GO. FIGHT...MORTY? Talking with the team behind 'Rick and Morty: Pocket Like You Stole It'

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There are approximately seven different layers of spoofs and jokes in this series, and with the third issue coming out

If a turducken could exist in comic book and sadly inedible form, it would surely be the Oni Press series "Rick and Morty: Pocket Like You Stole It," a miniseries currently in progress that's an adaptation of the "Pocket Mortys" mobile game which is based (of course) on the hit Adult Swim television series.

POCKET MORTYS with Rick and Morty Now Has Tournaments | Adult Swim Games | Adult Swim go-fightmorty-talking-with-the-team-behind-rick-and-morty-pocket-like-you-stole-it photo 1"Rick and Morty: Pocket Like You Stole It" #1, cover 

There are approximately seven different layers of spoofs and jokes in this series, and with the third issue coming out next week, I chatted via email with new-to-the-Oni-Press-"Rick and Morty"-franchise writer Tini Howard and regulars Marc Ellerby (artist) and Katy Farina (colorist) about how they make a book that's part Rick, part Morty, part Pokemon and all weeeeeeeeird.

This is a comic book adaptation of a video game spoofing "Pokemon" that's based on a television show parody of "Back to the Future." How crazy is that?

Katy Farina: It's a good thing we're fans of them all!

Tini Howard: Very! Fun fact -- I have never played a Pokemon game (short of the "Pokemon GO" fad that got all of us) and don't like "Back to the Future." And yet, here I am. Because I do love "Rick and Morty." And comic books.

Tini, how did you get involved with the miniseries? What has it been like working with the team at Oni?

Tini Howard: I asked! I'd wanted to work on a project with our editor, Ari Yarwood, for some time, and after binge watching the entire show a few times, I was obsessed and needed somewhere to put all that energy. The team at Oni is great, and Ari has cultivated a REALLY GREAT group of professionally twisted "Rick and Morty" fans to make these books. I love it.

How would you describe the series to someone who might not be familiar with the mobile game?

Tini Howard: It's a five-part story about Rick capturing, training, and fighting interdimensional Mortys, and how one Morty fights back in the name of his Mortimer brethren.

go-fightmorty-talking-with-the-team-behind-rick-and-morty-pocket-like-you-stole-it photo 2"Rick and Morty: Pocket Like You Stole It" #1, interior 

Plain Morty ("Our" Morty?) is normally pretty pathetic/sympathetic/Morty -- how does casting him, in essence, as Pikachu amplify those core character elements?

Tini Howard: Well, Pikachus aren't incredibly STRONG Pokemon, but we love them because Ash loves his, right? And they're cute and chubby and look good in yellow. But that's a great point -- he's absolutely our Pikachu. We're gonna root for our Morty because he's like us -- not the best or brightest or strongest, but he's got heart. And because he's gonna fail in the same ways we do.

How did the idea for the trading cards included as back matter develop, and how did you go about writing the text/flavor text? Can you give any hints to some coming up?

Tini Howard: Haha, so, I wrote the first issue two pages too short. And I could have written in two filler pages, but this seemed like a better way for fans to get bang for their buck in buying the floppies. They seem to be a hit! As for a hint? Well... just like "Magic: The Gathering" has black decks, we've got some bad-guy decks coming, too...

go-fightmorty-talking-with-the-team-behind-rick-and-morty-pocket-like-you-stole-it photo 3"Rick and Morty: Pocket Like You Stole It" #2, variant cover 

Marc and Katy, you've worked on various "Rick & Morty" projects for Oni? What was it like bringing Tini on to the team?

Marc Ellerby: It was a breeze, man. Tini is super professional and nice, which y'know isn't always the case in comics. We all have a similar sense of humour and it felt to me that we were all on the same page for what the book is about and what we wanted to achieve. Working with Tini, Katy, our letterer Crank, and our editor Ari on this particular book have been my favourite working relationship in comics thus far because it's been so collaborative as the schedule's allowed us to breathe a bit more than working on the monthly book.

Katy Farina: Oh, it was absolutely seamless. Tini is a fantastic writer, a fantastic person, and a fantastic collaborator. She fits this series perfectly!

What are some key storytelling moments for your artwork in the first issue?

Marc Ellerby: I like the end sequence of issue #1 a lot, where, spoilers, Morty breaks free from Rick's secret base. I liked how I laid that sequence out from Tini's very short descriptions and then Katy killed it with the colours. It was a nice little moment where all of our strengths came into play.

Katy Farina: One of my favourite segments in the first issue is actually near the end, when [spoilers spoilers], and we get to see some really cool transitional scenery. There's also a reveal at the end that brought me an immense amount of joy.

go-fightmorty-talking-with-the-team-behind-rick-and-morty-pocket-like-you-stole-it photo 4"Rick and Morty: Pocket Like You Stole It" #2, interior 

Marc, what was your favorite Pocket Morty to create?

Marc Ellerby: Emo Morty is probably my favourite mainly because of the Paramorty pun t-shirt I put him in. I'm not great at puns but I know when I'm onto a winner.

There seems to be a lot going on in the background during so much of the first issue -- how many different Mortys did you work in? (And did I see a Jerry Morty?)

Marc Ellerby: The first issue is nothing compared to the fifth issue where I drew 300 Mortys. Yeah, THREE HUNDRED MORTYS in a TWENTY-TWO PAGE ISSUE. I don't know what I was thinking but it looks niiiiiice. And yeah, there's a Jerry Morty! There's an issue of Pocket Jerrys coming up, which is maybe my favourite issue, because man I love that human sack of crap so much, let alone a Wizard version of him!

go-fightmorty-talking-with-the-team-behind-rick-and-morty-pocket-like-you-stole-it photo 5"Rick and Morty: Pocket Like You Stole It" #2, interior 

And Katy, we're taking a step back from the television source material with the Pocket Mortys. Did that complicate or uncomplicate your coloring work?

Katy Farina: Little column A, a little column B. When you don't necessarily have the series as a source for figuring out color palettes, it can be a bit harder to find the mood. But then again, we all pretty much were on the same page as far as the moods in various scenes, so it was pretty easy to tap into that. For instance, the opening of the first issue has a sort of "Hunger Games" feel to it, which I wanted to treat more painterly than the way I color the main series.

So, I guess it's fair to say that the ideas were pretty easy to come by, but the application of that required a lot more time and attention.

What was the trickiest Morty for you to color?

Katy Farina: Ants-In-My-Eyes Morty. There are just... so many ants...

Finally, what do you all hope people get out of the series?

Tini Howard: Existential fun and games. One of the obvious things about working on a "Pocket Mortys" property is you have to lean into the jokes we've all been making about Pokemon for years. "Isn't this just adorable cockfighting?" Yes. Yes, it is. But more than that -- "Rick and Morty" episodes aren't just a jumble of messed-up jokes; they have character continuity, if not story continuity, they mean something to the characters involved. So hopefully people will get the "Rick and Morty" experience from our little book.

Marc Ellerby: I hope they have a fun time. We're not looking to change how anyone thinks about "Rick and Morty" or Pokemon; we're here to entertain the readers, tell some dick jokes, show off a little, then leave.

Katy Farina: Honestly, I just hope they have a great time! The world is, to put it mildly, rather frustrating right now. If something I work on can bring a smile to someone's face even just for a little bit, that would rule.

"Rick and Morty: Pocket Like You Stole It" #3 goes on sale Wednesday, Sept. 13.

go-fightmorty-talking-with-the-team-behind-rick-and-morty-pocket-like-you-stole-it photo 6

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Article GO. FIGHT...MORTY? Talking with the team behind 'Rick and Morty: Pocket Like You Stole It' compiled by www.al.com