RICH INTERVIEWS: Jeremy Whitley Writer for Princeless, Rainbow Bright, My Little Pony
First Comics News: How did you become involved with Action Lab Comics?
Jeremy Whitley: My comic, Princeless, was actually the first ongoing series picked up by Action Lab. I had a different version of the first issue at a convention with much less polish and it caught the attention of Dave Dwonch, then Creative Director of Action Lab. After the con he contacted me online and wanted to know what my plans were for the comic. The rest is history.
1st: How will Princeless Book 7 start out?
Jeremy: Princeless Book 7 has two major storylines: one follows Adrienne in her attempt to find her eldest sister, who is locked away in the desert. When we join her, the quest is not going so well, as she has recently lost her companion Bedelia and she had her dragon Sparky are getting increasingly lost in the featureless desert. The other storyline follows Devin, who ended the last volume having exited the Black Forest and discovering the city on the other side is on fire. What started out as a simple quest to find his mother is about to leave Devin on the front line of a war between two kingdoms.
Rich: What kind of people will the Princess meet on her adventure?
Jeremy: We’ll finally get a chance to meet the desert elves (for readers of Raven, those are Sunshine’s mother’s people) as well as some pretty unique beasts. Oh…and the dreaded Black Knight
Rich: Will Princess Adrienne ever meet her Prince?
Jeremy: Well, I’d have to change the name then, wouldn’t I?
Rich: Why is Princeless such a popular book?
Jeremy: I like to think it’s because it’s a big fun fantasy adventure that does its best to take on a lot of the problems and cliches that usually plague those types of stories. It’s a quest for the characters who are usually window dressing in these stories.
Rich: Are Princeless and Raven for young female readers only?
Jeremy: Absolutely not. I’m a fan of being inclusive, not exclusive. Our target demographic is young female readers, but I think it’s just as important for boys to see girls being heroes. Also, if I ever get too old to enjoy a good fantasy adventure, I hope somebody pulls me aside and straightens me out.
Rich: How is working on “Rainbow Brite” different than other comics?
Jeremy: Well, Rainbow Brite is a pretty unique combination of a property for which people have a great deal of nostalgia, but for which there is relatively little canon. While everybody has fond memories of the old show there were only 13 episodes and a movie. And there was a big focus on introducing items in the toy line, so it’s a little light on the world building. So it’s pretty interesting to work on a character that everybody knows, but that they know relatively little about.
Rich: Is it hard to write a comic “My Little Pony: Nightmare Knights” about animals instead of people?
Jeremy: Nah, they have all the same problems. Complicated friendship, challenging families, evil unicorns trying to cloak the world in darkness forever. It’s all pretty relateable.
Rich: How do you write a comic about a crew of all female pirates when traditionally most pirates have been males?
Jeremy: Well, there are a surprising number of stories and legends about great female pirates out there once you start looking. One of the neat things about pirates is that often their crews were pretty democratic back when most people were still following monarchies. Every pirate got a say in how to run the ship and every pirate got a cut of the loot. Generally if you died your money went to your next of kin. When you’re all as dependent on each other as pirates end up being, the politics can be surprisingly progressive. Reimagining the pirate ships as a queer female safe space out on the high seas is pretty fun.
Rich: Do you ever get any hate or love over your exploring the sexuality of these pirate girls?
Jeremy: Nah. We keep it pretty PG rated. I think most of the people who are interested in the series are pretty well sold on that aspect of it. The biggest balancing act has been trying to make sure I as I represent a community of which I am not part that it is done honestly, fairly, and in a way that relates to the experience of the people it’s meant to represent. Generally I’ve taken a lot of care and advice in that respect and so far it’s gone well.
Rich: Do you ever get writers block and how do you get over it?
Jeremy: Honestly, at this point I have so many different projects at different stages that there’s always something I can and should be working on. If I get stuck on one thing, I move to something else and come back to it. If nothing else, there’s usually a developing stack of emails in my inbox that I can answer…like this one!
Rich: What is your next project your going to be working on?
Jeremy: Well, currently I have Princeless books 7, 8, 9, and 10 written. The first three issues of Rainbow Brite are written. The first four of Nightmare Knights are done. The first three of Wasp are finished. I’ve written most of Raven: Year 3, but I’m not quite done with that yet. I’ll be finishing Raven Year 3 and writing issues of the other books as they’re approved. As for what comes next, well, I’m working on some new non-Princeless related creator owned books and trying to develop some more potential superhero books, so keep an eye out for me basically everywhere in the near future.
Rich: What was your first comic called and about that you created in third grade?
Jeremy: Ooh, the first comic I ever wrote was about the X-Men. I’m not sure if it had a title. Probably something like: The X-Men Fight Mephisto, because it was about them fighting Mephisto. I still love the X-Men and Mephisto is a great villain. Maybe I was on to something there…
Rich: What would you like to say to all those who enjoy your work?
Jeremy: I hope you keep enjoying it! Please pre-order if you can, so our publishers know you’re excited about the books. I want nothing more than to keep making books like what I’m making right now. I hope you feel the same way about them when you read them!