Christopher Hastings, Valiant

Promo art by David Nakayama

In an exclusive interview with Villain Media, held during New York Comic Con 2019, writer Christopher Hastings talks about the all-new Quantum & Woody series from Valiant Entertainment. Check out what’s in store for the Valiant Universe when the Henderson brothers return. 

Adopted brothers, Eric and Woody Henderson unexpectedly found themselves in the midst of a scientific accident. All of a sudden, the siblings discovered a whole new purpose in life after being washed-up failures. They also have a legitimate reason to fight crime and wear costumes.

During our recent New York Comic Con interview, Valiant’s Senior Editorial Director Robert Meyers had this to say about the upcoming Quantum & Woody series, “Christopher Hastings and Ryan Browne put together is just out of this world! It’s so much fun! It’s funny! It’s got heart! Christopher said he approached it as comedy first. But he also wants it to be a book about family and the bond that ties us together.” 

With Quantum & Woody #1 arriving in stores on January 29th, 2020, Christopher Hastings discusses his upcoming series, working with artist Ryan Browne, and the sibling rivalry between Eric and Woody. Check out what else is happening in #Valiant2020 as we head into the writer’s studio to discuss the craft of storytelling.

Art by Ryan Browne and Colors by Ruth Redmond

Villain Media: Tell me how you became involved in the project. 

Christopher Hastings: I had written Deadpool comics and The Unbelievable Gwenpool for Marvel. Heather Antos was Jordan White’s Assistant Editor on those books. Eventually, Heather became the main editor on Gwenpool and she recently joined Valiant. Once she was all settled, she said, “We need a Quantum & Woody book over here. And I know who to call!”

Heather brought me on mostly because of our work together on Gwenpool

VM: As someone who has an older brother, I love the stories where Eric and Woody just rag on each other. 

CH: [Laughs] First off, to give you that I know the exact same vibe, however I am the older brother. I grew up in West Virginia. We had a big lawn in the middle of the woods. We had a dog and because of that, we had electric fencing. We had to train the dog with a shock collar. 

One day when our parents weren’t around, I decided it would be fun to put the collar on my brother. And then slowly force him to the invisible fence. It doesn’t shock you right away. It starts to beep first to warn you. It’s just terrifying! That’s the story of my brother that I like to tell at my wedding. So I’m going to tell it in this interview too! [Laughs]

To get back at me, we also had a back deck in our house, on the second floor. It had no stairs. He tricked me out on the balcony and locked the door! It’s nothing but a twenty foot drop down! And no way to get in! He left me there for hours!

VM: That’s exactly what Eric and Woody are like!

CH: I very much know what brothers do to each other. And god, you bring superpowers to it; it’s a whole other thing. We got plenty of that. 

VM: Tell me about working with artist Ryan Browne.

CH: I have been a big fan of Ryan’s for a long time. When I was doing my webcomic, Dr. McNinja, he was doing God Hates Astronauts. Every time I would look at God Hates Astronauts, I’d think, “God! Ryan is doing everything I’m doing way better! He’s so much better than me!”

And then I was working on a wizard comic and he came up with Curse Words. I’d be like, “Ahh! He beat me again!”

So now I’m excited that I have him contained. And he has to work on what I want to do now! The larger point is, we have a very similar vibe. I feel like we should have worked together a long time ago. It’s really cool the way that we are! He gets everything that I’m writing. And he adds so much more to it. I look at his panels and I see him add all these little jokes everywhere. We’re just trying to heighten each other the whole time.  

Art by Ryan Browne and Colors by Ruth Redmond

VM: I noticed that with one of the panels too. Quantum is doing pushups and Vincent Van Goat has the dumbbell in his mouth.

CH: This is a great example of the dynamic! In the scene I wrote, “Eric is working out but in some ridiculous over-the-top way to show it. Maybe he’s got his ankles to the ceiling. Or he’s doing weird one-arm pushups or something.”

It was Ryan’s idea to not only have the goat standing on his back; but the goat holding the dumbbell. That’s a really great example of the two of us coming together and making each other funnier.

VM: How did Quantum & Woody change you as a storyteller?

CH: Oh, that’s interesting! As a kid, I craved funny superhero comics. And there weren’t a ton. And that came from reading Spider-Man.Spider-Man is the funny superhero. And then Deadpool came along. Oh there’s another one! I read Wizard Magazine every month. It got mailed to my house, because I lived in the woods and there was no comic book shop nearby. And I’d be like Quantum & Woody! This is so funny! I’ve grown up with funny superheroes. This is my favorite thing to write for superheroes.  I’m so happy that I get to do, in my mind, the original funny superheroes. 

Working on this book, my main thing has been like, every issue is a self contained story that is super fun on its own, but can also tie itself to a larger thing. I love the single issue comics. I feel like we don’t get a ton these days. For a comedy especially, it’s formatted to a sitcom. A sitcom is 22 minutes. A comic is 20 pages. You can structure them the same say. I’ve been focused on really tight individual stories, that also have a through-line in the background. 

VM: What are you working on now?

CH: Quantum & Woody. It’s a lot of work! [Laughs] What else am I doing? I’m also working on my graphic novel, which is called Dracualgate. It’s about a team of bumbling U.S. diplomats establishing relationships with Transylvania, the land of the undead run by Dracula. It’s Veep meets the “Monster Mash.” So I’ve been working on that with my partner, Branson Reese. I also do weekly web comics at my twitter, @DrHastings. Right now, I’m doing a detective/noir story but it’s with Wario figuring out how Mario came back to life, after witnessing him dying. 

I do a couple of podcasts. I have Hulk Smashed, which I do with Chrissie Gruebel. She’s not a comic book fan at all, but we both watch a superhero movie. And then she gets drunk! She tells her opinion about it while I try to give her the comic book background. [Laughs]

I am also part of the cast, Rude Tales of Magic. It’s a live play Dungeons & Dragons podcast. There’s probably something I missed! I’m very busy! I do a lot!

Art by Ryan Browne and Colors by Ruth Redmond

 Quantum & Woody #1 arrives in stores on January 29th, 2020. 

By Jorge Solis

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