Comic Booked Interviews Joshua Williamson

Robocop

Growing up in the 1980s, I watched a myriad of movies, good and bad, from sci-fi to horror to cheesy buddy cop movies. When I saw that BOOM! Studios was releasing a series based on Robocop, I had to pick it up. I think that the coolest thing about this series is that it is set during the time of the movies, but does not just retell the story of the movies.

RobocopI have read the first two issues of this series and highly recommend it to anyone who is a fan of gritty sci-fi stories or gritty cop stories or just really good comics. The story sees Murphy and Lewis taking down a building full of baddies with guns to spare. After punching out a guy’s eyeball (yeah, that looks as cool as it sounds), Robocop clears the building and takes in the perps. On a building watching the whole thing is a man named Killian. He looks like a bad dude and his plans for Detroit may be down right evil. A great villain and an interesting mystery as Murphy and Lewis are put in charge of a gun reclamation program and targeted by Killian and his goons in a plan that could mean the end for Robocop and Detroit.

We also had the great opportunity to speak with Joshua Williamson, writer of Robocop, among many other series. He is a very busy person, what with all the different comic series that he is currently working on, but he granted us a small amount of his time. Check out our exclusive interview.

Comic Booked: Thanks for taking time to talk with me and share about your new book Robocop from BOOM! Studios. I have always been a fan of Robocop, ever since that first movie came out and I heard the kachunk, kachunk, kachunk of Murphy as he walked through the precinct. When I first saw that there was a new series coming out based in the movie universe, all I could think was “I’ll buy that for a dollar!” Of course, it was actually $3.99, but you get the picture.

JOSHUA WILLIAMSON: No problem. I’m also a big fan of the original RoboCop, and I love chatting with people who share the same love.

CB: What drew you to this series? I am hoping for more that “It’s frickin’ Robocop!”

JW: I’d be lying if I didn’t say that was part of it. RoboCop is such a great movie and I’d love to add to that world, but BOOM! offered me a chance to cut loose on the property—to do a series that was as violent as the movie, but to also add my own crime sensibilities. An opportunity to do that kind of story with a property I loved was very appealing. Most times you work on a licensed property, there are a lot of restrictions. That wasn’t the case here.  I had the freedom to do what I felt worked best and honored the source material. That really got my attention. And being a big fan of the movie helped.

CB: Where would you say this story falls in the trilogy? I get the feeling that we were looking at Murphy right after the first movie.

JW: The opening scene of issue one took place about three months after the first movie, but then quickly jumps to three months after that. So six months. I didn’t want to worry too much about all the other movies, TV shows, and comics. Just focus on the first and best movie.

CB: That worked. I love that I feel like I am watching a continuation of the original movie. Great job with that blend. The character of Killian is a sinister villain with a not-so-hidden agenda, but will we get a little more backstory on this character?

JW: Yup. In our second arc we get a big piece of the puzzle. Then we’ll show bits and pieces of who he is and why he is that way.

Killian was the first thing I started to get together in my head when I agreed to write the book. So his character has a lot of layers that we’re trying to reveal over time. He is a scumbag but also a master manipulator, and we’ll show how he got that way.

CB: He is definitely a bad guy but a cool villain. What is your favorite line from any of the Robocop movies? I have to ask.

JW: “See, I got this problem. Cops don’t like me. So I don’t like cops.” But really, there are oh so many. It’s such a well written movie. Boddicker has all the best lines, man. He’s such a great character.

Many many years ago, I worked as a production assistant in LA and whenever I saw someone who worked on RoboCop, I told them how awesome they were and how much I loved the movie. When I worked on “That ’70s Show” I got stuck outside a sound studio with Kurtwood Smith and it was just the two of us standing there. Quiet and awkward. So I just blurted out, “You were awesome in RoboCop.” He smirked and said thanks. It was RAD.

RobocopCB: Too cool, I tend to get the same way around famous people. I met Stan Lee once and all I could do was repeat what he said back to him. Pretty bad when that is my job. The robot villains were always the masterpieces of the original movies, so are we going to see any ED-209’s? Maybe something bigger and nastier?

JW: Hahaha… just keep reading, man. You’re gonna love the next arc.

CB: Can’t blame me for trying. You are a very busy person with a lot of things on your plate right now. You have a wide range in your writing, from Nailbiter to Justice League to children’s books. What do you enjoy writing the most? What is your favorite genre to read?

JW: I like to write and read comics that are a bit on the dark side, that have a bit of a bite or an edge to them, grounded but with awesome set pieces. Everything I do now I try to approach more from the shadier character’s point of view.

A lot of people have come to me and think I just like writing crime and horror, but it’s more than that. It’s a twisted real-world perspective on things that are character driven. But I do love writing some characters who are screwed up in the head.

CB: You seem to get them right. Any other big projects coming soon that you can talk about?

JW: Birthright #1 from Image Comics/Skybound is coming out on October 8th. It’ a fantasy horror series that is about a kid who is kidnapped and taken to a fantasy world where he is forced to defeat an evil lord, rescue a princess, and save the kingdom… but then he comes home. It’s the story of what happens after the adventure is over. What you do after your destiny is complete. It’s my next creator-owned book and easily the biggest thing I’ve ever worked on.

CB: Amazing. I was just looking over the preview for Birthright. That is one that is going on my list. Thanks so much for taking time with us and I look forward to the next issue of Robocop, issue #3 comes out this Wednesday.

Again, a big thanks to Joshua Williamson and the folks at BOOM! Studios who made this interview possible. They have a great range of comics out there, everything from Robocop to Bee and Puppycat (which you should also be reading). Check back here for reviews of all the best new comics only on Comic Booked.

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