The launch of Dynamite Entertainment’s series ThunderCats, based on the beloved franchise that started with the original 1980s cartoon, has been met with an overwhelmingly warm reception, selling thousands of copies from the jump. Following the tale of Thunderians who have fled their destroyed planet, ThunderCats has been drawing fans old and new alike and doesn’t have any sign of letting up.

Much of this excitement can be attributed to the stacked creative team, including writer Declan Shalvey. Shalvey and the other creators on ThunderCats have worked to hook new readers and keep old fans engaged with a Third Earth that’s both familiar and unpredictable.

I spoke with Mr. Shalvey recently about the premise of the series, where we find the ThunderCats at the beginning of the book, his game plan for the future of ThunderCats at Dynamite, and what he hopes readers and fans take away from this incarnation of the Thunderians and their new home. Thundercats is three issues in and is already a compelling, must-read on my pull list and will sure to be one on yours as well.


THUNDERCATS #3 cover by David Nakayama


FS: Before we get into the comic itself, what are your personal histories with ThunderCats?

Declan Shalvey: I’m old enough to remember loving the original cartoon, but young enough not to remember it all. I had the Lion-O and Mum-Ra figures and treasured those things!

FS: For folks completely unfamiliar with the franchise, what is the conceit behind the world of ThunderCats?

DS: ThunderCats follows a crew of Thunderians who crash land on Third Earth after the destruction of their own homeworld. The last of their kind, they must learn to survive this new world with their unique powers and skill while dealing with threats both new and old.


THUNDERCATS #3 cover by Lucio Parrillo


FS: When we first enter the series, where do we find our heroes?

DS: We start right after the ThunderCats have crashed on Third Earth. Sort of a ‘Year One’ approach. They know nothing of this new world, and have lost their leader Jaga. Lion-O, the successor, must now take charge as he is of age, but only his body is of age due to a ship malfunction. He still has the mind of a teenage boy, so these new responsibilities are overwhelming, and his close relationships have dramatically shifted practically overnight.

FS: Beyond the other iterations of the characters, are there any other sources of inspiration you draw from when crafting the series?

DS: There’s some Lost in Space in there as regards the environment, a little classic X-Men too with the characters, I think.


THUNDERCATS #3 cover by Declan Shalvey


FS: Do you have a favorite character or characters in the cast? Or is that like picking a favorite kid?

DS: There’s something I like about all of them, but I really warm to Panthro, personally.

FS: ThunderCats is a property that a lot of people have strong feelings for and opinions on. What do you hope those previous fans will take from the book?

DS: I think they should get from the book, what they got from the show. It’s not exactly the same thing, but it’s in the same spirit, and there’ll be little nods to the lore. My goal though, is to take what they know and move it forward to new stories that both they and new audiences [who are looking for a new way into the property] can enjoy.


THUNDERCATS #3 cover by Jae Lee


FS: When you were given the ThunderCats assignment, what kind of game plan did you come up with? How far ahead did you plan out stories?

DS: I essentially worked up an initial ‘trilogy’ of arcs to introduce the new series, the new approach and tell a substantial story that would be satisfying. My approach was to dig into the characters a little more, to lean into the character dynamics tested by the destruction of their homeworld, their new environment, and the shaky situation of Lion-O taking command despite his obvious inexperience. Also, to build out the mutants/ Mu’Tants a bit more. Due to the huge success of the series launch, the door is now open to look even further and explore so much more.

When starting on the book, there was an initial plan of 12-15 issues. Essentially a year-long story arc. Ideally, we and Dynamite would like to continue past that, but the comics market can be uncertain so wasn’t expecting to go past that as it was already an ambitious goal. The HUGE success of the book however, now means the book has a much longer life, opening up a whole lot of opportunities.

FS: The art and words are marrying beautiful. What has the collaboration process been like on the book?

DS: It’s been amazing. Drew and I hit it off straight away, finding that creative balance early with the character designs and then his pages. I very much try to write stuff that will be fun for him to draw, often writing moments I wish I was drawing myself! He’s been really open to any notes I might make on his layouts, which I appreciate. I do covers for the book too, so I have a little investment in the creative look of the book, and that feeds off of Drew’s work too.


THUNDERCATS #3 cover by Ivan Tao


FS: What are you reading right now?

DS: Off the top of my head: Ultimate Spider-Man, Ultimate X-Men, Daredevil, Kaya, Our Bones Dust, Void Rivals, Transformers, and just finished up The Enfield Massacre.

FS: Are there any other assignments you have down the pike that you want to tease?

DS: I have a new installment of my Old Dog series at Image later this year as well as a Marvel project, neither I can elaborate on yet. I also have written and drawn an 8-page story for #1 of IDW’s upcoming Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Black, White, & Green.


THUNDERCATS #3 cover by Declan Shalvey (line art)


FS: If you had one last pitch for ThunderCats, what would it be?

DS: If you’re looking for a fun action adventure story for any age, with plenty of intrigue and no continuity baggage, this is the book to jump on.

ThunderCats #3 is on sale now from Dynamite Entertainment.

From the official description of issue #3:

As the wary ThunderCats continue to explore their new home, Lion-O finds himself inexplicably drawn to Calica, the beautiful and mysterious survivor of the crashed Mu’Tant ship. But Panthro and Cheetara view the unfamiliar Thundarian with suspicion, and the ensuing confrontation threatens to fracture their fragile new society – leaving them vulnerable to enemies from both outside and within!

The drama intensifies in this third chapter of the highly anticipated new series from award-winning author DECLAN SHALVEY (Old Dog, Hero Killer) and fan-favorite illustrator DREW MOSS (Gargoyles: Dark Ages) – both of whom contribute a cover for the issue along with acclaimed artists DAVID NAKAYAMA, LUCIO PARRILLO, and JAE LEE & JUNE CHUNG!