Smash Pages Q&A: Paul Jenkins on AfterShock Comics’ ‘Replica’

replicaToday truly marks the beginning of the AfterShock Comics era as comics hit the shelves. Included in this collection is Paul Jenkins and Andy Clarke’s Replica. “Meet Trevor Carter, an Earth-born peacekeeping agent on the intergalactic hub known as The Transfer. When Trevor’s already near impossible assignment becomes a bit too much for the errant detective, he turns to the only logical ap-proach, Replication. More of a good thing can’t hurt, right? A single clone could be helpful; unfortunately the replication process doesn’t go as planned!”

Tim O’Shea: From the initial planning of the series did you always intend to have an element of comedy to it?

Paul Jenkins: Yes. I love dark humor/black comedies. I think there is an autobiographical element to everything a creator makes, and I realized in hindsight this series reflected my crazy workload these days. I wish I could  clone myself sometimes, and I know without a doubt I would hate my clone. The idea that a guy has to interact with aliens species in order to police a giant spaceship is rife with comedic possibilities, and it’s something I had wanted to build out for a long time. In fact, you can see elements of the “Buddy Cop” humor concept in the series I recently did with Boom, Fiction Squad. I love the  idea of a detective paired with someone that he cannot possibly stand – in this case, our main character’s partner is a rather dimwitted alien called Vorgas. 

In terms of the creator-owned aspect what drew you in yourself to new outfit like Aftershock vs some veteran group.

I have known Joe Pruett for many years, and in fact Joe and I had been talking about his new company long before its existence was announced. I really feel supported by everyone at Aftershock, and having been through a number of startup comic companies, i know the real key is to deliver quality books on time for a long time. Adding Mike Marts has really solidified the editorial team – he brings a wealth of contacts and experience. My own experiences here are already amazing, and since I know I am already through issue #6, i know that the series is here for the long haul, and will arrive on time every month. These are the types of details that bode well for the company’s longevity, and the lineup of creators and titles just keeps getting better and better.

clarkeFrom an artistic standpoint what made Andy Clarke a good fit on the series?

Andy is perfect. For one thing, I am guessing his experiences with 2000AD probably helped a lot. He really gets the nuances of the humor, mostly. Andy is fully engaged in terms of the creative, and so I feel like it’s Christmas every time he hands in a page. He’s a great collaborator – perfect choice for this series.

What makes Trevor (Churchill) tick and how hard was it for you to realize the core of the character’s appeal 

As I said above, this series is autobiographical in that I am so overmatched sometimes at my film studio job (plus I work with aliens). Unlike me, he’s a lovable loser. Trevor is constantly on the verge of having the entire thing just go sideways and explode, and he deals with it using humor and tenacity. Trevor keeps trying and trying, no matter what life throws at him (and usually, life throws a lot of stuff that does not smell pleasant). He’s a simple kind of guy who believes in generally being a good guy, though he is willing to bend the rules for a good cause.)

Rather than being an unlimited series it is an ongoing liberating is that for you?

Absolutely, yes. First of all, I love doing this book. Secondly, we are allowed to develop the character instead of just throwing him out there for a little bit and moving onto something else.. I haven’t been on an ongoing in years – I miss it.

As an Atlanta native my ears perked up when I learned you were gonna be teaching at the growing campus that is Kennesaw. While educating your students do you also see it as a chance to improve your creative process as well?

I think that anyone who teaches will only do it properly if they are also willing to learn. I am a sponge for knowledge – I particularly love to do research. So yes, I am learning all the time from my students.

What should we discuss that I neglected to ask about?

Why do bad things happen to good people? (A: because they deserve it).

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