Interview: Andrew Pepoy discusses IDW’s Adventures of Simone & Ajax

Adventures of Simone & Ajax

Adventures of Simone & Ajax

Eisner Award-winning creator Andrew Pepoy has worked on such diverse books as Katy Keene, The Simpsons, and Jack of Fables. This month, IDW is offering up a collection of creator-owned characters in The Adventures of Simone & Ajax. Westfield’s Roger Ash recently contacted Pepoy to learn more about this book.

SPECIAL OFFER! If you order The Adventures of Simone & Ajax through Westfield this month, you’ll receive a special print signed and numbered by Pepoy!

Westfield: For those who have never read The Adventures of Simone & Ajax before, who are they?

Andrew Pepoy: Simone is a fun-loving 20-ish girl who usually acts first and worries about the consequences later, while Ajax is a small, green dinosaur who doesn’t look for adventure but has it thrust upon him by Simone. Simone & Ajax were the result of doodles in the margins while taking notes in college and first appeared in my university arts magazine. It’s basically a buddy comedy: they have shared interests and are the best of friends, but their different personalities play off each other, sometimes driving each other crazy, but they’re always there for each other even when facing the Dark Lemming of the North or when in Valkyrie Training School. Their adventures can take them to any time, place, or genre. Simone & Ajax appeared in a number of anthologies and their own one-shot in the ‘90’s. One of my favorite recent comments I got was that they have the look of an Archie comic but the sensibility of a Marx Brothers movie.

Simone & Ajax: Simone, Queen of the Jungle page

Simone & Ajax: Simone, Queen of the Jungle page

Westfield: What can you tell us about the three stories that are in this new collection?

Pepoy: These are all the newer, full-color stories that have been serialized on ComicMix.com, done just in the last couple years. We start out with Simone, Queen of the Jungle, a short story where Simone gets to play a Sheena-type, which picks up from where the last black-and-white story left off. Then the other two stories are graphic-novel length adventures. First up is The Case of the Maltese Duck, a slightly hardboiled detective tale with Ajax as the tough-as-nails P.I. and Simone as his gal Friday on a zany worldwide duck-hunt. Lot’s of noir-ish atmosphere and a supporting cast out of 1940’s central casting. Then there’s A Christmas Caper, a Holiday tale of how Simone & Ajax, who’ve tangled with Santa in the past, are called in by him to help him out against mysterious sabotage. Throw in some Commando Penguins and heartless corporate types and Simone & Ajax find themselves in a real Yuletide mix-up.

Simone & Ajax: A Christmas Caper page

Simone & Ajax: A Christmas Caper page

Westfield: What sort of extras are in the book?

Pepoy: I’m lucky enough to have an intro by one of my favorite artists, a real master of girls and dinosaurs, Mark Schultz. Plus, there will be a gallery of various color drawings of Simone & Ajax done over the years and some other sketches.

Westfield: What are your inspirations for Simone & Ajax and your other work?

Pepoy: I used to describe Simone & Ajax as “Tintin meets Tank Girl”, and certainly both of those were influences, Tintin for the fun worldwide adventures and Tank Girl for the zaniness of her escapades. Wallace & Gromit, Sam & Max, and other buddy comedy comics. Obviously from the look of the art, Dan DeCarlo and his work on Betty & Veronica, Josie, and Sherry the Showgirl, is a huge influence. I’m also a huge fan of the old adventure newspaper strips, my favorite of them being Roy Crane’s Wash Tubbs & Captain Easy, which influenced my storytelling and art. And other non-comics comedies, like Laurel & Hardy, The Marx Brothers, lots of British radio comedy like “The Goon Show” and “Round the Horne”. So much more, too.

Simone & Ajax: The Case of the Maltese Duck page 3

Simone & Ajax: The Case of the Maltese Duck page 3

Westfield: Are there more Simone & Ajax stories on the way?

Pepoy: I’ve got plenty of ideas for more and have even started writing another graphic novel, but I guess part of what happens will depend on how these new stories and this book go over.

A collection of all the black-and white comics is also in planning for later in 2010, again from IDW.

Westfield: Are there any other projects you’re working on that you’d like to mention?

Pepoy: I’m best known for my inking work, and I’m still doing plenty of that. I’m the regular inker on DC/Vertigo’s Jack of Fables and sometimes help out on Fables. Over at Bongo I ink most issues of Futurama and various Simpsons comics. And now I’m working for one of the big French publishers, Soleil, inking two volumes of their #1 seller, Lanfeust Odyssey, and a spin-off book called Alunys.

Simone & Ajax: The Case of the Maltese Duck page 13

Simone & Ajax: The Case of the Maltese Duck page 13

Westfield: Any closing comments?

Pepoy: This Simone & Ajax book is the project I’ve been wanting to do for years, so I’m really happy to get it out there. It’s my favorite thing I’ve ever done, so I hope people will give something a little silly and fun a chance. I try to make it kind of all-ages, certainly 12 on up, written on multiple levels so there’s something there for everyone. Kids can have fun with the wacky adventure, but adults will pick up on some of the parody and hidden jokes. At least that’s my hope. Thanks in advance to anyone who tries it.

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Adventures of Simone & Ajax GN

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  1. Bruce Canwell Says:

    I met Andrew at the 2007 San Diego Comic-Con, and he kindly loaned us many comic strips from his personal collection while we were assmebling our 2008 SCORCHY SMITH & THE ART OF NOEL SICKLES volume. He’s a nice guy and a genuine talent — I’m looking forward to reading SIMONE & AJAX!