Yesterday, Pro Bowl linebacker Lance Briggs and comics veteran Kyle Higgins announced a new Kickstarter project called The Trap, which the duo were co-writing.
Joining them on the book (which is live on Kickstarter now!) are artist Danilo Beyruth, colorist Tamra Bonvillain, letterer Hassan Otsmane-Elhaou, and editor/designer Sasha Head. The Beat covered the announcement yesterday, but in brief, this new 120-page stylish sci-fi graphic novel is about a future sports star pursuing his dreams amid challenges that echo those Briggs experienced in his own life.
Today, The Beat has a Q&A and with Lance Briggs and his co-writer on The Trap Higgins, which you can find below, before heading off to back the book through its campaign page. Enjoy!
ZACK QUAINTANCE: Lance, I know you’ve written comics in the past after retiring, but for those who aren’t familiar, can you tell us about your background as a fan and how you first started reading comics?
LANCE BRIGGS: My mother and I shared a passion for baseball and football. Which meant heading to the trading card store from time to time. It was here where I saw my first comic — It was an X-MEN issue, with Wolverine on the cover. It grabbed me immediately— “Wow.” We bought it and brought it home and that was it. I was hooked.
ZACK: Lance, can you talk about how growing up in Sacramento and being as successful as you were with sports influenced this story?
LANCE BRIGGS: There are those that know me from my athletic accomplishments, but I think what it took to get there is much more important. It’s no secret that in these communities, there is a lack of resources, funding, education, construction and so much more. Simple tools that every American — and certainly every child — should have access to. Instead, kids in these underserved communities face far more perils with fewer paths to success. My mother, Brenda, kept us in sports because she knew that, amongst other things, sports would help keep us out of trouble. And, realistically, sports were going to be the only way that we might be able to further our college education. If you were to ask the majority of professional athletes, they’ll all tell you a version of what I’m saying — I played against kids that were better football players than I was, but whose names you’ll never know because they weren’t as fortunate to get out.
ZACK: Kyle, how was your own process for The Trap different having Lance’s experiences to draw from versus writing something like Ultraman or one of your creator-owned projects from scratch?
KYLE HIGGINS: Lance has lived a life that is very foreign to me. So, to put it simply… there’s no way I could tell a story like this — nor, should I — without Lance. I take a lot of pride in my narrative flexibility, being able to get to the core of a concept and explore what makes it the most emotionally and thematically interesting. Hearing Lance’s own story was something that resonated for me from our very first conversations. From there, we’ve been working for the last year and a half together to find and create not only the world of THE TRAP, but also the different characters and their points of view, who have to navigate a futuristic version of what so many have to face in our current world. It’s been a true collaboration, and I feel incredibly lucky and fortunate to be working with Lance on this book.
ZACK: Can either of you tell us a bit more about the sci-fi sport in the book, surfriding? Surfing seems like an obvious comparison, but are there any other sports it resembles at all?
LANCE: One of my favorite superheroes has always been the Silver Surfer. His style was dope, the way he was able to use his board in outer space and defy the laws of gravity — I envisioned surfriding as the next step in skating and surfing, complete with custom boards that can traverse all geographical landscapes like, propelling through lakes, seas and oceans, ripping through snowy mountain tops, or even scaling city skyscrapers.
KYLE: Exactly. And, it was important to us to build a sport that a multitude of species and planets could all compete equally in. After all, Surfriding is Jaylen’s potential way out of The Trap and off of Earth.
ZACK: Finally Lance, I’m a Chicagoan, and I watched basically your entire career. I wasn’t entirely surprised when you got into comics, maybe cause it felt like the Bears D in your era had superpowers. Did you have any favorite heroes or other comics characters that inspired you when you were on the field?
LANCE: Well, I never imagined myself as a superhero on the field. That said, thinking back on my career… There are certainly a few characters I’d say my play could be associated with. The strength of the Hulk, smoothness of the Silver Surfer, the viciousness of Darkness and Wolverine, and of course, the strategy of someone like Batman.