Paul Allor, Comics Experience’s own Content and Operations Manager as well as an instructor of writing, will be lending his talents to the upcoming Samurai Jack: Lost Worlds! Joined by Adam Bryce Thomas, Paul’s series of four one-shot adventures starring everyone’s favorite time-displaced samurai launches on April 22 from IDW.
We knew he couldn’t spoil much of the story – Jack’s better experienced as, well, an experience – but we did ask him a couple of questions about the book.
Comics Experience: How has your work with licensed properties helped prepare you to work on Samurai Jack? What makes Samurai Jack a unique property?
Paul Allor: I think the challenge of licensed properties is striking a balance between making it feel like what it is, while also making it your own. If you look back at the work I’ve done, it’s my hope that TMNT feels like TMNT, GI Joe feels like GI Joe, Clue feels like Clue, et cetera, but that they all, also, feel like Paul Allor books.
And Samurai Jack, even more than most, is a universe that has a very unique and particular feel to it. It’s marked by a sense of melancholy joy. At first blush it’s fun, it’s joyful, it’s a pleasure to behold. But then it digs in deep. They best Samurai Jack stories leave you with a sense of disquiet and cause you to ruminate on them long after the story ends.
And that last paragraph is more or less how I opened my initial pitch. Somehow, I still got the job!
CE: The world of Samurai Jack is one of the most rich and imaginative fictions to explore, considering how he gets pulled through so many different times and spaces. What’s it like to play in that sandbox? Without spoiling, how do you plan to expand it?
It was tremendous fun, playing in this huge, wild, off-beat universe. This mini-series is structured as four one-shots, all of which find Jack at transitional moments — sometimes emotionally, often literally. I actually wrote the initial pitch while sitting next to my father’s deathbed, a few days before he passed, and as a result all of the stories deal, in various ways, with issues of faith, of identity, of navigating liminal spaces.
But, you know… also funny!
CE: What’s your working relationship like with Adam Bryce Thomas?
PA: Adam is so great! As a licensed property, most everything pretty much goes through David Mariotte, our fantastic editor, so my working relationship with Adam mainly consists of looking things over and going, “Yup, yup, looks great, yup!”