Derek Laufman Journeys to RuinWorld

When it comes to comics aimed at an all-ages audience, BOOM! Studios has proven itself one of the industry leaders over the past decade with comics like Lumberjanes, The Backstagers and more cementing the publisher’s reputation as a premier provider of inclusive entertainment.

Announced today at WonderCon in Anaheim, BOOM! adds another title to its all-ages line KaBOOM!, as Derek Laufman brings his fantasy adventure series RuinWorld to the imprint. The series follows two would-be adventurers named Pogo and Rex who discover a map which promises them untold riches and fame… but then they lose the map.

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Ahead of the announcement at WonderCon, CBR caught up with Derek Laufman and editor Whitney Leopard to talk about their collaboration, world-building and the stories that inspired RuinWorld.

RuinWorld #1 main cover by Derek Laufman

CBR: RuinWorld looks to be playing off a lot of genre norms in new and interesting ways: what films, TV shows and comics are influences on the world of RuinWorld?

Derek Laufman: I pull a lot of inspiration from some of my favorite childhood movies like The Secret of Nimh and The Dark Crystal, but I also pull from some of my all-time favorite video games like Legend of Zelda and World of Warcraft. Some of my bigger comic influences for this series are I Hate Fairyland, Fantasy Sports, and Bone. These comics have such rich worlds and characters. They really inspired me to go out and create my own world to play in.

Whitney Leopard: RuinWorld has an amazing world that I think fans of properties like Adventure Time and Avatar the Last Airbender will really enjoy. Derek has built up these amazing environments for his characters to run for their lives in, it’s going to be a lot of fun.

What can you tell us about our leads and their quest?

Laufman: The series starts with two of our main characters, Pogo and Rex, who are arguing over who’s turn it is to search an old abandoned Keep. Rex is a veteran in the art of “Ruin Hunting,” while Pogo is a farmboy who is tagging along to learn the ropes, hoping to following in the footsteps of his adventuring grandfather. When Pogo discovers a map that they think belongs to a legendary pirate, the two of them embark on a journey to find one of the most famed stashes of artifacts in all of RuinWorld.

Unfortunately for them, their map isn’t kept secret for long and they will need to acquire the help of old friends and new acquaintances along their journey if they have any hope of reaching the famed treasure.

Leopard: Rex is a delightful grump and Pogo is the endearing “sidekick” who is a little slow on the uptake. They make a great team and somehow they seem to be able to work really well together… most of the time. Their quest starts as a small mishap that just grows into something bigger than either of them were prepared for but it’s great to see how the both step up to the challenge.

RuinWorld #1 variant cover by Sean Galloway

How much time goes into worldbuilding stuff that we might never see?

Laufman: I’ve been developing RuinWorld in my spare time for almost two years. I started the project by creating a handful of pages with only a nugget of an idea about two adventurers in search of treasure. Those pages were the creative spark I needed that allowed me to visualize a larger world. Over the next few months, I spent my spare time conceiving characters and environments that I still cherry pick from today. Having a solid foundation was really helpful when I started to plan out the story arc and create the characters, and situations needed to support it. Now as I work on each issue, I try to spend about one-two weeks developing concept art for key characters and locations before jumping into full production.

Leopard: I’m just like the readers, and I want to see all the worldbuilding that Derek has put into this series. He’s an amazing creator and you can tell that he’s really developed how he wants this series to play out. We might not get to see the entire process for every step but we get the finished result, and it doesn’t disappoint.

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What is it about both RuinWorld and BOOM! that make them perfect for each other?

Laufman: Prior to partnering with BOOM! I was already a big fan of the Mouse Guard series and knew them for developing high-quality comics for major brands like Power Rangers, Adventure Time and popular creator-owned titles like Lumberjanes and Diesel. Last year, I had the opportunity to work with them on a comic short for Adventure Time series and that allowed me to get to know and work with Whitney. It was such a pleasant experience working with her and the team at BOOM!, they are a talented group of professionals with strong understanding of the all-ages comic market, I had no doubt in my mind that RuinWorld would have the perfect home there.

Leopard: I had the great pleasure of working with Derek on an Adventure Time short, and I loved how he brought the characters to life. His art is charming, he has a great understanding of humor, and he just great to work with. When he shared RuinWorld with me, I knew that this story was something special and we needed to work with Derek on bringing these amazing characters and this story to life. Every step of creating this comic has been amazing and full of laughs. (Pogo and Rex will always crack me up.) I hope everyone checks out RuinWorld when it comes out, they will fall in love with these wily heroes just like I did.

RuinWorld is scheduled for release July 2018 from BOOM! Studios’ KaBOOM! imprint. Check out CBR’s exclusive preview of RuinWorld #1 below.

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