Late one night, a mysterious metallic orb appears before scientist Isaac Thompson, changing his life forever. What is it? Where does it come from? Isaac and his companions Ana, Palmer and Ace are determined to find out. Experiment 42 is something you have never seen before. At its heart, it is a gag comic with intelligence and wit and warmth and whimsy and the kind of magic that you will eagerly anticipate every day. But it is also a compelling mystery that will draw you in as it slowly unfolds over time, keeping you guessing until the very end. Can you solve the mystery of Experiment 42. To get to the bottom of what is Experiment 42 experts Erik McCurdy and Mark A. Lester have joined First Comics News for analysis of the problem.
Erik McCurdy: He is a self-proclaimed freelance scientist who works (and essentially lives) in his lab, which is located in his garage.
1st: Why does he work out of his garage instead of a lab?
Erik: No comment.
1st: Does he have a day job?
Erik: No, “freelance” scientist is his full-time occupation.
1st: Why does Isaac take Ana on as an assistant when she is only 8 years old?
Erik: That will be revealed shortly.
1st: Who is Palmer?
Erik: A very grumpy teddy bear.
1st: Who is Ace?
Erik: A friendly, skittish, vacuous toy helicopter.
1st: You have a minor character Dr. Ruth. She’s not the Dr. Ruth from TV is she?
Erik: No, her name is simply an unfortunate coincidence.
1st: So the mystery of Experiment 42 isn’t Dr. Ruth Westheimer related?
Erik: Absolutely not!
1st: The mystery revolves around Bot?
1st: Erik you have been working on Experiment 42 for years, what made now the perfect time to bring it to life?
Erik: It took a couple years for the story to come together fully. Initially, I had this raw idea of a scientist working in his garage on some type of mysterious project involving time travel, but my first several versions of the story didn’t quite satisfy me. After reworking the story many times, I eventually stumbled upon something that I felt was perfect, after which I spent more time refining the plot and working out all of the details until I felt that the idea was fully realized. That took me over a year. Then I worked on writing individual scripts for another year. At that point, I felt ready to find an artist with whom to collaborate. I pitched the idea to over twenty artists over the course of about nine months until finally finding Mark. He is the perfect artist and collaborator for this project, and I’m so thankful to be working with him!
1st: Mark, how did you get involved in Experiment 42?
Mark A. Lester: Erik has been working on Experiment 42, in one form or another, for years. Not long ago Erik contacted me with an offer to work with him. The two of us spent a few days going back and forth, just seeing if we could work together. Creating a partnership isn’t something that should be just leaped into. It’s not just about the art, it’s about personalities. It wasn’t just a matter of if my art mesh well with his writing and stories, but if we would be able to stand working with each other for years if the opportunity arose. So far, so good.
Erik and I spent quite a bit of time trading thoughts and ideas until we came up with what we both feel is the perfect look and feel for the strip and the characters. Erik has lived with these characters for a long time while I’m the new guy on the block. Getting to know the characters, the settings and the world has taken time. The goal with the art for the strip (as with the story) is to create something impossibly intricate and then simplify it down so that what is in fact very, very big, feels simple and small. Everything should “look” easy, especially when it’s not.
As the artist I don’t feel myself limited simply because this is a comic strip. On the contrary, I want to push and pull at the constraints inherent in creating a comic strip and see what we can do with them. How far we can push before the whole thing breaks. Experiment 42 is a bit different than other comics strips and I’m thrilled to be a part of it.
1st: When is this project coming out?
Erik: We will start publishing the strip within the next week or two. When it’s ready.
1st: What platform?
Erik: We will be publishing it on the GoComics Sherpa website with the goal of landing a syndication deal with the Universal syndicate.
1st: What makes experiment 42 so cool no comic fan should miss it?
Erik: We are hoping that my unique brand of zany humor coupled with Mark’s world-class artwork along with this time travel mystery (wrapped in a riddle inside an enigma) will prove irresistible to readers. Everyone loves a mystery, especially when it provides a laugh a day! And we absolutely guarantee* no lame “Lost”-type ending that doesn’t answer all of the questions.
* Not necessarily a guarantee