The charmer known as Steven Universe (and his Crystal Gems) are officially returning to comic world.
Based on the popular Carton Network series, and following the critically acclaimed run of the first Steven Universe& comic series, February will see the debut of an all-new four-issue mini-series written by Josceline Fenton ( Hemlock) and Chrystin Garland (Adventure Time). Fenton and Garland take us back to Beach City, where we find Steven involved in new adventures — which involve taking the Gems camping and telling scary stories. When the Gems decide to share some tall tales of their own (all in good fun, of course) they quickly find their stories of people turning to glass coming to life right before their eyes.
EW caught up with Fenton and Garland to talk about the excitement of writing this Steven Universe installment, what we can expect from the story, and more. Read on for more and view the debut of exclusive covers by Kat Leyh (main cover), Jeremy Sorese (subscription cover, part one of a four-part connecting image), and Amber Rogers (incentive cover).
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: Can you talk a little about how it feels to have another installment in the Steven Universe series?
JOSCELINE FENTON: It’s a real honor to be allowed to play in the Steven Universe sandbox! Jeremy Sorese and Coleman Engle did an amazing job on the first series. We’ve got big boots to fill.
CHRYSTIN GARLAND: It feels absolutely amazing! Ditto on Jeremy and Coleman — they really knocked the first series out of the park. It’s incredible, and I just hope Josceline and I can continue on with that same fun energy.
Josceline, you were a guest artist on the first round of the series. How is it stepping into the writer’s side this time around, and what’s the difference for you?
FENTON: This series will have a lot of firsts for me, so it’s a little scary! My previous work for BOOM! has always been in the form of short comics. This is my first time writing a multiple-issue story for them. It’s also the first time I’ll be writing scripts for someone else to draw, but I’m really looking forward to seeing how Chrystin interprets them!
Chrystin, how is it coming back to this world for a second round? Did you find that certain work habits or styles had changed from doing more work in this universe?
GARLAND: Steven Universe is such a fantastic series; I am humbled and incredibly excited to have the opportunity to work on it again. This time around, instead of leaning toward my own personal style, I’m trying to stay more on model. It’s tough, but I really want to stay as true to the show as I possibly can.
For both of you, what was something you learned from your previous that helped you when you were creating this world?
GARLAND: For me, creating a specific play list that matches the tone of the scene I’m working on always helps. I listened to a lot of k-pop while working on the Steven Universe: Greg Universe Special, and it really kept my energy up and my drawings fun and loose.
FENTON: The guest shorts I did previously have helped me to get a good feel for the characters and the way they act, but also the limitations of the world. There are a lot of questions we still don’t know the answers to in the show, so you have to work around those mysteries!
Comics are wonderful because they allow you to explore entertainment in a different way than television and movies, but with the same visual aspect. What do you think it is about Steven Universe that resonated with fans when the show was adapted to the comic medium?
GARLAND: I think people were just eager to go on more adventures with Steven and his amazing family! When you have a strong, heartfelt story and compelling characters, they can be translated to practically any medium and still be enjoyable. Personally, I’m crossing my fingers for more Steven Universe fan bands.
FENTON: One of the nice things about BOOM! is that they don’t ask you to be 100 percent on model or exactly match the style of the cartoon, so you get a really interesting mix of visual interpretations. There’s a bit of that in the show, with episodes looking slightly different depending on the storyboard artist, but stylistically you can go much further with the comics. For me, seeing how different artists respond to that freedom is what makes the comic appealing.
Will the series have throwbacks and connections to the first run, or will this be an entirely new installment filled with new plots and function as more of a stand-alone? In that sense, Chrystin, were there new things you got to draw that you were excited about?
FENTON: This will be an entirely new installment. It’s a four-issue mini-series with a self-contained plot.
GARLAND: It’s going to focus on a brand-new adventure for Steven and the Crystal Gems. I don’t want to give anything away, but yes, there are definitely several scenes (and a few characters) that I cannot wait to get my hands on!
What I love about Steven Universe is that it gives the message you don’t have to gender-fy. Steven is a strong example for girls, as well as boys, and it’s really just a fun story that’s very universal and heartfelt. Do you feel pressure to keep that thread going with this new series, knowing people have come to see the character and his stories in a certain way?
FENTON: With such a large fan base there’s always going to be a lot of pressure to get things right, I think, and you won’t be able to please everybody.
GARLAND: There’s always a bit of pressure when working on a beloved series. However, I think if you focus on remaining true to the original content, it’s hard to go wrong. Rebecca Sugar and her team have created so many well-rounded, relatable, and inspiring characters, it’s really just about following their lead. There’s no need to force something heartfelt, when it’s already there.
What can you tease for fans (without spoilers!) about what they can expect in this new series?
FENTON: I like to think of it as a horror story for kids! There are already a lot of horror elements in the show with the Kindergarten, so I wanted to try and bring some of that creepiness to the comics as well.
GARLAND: Things are going to get a little creepy this time around, but that’s all a part of the fun. I hope you’ll enjoy it!