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Interview with Graphic Novelist Royden Lepp

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Author Royden Lepp was kind enough to give us some of his time at this years C2E2 conference in Chicago. We spoke at the Archaia booth about his upcoming graphic novel, Rust Volume 3. Rust was acquired by Fox Studios for a major film adaptation with Attack the Block director Joe Cornish signed on as director.

Archaia has subsequently been acquired by comics publisher Boom! Studios. Boom just saw its first major motion picture release with Two Guns, staring Denzel Washington and Mark Wahlberg. They also publish the comic adaptation of Adventure Time. Archaia is most noted for publishing critically acclaimed titles such as Mousegaurd and Jim Henson’s A Tale of Sand.

Your work has drawn comparisons to other work such as Astro Boy, The Iron Giant, The Rocketeer but ultimately this is a very original work. So where does the inspiration for this book come from?

I grew up on the prairies, the Canadian prairies, so that feeling of claustrophobia that you get when you’re living in a really really big space, that feeling was something I was familiar with. I like giant robots and jetpacks, so naturally I just put all that stuff together for Rust.

For a second there I thought you were going to say you were familiar with giant robots

Rust V-1 Visitor in the Field by Royden lepp, cover image Archaia/Boom! Studios

Rust V-1 Visitor in the Field by Royden lepp, cover image Archaia/Boom! Studios

and jetpacks! Canada sounds a lot more interesting that I thought.

Yeah I grew up on the Canadian prairie so of course I’m familiar with the giant robots and jetpacks.

We are boosting tourism right now!

Ha, yeah!

How did you come by Archaia as a publisher?

Archaia is very much known for coming up with great books. They are very creator-owned. I remember opening up MouseGuard and thinking what a great book! It is done so well! I came across their booth at San Diego Comic-Con a few years ago and I just thought these are the guys I want to work with. I became familiar with all of the guys there, Mark Smylie, Stephen Christie all of the people involved are like a family devoted to crafting great books.

This is breaking news! People actually conduct business at Comic-Con! We have been going for the wrong reasons.

Sometimes it happens. Yeah on occasion people actually talk about comics!

So what are we going to be looking forward to in Rust Volume 3?

I don’t want to spoil anything but it’s going to bring out a lot of questions or it’s going to answer a lot of questions that people now have. We are going to learn a lot about Jet’s past. Not everything but a lot more and I think people are going to have their eyes opened as to what is going on.

What was the thought process behind the scene in the first volume where the protagonist shows up for the first time on the farm and he is horrified that these people have integrated these killing machines into their daily lives? These things that have been actively engaged in slaughtering people for gosh knows how many years and they are like…well we needed a farmhand. Where did this idea come from of juxtaposing kind of the mundane use of these giant robots and what they became used for after the war?

Yeah I just kind of liked that feeling, that these robots needed to be recycled somewhat after the war. It would be kind of like old tractors that people have to work on just to keep them together. And these people needed extra help on the farm. I just liked that feeling. Especially in the big reveal with the first scene. It was something I had never seen anyone do before and I wanted to show how these things might be used after the war.

Its safe to say we weren’t the only ones impressed by Rust as Fox has decided to adapt it into a feature film. How much can you tell us about the progress there?

I can’t talk about it too much. This year we signed on Joe Cornish to direct. He’s a great director, incredibly creative with a great vision for the film. We are all incredibly excited about what is going on. I can’t talk much about the plot or what is going on at this point. I get to be involved. Again I probably can’t say much more than that but it has been fun to on the other side of things and to be involved as much as I have.

Are there any other projects you are working on at this time?

I am dedicating most of my time to Rust right now. I am looking forward to hearing fan reaction to Volume 3. Given the time you may see more from me at the end of this year and beginning of next year.

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About Gabe_Canada

Gabrial is a native Hoosier. He is a blogger for the grassroots media literacy organization Racebending.com and a member of the team at Kind of Epic Show. A weekly pop culture news podcast http://www.podomatic.com/kindofepicshow whose hosts may or may not form a giant fighting robot.