Chris Weston is Bringing Back DC’s Classic Time Breakers For A New Crowdfunding Campaign

Time Breakers

Back in the ’90s, there was a short-lived — but beloved — imprint from DC Comics called Helix. While only active for about three years, it launched 14 titles all focused on science fiction and science fantasy. And while its most lasting impact is most likely Transmetropolitan, which switched over to Vertigo after the imprint’s demise, other titles like Chris Weston and Rachel Pollack‘s Time Breakers remain in comic book fans consciousness due to their fun tones, innovative ideas, and just being damn good comics.

Good news, then: Time Breakers is back. Mind you, don’t get too excited… The comic, which focuses on a group of time travelers dedicated to creating paradoxes instead of preventing them isn’t releasing new issues. However, artist Chris Weston is revamping some of the pages of the out-of-print book now that the rights have reverted to him, and releasing it as a new hardcover edition through a crowdfunding campaign on Zoop.

“I love hardbacks!” Weston told Comic Book Club over email. “I always try to get the hardback editions of my favourite graphic novels. I want something that won’t get all dog-eared after five minutes of heavy reading. Something that has a better chance of surviving a nuclear war!”

To find out more about the book, which includes rescanned pages, as well as how rights revert to creators, read on.

Comic Book Club: Time Breakers has been out of print for so long, what was it like revisiting the material now?

Chris Weston: It was a pleasant surprise, really. Obviously I can see elements here and there that I would draw differently (and better) now. However, there isn’t too much to make me cringe with despair at my younger and less-experienced self, either. I think the storytelling holds up quite well. Also, I don’t think my inking style has changed that greatly since… despite my best efforts!

Reading through it again, was there anything you would have wanted to travel back in time and change? Or are you happy with it as a historical document/story?

There are past comics I’d dearly love to redraw and pretend that’s how it looked all along, but Time Breakers isn’t one of them. Maybe I’d like to have used some heavier blacks in the inks in places, but that’s not something that comes naturally to me, even today.

This is an extremely technical question, but for those in the audience who don’t know the process, how do rights for a DC-published comic revert to you, the co-creator?

Once the comic book has been out of print for a designated couple of years, you can apply for a reversion. One of DC Comics’ departing staff members kindly reminded Rachel and I that we had past this point and we subsequently handed in our reversion application. This same staff member quickly rubber-stamped it and sent me a copy of the art files. It all went very smoothly.

Helix was an extremely prolific imprint for only being around for two years… What was it like being part of that launch?

I didn’t think that much about it really. I hate to sound blasé, but I kind of thought of it as “just another job” rather than some sort of monumental publishing event. I don’t really get that excited about all the antics that surround the publication of books. I assume cleverer people than me have the production and promotion issues covered so I would rather spend my time concentrating on doing the best art I can. Thus, my concerns mostly begin and end with the production of the artwork. I rarely get emotionally involved in the success of a book; it often leads to disappointment! However, I do expect the publishers to put in as much effort promoting the book as I do drawing it. 

Do you think there’s a place for pop-up imprints like that anymore at DC and Marvel? Or has most of that moved to other publishers?

Yeah, definitely. If there is evidence that ring-fencing certain books can boost sales, then I’m all for it. It’s mostly a promotional tool: labels can help guide certain customers to a style a book that is in their interest.

You’ve rescanned some pages for this collection… Was there an issue with the original printing? Or what was the impetus there?

Oh, pure vanity on my part! The original printing was fine, but it’s much more common nowadays to scan the black and white art in full colour (rather than a bitmapped, pixelised two-tone). It helps the reader see the line-work more clearly and shows up interesting production artifacts like blobs of tipp-ex or correctional patches that have been pasted on. It’s the next best thing to the reader having the original art in their hands. As I said before, I think the inking on Time Breakers still holds up well, so I couldn’t resist this opportunity to show off some of my favourite pages in this format. I don’t think there would have been an audience for an entire “Artists’ Edition“-style publication of Time Breakers, but it’s great that the readers can get to see at least some of the pages in all their inky, pasted-up glory.

Why was a hardcover the thing you were always aiming for? What’s important to you about that particular type of printing?

Again, vanity played a part. I love hardbacks! I always try to get the hardback editions of my favourite graphic novels. I want something that won’t get all dog-eared after five minutes of heavy reading. Something that has a better chance of surviving a nuclear war!

Can you talk a little bit about working with Rachel Pollack on this? What was the collaboration like?

I know it sounds boring, but this is one of those jobs that didn’t involve any “collaboration”, either plot-wise or character-wise. Rachel knew what she wanted and put it in her script. Like most books I’ve worked on, I just get handed a script and then spend long, agonising hours alone turning its words into coherent, decipherable and consistent drawings. I wish it was more “rock’n’roll” and exciting than that,  but it really isn’t. I had zero communication with Rachel during the whole of the process. I prefer to communicate with editors anyway, as they can use their diplomatic skills to defuse any potential drama that might arise.

Time Breakers is live on Zoop today, so get pledging!

Time Breakers cover

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