Throughout his various Black Hammer tales for Dark Horse Comics, one of the primary themes that writer Jeff Lemire explores time and again is legacy and its impact not on just the world, but on the ones we love and hold most dear. In his new miniseries Doctor Star & the Kingdom of Lost Tomorrows, Lemire looks at Jimmy Robinson, both as at his past as a superhero and his life now as a civilian now that he’s put derring-do aside.
Joining Lemire on Doctor Star is artist Max Fiumara, who is no stranger to working on characters and creating designs that crisscross time periods, most notably in his renderings in his beautiful Abe Sapien series. Mr. Fiumara spoke with me recently about the conceit of the series, collaborating with Mr. Lemire, and designing Doctor Star from the ground up.
FreakSugar: For folks checking out the miniseries, what can you tell us about Doctor Star and the Kingdom of Lost Tomorrows?
Max Fiumara: Doctor Star & the Kingdom of Lost Tomorrows is the story of Jimmy Robinson. He’s a scientist and stargazer who previously appeared in Black Hammer as a civilian. In the past, he was a superhero who fought alongside other Black Hammer heroes. We start the series showing what his life is like right now as a civilian.
FS: Jeff Lemire has been building this world for quite some time. What was it like collaborating with him on this franchise?
MF: Collaborating with Jeff Lemire has been very easy and very enjoyable! I really like the way Jeff writes the book and Dean’s work is also a huge inspiration. I have a lot of room to play, and Jeff seems to like it, so we are all very pleased!
FS: You’ve worked on books for Dark Horse like Abe Sapien. Does working in the Hellboy franchise inform how you approach another book from a beloved universe of stories?
MF: The work dynamic is similar to any other franchise. In Doctor Star, I get to expand and create the story almost from scratch since he didn’t have much space in the original Black Hammer book.
FS: The first issue is gorgeous both in its design and the weight you bring to the storytelling. How did you tackle what kind of feelings you wanted to bring to the series? Following up on that, while the Black Hammer series is well-established, what is the process of creating character designs for Doctor Star’s story for this particular miniseries?
MF: I get to design Doctor Star almost from scratch. I had his uniform design handed down to me, but all the rest is my own view of all the characters from the script. Doc’s life was never really explored before, so it feels like I’ve created him almost exclusively for this book.
FS: Your style is gorgeous and has a down-to-earth, lived in quality about it, which is nice when coupled with stories featuring characters like Abe Sapien or Doctor Star. Is there a particular drawing point to delving into these kind of pieces?
MF: Doctor Star and Abe Sapien share the same degree of down to earth mixed with the fantastical approach. I feel very connected to that because it gives me the opportunity to focus on the characters’ minds. Although my style is not “realistic,” I focus on drawing characters in the most realistic way I can with the hope that readers will relate to them.
FS: Is there anything you can tease about what we can expect from Doctor Star moving forward?
MF: Readers can expect what is always very satisfying about the Black Hammer series, a well-told story. Also, in this case, you get to look through a microscope inside the events and mind of one of Black Hammer’s previously unexplored characters. The Doctor Star creative team is very excited about this story, and I think that shows in the pages. Hopefully, the readers will enjoy the book as much as we do!
Doctor Star and the Kingdom of Lost Tomorrows #1, with art by Max Fiumara and written by Jeff Lemire, goes on sale this Wednesday, March 7th, from Dark Horse Comics.
From the official issue description:
This dual-narrative story set in the world of the Eisner-Award winning Black Hammer series chronicles the legacy of a Golden-Age superhero.
An aged crime fighter desperately wants to reconnect with his estranged son, who he hoped would one day take the mantle of Doctor Star. Over the course of the story, we learn his World War II-era origin, how he got his powers, his exciting astral adventures, the formation of some of Black Hammer’s greatest heroes, and more in this heartbreaking superhero tale about fathers and sons.