December 25, 2022


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The greatest adventure #1 Cary Nord cover

Bill Willingham is probably best known as the creator of Fables but he’s also worked on Justice society of America, Legenderry, Shadowpact, and much more. Now, he explores characters created by Edgar Rice Burroughs in Dynamite’s The greatest Adventure. Willingham told Westfield’s Roger Ash more about this exciting new series.

Westfield: how did The greatest adventure come about?

Bill Willingham: In September of 1967 the final six-part adventure of space Ghost was broadcast. I remember it as a single hour-long broadcast whose title was space Ghost’s greatest Adventure. but I can’t find a single bit of evidence to back up my memory. maybe that’s just how they advertised it in commercials. who knows? The adventure exists – or existed – but it’s actually broken up into six conventional 10-minute cartoon shorts whose only collective title, if any is ever used, is called The Council of Doom. In any case, during this saga space Ghost crossed over with many other characters in the Hanna-Barbera adventure universe, including The Herculoids, Moby Dick, Mightor, and Shazzan (not to be confused with Shazzam). This television event blew me away.

At about the same time I was reading any Edgar Rice Burroughs book I could get, which included a lot of heroes who clearly existed in the same fictional universe. Tarzan crossed over with David Innes by visiting Pellucidar. Barney Custer, the mad King, visited Tarzan’s African ranch. I recall thinking even back then that someone should do Tarzan’s greatest Adventure. It never occurred to me that I’d eventually be the one doing it.

The greatest adventure #1 Rags Morales cover

Flash forward nearly 50 years. When Nick Barrucci of Dynamite Comics let me know they had the rights to do pretty much all of the ERB universe, and asked if I had a story to tell with those characters, I basically answered: Sure. I want to do something with all of the ERB universe.

By the way, if anyone out there also remembers the space Ghost thing was once called space Ghost’s greatest Adventure, and was at least once shown as a single one-hour special, then do please let me know. I’d like to think my memories aren’t fabrications.

The greatest adventure #1 preview page 1. Art by Cezar Razek

Westfield: What can you tell readers about the story?

Willingham: It’s The greatest adventure of many of the ERB characters. remember the adventure of Jason and the Argonauts? Of course you do. Jason of ancient times put together a crew of the greatest heroes of his age to go on the ultimate mission. Well, this is the story of Jason Gridley who puts together a crew of the world’s greatest adventurers, including Tarzan, who becomes the ship’s captain. Their mission involves saving the entire universe from potential annihilation. Their ship is a Martian flyer, outfitted for space travel, and in the course of their quest they check out many of the worlds that ERB provided for us, from Pellucidar to Mars, from Venus to… well, maybe even beyond the farthest star.

The greatest adventure #1 preview page 2. Art by Cezar Razek

Westfield: who are some of the main characters involved?

Willingham: I’m sorry, I couldn’t use all of them. ERB created too many worlds for me to use every character he built. but I’m using a lot of them. Some are well known, like Tarzan and John Carter. Some are more obscure, like the Mucker and the creature from Vat 13. I even include the girl From Hollywood, because I can.

Westfield: Is there a character you’re really enjoying writing?

Willingham: La of Opar surprised me by being pretty fun to write, especially when she takes pains to explain to Jane that La and Tarzan are fated to be together someday.

The greatest adventure #1 preview page 3. Art by Cezar Razek

Westfield: With such a large cast available, do they all work together, or is there some dissent amongst the heroes?

Willingham: ever see a large group of anyone work together all the time?

Westfield: You’re working with artist Cezar Razek on the series. What can you say about your collaboration with him?

Willingham: He’s a wonderful artist, to whom I owe a giant apology for making him draw a cast of dozens, typically in every single panel.

The greatest adventure #1 Roberto Castro cover

Westfield: any closing comments?

Willingham: The intimidation factor in writing this comic series is higher than with any other story I’ve attempted. I’m too much a fan of the works of ERB to risk screwing it up, or taking the responsibility lightly. and there are so many ERB experts out there, I know they’ll check out all manner of wrath and ruin on me if I don’t do it right. That said, please consider buying The greatest adventure when it comes out.


The greatest adventure #1