Updated: Oct 6
Comic Book Yeti's Senior contributor and resident AHOY Comics Expert Katie Liggera chats with Stuart Moore about his newest series Highball, which, I think, is loosely based on me (It's Jimmy *waves excitedly*) and a game of beer pong I played and won on New Year's Eve 2005. This is a great chat and you're definitely going to want to add Highball to your pull list.
COMIC BOOK YETI: Hi, Stuart! Welcome to the Yeti Cave! I’m obviously a big supporter of AHOY Comics and of course, my favorite cat-space comic, Captain Ginger. First things first, where did you get the idea for Highball? Did you witness a drunken escapade firsthand that inspired this unique story about a space pilot who can only hit targets when he’s drunk?
STUART MOORE: Nice to be in the cave! Yes, I witnessed a friend—someone who’s actually affiliated with AHOY—whose reflexes got better and better the more he drank. We were out at a pub at the time, playing darts, and he just started winning more and more games. It wasn’t until after I started the series that I realized this was also the plot of a WKRP IN CINCINNATI episode. But that had fewer space-cars than HIGHBALL.
CBY: As I mentioned before, this isn’t your first time writing about hijinks in space. What made you want to return to the stars for another comic series about space and a thematic look toward a highly plausible future?
SM: I don’t know if it’s plausible, but I hope it rings true on some level. I love space travel and space adventure, and I had a series of ideas and concerns that looked like they’d work in that setting. I’m afraid I’ve been talking a lot about the serious side of HIGHBALL, but half the fun is the jet-scooters and the scoutships and the brittle, shaky chain of command aboard the starship Masnach.
CBY: Audiences will most likely see some parts of themselves reflected in champion space corps marksman, Highball. He grapples with morality and self-esteem while ultimately doing what is necessary to make a livable income. What kind of character traits were necessary in crafting a protagonist like Highball?
SM: Highball, the character, starts out as a sort of blank, and in the course of issue #1 does something that seems righteous and heroic, but might NOT be, really. The rest of the series involves him dealing with that and trying to make things right, usually in the worst, most horrifying ways possible.
CBY: Are there any space opera or comedic influences you inserted into Highball?
SM: There’s definitely some HITCHHIKER’S GUIDE in there. The whole command structure, with the hotshot pilots in their little ships, is inspired by BATTLESTAR GALACTICA. Which, in turn, is inspired by WWII aircraft carriers, of course. I’m a STAR TREK nut…there’s a hint of Kathryn Janeway in the mystery of the captain, I suppose.
CBY: Fred Harper’s work is astounding and wholly fits that signature wacky tone AHOY Comics often inject in their publications. What was it like working with Fred on this project?
SM: He’s wonderful and full of ideas and he surprises me on a regular basis. He thinks through everything—how the ship and uniforms work, what sort of hair people might have in the future—but it’s always playful, always funny. I can’t imagine the book without him.
CBY: Similarly, you’ve got the talented Lee Loughridge on colors and the immaculate Rob Steen on lettering. What is it like to find a team all blending together so well creatively? How do they change what you imagined in your initial vision for the better?
SM: It’s amazing and great, but it was an easy team to assemble. Both those guys had already worked with Fred on the AHOY book SNELSON, which is highly recommended (but you have to be THIS tall to ride the Snelson ride, if you know what I mean).
CBY: Highball has to drink to hit his mark. Will we find out more about his backstory and how he discovered this odd talent?
SM: Mmmmmaybe. This first series is more about his awakening. If we do more, yes, I hope to delve much more deeply into his backstory.
CBY: How did you approach writing Highball differently than Captain Ginger, in terms of humor and plot?
SM: HIGHBALL is closer to being a farce, and I think it’s a bit harsher. GINGER has a dark backstory to it, but a lot of it is really inspired by the joy of being around cats and watching them interact with each other. HIGHBALL is about people living in a society that forces them to make bad decisions, and the things they do to avoid thinking about the consequences of those decisions. Plus, uh, the scoutships and the aliens and the space battles!
CBY: Are there any upcoming projects (particularly any news on further Captain Ginger issues) in the works you would like people to know about?
SM: My next Marvel novel, INTO THE DARK DIMENSION, will be out in May 2023! It’s a sequel to my previous book TARGET: KREE—they’re tie-ins to the Marvel Crisis Protocol game, but really they’re just giant-scale epic adventures with lots and lots of big Marvel characters.
CBY: Thank you so much for this interview, Stuart! We highly value your time. Lastly, where can we find you on social media?
TSM: Thank you! Hear ye hear ye:
Twitter and Facebook: stuartmoore1