Wednesday, August 3, 2011
A Conversation With GUMBY writer Christopher P. Reilly
CPR: My buddy, Bob (Burden) was no longer writing the book and I thought there should be a Gumby book out there. As a creator, it’s possibly one of the greatest opportunities because you are literally working with a ball of clay; your imagination becomes the only limit to the sorts of stories you can. I approached publisher Mel Smith at San Diego Comic-Con last year and expressed my enthusiasm for the character and asked if I could pitch him a Gumby book. To my delight he said “yes” and even more delightful, he absolutely loved the script and let me pick the artist I would work with which was my friend and long time collaborator Jorge Santillan who delivered some of the best work of his career. I am always honored when an artist of Jorge’s caliber will turn my words into pictures.
Were you a Gumby fan prior to writing this?
CPR: Yes, I have been a fan of Gumby since I was a kid and never stopped enjoying the animated shorts. I watched every episode ever created in one weekend when I got this gig and was amazed that for 3 days I could tell people that my job was watching Gumby shorts. I think what revealed what a huge fan I truly am when I went comatose when I was told I would get to create Gumby’s grandparents, Gumbert and Gumbasia.
Who or what are the biggest influences on your work?
CPR: My list of deserving influences is enormous. I am constantly inspired by books, comics, music and film and am always discovering new influences. I should mention Michael Weldon’s Psychotronic Encyclopedia of Film for being my dog eared wormhole to 2/3 of the amazing B movies I never would have seen if Michael hadn’t written about them, including my favorite horror film, 1957’s The Monster That Challenged the World. Suffice to say that if my influences hadn’t existed, I never would have written this story. Kind of a Back to the Future scenario.
You and Jorge have collaborated before. What does he bring to the project?
CPR: Jeeze, what doesn’t Jorge bring to the project? He is the perfect collaborator. I write very long scripts, but I tone that down with Jorge because my elaborate panel breakdowns make me feel like I am telling Picasso how to paint. Jorge is an amazing talent. I would love to read a Gumby comic written and illustrated by Jorge, it would probably be a humbling experience for me. Jorge makes my job easy.
In ten words or less, why should people read this book?
CPR: Gumbastic-fun-Adventure, chocolate igloos, Blockheads, not a zombie in sight.