Smash Pages Q&A: Mark Russell on ‘Billionaire Island’

The writer of ‘Second Coming’ discusses his new release from Ahoy Comics, which imagines an island where the rich escape from the end of the world.

Mark Russell has made a name for himself as one of the leading satirists in comics and a deeply subversive writer. I think it’s fair to say that no one envisioned The Flintstones or Snagglepuss the way that Russell wrote them, as these complex, thoughtful and tragic stories that addressed social issues in such pointed ways.

In addition to those books, there’s the two books where, with Shannon Wheeler, he reinterpreted The Bible (God is Disappointed in You, Apocrypha Now). He also wrote The Wonder Twins series for DC, which recently wrapped up, and Second Coming, which was originally going to be published by Vertigo, but the company dropped the series about Jesus becoming roommates with the world’s mightiest superhero. 

Russell is back with a new series from Ahoy Comics, Billionaire Island. Taking place in 2044, it concerns an artificial island where the wealthiest can take their money and avoid the problems that come from dealing with humanity – and all the problems that the wealthy created. It is funny and outrageous – and someone is probably working on how to build such an island as we speak. I spoke with Russell about the book, being outrageous and taking guidance from Winston Churchill.

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Can’t Wait for Wednesday: This week’s releases get a little strange

Check out what’s hitting comic shops this week from DC, Marvel, Ahoy Comics and more.

It’s the return of one of our favorite columns — or at least one of my favorite columns — our weekly look at this week’s new comics and graphic novels. It seems like only yesterday that we kicked this column off at our original stomping grounds, The Great Curve, but it’s actually been more than a decade. Yikes, does time fly …

Anyway, here are a few of this week’s comics that I’m planning on checking out. You can see the complete list of this week’s releases over at The Comic List, and I encourage you to share what you’re planning to get in the comments below.

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Russell + Pugh reteam for new AHOY title

Find out what the filthy rich are up to in international waters, here on ‘Billionaire Island.’

The team behind DC’s Flintstones reboot are heading to sea for a new series from AHOY Comics (perfect, right?) called Billionaire Island.

Mark Russell and Steve Pugh brought a fresh take to the Hanna Barbera property for DC a few years back, racking up several award nominations and critical praise. The pair is joined by colorist Chris Chuckry and letterer Rob Steen for this new six-issue miniseries about the offshore antics of billionaires facing the end of the world.

Billionaire Island tells the story of Freedom Unlimited (FU Island), a private island created and populated by billionaires hoping to wait out the end of the world,” Russell said. “But because they are in international waters and not subject to any law, their haven is a nightmarish police state for anyone on the island who crosses them. In a broader sense, it’s a series that asks the question: how do we save the world when all its resources are partying offshore?”

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