"It's A Bright Cyberpunk Story For Most Ages" Kurtis Wiebe Talks Bounty

A great new comic is on the horizon from Dark Horse, and it's called Bounty! After reading the first issue, I had the pleasure of chatting with writer, Kurtis Wiebe. We talked about writing comics, Rat Queens, and what makes Bounty so special…

Christine Marie: Hi Kurtis! Pleasure to e-meet you!

Kurtis Wiebe: Thanks, Christine! And thank you for reviewing Bounty, really glad you enjoyed it!

CM: What's your experience in the comic book industry been like thus far? Is this a project that you've envisioned working on for a long time?

KW: Writing comics is great. There's nothing like partnering ideas with an artist and shaping something together. I used to write a lot of short stories and even had a novel published quite a number of years ago, but once I tried my hand at crafting comics, I've never gone back. It's not that I don't enjoy those mediums, but for me the biggest satisfaction is collaborating. Being absolutely surprised by another creative person's vision.

As for Bounty, it was originally created in response to what many fans shared with me about Rat Queens; they loved the message and the characters and wanted to share it with their younger siblings or kids, but the content meant they couldn't. I wanted to be able to tell stories that had the energy and feeling of something like Rat Queens that could reach a younger audience as well.

CM: For readers who don't already know, tell us what Bounty is all about.

KW: It's about Nina and Georgie, sisters who were once the infamous Gadlfies, incredibly talented thieves who stole from corporations to fill their bank accounts and to help those less fortunate. They got sloppy and while narrowly escaping capture, they were forced to burn away everything in order to hide. Now, they make money, working alongside those that were their enemies: bounty hunters.

It's a bright cyberpunk story for most ages.

CM: After reading the first issue I felt so immersed in this fun galactic universe. What was it like creating a setting like that?

KW: Honestly, so much of that is because of Mindy. How Bounty looks and feels is because she really understands that futuristic design and brought her own love of it to the table. I had the skeleton, about where technology was at, and for locations I'd give a brief descriptor, but Mindy has absolutely floored me with what she comes up with. Every single time.

I think it's a perfect marriage of our minds. I paint broad strokes and she fills it all in with glorious life.

CM: Tell me a bit about the two sisters. Are they fun main characters to write? I was incredibly amused by them as I read. Can you share a bit about your process developing their characters?

KW: They've come from a difficult place and have done everything they can to make a better life. And while being a criminal might not seem like the best life one could live, it was about both Nina and Georgie taking control of their situation and using their skills the best they knew how. And it allowed them to help others along the way.

Writing the cast has actually been easier than I expected. With every ensemble comic series I do, I always find one or two characters hard to pin down, but that hasn't been the case with Bounty. I did a lot of work on developing each of them before I ever wrote a script. I had a fairly large document that detailed out who they were before becoming the Gadflies, and the most important aspect was always their relationship with each other.

They get along well enough, but they are also very different people. Georgie is calculated, likes to be prepared and always looks at the big picture. Nina is almost the opposite; she thinks on her feet, is spontaneous and a bit brash. It causes tension between them a lot, but they balance each other nicely.

CM: You've spoken about how important it was for you to have a comic that young readers could get a hold of. Why was that a priority for you?

KW: We need to cater to a new generation of readers. It's been amazing to see all kinds of new fans embracing their love of comics, and there needs to be content that can be shared with people of all ages. There's been some wonderful all ages material coming out, Lumberjanes and Nimona to name a few, but there can always be more.

CM: What have been the advantages and disadvantages, if any, of working on this new project?

KW: Dark Horse has been incredibly supportive. They've helped us put Bounty together over the past year which means that by the time the Bounty #1 comes out we'll have five issues finished. You wouldn't believe how much pressure that takes off in crafting a comic. It allows Mindy time to really consider how she can best tell the story and that shows in her final work. Every time I see a finished issue from her, it completely makes my day.

CM: Are there any similarities between your Rat Queens comic and Bounty?

KW: It has the same sense of adventure and humour, but Bounty isn't so over the top. It's a little more grounded, the comedy feels dialed back in a way that suits the characters in the series. I know it will definitely draw comparisons, but Bounty is very much its own thing.

CM: What can readers look forward to in future issues of Bounty? Can you share any secrets with us?

KW: Every issue reveals new sections of the universe and a lot about the secrets that Nina in particular holds onto. It's a story about two sisters on the run from the law, but the real narrative is about how love can both save you or be a very dangerous thing.

So, there you have it folks! Check out my full review of Bounty #1 and be sure to get your orders in. The FOC date is this Monday, June 13th.