Andrew Pepoy speaks about his Kickstarter campaign for The Adventures of Simone & Ajax: What’s Black & White and Read All Over

Comic book artist and writer Andrew Pepoy (“Fables,” “The Simpsons,” “Katy Keene,” Eisner Award winner) has launched his latest Kickstarter campaign for his long-running creator-owned series “The Adventures of Simone & Ajax”.

Described by a reviewer as “…like the best issues of Cerebus, and a mood that harkens Bone,” and by a reader as “…the look of an Archie comic but the sensibilities of a Marx Brothers movie,” this 160-page collection, presented in black & white, as the comics were originally published, will gather together for the first time Simone & Ajax from their very first story, done when Andrew was still in college, to their final B&W adventure 15 years later, including the 30-page epic tale of how our daring duo met. Their secret origin, you might say! Plus, find out what happened to Atlantis, what it takes to go to Valkyrie school, see Ajax’s early detective tales, how they met the lemmings for the first time, see them go to the moon, face monsters, meet Santa Claus, and more, all wrapped in a newly-painted cover by Pepoy.

Andrew Pepoy was kind enough to speak with First Comics News about this project.

First Comics News: Hello, Andrew. Thank you for agreeing to this interview about Simone & Ajax: What’s Black & White and Read All Over. First of all, for those who came in late (as the great Lee Falk used to say) please briefly tell us, who are Simone & Ajax, and how did they come to be created by you?

Andrew Pepoy: Simone and Ajax are a pair of pals, a 20-something woman and a small, green dinosaur, who can go on adventures to any time or place I feel like sending them. I created them while still in college. Ajax was an addition to a painting that needed something to make it special, and a small dinosaur was that touch. He just sort of took over from there. Simone was inspired by a cute girl who sat next to me in a very boring class. She didn’t look like Simone, but it got me sketching.

FCN: What is the time period of the material which Simone & Ajax: What’s Black & White and Read All Over will be collecting?

Pepoy: This book will collect all the published stories of them from between 1990, when I drew a story of them for my college arts magazine, to their final black and white adventure in 2004.

FCN: Looking at a preview of What’s Black & White and Read All Over, it’s interesting to see the evolution of both your abilities as an artist and the Simone & Ajax series. One thing that stood out for me was that in the first story, where our duo are attempting to have dinner in a fancy restaurant, Simone is not wearing her characteristic sunglasses. However, in the next story, which has the two embarking on a fantasy quest, she is now sporting the sunglasses which would become a defining part of her image. How did that change come about? Was it one of those “Ah ha!” moments where you came up with that one characteristic which would make the character stand out amongst all her various costume changes?

Pepoy: To be honest, 30 years later I have no idea! Yes, they’re a permanent part of her look now and for most of her existence, but I don’t remember just why I changed her hairstyle and added the sunglasses.


FCN: “Who Dares to Face Whooti! The Giant Fish That Walks Like A Man? And Sings Lousy Songs!” originally appeared in issue #48 of the anthology series Negative Burn published by Caliber Press. That issue came out in 1997, at the time when the band Hootie & the Blowfish were probably at the height of their fame, so it was definitely topical. However did you come up with the idea of Simone & Ajax encountering a giant lake monster that sang cheesy soft rock tunes? And do you regret passing up the opportunity to also have Simon & Ajax tangle with Crreeed, the Demon Who Belts Out Irritatingly Derivative Alternative Rock?

Pepoy: Ha! That would have been the sequel for the first series had lasted longer! I’m not sure how the monster idea came about, but I remember I was super tired of hearig Hootie and the Blowfish. So I mocked them through this story.

FCN: “The Quest,” which sees Simone impulsively convince an understandably-skeptical Ajax that they should go into a career as Asradian valkyries, is a two-part tale that appeared in the anthology series Mythography from Bardic Press in 1997. That was then followed by another two-parter in which the duo had a comical misadventure in ancient Atlantis. What prompted you to begin writing & illustrating longer Simone & Ajax stories?

Pepoy: I just started coming up with stories that needed more space to tell them. I started really getting into the fun of these characters and wanted to do more with them. I’ve since done a 62-page story in the ComicMix/IDW series from about 15 years ago.


FCN: Simone & Ajax have featured in a lot of different genres: adventure, horror, sci fi, Westerns, fantasy, road trips, and so on. I noticed you’ve done several parodies of hardboiled literature / film noir type stories, with Ajax in the role of the cynical private eye and Simone as his beautiful “Gal Friday” type assistant. Does that genre hold a particular appeal for you?

Pepoy: Oh, definitely! I’m a big old movie fan, especially of the private eye stories. So, yeah, I like playing with that genre. And Ajax looks great in a fedora!

FCN: Creative individuals can often be their own harshest critics. After all, it’s the desire of nearly every creator to improve upon his or her craft and become a better artist or writer or what-have-you. Consequently, many creators do not enjoy looking at their early work. As you were assembling the contents of What’s Black & White and Read All Over, what were your feelings about the material? Is there a particular tale that after all these years stands out as a favorite for you?

Pepoy: Yes, I do certainly cringe at some of the drawing on the strips, but, hey, that’s a sign I’m getting better, right? And that’s a good thing. But I think it’s important to leave the strips as they are and not mess with them. Except for a few typos and a couple spots where I don’t have access to the original logo version, I’m leaving them as is. And I think my favorite is the first of the Ajax, private eye, stories, “The Black Bird.” I did a sequel to that in my most-recent, original Simone & Ajax book, “Lemmings and Tigers and Bears! Oh, My!”

FCN: Thanks for taking the time to answer my questions, Andrew! And here’s hoping for a very successful Kickstarter campaign!

Pepoy: Thanks, Ben! I really appreciate you giving me a chance to tell people about Simone & Ajax and their current Kickstarter. I hope people will check it out, see the fun it is, and get a good laugh from the book. The world needs more fun and laughs!

You can find the Simone & Ajax What’s Black & White and Read All Over campaign at or

The campaign ends on Thursday, July 13th! Please show your support, and help spread the word about this great project!

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