With the release of Leap (I’ve read it and highly recommend it), I reached out to the Uproar team to ask about the book, their online presence and what other plans they have for 2014. Thanks to Danny McLaughlin and Heather Taylor for their answers.

Uproar Comics is mainly known for Zombie Hi and historical books. Any trepidation about moving into the world of sci-fi?

Naturally we had some trepidation however our love for all things science fiction won out in the end. We have always wanted to create a science fiction comic that we would love to read. Creating Leap was very much a passion project and we wanted to make it as ‘real’ as possible so we put a lot of research into it. Having done the research and then plotted down a story which gave polite nods to the sci-fi greats like Star Trek, Battlestar and Star Wars we felt confident in being able to create something we loved.

I’ve read that you have called this “a love letter to sci-fi”. What sci-fi influences do you bring to the book?

So many things have influenced us that it was hard not bring them to the book. We have always been inspired by Star Trek and the hard science that it brought. It influenced us to research different planets in our galaxy, how many light-years it would take to get to them and the like. Star Trek taught us that even though you are writing fiction, you have to respect the science behind it all.

Battlestar Galactica was another huge influence for us. For us it has some of the best story telling we’ve seen in the sci-fi world and some of the best plot twists.

For someone who hasn’t heard about the book what would your pitch be?

The elevator pitch would simply be, for someone who doesn’t know Uproar- A new twist on a love letter to sci-fi nostalgia as Star Trek meets Battlestar Galactica! But for people who do know us- I would have to say its “A new type of SciFi for us where we get to deliver new and old aspects of all the sci-fi we loved as kids, but with our experience in pushing storytelling to the limits let alone the artistic innovation with the 3D approach”. This is the book Team Uproar has always wanted to get our teeth into and in a more condensed pitch we could say “FUN in SPACE!”.

A lot do sci-fi is world building. Had you much mapped out before you began work on the first volume?

Before we started work we had the skeleton structure of the story, it was only when we put pen to paper that we started to flesh out the story and the Leap universe more. We knew the middle and the end point, it was just getting there. Some ideas we had to put aside and some we had to rethink. We had so much fun thinking about all of the aliens we wanted to see appear throughout the journey of the Vanguard.

The preview art looks great. Anything you’d like to say about the art team?

We are very blessed to have a brilliant team of artists working for us. They are all so talented in so many ways and their passion for the project was evident throughout. They weren’t afraid to pitch their own ideas to us about what things should look like and how the story could progress.

The comic was created by entirely digital means and our team were always eager to learn new techniques and experiment with different digital tools. Their passion helped to keep us focused on the end goal.

Volume 0, which is 46 pages, I’m wondering about the format of future volumes or issues.

Volume 0, if you think about it in Television Series format, is the soft pilot. It opens up the universe and the characters which are yet to be fully explored. Think Battlestar Galactica’s miniseries which lead to full on proper episodes! Each issue, just like each individual episode of any Sci-Fi Tv series, will be serial. Each Issue will see a new adventure or conflict etc open and close, but with a further exploration of the characters, building towards a series ‘finale’ after a few episodes closing the arc.

We opened with a big bulky graphic novel- quite the opposite to the way we opened Zombies hi!, but this is because we wanted to produce a full story that got people involved straight away, so then
we could continue with the average sized comic of about 20 odd pages or so. Its different to what other comics do- that’s why we did it, and because it’s what we would like to see happen within the industry!

Uproar Comics have been posting on Social Media about the possibility of a Northern Ireland comic book course. Anything you’d like to say about that?

That is still in the works but we’re very excited about it. We’re trying to settle on a venue that would suit the people who have applied for the course. We have a pretty busy schedule coming up but hopefully by the end of this month, or the start of March we will have something solid to give out to the people who applied.

You moved into the world of apps with The Dec and you sell your stuff on your online store. You obviously see digital and online sales as important.

It is very important to us and we see it as the way forward. Nothing will ever beat being able to turn the pages of your very own comic but being able to provide digital versions of our comics is helping us to grow as a business. Through online sales we’re seeing our products being shipped and downloaded to places like the United States of America and Australia which is very exciting for us!

What else should we expect from Uproar Comics in 2014?

We have a lot planned for 2014 already. Our schedule is nearly full with outside projects and we have a few events in our line-up too. We’re looking forward to seeing how our Comic Book Course pans out and how it will benefit the people who attend. We’ve also already hinted at the return of the ‘prodigal son’ – Zombies Hi! It’s been a while since we released an issue and we’re biting at the bit to get issue #9 out into the world. Other things will take priority first however but seriously watch this space. The dead will rise…again!

Leap is available to purchase in comic shops and on the Uproar Comics Website.