Burch and Corona Take Us on the Last Ride of the Pork Chop Express in OLD MAN JACK [Interview]
This week sees BOOM! Studios releasing the latest addition to their well-received Big Trouble In Little China series of comicbooks, as Anthony Burch, Jorge Corona and – yes – John Carpenter himself bring you Old Man Jack, the story of Jack Burton’s final ride in the Pork Chop Express.
The series sees a sixty-year-old Jack Burton trying to survive in a world which has literally gone to hell, and given the strength of the previous Big Trouble In Little China BOOM! Studios books, we were thrilled to be able to sit down with both Anthony Burch and Jorge Corona to find out a little more about this one.
BIG COMIC PAGE: Thanks so much for your time, guys. So, tell us a little about the basic premise behind Old Man Jack, and how the idea of a post-apocalyptic Jack Burton came about?
ANTHONY BURCH: Old Man Jack is about:
– Reaching the end of your life and wondering if you made the right decisions
– Punching demons
When [Editors] Eric [Harburn] and Alex [Galer] at BOOM! Studios came up with the idea of a story about Jack as an old man, the apocalypse just felt like the natural fit for his final adventure. He saved the world in Little China, but what happens when the danger is much, much bigger… and the bad guys have already won? Can Jack’s luck and buffoonery help him survive the literal end of the world? At the end of everything, is Jack happy with the decisions he’s made? Has he paid his dues, or is the check still in the mail?
BCP: Anthony, what was it about Jorge’s artwork that you thought would be a perfect fit for the series?
ANTHONY: I love EVERYTHING about Jorge’s art, but if I had to pick a favorite thing it would be his design for Jack. Jorge’s Jack is simultaneously hilarious but pitiable; heroic, but pathetic. He radiates a sense of self-satisfaction that is clearly masking some deep loneliness and trauma. Also, his mullet is fucking tight.
BCP: And likewise, Jorge, what was it about the story that appealed to you as an artist?
JORGE CORONA: I’ve been a longtime fan of the Big Trouble movie. That reason alone made me jump at the opportunity of to work on this book. After reading the script and the ideas Anthony had for the series, I was thrilled. World-building is one of my favorite things to do, and the new reality Jack lives in allowed me to do just that while still playing with characters I love.
BCP: How involved was the man himself, John Carpenter, in the development of the series?
ANTHONY: John has been spectacular about giving feedback and story advice. Once I asked him about character arcs, and he talked about how they gave Snake Plissken a subtle one in Escape from New York by having him give other characters chances to redeem themselves, and then I realized I was talking to my favorite director about my favorite fictional character he created and then I died and went to heaven.
BCP: Obviously in licensed properties, there can sometimes be limitations in how much freedom you’re given. Was there anything either of you wanted to do in the series but weren’t allowed to?
ANTHONY: Nope! Big Trouble is a spectacularly malleable franchise that hits damn near every tone you could want to include in a comic. Nothing’s been off the table so far.
JORGE: Not really. Besides some initial character designs where we were figuring out the look for the main character, everything else has been left to me. I’ve been working side by side with the rest of the team and they’ve been incredibly supportive of my views.
BCP: Now it’s clear that the world is in a pretty bad state in this series. Are there any familiar characters from the movie and the existing BOOM! Studios series that we’re going to see showing up?
ANTHONY: You’d better believe it. I don’t wanna spoil them, but let’s say that there are a hell of a lot of characters from both the original film and the existing comics that might make an appearance.
Except for Eddie. Haven’t really found a spot for him yet.
BCP: How does the sixty-year-old Jack Burton differ from the one we all know and love, both physically and in terms of his outlook?
ANTHONY: Physically, dude needs glasses to read, and he’s going a little gray. Mentally, Jack has doubled down on the combo of arrogance and utter bewilderment that make him such a joy of a character. He understands less than ever before, yet is utterly certain that he’s got everything under control. Even though Jack is pushing sixty, in many ways this story is a coming-of-age tale for him—he’s gonna have to learn how to grow up, accept responsibility, and depend on other people.
BCP: Jorge, have you made any tweaks to your existing style for the series, and have you had to do any additional research to make sure you nailed the distinctive “Big Trouble” feel?
JORGE: Old Man Jack is basically an adventure book, and that is something I’m quite familiar with. For this book, I did have the chance to mix a bit of the action from previous series I’ve worked on while also retaining some of the more humorous elements from short stories I’ve done in more cartoon-based series.
BCP: Aside from Big Trouble in Little China, are there any other established properties you would like to give the post-apocalyptic “Old Man” treatment?
ANTHONY: Escape from New York!
BCP: And finally Anthony, what would you say to someone who was on the fence about picking up Old Man Jack to help convince them?
ANTHONY: I dunno. Do you like Big Trouble in Little China? This is that, but new, and it’s Jack’s final adventure. And there are some good goofs!
OLD MAN JACK #1 goes on sale in print and digital on the 20th of September, and you can feast your eyes on even more of Jorge’s stunning interior artwork – as well as variant covers from Sam Bosma (Movie Variant), Michael Adams and Marco D’Alsonso (Action Figure), Will Robson (Connecting Variant) and Paul Pope (Variant and John Carpenter Signed Variant) below.
The writer of this piece was: Craig Neilson-Adams (aka Ceej)
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