Interview: Enter The Action-Packed Wasteland of 'The 27 Run: Crush'
Jan 15, 2021
INTERVIEW, as told to PREVIEWSworld.
Humanity's only chance against 27 towering Monsters and legions of voracious Crawlies is the Mech Pilot Beti and a telepathic dog named E.K. But Beti faces an even bigger challenge: the return of a long-lost love! Get ready for an action-packed stand-off that continues the series Steve Orlando (Wonder Woman) calls, "A wasteland tale energized with dark humor and fantastic creatures."
Justin Zimmerman (writer/creator): THE 27 RUN: CRUSH is probably the most visually challenging project I’ve ever accomplished in the comic world, and that’s saying something. Fortunately, I was working with the coolest artists in the biz. And now that the Premier #1 issue is hitting the stands courtesy of A WAVE BLUE WORLD, it’s exciting to pull back the curtain a little bit on that challenge. For the intro issue, I wanted to come out swinging… to provide an introduction to Beti, her sidekick, and the insane new threat in one fell swoop. It was important to me that even the readers familiar with the world of THE 27 RUN would feel like they were thrown into the deep end. A really fun and beautiful deep end, but the deep end nonetheless!
Ethan Claunch (artist): Working with Justin is empowering. With a wealth of directing and writing experience behind him, he knows when to push you to do more and when to ease off. He has great energy and is constantly checking in to make sure you have what you need. Selfless and diligent, always taking your considerations into account. He gave me the freedom and confidence to experiment and simply create. We would bounce ideas back and forth trying to pin down certain emotional beats, action sequences, panel layouts, etc. He always listened to my input and treated me with respect. I don’t think you can ask for much more out of an author and fellow creator.
Fran Gamboa (colorist): Justin has a lot of passion for his stories, and comic history too. His projects aren’t the usual bulk pages you do in a couple of months. He believes in long-term project goals and growing from book to book. I think we work well and, after multiple projects together, we still have a blast defining color palettes and deciding how to treat action.
JZ: The thing to remember about comics is that they are solitary… but also highly collaborative. At least, that’s how they should be. I come from the world of film, and when I work on a project, I can guarantee over half of my crew has worked with me for almost two decades, easy. It’s my hope to keep building those relationships in the comic world as well. And after a decade in this realm, so far so good! I’m so glad to be working with such talents!
Russ Brown (artist): Agreed! Okay, you asked about the process, so here it is: I inked this book directly into 11 x 17 Bristol with only very loose and very light blue-line pencil as a sort of scaffolding to work from. I use a variety of technical and brush pens, white gesso and white gel pens, all in various states of disrepair. It can be pretty unforgiving at times, but it's my preferred method: seat-of-the-pants.
EC: It was a bit of experimentation with a bit of anxiety and a lot of excitement. I was given the OK to continue using digital pencils to traditional inks, and then back to the digital medium that I experimented with for a short story I drew for Justin in the ALL WE EVER WANTED anthology. It was great because I would get to a certain point where I wouldn’t want to stare at my tablet any longer, so I would transition to the more tactile experience of inking my digital pencils on smooth Strathmore Bristol. I’m still experimenting with this process, but it has proven beneficial for how I work. As I progress, everything becomes a bit more efficient and streamlined, and hopefully, the work will continue to improve. And Justin and I are already working on a new creator-owned project, so stay tuned…
FG: I'm always keeping in mind that I’m coloring a mixed-media blockbuster. So, I have to find a balance between the worlds of comic and animation… adding texture, grain, lens reflections, dust. All the kinds of things your eye read as "real action.” Energetic battle sequences between giant Mechs and Monsters are really fun to work with, of course. But I also enjoy the cockpit scenes between characters, with those bright screens and fun dialogue in the middle of pure devastation.
RB: I'm all for big Mech action, but drawing giant, hungry Monsters always gets me up in the morning. And then there were all those Crawlies… I was seeing them in my sleep! I mean, more so than I usually do. This book is intense!
EC: I’d recommend giving THE 27 RUN: CRUSH a look because, at its core, it’s simply fun and full of energy. The story is driven by strong characters that you grow to love and legitimately end up cheering for. It’s a colorful world Justin has created, and it’s even more evident when you see Fran’s spectacular work. And the talented Russ Brown too! Pick up a copy. You won’t regret it.
FG: The thing I’m most excited about with THE 27 RUN: CRUSH is reader reaction, of course! I think they’ll feel the amount of work and passion behind the scenes we all put into this. I hope they thrill to every page!
JZ: Beti’s companion, E.K., is based on my dog Buddy. He lived to be over thirteen years and passed away this December. THE 27 RUN: CRUSH is a tribute to his friendship, loyalty, and grace. For everything BIG about the book, I hope the little moments stand out. It’s bombastic, it’s funny, it’s nuts… but most of all, it’s about hope. And we could all use a little hope right about now.