Exclusive: Troy Little Talks POWERPUFF GIRLS, All-Ages Comics And More
Two weeks ago IDW kicked off their new line of comics based on classic Cartoon Network shows. The first miniseries out of the gate was The Powerpuff Girls written and drawn by Troy Little. All the books are highly anticipated, as well they should be, but a lot of fans were wondering if the fun of the cartoons could translate to comics (better than they had before in some cases). Troy Little proved he could pull off the Powerpuff magic in 22 pages. I gave the book a perfect 5 stars out of 5 when it was released (you can read that here). The book became a much deserved success in the days after its release. I was lucky enough to chat with Little earlier this week about the series and some of the things that will be coming up in the remaining issues. If you were as impressed with the first issue as I was, it sounds like things are only going to get better! Read on for all the author had to say.
The first issue has been released and everyone has gotten a chance to see what the girls are up to now. How has the response from fans been so far?
So far – way beyond my expectations! I wondered where the fans of “Powerpuff Girls” might be these days as it’s been quite a while since they were on TV and it looks like time has not diminished their popularity!
So yeah, my first concern was quickly abated and then it was merely a matter of hoping I hit the mark with the story and characters, which by the reviews I’ve seen is a resounding “YES, the girls are BACK”! Just today I saw that PPG #1 landed happily in at #50 of the Top 300 Comics just ahead of Captain America! I’d say over all I’m one happy cat
Can you talk a little bit about how you got the Powerpuff job? IDW announced all of these Cartoon Network comics to a lot of people’s excitement. I imagine all of these writers and artist jobs were highly coveted.
I can lump that squarely between “Dumb luck” and “Right Place, Right Time”. I was actually pitching my creator owned “Angora Napkin” to IDW as a monthly series the very day they were wondering who might be a good fit for the yet-to-be-announced Cartoon Network comics. Getting an email from Ted Adams casually asking me if I’d be interested in working on “The Powerpuff Girls” kind of blew my mind! I’ve been a huge fan of the show since Day One and accepted the job as fast as I could type, “HELL, YES” and hit SEND.
You previously worked in animation and now do comics. Obviously there are differences between the two, but does that background specifically help with Powerpuff Girls? The first issue seemed like a perfect middle ground between the actual cartoon series and a comic book.
Thanks! Working in animation taught me to be adaptable stylistically and I think it also gave me a good sense of timing and pacing. Of the two jobs I prefer working in comics hands down; I really love designing the page flow and playing around with the visual storytelling tools. I’d say the background in animation has been a big help in translating the feel of the show into static images. It’s not perfect and a lot of things are tricky to convey on the page compared to the quick cutting and action frenzy of the show but I’m trying!
A lot of people think all-ages comics means “kids’ books.” There are a lot of smart ones out there that I think are changing that perception. They’re accessible to children but still have a little bit of an edge and a bite to them that the adults will get, much like Powerpuff and some other cult classic 90s cartoons. How do you see all-ages comics personally?
I think all-ages show mean just that: ALL AGES! Craig McCracken really nailed it with “The Powerpuff Girls” – Wonderfully adorable and relatable female protagonists, all out butt-kicking action, none of it was dumbed down to insult anyone’s intelligence and to top it all off, it looks brilliant. It just hits all the marks without even seeming to try!
I’m a lifelong cartoon and comic book fan so I’m pleased to see society gradually shifting away from the perception that this stuff is somehow just disposable toy commercials. The work and talent that goes into making quality art can be appreciated by any age on different levels and that’s what makes things like “Bone” or “Looney Tunes”’ timeless and ageless.
You’re writing, drawing, and coloring the book yourself. How do you tackle that? Do you draw and then put the story together from there, the so-called Marvel Method, or do you start with a full script?
I don’t know how anyone can work the Marvel Method, that concept seems insane. No, I write full scripts (Cartoon Network has to approve all stages) and as such I also have the luxury of being able to juggle how I write and illustrate the pages. If the page flow requires I drop, add or bump any panels I’m able to play a bit more freely to get the feel I want. I can tweek dialogue and adapt without too much fear that I’m going to get the writer bent out of shape, although on occasion I’ll find myself cursing the jerk for writing so may characters into the story!
The colouring duties since issue #1 have been put in the capable hands of Jeremy Colwell. I wanted desperately (as I’m something of a control freak if that isn’t already apparent) to keep colouring the book but deadlines got the best of me. As my editor Sarah keeps telling me, “You’re only ONE man!” Still, I’m glad I got to do that first issue and sort of set the style. My big problem now is trying to hold back from art directing Jeremy and let him do his job, which I’m happy to say is looking fantastic.
Do you have the show on while you work? You’ve put your own stamp on the world with your story, but the art is very faithful to the source.
I do reference the show often, especially the movie. It’s funny, I’m trying to hit close to the mark because I’m very aware that Cartoon Network wants to keep things “On Brand” but I also feel it’s got my own particular style of staging and layout that makes it my own.
I’m pretty attached to the project with all the aspects I’m managing and so it feels like I’m working on my new graphic novel in serialized form – it just happens to be “The Powerpuff Girls”! Which is to say it’s not just a job, I’m putting as much care, late nights and weekends into it as I would were it my “Angora Napkin” characters.
What can you tease us with as far as what’s coming up in issue 2? What should we be on the lookout for with the remaining issues?
I’m looking forward to #2 coming out, that’s when the plot really starts cooking! By default, the first issue had to harken back to the familiar but from here on out things are going to get shaken up!
Mojo Jojo takes drastic steps to rid himself of the girls in a surprising way, hinted at in the first issue. From there a slew of classic Powerpuff villains will be on the scene in a most surprising fashion! The Gangreen Gang, Princess Morbucks, Fuzzy Lumpkins, The Amobea Boys, Sedusa and last but certainly not least, HIM will all be playing major roles in the story arc!
It’s going to be awesome. You’d be a fool to miss out on a single issue!
IDW is rolling out several books based on some great Cartoon Network TV shows. If these prove successful, is there a chance you could be staying in Townsville a little longer?
I’d love to! I honestly can’t imagine another book I’d be more suited for or enjoy working on. I’ve got further adventures for the girls cooking in the back of my mind to jot down once I can grab a moment to do so. I also have a baby on the way in mid December! Let’s just say I’m going to keep the coffee pot on 24/7 and hope for the best.
How are things going with your webcomic Angora Napkin now that you have all of this Powerpuff workload?
At one time I was 30 weeks ahead with “Angora Napkin” strips and I’ve watched that dwindle down to less than 10 weeks left in my reserves now. I’ve managed to draw 1 strip and a 6-page comic for an upcoming anthology since Blossom, Buttercup and Bubbles took over all my waking hours. I keep telling myself I’ll get in a groove, I’ll get on top of things, I’ll fit it in on a schedule somehow – but so far no dice. Mind you this IS the first time I’ve ever worked in monthly comics so I’m still working on my learning curve and I optimistically hope I can get back to drawing more “Angora Napkin” strips.
Oh well, I am an eternal optimist! With a little success in mainstream comics who knows – people may even want to see more “Angora Napkin”! Well, one can hope at least!
Our thanks to Mr. Little for speaking with us about the miniseries. Like we mentioned above, he perfectly captured the essence of the Powerpuff Girls while still putting his own stamp on things. We’ve got 5 more issues to go and it looks like things are only going to get bigger and more fun. You can find out all the latest on what Troy Little is working on and check out his great webcomic Angora Napkin, if you haven’t done so already, by looking at his website by clicking here. What did you think of issue #1? Are you excited to hear that more villains will be in the mix?