When AHOY Comics launched with Tom Peyer and Jamal Igle‘s The Wrong Earth back in 2018, they were really ahead of the curve. In the years since then multiverses have basically taken over popular culture, with some of this year’s biggest movies hinging on the existence of alternate Earths. AHOY has been exploring The Wrong Earth‘s multiverse of late with a series of one-shots set on different Earths, and produced by some of comics’ top talent.
This week sees the release of the latest one-shot in the series, The Wrong Earth: Purple. The issue, written by Stuart Moore and illustrated by Fred Harper, takes place on an Earth where the aesthetics of the 1980s never went out of fashion, and pits that world’s hero, Dragon-Fly, against a sinister saxophonist called The Player.
The Beat chatted with Moore about what appeals to him about the ’80s, why multiverses are so big right now, and the future of AHOY’s breakout new character, Cappy Comics, the King of Kaptions (brace yourselves: it’s not bright).
Joe Grunenwald: The Earth in this one-shot, Earth-Kappa, is one where the 1980s never ended. What about the tone or the aesthetic of that time period appeals to you?
Stuart Moore: The 1980s was a sharp lurch in our cultural history—the end of our shared belief in the Great Society, and the beginning of America’s ongoing shift to the political right. Fortunately there were some great music and comics to distract us. It’s also when my city, New York, made its comeback; there was a sense of dark optimism to the place, but it still felt a little dangerous—it hadn’t yet become Bloomberg’s billionaire playground.
Am I rambling? Let’s just say I tried to get that feel into THE WRONG EARTH: PURPLE. You’ll trim this in the edit, right?
Grunenwald: Nope. How does Dragon-Fly, the hero of this world, compare to his Earth-Alpha and Earth-Omega counterparts?
Moore: On Earth-Kappa, Greed is Good and the rich man is king. So this Richard Fame, aka the Dragon-Fly, is riding even higher than his otherdimensional counterparts. But as Prince once said, he might be better off making sure his soul’s all right.
Grunenwald: What can you tell us about the spectral, sax-playing character on the cover of the issue?
Moore: He’s called The Player. You might like him, if he weren’t running around killing people. Hey, you might like him anyway. How do I know what you like?
Grunenwald: You’re working with Fred Harper on this story, and the preview pages we’ve seen already have been really visually striking. How has his work elevated the story of this book?
Moore: He really raised the story up…not just one level, but several levels. Fred captured the period, down to Dragon-Fly’s rubber super-suit and his pinstriped business associates. And then Fred colored the book himself, which sent the whole thing into the stratosphere. I’ve never seen a comic that looked like this.
Grunenwald: Between the title, the time period, and Jerry Ordway’s variant cover for the issue, it seems heavily influenced by the 1989 Batman film. Is that an accurate assumption? Are there any other ‘80s movies you had in mind as you were working on this book?
Moore: Not just that one film, but yes, the whole genre and era were an inspiration. There’s a callout to a related movie near the end of the book; fans will recognize it when they get there.
Grunenwald: Multiverses are all the rage right now. Why do you think people are so taken with that concept at this moment in time?
Moore: Sci-fi and comics concepts take a while to seep into the public consciousness. It used to happen gradually, via animated cartoons, then TV, then films. Now we’re in the midst of a grand pop culture explosion; the multiverse concept reflects and amplifies that.
The trick, of course, is to use the concept in a way that means something. Into the Spider-Verse was a great example of that. Haven’t seen the new Dr. Strange yet!
Grunenwald: What’s the Earth-Kappa version of you up to right now?
Moore: Probably trying to sleep with his housemate (oh, those crowded Fortune City apartments!) and/or get promoted to associate editor.
Grunenwald: The first Wrong Earth one-shot, Trapped on Teen Planet, introduced a breakout new character to the AHOY canon, Cappy Comics, the King of Kaptions. How important will his role be in The Wrong Earth: Purple? Will he be getting an ongoing series soon?
Moore: I have very, very sad news for you, Joe. Oh, are we out of time already?
Published by AHOY Comics, The Wrong Earth: Purple #1 is out in stores and digitally right now. The Beat also encourages all our readers to tweet @AhoyComicMags to demand more Cappy Comics appearances in the future. Tell them Joe sent you.