Bullock & Metcalf Go Transgalactic

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Since blasting onto the comics scene with Lions, Tigers and Bears five years ago, Mike Bullock has built a reputation for writing clever all-ages stories: at the same time heart-warming and filled with attitude. As a regular writer on Moonstone’s Phantom, Bullock’s been all about action and adventure lately, but this summer he returns to his first love: comics for readers young and old. Together with Michael Metcalf, Bullock ventures through time and space in Timothy & The Transgalactic Towel.

BROKEN FRONTIER: Aside from the fact that Timothy has a towel that allows him to travel through space and time, is he just your average kind next door?

To a certain extent, yes. Timothy has an above average intelligence, and overactive imagination and finds himself incredibly bored with school. After losing his mother, and coming to terms with the fact that his father is gone a lot, Timothy has had to find ways to entertain himself, which, with most young boys, often leads to trouble.

BF: What kind of trouble?

MB: The sorts that leads to intergalactic wars, as well as Tuesday afternoon detention.

BF: How does Timothy discover the towel does what it does?

MB: You’ll have to read the first volume to discover that, I don’t want to spoil anything for the readers. Although, I can tell you it involves a pillow, a car and a white tiger.

BF: A white tiger? That sounds familiar! [Laughs] You guys have been working together for well over a year now, first on the Secrets of the Seasons volume I: The Gimoles graphic novel and then on the third volume of Lions, Tigers & Bears. How did you stumble upon each other?

Limmy Gimole found Michael alone, scared, hungry and being chased by rabid prairie dogs just outside the Stuffed Animal Kingdom one wintry morning. After several touch and go moments, Ohgi was able to nurse Michael back to health and quickly taught him the art of leaf painting. Noticing Michael’s great skill, Rapho told him to see the old scholar, Ron Marz, who then introduced him to me.

MICHAEL METCALF: I think Ron prefers the title “young-but-wise-beyond-his-years scholar”.  Are you going to finish that sandwich?

BF: So, it was Ron Marz who’s responsible for you guys meeting each other?

Yes. If memory serves, Metcalf met Ron at a show, then Ron sent him my way with the idea we could collaborate on something. Seems that Ron is a crafty fellow…

BF: How has the chemistry between the two of you evolved from the first collaboration to this third one?

MB: I’m not sure about chemistry (didn’t do so well in science class in school), but I can tell you it’s been a joy to watch Michael grow as an artist. His work on Timothy… is light years ahead of what he did in Secrets of the Seasons, which was outstanding. So, I can confidently say that Timothy’s readers are in for a treat.

MM: Thanks Mike B! Mike’s a real pro and it’s a lot of fun working on his scripts. He’s been using some kind of weird ray gun on me to help me improve my drawing. Hope everyone enjoys the results!

BF: Both Lions, Tigers & Bears and Gimoles were more fantasy-oriented, while Timothy and The Transgalactic Towel is a sci-fi story. Was it hard to make that switch of scenery and atmosphere for either of you?

MB: I’ve always been a sci-fi junkie. I remember watching old Flash Gordon serials when I was just a wee lad. Then, one of my best and most vivid childhood memories was in 1977, as I sat front row center and watched a Rebel Blockade Runner pursed by a Star Destroyer. Life was never the same. So, to answer your question (or ramble aimlessly some more) writing a sci fi-esque tale is more like coming home than anything else. I can’t wait to get more rolling. 

MM: The ray gun does most of the work.

BF: What’s some of the sci-fi madness Timothy will get involved in?

MB: Training holograms, morose ‘droids, far-flung starship academies and a few nasty alien races mixed in for good measure.


BF: Mike, you recently became a father yourself. Does that make it easier or more rewarding to write all-ages stories?

It’s certainly sparked more ideas in my imagination, watching the little man and bonding with him. On the other hand, he’s a very large demand on my time, which makes time to write harder to come by. So, there’s definitely changes, some good, some bad, but the rewards of parenthood outweigh anything else.

BF: The solicitation says this is the first of a projected series. I assume ‘projected’ means ‘if sales are good’? Or do you plan on releasing new Towel installments regardless?

MB: I plan on doing a lot of things “regardless.” Whether or not I can get anyone to agree with my plans is a whole ‘nother story…

BF: After having published Lions, Tigers & Bears with them, was Image the logical choice to hook up with again, or were there other publishers angling for your services as well?

MB: Image is the be all, end all of creator-owned comics publishing. There are certainly lots of other avenues, but no one allows you the freedom that you get with Image. While I don’t actually have a “first look” deal with them, they’re certainly on my “first show” list. When I found out they were launching Silverline, I knew I had to get a book rolling there. Thankfully, Michael was in agreement and his efforts have made my silly imaginings come to life magnificently.

BF: What’s so good about the Silverline imprint then?

MB: Jim and Kris have a deep-rooted passion for reaching the all-ages market with quality books that have a shot at becoming the classics of our age. They aren’t just in it to make money, although I’m sure that’s part of the goal.

BF: Any last words on Timothy and why you think the book will blow kids and adults’ socks off?

I’m not sure any laundry will fly off the readers feet, but we had a lot of fun making this book and I really think it shows. Hopefully, everyone who reads it will end with a smile on their face that returns every time they think back to their adventure with a little boy and his terrycloth companion.

Timothy and the Transgalactic Towel is published this summer by Image Comics. ISBN 9781607060215. Previews code JUN090327.  

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  • Defunkt

    Defunkt Jul 16, 2009 at 10:10am

    Already preordered my copy. I am a huge fan since Lions, Tigers & Bears. Thanks for the interview and information. I am Totally excited for Timothy & The Transgalactic Towel!

  • Andy Oliver

    Andy Oliver Jul 16, 2009 at 2:11pm

    It does look great fun doesn't it?

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