresh start but a fresh start that asked a lot of questions and started him into a new direction. And so, in the very first pages of the harbinger one. Peter wakes up with very little memory of his life.

He wakes up with a. Blank slate. To some degree now that’s a blank slate for him. It is not a blank slate for the rest of the world. And he does not know how he has gotten that blank slate. Someone has taken his memories and left him to deal with it. And so, given that he is a world renowned to some D some people, a war, a world around a criminal, to some people, a world renowned hero to some people are [00:14:00] Renegade to some people are revolutionary.

He’s, he’s a lot of things to a lot of different people. And Peter has to reckon with the idea that he actually has to stand out as something finally, he can’t keep running from responsibility. He needs to use this blank slate to create something new. And there are people who need him. So we’re going to give him a community a new cast of characters, a brand new setting, and.

Eventually a as I think that you can see in the the promo image, that’s been released a superhero costume, because this is a guy who was going to start embracing what it means to be a hero. And all of that is toward the idea of solving that core mystery of who took my memories and why, and how can I get those back and do I want them back?

And I think that’s all the thing that we’re, we, we really want to experience. It’s like, what does it mean to be given that blank slate, but But not actually have to reckon with the guilt of your actions. And so we’re, we, we have, there’s some great stuff by the end of issue. One that I think we’ll, we’ll show how we’re planning on reckoning with that [00:15:00] in our bid fun bombastic science-fiction a Cura style way, which we have to do.

Because Robbie Rodriguez is the artist and there was no way to make this book, small potatoes.

Melissa: No, that’s brilliant. And it’s interesting to you to see if you know, what we’ll find out, I guess, when we breed read further. But if that memory was taken away for malicious intent or, or to help him, you know, and actually a blessing in disguise kind of, you know, dichotomy.

Jackson Lanzing: That is the question we want you

Collin Kelly: to be asking. Exactly. You’re asking the perfect questions.

Melissa: Awesome. And how many issues is this particular story going to be?

Jackson Lanzing: As many as we can make it okay. The harbinger is an ongoing series. We intend to Take this story forward right now, we haven’t plotted for a year, but that year is not the end.

If, if the book does well, if people enjoy it and engage with it, I know the will at Valiant is there. And certainly the will with us is there to make this a, a long run on this character that has [00:16:00] long impact on him. I mean, we’re, we’re making huge changes to Peter. As you can tell just immediately.

And we don’t intend on those being temporary changes. We don’t intend on those being you know, sort of flash in the pan ideas. This is Colin. I’ve done a lot of short runs, a big part of what we wanted to do with harbinger was take our time and build out A real new world for this particular part of the IP new characters, new villains, new settings, new ideas, and let that run out.

So, we are w our, our stories are going to be told in sort of four issue chunks. The first volume quote, unquote is the first four. And then we have about a year already sort of pitched and plotted, but we have much more beyond that. That’s

Melissa: incredible. Do you have a release date for the first issue?

Would you not? Okay. But summer we know

Jackson Lanzing: summer, right? Yes, it is. It is in summer. It was supposed to be out. They’ve been open about this. It was supposed to be out last year because of COVID. We had a, a long delay on this book. And so as a result, a lot of the work that we’re doing now is actually going back to issues.

We [00:17:00] wrote over a year ago and addressing. The places where we think that we’ve grown in that time where social ideas have grown in that time. We have a lot of again, to get into, you know, like mild spoilers, but there is There is an ongoing conversation in the book about policing. And it felt very important to us that that not be a conversation informed by the conversation.

We were all having about policing a year ago and rather a conversation that that is happening after the black lives matter movement and, and engaged in the black lives matter movement and engaged in the defend the police movement and really understanding how that all fits into what Peter is doing.

So we’re not. Obviously this book, isn’t entirely about social issues. It’s not a polemic, but we wanted to make sure that as we were engaging with that stuff, it is as modern as possible. So, this summer pretty soon, but we when it will be loud when we do have a release, but we are not

Melissa: okay, cool. I’m excited.

Everyone can look forward to that. That’s awesome. And summer’s not that far off, like we’re almost there.

Collin Kelly: No, my gosh. I just had just had a [00:18:00] panic attack. Oh my goodness.

Jackson Lanzing: The way it’s going to be worth it. We’ve seen that the first two issues of Robbie’s art and it is. Oh, yeah, real. We described

Collin Kelly: it as a, as, as it’s it’s punk rock Kira, which we were just kind of using as our thematic touchstone as we were writing it.

And then we started to see Robbie’s art coming in and it is it’s. I mean, that’s exactly what it is. It looks it’s incredibly kinetic. It’s incredibly fast and funny and charming and the writing’s fine, but Oh, so modest

Jackson Lanzing: when there’s. Like just in the first issue alone, there are at least two new main supporting characters and five new villains all designed by Robert Rodriguez and you know, any individual design that Robbie puts out is iconic getting that many of them in a single issue, we really feel like we’re giving the reader.

They’re the bang for their buck in issue one, like we’re [00:19:00] not, we’re not making them wait for the good stuff we’re going right in.

Melissa: So cool. And it’s nice to have like new characters. I mean, cause I mean, you know, we get, we do kind of get sick. I get sick sometimes at the same old characters all the time, just kind of being reimagined, but this, this particular incarnation sounds really cool.

Cause you guys are doing something totally different, you know, with the main character. And then if you’re telling me you’re bringing in all these new ones too, like that’s really exciting.

Jackson Lanzing: It’s very exciting for us. And then I, you know, ideally we are then going to, as long-term fans of this, of this universe, of these characters, come up with ways to bring in some of your Valiant fades.

I think when you’re writing, you know, we changed the name of the book from harbinger to the harbinger. And that’s because we’re trying to make a real statement about like we’re, we’re. Focusing on Peter, this isn’t actually the first time Italian’s done that. Peter took on the, the the moniker, the harbinger back in like the nineties as, as part of a, a completely different context.

So we’re, we’re kind of returning to that just as a nod, but what we really want to do is make a world for him and then. Once we’ve done that [00:20:00] start bringing in characters, you know, from the rest of that IP. So, you know, we love faith, Herbert. I would love to get faith in there, you know, but I don’t want to just get faith in there for the sake of getting faith in there.

I want, when I want her to, or when, when she shows up, we want her to feel like it’s exactly the right time for faith to show up. And that her being there complicates things for Peter and makes them interesting and, and, and turns up the volume rather than. Relegating her to a supporting role in a, in a book where she should really have a lot of impact.

So, we’re excited to bring in other characters from dice arts run, especially

Melissa: as it comes. Yeah. And everybody loves a good cameo, you know, those like fan favorites, scenic waiting, you’re waiting. You’re like, Oh, who’s it going to be? Who are they going to bring in? So, and then that’s, you know, that’s exciting.

That’s a big draw as well. Yeah. Well, I also want to talk about DC and let them live and you guys are doing Nightwing, right? And Sue

Jackson Lanzing: too. Yup. If you do have let them live we’re we’re, we’re doing a night wing that night when was done four years ago. That was a, that, [00:21:00] that Nightwing issue.

That’s what’s cool about let them live. Yeah, it’s it’s this way to take old stories that never got published, that were, were done as inventory issues that were done as interesting little one-offs that never saw the light of day and finally get them out there for readers to see. Cause there’s a lot of really great work that went down.

I mean, the issue one is of that book is, is a Jim’s up trad more suicide squad story. Like it’s amazing. Took this to get that published, you know? Yeah. A bunch of tread more art, like amazing.

Melissa: Yeah. I was really curious about it. I’m reading that and I’m Oh, wow. This is like unpublished material. Like just, you know, it’s like when a musician has.

Tracks they never released. And then it comes out. You know,

Collin Kelly: I mean, if the, if the, if the fame fans knew the kind of quality content that was unfortunately just like languishing in editors drawers at DC, you know, partially just because the talent pool, amazing. Everything you get is fantastic. You just can only publish so much of it.

Like I think everyone’s [00:22:00] jobs would just be on the floor. Yeah. So yeah, we got to do this Nightwing story and actually it was kind of a one of two, not two parters, but we got to do another one that actually did drop is a Nightwing issue a while back which was called the Crimson Kabuki. But this one was our first love and joy and it was an idea that was kind of built around a single a single concept, which was kind of how could you do a.

It comic a single issue of comics that effectively functioned as a winner, like a one-take action shot, and the idea of taking Nightwing and well, what happens when effectively you drop him out of a plane?

Jackson Lanzing: And the entire issue is, you know, Nightline starts at 30,000 feet. And he ends in the ocean and the entire issue is just following Dick all the way down. And he jumps without a parachute. The, the, the other, we, we, we call it freefall, but I actually think what it was titled when we wrote it. Because this is how much time it’s had.

We’ve literally [00:23:00] retitled it in our heads was without a net. And the idea is that yeah, he falls. Without any plan on how he’s going to land and the whole time he has exactly as much time as it takes him to land, to figure out how he’s going to do it without dying. And he’s on the phone, he’s on the phone with Batman and then he’s on the phone with Barbara and that he’s on the phone with Damian and he’s on the phone with CyBorD and the whole time he’s just trying to figure out okay.

How do I do this? How do I land and make sure that the, the mission is solved and that I do what I need to do, which is like, get rid of this this horrible bomb that if it hits the ground, it will destroy the world. And I’ve got the bomb and I’m fighting cyborgs all the way down. And how do I make sure that you know, I get down to the bomb doesn’t and it became this really wonderful way of talking about as we, as, as you heard from our origin story, we really love a big action idea, a big really cool genre thing, and then finding a way to turn it into a character story that, you know, first I, I love.

I love comics, but it’s hard to [00:24:00] care unless you really care about those characters and what they’re going through in that moment. And so for us, we really tried to make it a story about D going through a very Illuminated moment of crisis that allowed him to show why he is so special and show why, what, in particular, he has that other heroes don’t, which is this utter faith, not just in himself, but in the people around him and in the end, a sort of optimism to believe that he can make something happen.

That seems fundamentally impossible. I think, I think Dick has just the biggest heart in the DCU and we wanted to see him engage with that even in the face of certain death. And it was, it was a blast to write and then Jorge Corona of like middle West fame now. But at the time was we are Robin Wright, an incredible artist who we’d been a fan of for ages here comes Jorge Corona.

Just nailing every panel. And so for years we see her head at, you know, it shows all the time and, and are just for years, our whole thing has just been like, Hey, do you think they’re ever going to be, [00:25:00] what’s ever going to see that night when she, that was awesome. And he’s like, I sure hope so. It was really awesome.

And then we got this email from Katie Kubrick that was like, Hey, we’re finally putting it out. It’s coming. Like, like it’ll be out in three weeks. Want to do some lettering. It was amazing. That’s a really it’s, we’re so happy that it’s out.

Melissa: That’s really cool. And you mentioned Batman you know, when he was on the phone suit, you do kind of handle the fact that he is Robin and Nightwing, you know, in that episode.

Oh, of course. Yeah,

Collin Kelly: we do a neat thing. I’m actually, it’s trending not to Pat ourselves on the back, but obviously like his night wings mission here is, is one step of the process. And so when he’s calling all of these people, they’re actually executing their parts of the plan. And obviously they’re doing great.

Everything is going fine with them. He’s the one who’s been kind of. You know, he’s the one with the real problem. But because he’s Nightwing, once again, he’s not panicking, he’s not freaking out. He’s just having these conversations with his family. And we got to do this really kind of neat subtext within all of those conversations that he knows.

This might be his last jump. He might never see an of these [00:26:00] people again, but he’s not going to weep. He’s not going to whale. He’s not going to panic them. He’s just going to emotionally connect and, you know, make sure that the job gets done because he’s a big heart, but he’s also he’s professional.

He doesn’t let things slide.

Melissa: That’s so interesting. I really liked that concept. I had no idea what it was about, you know, so now that you’ve seen. Sprained. It I’m like, that sounds really just different. And I’m almost that you might’ve had a little anxiety writing it. Cause it sounds like a very intense, just an entire, you know, issue of someone free falling out of the sky.

Collin Kelly: We had so much internal the most. Well, besides the, just the. The, the writing of it, the big challenge was to figure out how the heck is this

Jackson Lanzing: guy gonna,

Collin Kelly: how’s he going to survive this? We came up with the premise and we were speaking you know, at the time as we were putting it together and we were like, we, we genuinely have no idea how he’s going to do this.

We should probably figure it out. And, and, and we did we did a lot of there’s a lot of, kind of like comparative physics and how high you can actually fall. And still survive. We discovered unfortunately like [00:27:00] the golden gate bridge is just about as high as you can drop down into water without absolutely obliterating yourself.

And even then it does not go well for you. So based on that kind of metric, we had to build upwards. There’s a logic post puzzle that we absolutely

Jackson Lanzing: love to have it, but it’s fun to kind of spoil it a little bit because we are on a spoiler podcast. There’s a, there’s a bit, I really love at the end that sort of capstones this where after he manages the landing keys.

Effectively. I mean, you know, he dislocates a shoulder, like he gets screwed up by the landing because there’s no way of doing that landing without hurting yourself. And he so he, he lands and he survives and he’s on the Rocky sort of a toll shore that he’s, he’s landed in where he like had aimed.

And he was like, I hope that this works, but I have no idea if it’s gonna work and he’s lying there. And. Bruce is on the other line and, you know, we never see any of these other characters. We only see Dick the entire issue. So they’re in his ear the way that Alfred is normally in Bruce’s and. [00:28:00] Bruce comments on it.

He’s like, I think I finally know what it’s like to be Alfred because you just, like, I I’ve spent this entire higher thing just being like, you’re about to die. And now you’re sitting here talking to me, like, everything’s fine. And like you had it under control the whole time. And I know that’s what it must be like to be Alfred.

And I just, I love that we were able to give Bruce. A really nice beat in this book that doesn’t really like, it doesn’t have anything. I mean, it has to do with person so far as he’s an influence on, on Dick. Right. But we got to the end of that thing and we were like, our anxiety was like, Oh my God, it’s going to survive.

And I was like, imagine what Bruce must be going through. So it was, it was a fun, little bit to put up the end there and be like, I don’t remember, like Bruce really cares about these guys. Even if you pretend to be like a big, big grumpy girl, Can be, yeah. Yeah. In our, in our, in our reading, especially when it comes to Dick, he really, really cares about his family and we wanted to make sure that that came through there at the end.


Melissa: awesome. And that’s out now. Right? We can get that

Jackson Lanzing: now. Now it is on, it is a DC universe [00:29:00] original. So you have to. Be on the DC universe platform, the the digital platform and it’s on there now. And then eventually they’re going to do print copies. But I don’t believe it’s out in print yet.

Melissa: Okay. Okay. That’s good to know. Okay. So the digital copies on their specific

Jackson Lanzing: platform. Exactly. Okay. So if you, if you signed up for DC universe, even like the trial, you can get access to that. And and to the gyms tread more issue. And, and I think they just released a. They just released a Batman, like a very like a through look and Batman story.

That looks great. I haven’t read it yet. There’s some really cool stuff. That’s going to be dropping in that in that particular initiative. I’m so happy they’re doing

Melissa: it. That’s really cool. That’s awesome. And you know, before we get going I wanted to ask you just because it’s, it’s one of my favorite series.

You, you did amazed when our graphic novel, is that correct? Yeah. Yeah. I love that series. Love Dashner. What was like, how did that come to be? And you know, how did you like take on the material,

Jackson Lanzing: boy? How did, how did, how did maze runner come to be? How did [00:30:00] maze

Collin Kelly: runner come to be? I mean, I believe it was a similar site guys to how kind of hacktivists got approached, you know, boom was publishing this, you know, they had the deal in place and they were like, well, who can step in and do this?

They knew that we are, you know, for a while they, they called us the Hollywood guys, which now isn’t.

Jackson Lanzing: Wrong. Yeah. You know, when, when he says they call us Hollywood guys, what he means is Steve Orlando calls us the Hollywood guys and like D or Hollywood boys. And definitely does it as like a rib on us, which I love Steve Orlando.

He’s the best dude. He is. 100% correct. That we are the Hollywood boys.

Collin Kelly: We are, you know, we are the day Walker, right. In both worlds. So when they get something like that, they definitely brought it to us and they were like, would you be interested in this? You know, we’re also fans of maze runner. I love those books.

So it was like, yeah, let’s, let’s give this a shot. We started noodling on ideas once they were like, well, you know, what’s going to be kind of a series of collection of shorter stories, exploring the space. We were like, okay, this sounds fantastic. And we actually got to talk to James A. Little [00:31:00] bit and be like, well, here’s what we’re thinking.

And he was super on board, just a lovely dude and really gracious and non you know, obviously. Wouldn’t at all blame him, if he was incredibly precious about this. But he was down, we gave him some ideas and he thought they were rad. And the fact that we got to kind of explore you know, the other the other Mays.

So, you know, the, the effectively, the girls’ maze was awesome. We thought he would shut that down. Quickly, but he was like, nah, go

Jackson Lanzing: for it guys. Yeah, it was interesting because the, the challenge of the book after Cleveland was the editor and the challenge of the book was sort of twofold. One was you don’t have any time to write this.

Like we wrote, I think something in the vicinity of 70 pages in like, Oh week, like that book was written overnight and it was because we were chasing a movie deadline. So we had to, we, we went into the, we went into the studio, we read the script. We pitched out three pre-qual stories effectively that gave us different looks at how this came to [00:32:00] be.

We had a real question about like, just how does the. How does something like the mazes get approved? Like how did, how did everyone decide that was the solve to everything that had come out. And we were like, that’s actually sounds like a fun story. Like, let’s try to explain how you might end up with this as your problem.

But then we also had obviously the, the, the other Mays. Which was a really, that was the story we were the most excited about. And then that story ended up getting we ended up getting paired with an artist named Nick Roblas, who was just starting out at the time, but who became a friend of ours. And it’s obviously just such an incredible artist.

Now he’s on Sandman. You know, did youth and thoughts and it’s just been a really. Phenomenal artists ever since. And even back then, we were like, this guy is going to be huge. There’s some beautiful Nick Roblas art. That again, I imagine was done under you know, severe deadlines that he just absolutely murdered.

So it was also our way. I always look at maze runner is the, the book that blessed us with. Getting [00:33:00] to meet and work with Nick Roblas since he is just such a delightful dude and such an incredible,

Melissa: yeah, he’s incredible right here that Nick,

Collin Kelly: we love you,

Jackson Lanzing: Nick. Nick, Nick is, I am sure at this point, absolutely exhausted by me.

DM-ing him once a week being like, Hey, you want to, you want to, we want to do a crater road. Do you have time to do it? We’ve come so close. Like three times we’ve come close to doing the book with Nick and it just, the timing has never worked out. So one of these days we’re going to reunite with Nick and it’s going to be okay.

Oh blast. Yeah. One of these days. But until then, I’m just going to be the biggest one.

Melissa: That’s awesome. And well, you know, these are busy times. It sounds like you guys have a lot going on. Is there anything else you can talk about other than the harbinger that you have in the works that you’re allowed to talk about?

Jackson Lanzing: Yeah. So in may of this year, the hardcover edition of dark one finally comes out. All over the world in bookstores. So that’s been, pre-order only since October out at like directly from vault. [00:34:00] But it’s coming out through I think Simon and Schuster like everywhere in may. So finally in late may, everyone’s going to be able to Redarc one that’s a whole, you know, 200 plus page fantasy graphic novel with a story by Brandon and a full script by us, art by Nathan Goodwin, who is just one of the.

Best artists on the planet. He’s so good. And he’s just getting started and you know, colors by Kurt, Michael Russell. Who’s an incredible colorist. Who’s just now starting to get really noticed. It’s a, it’s a, it’s a passion project for everyone involved. And I really do think it turned out into, you know, I, it sounds like I’m blowing smoke, but I really believe it is one of the best fantasy.

Books, like that’s like fantasy graphic novels. You can find like I’m, I think everybody just executed a really high level. I’m very, very proud of that book. So that’ll be out in may. I hope you will check that out. I’m really, really proud of that. And And then we’re on the, the very tail end of star Trek star Trek year five is right.

Oh, that’s right.

Melissa: I saw that. Yeah, that’s [00:35:00] awesome.

Jackson Lanzing: Yeah. And that’s really exciting for us as well. Cause obviously we’re enormous star Trek fans and, and getting a chance to wrap up the five-year mission of all things has just been a dream come true. So we’re actually getting in the room tomorrow with the entire writers.

Room on that book. Cause we, we do that as like a television writer’s room, the colon, and I run we’re getting together with the whole room tomorrow to plot out the very, very last issue. And everybody’s going to write a little bit of it. It’s going to be a jam. I’m really excited.

Melissa: That’s really cool.

Well, you know, thank you for sharing all of this with us today. I really appreciate it. Cause I’m excited. You’ve got a lot of cool stuff happening. You know, it sounds like you’re super busy.

Jackson Lanzing: Unbusy and yeah, that’s just stuff we can talk about. We have to, we have it, we have at least two dream project books coming out this year that we cannot talk about at all yet.

We’re just, we’re just itching to talk about. So it’s going to be a fun year. That’s

Melissa: great. I was actually gonna ask you what’s your dream project, so, okay, so we can’t talk about the dream projects.

Jackson Lanzing: I’ll I’ll, I’ll tell you the [00:36:00] dream project that we’re not doing because everybody involved with the project knows that we want to do it someday.

And so I’ll just, I’ll just keep saying it very loudly. You might’ve gotten the energy. We are two best friends who write together who like to goof around and have a good time. We were born to right blue beetle and booster gold. Oh wow. Someday some way we will write blue and gold. That book is someday going to happen for us.

We have a pitch that we are thrilled with and someday Tom King once gave me shit that it hadn’t happened yet. Like that’s, that’s I, I love this pitch. So like we will. That’s awesome. We will do that. That, that I’ll tell you, that’s our dream book right now. And it’s a blessing, a blessing thing for that to be our dream book.

Because before that, it would have been like, well, maybe star Trek or create our own door, you know, a black with a giant fantasy author. It’s like, no, at this point, blue and gold.

Melissa: Yeah, well, we’ll put that out into the universe, right. And just say, send that energy out there. Sounds great. Yeah. [00:37:00] Awesome. Well, we’re, we’re looking forward to the harbinger of this summer.

I’m sure if you know, everyone can follow you both on Twitter. And that’s where you post, like all your latest news, right?

Jackson Lanzing: Yes, indeed. At Jackson landing on Twitter for me and at

Collin Kelly: CP Kelly.

Melissa: Awesome. Well, thanks. Thanks for coming on today. This is great. Can’t wait to see about the secret projects in the future, and you’ll have to come back on so we can talk about those when they get announced.

Jackson Lanzing: Happy do this has been awesome, Alyssa. Thank you. Thank you. Appreciate

Collin Kelly: it.


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