In an exclusive interview with Villain Media, the creative team of Matt Bors and Ben Clarkson talk about their dark comedy six-issue series, Justice Warriors (Ahoy Comics). Check out how this buddy cop parody contends with its pop star mayor known as Prince as well a new cyberpunk gang.
THE PLOT: “Two police officers, Swamp Cop and Schitt, stationed in the world’s first perfect city. A bustling metropolis flourishes inside the protective shell of Bubble City. It is a city of equality, diversity, and prosperity with no crime whatsoever. But outside of the Bubble lies the Uninhabited Zone, a densely populated and vast slum where the majority of the mutant population actually lives.”
“In the series, the veteran Swamp Cop is paired with a rookie partner, Schitt, after Swamp’s partner is killed in the line of duty (when he was run over by a self-driving city bus). The increasingly cynical Swamp Cop becomes obsessed with arresting or killing the bus, as he begins to suffer PTSD.”
“Haunted by hallucinations of his dead partner, Swamp Cop is determined to show the naive rookie Schitt that you can only police the UZ by bending every rule that’s left.”
With the first issue of Justice Warriors arriving June 8, 2022, creators Matt Bors and Ben Clarkson open up on how the project came about, and the violent satire of police, inequality, and celebrity.
VILLAIN MEDIA: Tell me how Justice Warriors came about for you.
MATT BORS: For me, it came about in the summer of 2020. The pandemic was ravaging the US, protests were roiling, and, where I lived at the time, wildfires were raging. So Ben comes along with the idea that I write for this world he created and I just immediately saw that we had similar artistic influences and viewpoints and this was a perfect way to tell stories about our fucked up world.
BEN CLARKSON: Justice Warriors has been simmering in my brain for about a decade. It started as a novella about my love life, and warped, and mutated until it ended up as a buddy cop comic about a fish and poop. I showed Matt my pitch for Justice Warriors and he was instantly hooked. He’s an amazing business and creative partner so everything really accelerated after that.
VM: Tell me what interested you about these characters, Swamp Cop and Schitt.
MB: It’s the buddy cop dynamic on a lot of stimulants. Training Day, Lethal Weapon, Bad Boys. But worse, by which I mean better.
BC: Swamp started appearing in the sketch books a few years back, I had no idea who he was, or what world he inhabited. He was a cop in another comic world I was developing for awhile. He’s a really great character because he is pathetic, every slight or humiliation we can make him suffer we do it, because there’s something so satisfying about twisting the knife in such a self serious and damaged cretin. His deteriorating mental health is a big part of the book.
Schitt is a sweetheart, who happens to be made entirely of excrement. He’s brutal, cowardly, lazy, flippant, literally spineless, a regular joe.
VM: Tell me about the bonus materials. The first issue will have a standalone one page strip exploring the life of mutants in the UZ and a standalone, one-page mugshot of a criminal.
MB: We want this book packed with material—to give readers their money’s worth and because there is so much world to Justice Warriors. So in the first issue we have the Crime Files and you can expect more things like that as the series goes on. Reports from the police as well as one page strips that take place in the wider world of the UZ.
BC: Matt has big plans for the back matter.
VM: What can readers expect with the second issue.
MB: A whole lot of bread. Brioche, wheat, whatever you can get your hands on is a must. It’s the new Tulip mania. Do not under any circumstances eat it—hold, don’t sell! Prices can only go up.
BC: Issue 2 is where a new criminal organization rises out of the boom and bust of Bubble City’s latest financial crazes, and we spend a night in the gutter with the sleeze (the cops).
VM: Tell me how Justice Warriors changed you.
MB: This is my first monthly comic book series ever, which sounds crazy to say because from my perspective this is something I’ve always wanted to do since I was a kid. I have wanted to be a cartoonist since I can remember and I’ve done that, but somehow I ended up in strips and webcomics and never got around to my original stapled floppy monthly format we all know and love. Justice Warriors is a big shift for me in my career and I hope to create it forever, basically.
BC: I have been working unendingly to bring this world to life for four years. It has pushed me out of all my comfort zones and changed how I work and how I think about work. I will keep pushing until Michael Bay directs the first film adaptation.
VM: What are you working on now?
MB: A little project I like to call…Justice Warriors. I also run The Nib, so there’s that.
BC: I am developing some animated series concepts with a Production company, but nothing more than zoom meetings right now. Drawing and writing Justice Warriors takes up about 60 hours a week right now, so all the rest of my time is devoted to sleeping and keeping my children alive.
Justice Warriors will be published monthly by AHOY Comics starting on June 8, 2022.