I was super nervous going into SoCal Games and Comics tonight because not only was I there as a fan to get some wicked books singed by two of my favorite writers; I was also meeting up with Jackson Lanzing and Collin Kelly to talk about their new project. I walked over to their table and introduced myself and my daughter to the guys, and immediately they were very warm and charming. It was apparent that this was going to be a fun and easy going interview, as they were eager to share their story with me.
Jackson Lanzing and Collin Kelly have quite the story to tell, and they dive right into how their friendship began back in 2008 at USC. They met as part of a writing group and lets just say they were not “in like” with one another right away. As with every good story there has to be a catalyst and theirs was a mutual jealousy for the talent the other possessed. Eventually they realized that if they combined their strengths they could make a pretty unstoppable team. It only took one transcendent road trip to see Kanye West to really cement their friendship; and then like they say “the past is prologue”. It really is adorable how they complete each other; they fit seamlessly together like two halves of a whole. I even noticed they sometimes completed each others sentences. This works perfect for writing comic books because Jackson and Collin split the books up each writing half, and you can’t tell where one stops and the other begins.
Fast forward 8 years later from when they first met and they now have their new baby with Boom Studios called Joyride. This book is a labor of love for Lanzing and Kelly who are extremely passionate about what they do. Joyride is essentially their teenage dreams brought to life. Growing up in small towns themselves; Jackson and Collin both spent time as teenagers dreaming of something much bigger than small town life. When they were contacted by their friend and talented artist Marcus To about this project, they jumped on board and never looked back. At its core; Joyride is simply about three teenagers that jack a space ship and want to find out the truth about what is really out there. Breaking free from the limitations and confines of her world; the main character Uma is what this book is all about. She has an infectious love for life, and an unbreakable positive spirit. She is a great role model for teenagers, as my daughter so eloquently said “Uma is very relatable”. She isn’t a perfect character, she has flaws and it’s with in these flaws that we can see ourselves. Her best friend Dewydd (pronounced “Daywid” trust me I had to ask) is more pragmatic but still willing to follow Uma to the far reaches of the galaxy and back. Collin and Jackson explained to me that Dewydd is a typical teenage boy like they once were, not always making the best decisions for the best reasons. Dewydd clearly has more than friendship feelings for Uma and that relationship will be explored. The third character to round out this space trippin trio is more of an unwilling participant, but maybe the most intriguing character out of them all. Private first class Cosanova works for the government in what seems like a position she isn’t all too thrilled with. They hint at that maybe her parents are quite important, so this could cause some problems down the road. She disobeys direct orders and tries to stop Uma and Dewydd but instead ends up on this space ship with them. Uma calls her lady Hitler, but she has more in common with her than either one of them will care to admit at this point. I see her rebellious side just waiting to come out, it just might take a little longer for Catrin to let go of her lifetime of repressing those urges. Luckily for us we are going to get to see this evolve naturally over time and not just within the 4 books that Joyride was originally slated to be. Joyride was officially bumped up to an ongoing series with #1 being released last week. It has received absolutely stellar reviews from fans, including myself. Jackson Lanzing, Collin Kelly along with Marcus To and Irma Kniivilla create this dynamically gorgeous world for us to go on a Joyride though their imagination. This book gives us all that chance to feel like teenagers again even if just for a little while; to experience that passion we once had for adventure and the endless possibilities of it all.
*Lanzing and Kelly are a couple of super writing studs; having worked previously with Boom studios and along with Alyssa Milano on her book Hacktivist. They were brilliant in bringing her passion and concern for the plight of our planet into comic book form. Then they were brought on by DC comics to write on the weekly series Batman and Robin Eternal, and later to finish up an amazing run on Grayson. I would best describe the guys as eternally youthful, optimistic, passionate and super silly. I was very grateful for the time they gave me and the stories they so graciously shared with me. I would buy any book these two are involved with and I highly recommend you check out Joyride if you haven’t already.