Known for his comics-adapted television hits such as The Boys and Preacher, Garth Ennis is currently out here in the comics world doing what he does best: writing about military men and poking fun at the state of things. Creating some buzzworthy new material alongside longtime artist collaborator Jacen Burrows (Crossed and Ribbon Queen), the duo are venturing into new territory with their first-ever inaugural project for AHOY Comics: a six-issue limited series in the fantasy genre titled BABS.

Meant to be a satire about the state of the world and its leaders, we were lucky enough to get the opportunity to talk with Ennis and Burrows, in an exclusive first look at what Babs is all about below. We also ask about their upcoming Marvel miniseries, GET FURY, all for an exclusive interview.

NOTE: This interview was edited for clarity.

Babs in a treasure room of gold

CHRISTIAN ANGELES: Can you tell us about Babs? What kind of classic comic references and fantasy themes are you parodying in this story?

GARTH ENNIS: I’ve always looked at the sword & sorcery genre from a place of fond disdain, largely because it can sometimes take itself incredibly seriously but is also prone to generating some pretty lazy work. That said, I genuinely love The Hobbit, one of the first books I ever read and one I still regard as Storytelling 101- and let’s not forget Hawk The Slayer, hands down the greatest sword & sorcery movie of all time. So the parody in Babs is going to be pretty affectionate, at least as far as the genre goes.

JACEN BURROWS: Babs is rooted in a world that parallels classic Robert E. Howard and Tolkien imagery, twisting it through a satirical lens. You may recognize classic tropes like the Tolkienesque races, popularized in everything from D&D to Skyrim, big-ass dragons, or barbarian women in skimpy scale armor akin to classic BWS/Buscema era barbarian tales. But everything is done with an eye toward satire of genre tropes.


ANGELES: Garth, you described Babs as a character who’s good at the job but crap at life. Can you elaborate a bit more as to what you mean by this? 

ENNIS: Babs is skilled in all forms of combat, is a veteran of multiple battles and adventures, kicks the ass of almost anyone who messes with her, and has the worst luck of any living being from Middle Earth to wherever it is Conan hangs out, I can’t remember. Her motivation is to get rich and live a life of unimaginable luxury. She honestly hasn’t a hope.


ANGELES:  This question is for Jacen. You said you’re excited to draw your first fantasy story. Why exactly is that?

BURROWS: One of my earliest childhood obsessions was for the Rankin/Bass Hobbit cartoon. We had this two-record box set that came with an art book and the complete soundtrack, dialog and all, that you could play while you read along with it, and I spent countless hours absorbing that art.

That, coupled with the brutal John Boorman Excalibur film that I probably watched a hundred times before I was even 11 years old and ubiquitous Frazetta Conan covers, really got their hooks in me. Monsters, blood-splattered armor, brutal melees. For me, fantasy and horror are closely related and my love of horror is well documented.

Babs raising a sword with her right arm in celebration a slain monster in the backdrop with its right eye popped out
AHOY Comics’ BABS Cover B

ANGELES: You’ve gone on the record that this comic will include references like ‘Make The Middle Earth Great Again’ and ‘Incels’. It’s an election year, good sirs! Can you tell us exactly whom you’re targeting with this self-professed ‘disrespectful humor’ in Babs?

ENNIS: See if you can guess. I should say that I think it’s important to draw a distinction between the leaders of these various appalling movements, in whatever part of the world they rear their heads, and their followers—many of whom I would characterize as merely deluded, or a bit selfish. In other words, between the truly irredeemable and the easily swayed. Both will appear in Babs, and when the story’s over the reader should be able to discern my views on them.

ANGELES: What about you, Jacen? Are there any special characters or drawings you got to do for Babs showcasing ‘disrespectful Humor’?

BURROWS: Mork and his small crew of neckbeards, trolls, and goblins may seem a little familiar to anyone who has had to navigate social media in the last decade or so. They take their lumps but aren’t great at learning lessons. I really enjoyed designing them and getting to stretch my cartooning muscles. It was the first time in a while where I felt like stylistic exaggeration fit the vibe of the story and it felt great to cut loose from the realism I am usually attempting for the more somber stories I illustrate.

ANGELES: Alright, well if you had to sell us this comic with one visual image you drew for this series – what would that be?

BURROWS: So far I would say the first, cover says it best. Babs, thinking she has finally achieved her dream of the ultimate payday, is about to realize she could never be so lucky.

AHOY Comics’ BABS Cover C

ANGELES: Love it. Garth, I got into comics because of the ‘British Invasion’ wave of the 80s. I consider yourself as a key part of that but do you ever look back at your work and compare it to what you’ve done recently, let alone with Babs right now? What’s different about the writer you are today versus who you were twenty or even thirty years ago?

ENNIS: I think Babs fits reasonably neatly into the work I’ve been doing for the last twenty years or so, let’s say since Punisher Max—pretty hard-headed and cynical but with a heart in there somewhere (Babs is of course at the more humorous end of things). Going back ten more years I see a lot I like, most obviously Preacher and Hitman, but being born of the 90s it’s all much more idealistic despite the grotesquerie—largely because the world is still on that slow, steady upward arc of social and intellectual development we were enjoying, it hasn’t gone to shit yet.

And before that, I see almost nothing I like—a few later issues of Hellblazer and The Demon, not much else.

ANGELES: I think you’ve got a penchant for creating tough guys from military backgrounds. I was wondering if you’ve seen Alex Garland’s Civil War? Do you have any statements about it or how you view war from within the lens of today?

ENNIS: Not as yet. I hear it’s a pretty decent action movie but is careful not to choose sides, so I’m in no wild rush to see it. As for the various wars of today, they demonstrate yet again the absolute inevitability of armed conflict as a fact of life. My main concern right now is that Ukraine in particular doesn’t go nuclear and take us back to the Stone Age, or those of us unlucky enough to survive the first hour, at least. I’m only in my mid-50s, I’ve got so much left to give. Including a story on that very subject, coming sometime soon…

AHOY Comics’ BABS Cover D

ANGELES: AHOY Comics has put out some of my favorite satire comics, but Garth, you maybe considered one of our greatest of all-time when it comes to that in comics. Do you have any regrets or jokes that you wish you could take back or vice-versa, any bits of satirical commentary you wished you’d pushed further?

ENNIS: Nothing really comes to mind in that regard. I tend to think more in terms of whole stories that I wish I hadn’t done, just because I don’t think I did a good job, they just didn’t work. Let me make it very clear that I don’t blame the artists or anyone else for any of these, the fault was entirely mine, but examples would be The Darkness, Shadowman, Seven Brothers, The Shadow, Stitched, Jennifer Blood, Goddess, Midnighter, Hulk, Spiderman. File under “seemed like a good idea at the time.”


ANGELES: Jacen, you’ve worked with some of the biggest names in the industry. I know you and Garth Ennis have worked together for nearly 20 years but was there anything different from this time around with your process?

BURROWS: At this point, I feel like we’re a well-oiled machine. Garth writes in clear, concise, full-script and the intentions are cleanly laid out. We go back and forth with some development art and pencils. Sometimes there is a tweak here or there to clarify some storytelling or character acting, but it always feels like we’re on the same page.


ANGELES: Finally, who is your favorite superhero and why is it, Captain America? – Just kidding. Is there anything else you can tell us about Babs or both of your long-awaited return to Punisher next month?

ENNIS: Babs is one I’m genuinely proud of and love, I have a very good feeling about this story. 

The Punisher story, Get Fury, has been a long time coming for one reason or another, but is I think another crackerjack of a tale. If it does turn out to be the last time I write Frank Castle, it’ll be a good one to go out on.

BURROWS: I was honestly a little nervous about Get Fury. I knew a lot of people had been waiting for this one for a long time and I didn’t want to disappoint but when I saw the amazing color work start coming in from Nolan Woodard I was elated. He brought it to life with some great creative palette choices. Among all of the things I’ve worked on, I think it has a unique feel that I am really proud of.


A special thanks to Garth Ennis and Jacen Burrows for their time. Also, a special shout out to AHOY comics and Superfan Promotions.