The Fourth Planet is published by ChapterHouse Comics and its in my top five favorite indie comics that are out right now. It’s a fantastic sci-fi story paired with incredibly beautiful art and it just rounded up it’s first arc. If you like sci-fi and aliens, then you really need to be reading this book. During New York Comic Con, I had the privilege to talk with Fred Kennedy, the writer and creator, about his book and what we can expect in the future!
Alright. To start off for people who haven’t read the book yet, what is The Fourth Planet about?
Well, it’s a ship full of escaped human slaves that crash land on an alien planet, with three warring alien races, and the most advance of them has just started using gun-powder. So, the humans are put in this situation where they’re sort of forced to become what they’re running away from just to survive.
So, what inspirations did you kind of draw from or was this something you just thought up and were like, “this is genius”?…because it is.
Well, thank you. And there’s two things really. Initially, years ago, this was sort of like a Battlestar Galctica fan fiction – years ago – its completely different from what that was though, I really took a lot of cues from when the Spanish landed in Mexico with the Aztecs, they were an empire that was strong but was waning and they had a lot of enemies in Mexico at the time and how the Spanish interacted with one group of people versus another, you know?
Like, it’s so interesting that everyone thinks that the Spanish showed up and just killed everybody, but that’s not what happened. The Aztecs had so many enemies and it was really about getting those groups of people together, with the Spanish, and that’s how it happened. Despite what people think about 400 dudes just managing to kill everybody – nope, that’s not how it works. So yeah, I really drew from that, specifically, those are the two sources.
I’ve been reading The Fourth Planet since issue #1 and there are a lot of characters, and there’s definitely been a lot of characters that you’ve taken time to develop, so who’s your favorite character that you’ve created so far?
It’s funny, my favorite character in the story is Ixandra because she’s kind of the star and I love Ixandra because I feel like she’s me. Right now we’re dealing with some very interesting times in terms of story creation with gender roles and things like that, I have this friend and she’s always talking about how you need to give a character agency, they have to be in control of what they want to do. But it’s like, I’m not in control of what I want to do, and I think that’s what I love about Ixandra so much. She’s suddenly imbued with all this power and all these things that she can do, but she doesn’t have the confidence to do it. That’s me, I feel like that all the time. Everyone’s always like, “you should have done this” or “you could’ve, you could’ve”, but it’s like…could I? So I love Ixandra because it’s so cliché – Thor picks up his hammer and just kicks everyone’s ass – but no, you still need that vulnerability.
Ixandra is surrounded by people that are always trying to tell her what’s best, like her brother, Henzi, who’s this unstoppable, holy warrior that everyone loves and, this is the thing, he’s passively condescending, he doesn’t mean to be condescending and he loves his sister, but he doesn’t believe what she is, and I don’t think she even believes what she is. Everyone can relate to that. She’s one of my favorite characters I’ve ever wrote. And I also like that she has an ‘X’ in her name.
My favorite’s been Quando, pretty much the entire time – I love him. The first volume rounded up pretty recently, so what’s the game plan for the future additions?
Plot-wise or production-wise?
Right now we’re moving from a quarterly issue to a trade paperback format, which is better because we’re actually going to be putting out more content faster now. We were doing like four issues a year and now we’re going to be doing five, it’s just going to come out annually as a single collected edition. Miko just moved back to Poland but he’s still very responsive to e-mails and is stoked about the story, and everything is coming along pretty well. I just got the final script in last week and, oh the way it ends, it’s so shitty, you’re going to love it.
I’m so excited to read it. Do you have any kind of eta on when we can expect Volume 2 to come out?
Well, Volume 1 will be out before Christmas, Volume 2, the plan is to have it out in August, it really depends on a few different factors, but right now August is what we’re planning. Hey, I wrote it, I’m just waiting for everyone else to do everything. I think that’s a writer’s thing, it’s very easy for me to write a page but it’s very long for them to have to draw the entire page. So it’s coming.
Awesome. And do you have any, not that you have to name anything specifically, but do you have any other stuff in the works to be on the look out for?
I have something that I think is happening. It could be out next summer, but I can’t say anything yet because the ink isn’t really dry, but yeah something’s coming, but The Fourth Planet is where my head-space is at right now because I really want to wrap it up. That’s really all I can say about that.
Alright, for my last question, again for anyone who hasn’t read the book, let’s say they pick it up in the store, what makes this book stand out among all the other content that’s out right now?
First of all, it’s beautiful, Miko’s [Maciaszek] art is incredible, he’s so talented. And it’s got a very heady, European sci-fi vibe to it, as opposed to a straight ahead, this is what’s happening kind of thing. That’s what I would say. It’s really good. You should buy it. Buy all the copies you can find.
To order any of the Fourth Planet Titles created by Fred Kennedy, click here.
There you have it, folks. A beautiful book (drawn by Miko Maciaszek) with incredible and unique characters and a story that will pull you in right away. Make sure you check your local comic store for single issues (if you’re a collector) and the first volume of The Fourth Planet, out in December.