Today, the premiere issue of Billionaire Island premieres from Ahoy Comics. Written by Mark Russell (Second Coming), with art by Steve Pugh (Harley Quinn: Breaking Glass), the acclaimed creative team of The Flintstones, Billionaire Island is a dark comedy set amongst the ultra-rich inhabitants, a place where anything goes, budget permitting. But those very same elites are about to learn that their ill-gotten gains come at a very high price.
Mark took some time to speak with us again to discuss the new series!
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FOG!: Billionaire Island establishes a world where the ultra-rich can essentially do whatever they want, and are often ignorant to the ramifications. What was the genesis of the book?
Mark Russell: Most science fiction is a satire of the present. An extrapolation of what will happen if current events are left unchecked. The logic of the world taken to its logical, but somehow still ridiculous, conclusion. Science fiction often aspires to be the bowling bumpers of civilization. Tries to keep us from rolling gutter balls.
Billionaire Island falls firmly within that camp.
Steve Pugh is the artist/co-creator. How did he come aboard the project?
I snuck into his house and filled his pillow with gold coins bearing my image. He was impressed until he realized all the coins were filled with chocolate. Now he needs a new pillow.
Did you do any research into the absurdity of the ultra-rich? If so, what was the most outrageous thing that you came across?
I read a lot of articles about the bug-out bunkers they are building in New Zealand and all over the world. It’s clear that they know the human race is in for a bumpy ride, even as they tell us everything is fine.
You recently finished up a run on The Wonder Twins, and have written Red Sonja, The Lone Ranger, The Flintstones and Snagglepuss among other work. What do you like best about doing creator owned work versus established properties and vice versa?
One thing I like about writing licensed characters is that they already represent something to people. An icon of a certain type of world or sensibility. So it’s nice to be able to use those characters to get readers to look at that world in a different way.
Creator owned works are good because you don’t have any continuity to worry about. You can say whatever you want however you want without a single intellectual property lawyer in sight.
Second Coming, which you collaborated on with Richard Pace, has just been released as a trade. Any chance that you both will re-team on either a sequel or new project?
We are already at work on a second season of Second Coming.
What else do you have coming up?
I’m doing some Batman, Harley Quinn, and Swamp Thing Giants for DC. I’ve also been tinkering with the script to a graphic novel about life on Mars, which I may even draw myself, if I can get over my own limitations as an artist.
Aside from the artists and established properties that you’ve worked on, do you have any dream collaborators and wish-list characters that you’d like the opportunity to write?
I would love to work with Steve Lieber on something. His art always dazzles me. My short list of characters I’d like to write is basically Superman and Howard the Duck. Not sure what that says about me.
What are you currently geeking out over?
I just finished watching Season 4 of Better Call Saul. Such a good show. Jimmy McGill aka Saul Goodman is one of the most tragically compelling characters in the history of television. Someone who’s not a bad person, per se, but is like a cat who when he sees a red dot on the wall, he just has to swat at it. He genuinely cares about the people in his life but just can’t resist a good con, which unravels not only his life but that of everyone he cares about.
In less financially lucrative media, I am also really enjoying Penny Nichols, the graphic novel by Greg Means and MK Reed. It’s got a clever quiet humor to it, which you don’t see a lot of these days.
Billionaire Island #1 is in comic stores and digital today!
Second Coming: Vol. 1 is now available from
comic stores, book stores and via digital!