Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on Google+ Share on Reddit Share on Pinterest Share on Linkedin Share on Tumblr Kyle Starks is set to ignite the comic world with laughter with ROCK CANDY MOUNTAIN from Image Comics. Starks has been on a comedy rampage with Eisner-nominated SEXCASTLE and his current run on the RICK AND MORTY comic. This new adventure, filled with hobo kung-fu, will certainly continue that momentum. ComicsVerse got to talk to Starks about this wildly brilliant concept, and his answers alone about ROCK CANDY MOUNTAIN brought gut-punching giggles. ROCK CANDY MOUNTAIN will be released 4/5/2017. READ: Our interview about the new HEAD LOPPER! ComicsVerse: How do approach taking on both writing and illustrating, instead of just producing one aspect? Kyle Starks: Whenever I am doing just one aspect, either writing or drawing, I still sort of approach it the same way I do the stuff I write and draw. I’m not sure I can separate it – I still do page thumbnails even when I’m not drawing. It’s all the process of making comics! I guess, if I’m writing for someone else I don’t have to be as specific, I let them have their aesthetic “voice” as much as possible – but for the sake of comedy and action I think pacing is very important, so I still have to consider panel breakdown and layout very carefully. But it’s all the same in terms of early process. CV: How would you describe your sense of humor for people unfamiliar with your work? KS: Oh man, that’s a tough one. “Eisner-nominated”? No, but seriously, that’s a tough one. It’s manic but smart? I try to do everything from physical comedy to dialogue bits, from butt jokes to a little more highbrow material. Basically, I try to be as broad and as faceted as possible – I want there to be something for everyone. I’m, also, very profane. I use a bunch of them dirty words, unfortunately. CV: What elements of your uniquely funny storytelling drive you? KS: I try, always, to make the stories that I’d want to read and I think comics should be fun – but also smart and clever and a place you want to spend your time and money. That’s super important to me — but more than anything I want them to be fun, and for me, that means some degree of humor. CV: What made you want to create this layered hobo underworld? KS: I had been watching a bunch of martial arts films and came across a genre called Wuxia – which is these sort of semi-magical fight boys that tend to be these epic journeys or challenges, and I became really intrigued with the idea of doing a western version of this genre of storytelling and that led me to the ideas that compose the book. I was interested in hobo culture and history before, a passing interest maybe – but thinking about what would best be the world for this genre structure it all came together perfectly. CV: What was so alluring about the ROCK CANDY MOUNTAIN folk tale that you decided to create your own spin on it? KS: The idea for a fighting magical hobo story definitely came first, the song was sort of just the last puzzle piece. My friend Dr. Eric Newsom writes up a fantastic essay about not only that song and its history but the history of ugly utopias. Like I said, it was the capper on that story, not the seed. READ: Another interview with Kyle Starks regarding RICK AND MORTY! CV: The first issue has a multitude of elements that are going to make Jackson’s journey (the main character) challenging. How did you construct these elements? Does he have a punching limit? KS: The hobo life is dangerous and if that hobo life is now filled with punches and the Literal Devil and the Hobo Mafia. It’s going to be a long, tough road for these two boys and it’s only going to get louder and more awesome after issue one. It’s going to be a thrill rich, rollercoasting of hobo fighting shenanigans. CV: Pomona seems to be the naive sidekick. Is his bright blue suit a representation of this? What can we expect of him? Is he the character who has the most potential for growth? KS: His bright blue suit is definitely indicative of how he is not a hobo yet, his clothes are clean and bright, and he’s finding himself going headfirst into a world he is ill-prepared for – he is very much naive. Pomona, like Jackson, has a lot of change coming though it’ll be far more subtle than Jackson’s – he isn’t searching for a very awesome singular thing like the Rock Candy Mountain, but he is on a journey, just a far more personal one. CV: What else can we expect from this series besides a budding hobo friendship and glorious punching battles from diverse groups of assailants? KS: It’s really just escalating from here. The action won’t slow down, the shenanigans won’t slow down, the crazy characters won’t slow down – there’s a history and a world that’s going to be revealed and I think these characters plans and goals are going to really be engaging. And, I mean, legends and devils and wars and…I mean, hobo hotness, my dude. It’s hobo hotness time. For more info about Kyle Starks’ work go to his website!