Jason Yunbluth is a talented, brilliant, maniac. If you are not familiar with his lampoon on Peanuts and post-apocalyptic fiction, Weapon Brown, then you are missing out on one of the most unusual and awesome things on the internet. Jason pitted all of your favorite childhood sunday comics characters in the same world — and then promptly nuked that world. The best part? Jason’s saga is being revisited with his new graphic novel, Aftershock, which means that you will have a new set of fever dreams to experience!
I had the chance to talk to Jason about his works, what is coming next, and what exactly is so luring about the end of the world.
My interview with Jason Yungbluth
Fitz: We are coming close to two decades since A Peanut Scorned was released in Deep Fried. What is it like revisiting a story you started so long ago?
Jason: (SPIT TAKE) Two decades?? It can’t have been that long! When does the money start coming in??
It’s actually only been a few years since the story of Weapon Brown wrapped, and Chuck has never entirely left my mind, so its not really like coming home so much as going back into the theater after an intermission.
That said, I had not planned to return to Weapon Brown at all. The temptation to do a sequel to a successful story is something all writers have to resist. As far as I’m concerned, Chuck’s story is over. However, I had already revealed some of Chuck’s backstory through the short stories I put in Weapon Brown that parodied the animated cartoons, and there were a few unexplored bits of Chuck’s history that I always wanted to tell, so adding these to the canon feels just right.
Fitz: Your previous iterations of Weapon Brown are filled to the brim with references to just about every comic strip ever committed to a newspaper, a single page is like a master class to comic strip history. You transform these cute caricatures into strange misshapen radioactive mutants with mad effect. Which of these was your favorite to draw, and are there any funny page denizens we have not seen that will be in Aftershock?
Jason: I really enjoyed my take on Beetle Bailey (especially the reveal of his eyes), and the sequence where CAL-V1N kills the characters from Bloom County is probably my favorite homage to any of the comic strips I featured. As for who is left to poke fun at, there must be a few comic strip characters that I haven’t lampooned… at least, there better be! I have 45 new pages to fill!
Fitz: Beetle Baily’s reveal was brilliant! It is honestly one of my favorite scenes. What ultimately made you return to Weapon Brown?
Jason: I already had the story for Aftershock cooked up, but I decided to forego it in favor of another project I am developing, Kobayashi Maru. However, when I ran my recent Kickstarter to fund a reprint of the Weapon Brown graphic novel, I knew I would need something to inspire the old fans to open their hearts and wallets, and so I decided to give them one more sizzling slab of Chuck before putting that universe to bed for good. The upshot is that I am trying out some new ideas as far as my storytelling goes, and the three tales I am writing each have a different art and writing style that will make them unique among the other short stories.
Fitz: I am excited to see what you come up with! I am a happy owner of your Omega Edition myself. Speaking of which, in the Omega Edition of Weapon Brown, you cite post-apocalypse classics such as A Boy and His Dog, The Day After, and The Road Warrior as being as much a part of your adolescence as the Charlie Brown Christmas Special. What is your favorite post-apocalyptic tale and what attracts you to the apocalypse?
Jason: I think that Harlan Ellison’s reading of A Boy and His Dog, which I used to listen to on tape, remains my favorite, although the apocalypse as envisioned in Terminator 1 and 2 is probably my favorite visual depiction. I think Thundarr the Barbarian lived in a pretty cool apocalypse!
What attracts anyone to the Apocalypse? I think that there is something about the idea of total ruin that also contains a phoenix factor, which is why there is always so much fantasy attributed to apocalypse stories; robots and monsters and awful technology that somehow flourishes in an environment where nothing at all should function. I also think we all secretly wish for everything to die before we do. Maybe we think that if we could just survive the end of the world, our very survival would mark our individual rebirths as superior beings.
Fitz: What is your favorite thing about authoring comics and what has been your biggest challenge?
Jason: I love telling stories, and I love reaching that moment where the stories write themselves, and scraps of ideas that I have had in my head for sometimes years suddenly start to assemble themselves into a story I never thought they would be a part of.
The biggest challenge is everything else I have to take care of as a self-publisher: scraping up the money, dealing with the printing and shipping hassles, and trying to figure out how to get people’s attention for my products when I don’t have two dimes to rub together.
Fitz: When and where can we get Aftershock and what can we read in the meantime?
Jason: Oh thank God! I was afraid you’d never ask! Did I mention how I don’t have two dimes to rub together to advertise my books??
Weapon Brown: Aftershock will arrive in the Spring of 2019, if everything goes right. In the meantime, you can buy the original Weapon Brown graphic novel at Weaponbrown.com, and you can buy all my other comics like Deep Fried and PEEK! at Deathraystore.com. Please visit Whatisdeepfried.com for my weekly strips and blogginz, and check out my newest comic book, Peek! The Second, in stores now!
You can grab your own copy of Jason’s graphic novel here!
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