RICK AND MORTY: LIL’ POOPY SUPERSTAR is one of our most anticipated books of 2016, and ComicsVerse had the honor of getting to know a bit more about the team behind it.

This five-issue miniseries spin-off seeks to fill an important void, a void that can only be filled by a certain longtime Smith family friend who no one has bad memories of (and didn’t think bleeding to death would hurt). He’s the zaniest of them all. He’s Mr. Poopybutthole.

We sat down with creators Sarah Graley, Marc Ellerby, and Mildred Louis for an in-depth look. Their comic launches July 13 from publishers Oni Press.

ComicsVerse: Sarah, what was the process of getting the Mr. Poopybutthole project to come to fruition? Marc and Mildred, how did you get involved?

Sarah Graley (writer and artist): Our editor, Ari Yarwood, got in touch with me to see if I wanted to pitch something, which led to me turning in a pitch for a one-off issue in the regular RICK AND MORTY comic series, which then led to me pitching a Summer and Mr. Poopybutthole miniseries! I think it was Ari and James Lucas Jones idea to pair these characters together, creating the most beautiful dream team combo for me to write! (Thanks, guys!)

Marc Ellerby (backup comics): About ten years ago I drew a book for Oni called LOVE THE WAY YOU LOVE, and we’ve kept in touch over the years with regards to looking for a new project to work on. I’ve been involved with the RICK AND MORTY comics since their inception in 2014 and have drawn backup strips, full issues and variant covers for the main series, and I’ve signed up to carry on working on the license for at least the next year. I’ve known Sarah, and have been a fan of her work, for years and when she and Ari asked me if I’d be interested in joining the Little Poopy Superstar team, it was an immediate yes. Her comics make me scream with laughter. She’s a national treasure!

SG: Aw, Marc! I hope LIL’ POOPY SUPERSTAR makes you all scream (with laughter).

Mildred Louis (colorist): Things just seemed to line up pretty perfectly for me with getting onto this project. I had been really interested in getting a lot more coloring work and happened to reach out to the Oni team to see if there was any colorist work available. It was actually just my luck that right as I sent it, they were trying to solidify their team for LIL’ POOPY SUPERSTAR and when asked if I’d have any interest in it, it was pretty hard for me to say no! RICK AND MORTY is pretty high on my cartoons I love list so it was an opportunity I couldn’t pass up.

READ: Check out our exclusive interview with the main RICK AND MORTY creative team!

CV: What’s been your relationship been like with the show, comic, and fans? How has it impacted you as a person or artist?

Graley: I get very emotional about cartoons, and I have a lot of feelings about RICK AND MORTY! It’s possibly my favorite show, so to be a part of the RAM universe in some way has been truly amazing. The RAM comic is so perfect but also became kind of scary while I was putting together my pitch, as it’s so perfect! I was putting it together during Zac Gorman’s run, and I’m a big fan of his work. (COSTUME QUEST is such a great comic and that Christmas issue Zac wrote and drew, dang dang dang). I haven’t really interacted with many other RAM fans, especially as someone working on the property. Expecting that to change though when this launches 13th of July and y’all come hang out with me at the signings I’m doing!! Hit me up at San Diego Comic Con everybody!

Ellerby: I can’t stress how much working on this comic has changed my professional life. Some snobs rag on working on licensed comics, but this has opened up doors to me that were previously nailed shut with barbed wire draped all over with a “NO ELLERBYS” sign drilled into it, and it came along at just the right time when I was about to throw in the comic towel. So don’t hate on it, haters.

I loved the show from when the pilot aired. I’ve been a fan of Dan and Justin’s separate endeavors for years, and I lost my mind when Oni said they were doing a comic, and Zac and CJ’s original run was the perfect accompaniment to the show.

Oh boy, the fans have been great, although some of them don’t quite get the concept of a comic artist. I did a convention the other week and lost track at the amount of times I was asked if I was the creator of RICK AND MORTY. Nope, I didn’t create RICK AND MORTY, nor do I work on the show, and no, I’m not one of the voice actors (!?!). As much as I’d love to work on the show, I just do the comics, bro.

Louis: It actually took me a bit to get into RICK AND MORTY. A lot of what will draw me into trying out a new show is the visuals, and the art direction wasn’t immediately what I tend to gravitate towards. I had so many friends who were getting into it, though, that I finally dove in and fell in love with it pretty quickly! Getting a chance to color Sarah’s art has been a total blast and has actually taught me a lot about coloring and new ways to handle it. I usually go for blinding shininess, but working on this has taught me how to balance that out a lot more, and also how to have a lot more fun when coloring, too.

CV: What’s been the biggest challenge of the spinoff series?

Ellerby: I think the only challenge is to convince the public to pick up a RICK AND MORTY title that primarily features characters that aren’t Rick or Morty, but then we got the sale numbers in for the first issue, and they’re amazing, so maybe it’s not a big deal, after all, dawg.

Graley:  Not telling everyone before it was announced, ha! I was so excited. Following on Marc’s point, though, thanks to everyone who preordered! And all of y’all who are gonna buy it once it’s out, you the best ;).

Louis: Haha, I’d actually have to agree with Sarah! I was so excited about this when I got signed on that it was really hard to keep a tight lid on it, but it was so great when it was finally announced, and I was able to run around to all of my friends telling them about it. Also third-ing with Marc, as well! It’s been great to see the interest that people have in this and seeing that they aren’t put off by how not RICK AND MORTY focused it is.

CV: Summer has frequently been used in the RICK AND MORTY comics as a freedom-fighter-badass. This has occurred without any collaboration from different writers. How do you think Summer evolved these characteristics? What makes her special?

Ellerby: I think it’s been a natural progression with the character on the show. She got more involved with the missions and got her hands dirty with fighting as the show progressed. Dan and Justin always talked about having the family go on more adventures with Rick, and Summer’s not the type to sit on the sidelines, so I think the comics have just built on the arc Summer’s had in the show.

Graley: What Marc said!!! Summer is pretty quick to call Rick out and to take charge. When there’s a vampire at school Summer is straight up like hey, how are we going to deal with this? I think the role of freedom-fighter-badass is a natural fit for Summer, so it makes sense that she’s taken on this role in the comic series.

Louis: Fully agreeing with Marc and Sara here!

CV: Mr. Poopybutthole’s only full appearance was in the episode “Total Rickall.” His infamous cameo at the end of Season 2 is quite memorable, as well. Why do you think he has caught on in the fan base like a wildfire? What has made this seemingly random, oddball character so endearing? Do you think Stealy from “Interdimensional Cable 2: Tempting Fate” is related to him?

Graley: I mean, Mr. Poopybutthole is a pretty great guy; nobody has bad memories of him. Lemme tell you; he can pull off a top hat as a casual look, which is nothing to be sniffed at. I think that on top of the warming southern accent, it just really packages PoopyB up as someone you’d like to hang out with/put down as your emergency contact. He’s a good guy! In regards to Stealy, I did see someone on a forum who mixed the two characters up and was briefly very excited about a Stealy spin-off series, haha. Maybe they’re second cousins?

Ellerby: Never underestimate the power of a good catchphrase. “OOOOOOOH WEEEE” has captured the nation and will go down in pop-culture history alongside such greats as “Not the mama” and “Heavens to Murgatroyd.”

Graley: I had to google what “Heavens to Murgatroyd” is from, but my partner went through a very long phase of saying it to me, and I’m sure this interview is going to spark a revival on that catchphrase in this household. Heavens to Murgatroyd, INDEED.

Louis: Hahahaha agreed with all of the above! Mr. Poopybutthole’s role in that show, no matter how brief, was so intense that there was no way that he’d be instantly forgotten. I still remember that episode and just yelling at my T.V. He was such a great friend who did nothing but good for everyone!

CV: Since Mr. Poopybutthole has been rarely used, he’s kind of an open slate compared to the rest of the RICK AND MORTY characters. Did you find having more artistic freedom in writing him easy or did you still feel pressure in depicting him “correctly”?

Graley: Somebody compiled all of Mr.Poopybutthole’s moments into a YouTube clip, and let me tell you, it is not very long! And I’ve lost track of how many times I’ve watched it while writing the scripts, haha. At first, I was quite nervous about the lack of content for reference, but you quickly learn the character and that artistic freedom is nice. I think the key to writing an accurate Mr.Poopybutthole is making sure he means the best and littering the dialogue with a handful of Ooo-wees!

CV: Would it be fair to say either Mr. Poopybutthole or Summer is your favorite character? How do you relate to him or her? If not, who is your favorite character and why?

Graley: After working on this series, Summer and Mr.Poopybutthole feel like my adopted children. My sweet cartoon babies!! But I think maybe Jerry is my favorite character. He’s so much fun to write! He may or may not feature heavily in quite a few of the back-up comics in this mini-series, and he may or may not be having a bad time in all of them.

Ellerby: Yeah, Jerry is my favorite character to work on too. He’s so sad and relatable, and he tries his best, and his best is terrible. It’s great having Chris Parnell’s voice in my head as I write his dialogue–I’ve written a few backups for future issues of the main series and sad Jerry features in most of them. Give me the keys to a Jerry limited series please, Oni!

Graley: A Jerry series is the content I crave. I mean, second to a Summer and Mr. Poopybutthole series, of course!!

Louis: I honestly really like Summer! I love how driven and curious she is to go on the intense adventures that Rick and Morty go on. Not only that, but she’s also so good at taking what’s happening around her head on, and while I’d like to think I’d be able to do the same in her position, more than likely that isn’t what would happen.

CV: Sarah, did you find having a five-issue-run more accommodating for the structure of the plot you wanted? Why or Why not?

Graley: I feel like the five issue run was the perfect size for the story I wanted to tell! Each issue is pretty action packed, but knowing the fifth issue would be the end of the story gave me enough issues to wrap it up perfectly. I don’t want to give it away, but you guys are really gonna wanna see how this ends. I feel like I have some good stand alone Summer and Mr. Poopybutthole adventures I could tell, but it was so much fun to write this big adventure for the two! I feel like the five issue run was a perfect fit.

CV: Finally, is there anything you’re particularly proud of from this series? Anything the audience should be prepared for?   

Ellerby: I’m just proud of all the work everyone’s put into this series. Everyone is on fire. The book looks great from the couple of issues that I’ve seen. I’m mostly happy about the fact that Sarah’s finally got a big gig that will showcase how great she is because she really deserves it, and if it leads to more people reading her work, then that’s amazing.

Graley: The audience should be prepared for a GOOD TIME!! I am super proud of all the work everyone’s done on this series. I think LIL’ POOPY SUPERSTAR is incredible (not to toot our own horn but uh, toot toot), and it’s been amazing working on a team with Marc and Mildred (and Ari and Crank!). Summer and Mr. Poopybutthole are a dream team combo, and I feel the same way about this comics team. Also Maaaarc!! Ya sweetie. Both Marc and Mildred are incredible comic artists, so I think everybody should check out LIL’ POOPY SUPERSTAR, and then check these guys other comics out too.

Louis: Honestly, I’m just so happy to have been a part of such an amazing team. Everyone who’s working on this is fantastic, and the work that Sarah’s been doing, both with the writing and the artwork, is such an intense treat!! I’m so excited to get the issues in my hand because I’m just so so so so proud of all the work we’ve put into each issue!

If you want to find more about these fabulous creators’ work, click on their names: Sarah Graley, Marc Ellerby, and Mildred Louis!

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