By Jarrod Jones. Of all the comic book debuts published in the last five years, AfterShock Comics’ Replica is, without a doubt, one of the strongest I’ve read. It’s vulgar, juvenile, and caustic, sure — but it’s also idiosyncratic, expertly crafted, and downright hilarious too. Go beyond all the praise surrounding Replica and discover the truth: if you’re searching for a lively space saga set through the unwashed prism of the human condition, Paul Jenkins and Andy Clarke’s Replica is the book for you.
Paul Jenkins took time out of his busy schedule — he’s set to drop his debut novel, Curioddity, in August — to talk about Replica, Detective Trevor Churchill, and his noteworthy collaboration with artist Andy Clarke.
DR: Once upon a time, Mike Marts was your editor over at Marvel, and you most notably worked together on Origin to astounding success. Years later, Paul Jenkins’ Replica is now cemented in history as the flagship title of AfterShock Comics, now home to one Mike Marts. Was this always by design? Was Replica always meant to fly under the AfterShock banner?
PJ: Mike and I have had some success together but in fact, Replica was in the works just as Mike came into AfterShock. So I would say I’m happy that he is here but the main reason was that I know Joe Pruett so well, and had wanted to do a book with him. Mike is a bonus. Like accidentally betting on the wrong number and having it win.
DR: I’m not here to gush over your work on Hellblazer, but I’m going to do precisely that with not one iota of shame: your John Constantine is easily one of the most memorable icons of early-Nineties Vertigo, perhaps even in all of comics. He was smarmy when he needed to be, charming in spite of himself… a truly engaging protagonist. Would I be correct in seeing a little of Constantine simmering beneath Trevor Churchill’s skinny tie and exasperated sneer, or should I learn to let things go?
PJ: Let it go, man! No, seriously, you are probably right. But I would say that Trevor is more like me than Constantine. I am under a lot of pressure with various jobs that I do — from working at the new studio here in Georgia to coming out with my first novel, Curioddity, from St. Martin’s Press. I am utterly overwhelmed and I would not have it any other way.
DR: Replica is one of the strongest debuts of any book I’ve read in the last few years. It’s not hard to see the misadventures of Trevor Churchill carrying on for years to come. Does Replica have an expiration date, or can we strap in for the long haul?
PJ: I don’t personally have an expiration date for it. I love Trevor’s character, and Vorgas is a trip. I can easily see it going on for a long time. It will depend on the reader support, I guess. I know that the reviews have been amazing.
DR: Andy Clarke’s work on Replica knocks me dead with each successive issue. How closely do you work with Mr. Clarke to realize the crazy world that is The Transfer? Because there is some crazy-good synchronicity at play here.
PJ: Andy and I fit each other very well. His work is astonishing, and I can pay him no higher compliment than that every time I get a new printed issue I laugh out loud. And I wrote it! Andy has added so much to this book. He is a good lad, grade one.
DR: One final question, if you don’t mind: who was that person in the shadows selling Trevor out to those rat-bastard Scarlets in Replica #2? It was Number Two–erm–“Roger”, wasn’t it?
PJ: Read on, MacDuff!
Make sure to pick up ‘Replica’ #4 at your local retailer or on comiXology Wednesday, March 4!