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“It’s A Magical Make Believe World Where Starbuck And The Others Are Different”

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  • “It’s A Magical Make Believe World Where Starbuck And The Others Are Different”

    Take a classic science fiction show and re-imagine it for the turn of an earlier century and you end up with Steampunk Battlestar Galactica: 1880. The time-shifted series is being written by Tony Lee (Doctor Who) and drawn by Aneke. Batman producer Michael Uslan chatted with Lee about the series and taking well established characters and putting them in a whole different time period.

    MICHAEL USLAN: Why has it been so challenging over the decades to present top science fiction (not simply space opera) in comics?

    TONY LEE: Has it? I’m not too sure about that. I think it depends on what you call ‘Space Opera’. I came into comics through Marvel’s STAR WARS titles, and stayed after I discovered NOVA and GUARDIANS and OMEGA MEN and ADAM WARLOCK and STAR TREK and a host of other titles. I think top science fiction by default becomes space opera, in the same way that top superhero comics become spandex opera. The opera part of that isn’t a dirty word, and shouldn’t be ignored or discredited. JJ Abram’s Star Treks and Gunn’s Guardians both play with the trope, and I don’t think they hurt it.

    MU: To what extent will fans allow you to make changes to an old, established brand before hauling out their torches and pitchforks?

    TL: Oh, I think I get away with some of this because it’s not the actual world, it’s a magical make believe world where Starbuck and the others are different. That said, I expect to get hauled over some coals. I was with BSG: Starbuck, I was with Doctor Who, but for every one complaint I had, I had ten other messages of support, so we’ll see…

    MU: What do you believe have been the greatest science fiction comics of all time?

    TL: The Ballad of Halo Jones by Alan Moore. Hands down. Brilliant plotted, paced and written for 2000ad a million squillion years ago. The 80′s Doctor Who comics. All the Starlin cosmic stuff that Marvel did; Infinity Gauntlet, Adam Warlock, all that weird LSD trip plotting that had me spellbound. Green Lantern Corps. The Hawkman series when he was on Thanagar. Adam Strange. Flash Gordon and Buck Rogers – as a kid I had two Action Man dolls (think a UK GI Joe), and one was blonde, one dark haired. So one was Flash, one was Buck. They’d teamed up and fought alien crime. I think I even pitched that to Nick recently!

    MU: What, Star Wars, Flash Gordon and Buck Rogers aside, have been your most significant influences from comics: Adam Strange? Captain Marvel and The Kree-Skrull Wars? Green Lantern Corps.? The Infinity Gauntlet? Guardians of the Galaxy? Tommy Tomorrow? Others?

    TL: Outside of licenses, I’ve not played that much in space – my Doctor Who run took a lot of its inspiration from, well, Doctor Who, maybe some HG Wells – although the Fugitive arc I did for the 10th Doctor was very much my Omega Men rip off. Currently though I’m working on a creator owned series with Stefano Martino called CRASH LANDING which is, at its most base level ‘Flash Gordon meets Dracula’, or ‘Vampires with Jetpacks’, but apart from that? Nothing comes to mind. That said, I’d love to redo Adam Strange or the Forgotten Heroes, and I’d kill for a shot on Legion of Superheroes…

    For more on Steampunk Battlestar Galactica: 1880, click here.

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