At C2E2, Outhouse Ace Reporter Zechs got Andrew Gaska for sixteen minutes of his time. Why so long? They covered a lot of ground!
There's an interesting story in the interview on how Gaska got comic book legend Jim Steranko to draw the cover to his illustrated prose novel, Conspiracy of the Planet of the Apes (avaiable via Amazon), the first original novel set in the classic continuity. "It's not really comics," he told an editor at Archaia while pitching the book, "It's like that Aliens: Tribe book that came out from Dark Horse. It's really just paintings and a novel." It just so happened that the editor loved Aliens, leading Gaska to an unfortunate revelation: "Great! Now I gotta work on a prose book."
According to Gaska, it worked out pretty well. "The story takes place during the original movie," he told us. "It tells the story of Landen, the astronaut that disappears and winds up showing up at the end of the movie lobotomized [SPOILER ALERT]. Basically, it fills up the story of what happens to him. So instead of following Chuck Heston, you follow this guy."
"I'm using it to fill in blanks, but they make things make a lot more sense."
Talk on Conspiracy of the Planet of the Apes starts at the 4:00 mark. Hear the Streranko story, and you know you want to, at the 8:30 mark. It's worth the video click!
Gaska's next project is an adaptation of the late 70s early 80s Gil Gerard television version of Buck Rogers.The novel (again, with paintings) will basically be the third season of the show. "It's gonna make sense why the format changed so much between season one and two," he said of the novel. "It's gonna do what I do."
Gaska revealed that not only will there would be a comic but an audio drama as well with the remaining original actors reprising their roles for it. Asked if he himself would have a small role in the radio drama, Gaska jokked, "We want some quality here. I think we want good sales on this thing, so we're gonna get professionals to work on it." Even under the temptation of working next to Buck Rogers himself, Gil Gerard, Gaska is a professional. Still he admited at the end, "It is a fun idea." So keep your eats glued when you're listening to see if Gaska ends up bowing to temptation and making a cameo in the audio drama.
Gaska appears to be the man when it comes to reviving and adding to classic sci-fi properties. A few years ago, Gaska worked on SPACE 1999 Classics, an adaptation of comics tying into the licensed TV show from the seventies starring Martin Landau and Barbara Bain.
"Basically the way books were done back then, when it comes to licenses, the creative team weren't given the information they needed to make something that was specific to them, so what they would do is create a generic sci-fi story, and the characters' personalities usually come out really bland in that case," Gaska explained. "We've taken the original art and the spirit of those original stories and rewritten them so that they are more connected with the characters' personalities, more in continuity with the original series. We've also given the book a little bit of a facelift where artists weren't given reference for the guns they used in the show, so we tweaked that stuff. And most of it's in color for the first time." The full story on SPACE 1999 Classics is at the beginning of the interview. Get it on Amazon, as well as its sequel.
If you're excited to learn about these new takes on classic properties, you're not alone. "People who find about this are blown away and they buy it, but people don't know it exists." Well, now you do, so get out there and buy it!
Though Gaska worked as a freelance consultant at Rockstar for games such as Grand Theft Auto and Red Dead Redemption, he also has a pedigree in comics. "I went to school for comics. I was trained by Denny O'Neil of Batman fame. I was actually trained in comics layout by Carmine infantino. And my graphic novel teacher was Walter Simonson. I had all the greats."
When not working on adaptations of legendary science fiction properties, Gaska works on original graphic novels like Critical Millennium: The Dark Frontier which is available at Amazon and Comixlogy. As for a sequel to the original work Gaska said "the work is on hiatus for the moment. Probably 2015 before you see the next book." Hear more about it around the 12:00 mark. Gaska also signed a deal with Titan to do a book called Charger, but he couldn't reveal any more info at this time.
Listen to or watch the whole interview above. We have a feeling a lot of Gaska's work will be right up our readers' alley.