EMISSARIES WEEK - Interview with John & Jason Waltrip

Emissaries: Okay, first off, how did you guys come to write Prelude to the Shadow Chronicles?

John & Jason Waltrip: Tommy Yune called us and asked us if we were interested in being involved in this project, a bridge mini-series between Sentinels and the new Shadow Chronicles story. Of course we said yes. It was a chance to sort of finish Sentinels, though perhaps not exactly as we would have, but it was better than nothing. It was a way of attaining some closure regarding Sentinels.

E: How much latitude did you guys have with the storyline? Obviously the point is to guide the franchise into the Shadow Chronicles movie, but did you get to exert much control about how it did so, or did Tommy e-mail you a list that said, "Okay, this, this, this, and this have to happen, and they have to happen this way ..."

J&J: We did have some latitude with the storyline. Tommy asked us to do a few story outlines which ultimately were too close to the novels and tried to cover too much in too little space.

E: By the same token, how much control did Tommy, who recieves a co-writer credit on the series, exert over the storyline?

J&J: Tommy then provided us with an outline which we followed, in some ways word for word and other ways we made changes and rearrangements of events. Tommy was very specific in how he wanted to start the story. However he was vague at other points of the story which we pounced on to flesh out. He then kept or changed what he liked or not in our scripts during the revision process.

E: So, how was each issue written?

J&J: We took turns writing the scripts. One of us would write a couple of pages. And then the other would take over and write his couple of pages. Since we were following Tommy's outline, we both knew where the story was going.

E: The backstory for Prelude is left vague throughout the series -- intentionally vague, I would imagine. How much direction were you given in regards to what of Sentinels could be left intact in order to tell this story?

J&J: In the beginning, we weren't given any hint as to how much of the Sentinels storyline was going to remain. That's why we were sort of at a loss to make a workable outline. There were so many changes being made to the story, we didn't know what to keep or what to leave out. There were only a few narrative points from the Sentinels novels that were kept, though changed slightly, as to fit the new story outline.

Continued in Emissaries Vol. 2 Issue 2 ...

Boy, aren't the Waltrips awesome? I think anyone who doesn't find the Waltrips awesome deserves cancer of the soul -- or maybe they already have cancer of the soul, and that explains why they cannot grasp the awesomeness of everyone's favorite twin ROBOTECH artists. Jason Waltrip's cover of Sentinels Book I #15 hangs on my wall and every time I see it -- which is every time I look to the right while I'm at my computer -- I let out a little awestruck sigh. That is the power of their art. (No, I don't have a complimentary piece by John Waltrip; one can only afford so much, y'know.)

In any case, having just briefly leafed through the final issue of Prelude last night (it arrived at Roboblog World Headquarters yesterday, at long last), I am at once saddened that there aren't any new ROBOTECH comics coming down the pipe anytime soon, but heartened that the Waltrips managed to cram so much cool stuff into those last twenty-two pages. It is one jam-packed book. I definitely need to sit down and slowly go through it all again before I can start annotating the hell out of it, as is my lot in life.

Speaking of which, expect an audio rundown of the last two issues either later tonight or tomorrow, and a grand double-sized set of notes & pictures sometime next week. Also, immediately following that, I'm going to be hitting Tommy Yune with a follow-up barrage of deeply geeky questions regarding Prelude's creation and storyline, a compliment to the Emissaries interview with the Waltrips, that will be posted here at the blog for your reading enjoyment. But remember, if you don't get your Emissaries, you're only getting half the story! ^_^


  • I'm assuming the sample panel you've posted is by the Waltrips, rather than Omar Dogan. (I haven't bought any issues of the comic.)

    I have to say, that the Waltrips have managed to draw the older Rick in a much more palatable fashion. There are hints of the younger Sentinels Rick in there. The jaw isn't so ridiculously square, and the eyes aren't narrow slits.

    Leave it to the Waltrips to find a way to make Rick still look right, despite the forced changes. Now, if only they'd been allowed to complete the Sentinels comic the way they wanted, without interference . . .

    By Anonymous redrain85, at 07 February, 2006 18:02  

  • That's actually the first page of issue #5. There's a panel later in that issue, page six I think, where you can go, "Oh wow, that is totally their Sentinels Rick, only like ten to fifteen years older." Their pages in issue #4 are a little rough, but issue #5 practically redeems the entire series, if only for the fight with giant monster Edwards. Sure, there's all sorts of tantalizing details that are left unaddressed throughout, but the big fight stuff--all seven or eight pages of it--is total "OH MY GOD, OUR NINE-YEAR-LONG NATIONAL NIGHTMARE IS FINALLY OVER!" bliss. Yes, you will believe that less than ten pages can be worth $3.50 U.S. ... trust me on this!

    (Okay, that only counts if you're as big a Waltrips/Sentinels fanboy as I am ... but if you are, HELL, YEAH!)

    By Blogger Jonathan, at 09 February, 2006 22:49  

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