Worlds will collide in May when classic Hanna-Barbera characters cross over with each other. Back in January, DC Comics revealed their plans to revamp and revitalize the iconic characters. Some series, such as Scooby Apocalypse or Wacky Race Land, will focus on the characters in their separate worlds. Future Quest merges several familiar characters into one epic story.
GameSpot: Where does your story start out? Are they just starting this quest or will we see how and why it all begins?
Jeff Parker: We see the very origin of Space Ghost kick it all off. We open up back in time, across the universe, at a great big battle with a freakish force of nature that Space Ghost and his companions are fighting. Except, he’s not Space Ghost yet. Without any spoilers, you’ll start to see, when we head over to Earth, how it all connects. Doctor Quest, Race, and his whole team are racing around the planet studying these phenomena. It’s also being pursued by Doctor Zin and the Agents of F.E.A.R. that fight Birdman. That naturally brings a lot of people together in trying to figure out what this power source is that all the evil guys are hoping to take control of.
How much of the backstory or basic concept was established when you two were brought on?
Parker: They were very open with it. When we were brought in, Darwyn Cooke was brainstorming a bit on it. He had some notes. Then he and I talked. We started coming up with this big epic story. Darwyn had to move on because he had a whole bunch of other projects, and it took a while to get permission for all of this stuff. That’s just the nature of the beast with these things, as I learned on Batman ’66.
The nice thing was, Doc and I could get together and talk about stuff. “I was thinking about this. What about this?” We just threw the ball back and forth until the story really started taking shape. Then we told Dan [DiDio], and he liked it.
How do the characters and tone compare to their animated counterparts?
Doc Shaner: We’re looking at every character basically through the scope of Jonny Quest. If anything, you could argue that the tone from Jonny Quest is there. Otherwise, for each character and the cartoon they come from, we’re sticking pretty close to how they were originally.
Parker: Everything meets Jonny. In my mind, Jonny is the alpha of it all. That’s where it all comes from. Everybody else’s sound effects and music comes from his show. It’s Jonny, then it’s Space Ghost. Then it’s everything else underneath those two like a big family tree. As a result, you get things like…the Impossibles are involved. Obviously they’re a more wacky end of this action/adventure spectrum, but they have to fit into this story. Doc draws them in a perfect sort of meld of the super-cartoony Flintstones-style, as seen through a Jonny Quest lens. I was like, “Wow! You actually made it work.” I would not want to have to do that. It’s a daunting task for a lot of artists.
Some of the other Hanna-Barbera characters like the Flintstones and Scooby-Doo are getting new looks in their new books. Will Jonny Quest, his family, and the other characters retain their original look?
Shaner: Pretty much, yeah. Space Ghost is exactly the same. Jonny is, for all purposes, the same. For the most part, any changes are kind of like when we did Shazam [in Convergence: Shazam]. It’s just to make it mine—the way I would draw things. They’re very minor. The characters I had to change, it’s more of a personal taste thing, mostly.
Parker: It’s weird. You can’t quite pinpoint some things. Like if you tried to explain why you made the choice, it wouldn’t make sense to anybody else, but you did it. You see it and go, “Yup, that was the right way to go with that.”
Are crossovers with the other books possible down the line? Is there enough crossover within this title?
Parker: God, there’s so much crossover in this. We’ve got Mightor, the Herculoids, Frankenstein Jr., the Impossibles, Space Ghost, and Jonny. I’m leaving something out. Galaxy Trio, Birdman, and Dino Boy. That’s enough. I don’t see any benefit to the meeting Jabberjaw. They’re not going to meet Jabberjaw.
Will these crossovers take place over an arc or will they be quicker adventures where the characters pop in and out?
Parker: It’s one big super-story. In fact, the way Dan originally phrased it, he wanted it to be like The New Frontier of Hanna-Barbera. I was like, “Got it!” That was my favorite thing DC has done in a century. I have no problem with that.
What are you most excited about with Future Quest?
Shaner: There were characters that surprised me when I started designing everything, like Birdman. I mean I’ve always liked him, but as soon as I read Jeff’s script, I totally saw Birdman. I think he might be my favorite character. There’s also the Impossibles, weirdly enough. I never thought I’d get excited about the Impossibles, but I really like drawing them.
Parker: I’m excited about what happens with the character Mightor in the story. That’s a big development. It’s cool bringing in another supporting cast member like Jezebel Jade. It’s fun letting her be a real mercenary, and you’re not sure if you can trust her. In the cartoon, you know she’s going to help Race Bannon. Here, that’s not necessarily a given, at all. We’ve also had a chance to add a little dimension to some villains and stuff. To me, that’s really rewarding. It’s cool to be able to flesh out something, and try to do your best to stick with what was there. I pretty much worship Doug Wildey and Alex Toth. I’m not going to do anything that, in my mind, they wouldn’t have gone for. I know that’s impossible, but I do hold that in my head. And Blip! I’m most excited about Blip.
Shaner: Yeah, me too. That’s what I should’ve said.
Parker: He’s the best pet-sidekick.
Future Quest goes on sale at comic shops on on May 18. You can also purchase it digitally at readdcentertainment.com .