The Girl and Her Dinosaur
Coming this October to ComicMix –The Adventures of Simone & Ajax! This is the story of Simone, a fun-loving 20-year-old girl, and Ajax, her friend who happens to be a small, green dinosaur. Together they find themselves in a series of strange and wacky adventures, taking them to many different lands, times, and places. Simone is not so much the leader of the duo, but more the instigator, looking to have fun and often acting before she thinks, getting herself and Ajax into trouble and so into their adventures. She’s not dumb, just over-zealous. Ajax, the dinosaur, is the more sensible of the two. While deep down he loves adventure, too, he’d rather ponder and worry before leaping into the fray.
Simone & Ajax’s adventures take them around the world, and off it, as well as to any time or place, be it Atlantis, the Moon, Santa’s Workshop, Victorian England or the grocery store. Sometimes strange adventure comes to them at their home in the ruins of Rene de Chartre Cathedral. Their adventures are "a bit like the best issues of Cerebus, and a mood that harkens Bone" (Toph, Overstreet’s Fan #21). It’s a buddy strip, but all in all, The Adventures of Simone & Ajax is a fun and exciting comics series that will attract readers of all ages looking for exciting, zany adventure stories.
Creator Andrew Pepoy was born in 1969. After abandoning such worthless pursuits as becoming the President or an accountant, at age 10, he decided to draw comics. Soon after, he met the classic Buck Rogers artist, Rick Yager.
After many years of publishing fanzines, and while still attending Loyola University Chicago, Andrew sold my first professional work and was soon working for Marvel, DC, and other major comic book publishers on such characters as Superman, Spider-Man, Batman, The X-Men, Mutant X, Scooby Doo, Sonic the Hedgehog, The Simpsons, Betty & Veronica, Godzilla, Star Wars, G.I. Joe, and many more. Starting in 1995 I also wrote and drew my own comic book feature, The Adventures of Simone & Ajax.
In 2000, he was asked to redesign the Little Orphan Annie newspaper strip, which he drew for the next year. Andrew is currently working on various comic books, including writing and drawing a revival of Katy Keene for Archie Comics, and developing new ideas for comic books and comic strips.
Andrew lists his influences as “Roy Crane, Dan DeCarlo, Russell Keaton, Bob Lubbers, Matt Baker, Alex Raymond, Charles Schulz, Mark Schultz, Steve Ditko, Enoch Bolles, George Herriman, Henk Kuijpers, Francois Walthery, Wally Wood, Bob Oksner, Don Flowers, and so many more.”
You’ll find Andrew living in a condo with a turret on the north side of Chicago with his wife (and assistant), Chris Atkinson, and two odd cats.
Here’s what Andrew had to say about the upcoming stories.
CM: What is Simone & Ajax about?
AP: The Adventures of Simone & Ajax is the story of Simone, a fun-loving 20-year-old girl, and Ajax, her friend, the dinosaur. The series is designed to be enjoyed by readers of all ages. While the adventure and humor will hopefully bring in new and younger readers, the older readers will hopefully catch some of the more subtle jokes and see the people/events/situations being parodied in the stories. Simone and Ajax are brought together under rather harrowing circumstances (as originally seen in Arrow Anthology and the Simone & Ajax one-shot from the ’90s and to be re-presented on ComicMix in January) and decide, both looking for a friend and having some similar interests, to stick together. Of course most friendships don’t usually have to survive felonious penguins, Valkyrie school, vicious Queens of Atlantis, evil Moon emperors, creepy flying-carpets, or gigantic worm-monsters, but theirs seems to thrive on it. It all gets pretty silly, but I think comics could use more of that. I really want readers to have FUN with Simone & Ajax.
CM: Why a dinosaur? Why not a big dog?
AP: Both charcters evolved out of doodles done while taking notes in classes in college. In the very first S&A story, which I did for my college arts magazine, I had the idea for the story, I had Simone, but I was having trouble figuring out who her friend should be. I thought of another girl (too repetitive), a guy (too much implied), an old guy (creepy), but didn’t like any of that. Ajax had first really come together as a tiny dinosaur placed in a painting in which he really didn’t belong but which made the painting. So, I thought of this little, green dino again, and it seemed to work. To invoke "Casablanca," it was the beginning of a beautiful friendship.
CM: Does the Internet change the way you write/draw the stories? Does it make you nervous or fill you with joy to think of people reading the stories in HD?
AP: What?! People are going to be reading this?! Well, I sure hope people will be reading it, whether in HD, in print, or whereever. And while the internet itself doesn’t really change the way I’m thinking about them, the serialized, weekly set-up of ComicMix does change the writing proecess a bit. I want to make sure each week’s segment has something fun going on to bring people back the next week but have to keep the story mcing along logically. Or as logically as S&A ever gets.
CM: Do you think there’s a movie here?
AP: I sure do! And a lot of other people have suggested it over the years, including a friend of mine who was a successful TV-producer, who wrote a treatment for it as big-budget movie about 10 years ago. For various reasons it never really got to the right people, but I still think it’s good idea. While the actress who most fit my idea of Simone, Adrienne Shelly, would have now been too old and was murdered last year, I’m sure someone could still do a great job. By the time anything could come of it Emma Roberts would be about the right age and has the right look, style and smile to play it. As you can guess, I’d like to see a combo of live-action with CGI.
CM: What’s next?
AP: As far as Simone & Ajax, all-new S&A tales in, for the first time, full color! Jason Millet will be the colorist, so now Ajax will be green, the lemmings will be yellowish, and Simone will be colorful in more than personality. First up in the new stories will be a two-parter, "Simone, Queen of the Jungle," followed by the first feature-length S&A graphic novel, "The Case of the Maltese Duck," serialized over 10 weeks, and then a novel-length pirate swashbuckler. After that? I’ve got plenty more stories to tell and just hope the readers and ComicMix want to see them. Simone & Ajax in the Old West, in ancient Rome, in outer space, meeting Dracula… loys of fun stuff!
Andrew Pepoy’s The Adventures of Simone & Ajax debuts on ComicMix Saturday, October 6th.