Titan Comics officially sanctioned line of Blade Runner comics and graphic novels continue to expand on Ridley Scott’s ground-breaking 1982 film and the continuation of the original story by Denis Villeneuve in the sequel, Blade Runner 2049.
Over the last few years, writers like Mike Johnson have filled in the blanks between Scott and Villeneuve’s films, satisfying readers with a ticket back to a world that they want to explore more.
Johnson’s latest installment (co-written by the writer of Blade Runner 2049, Michael Green) jumps ten years into the future to 2029, as Blade Runner Ash continues to hunt down and protect Replicants, trying to difficultly balance her moral leanings and her sworn duties.
We spoke to Johnson about his and artist Andres Guinaldo’s work on Titan’s Blade Runner line and what we can expect in the new series in this exclusive interview.
Where do we pick up the new story ten years later after Blade Runner 2019?
Mike Johnson: Our Blade Runner, Ash, has returned to blade running for the LAPD, but now she has a side hustle helping less dangerous Replicants escape to start new lives. She’s also in love with the Replicant who runs the Replicant underground movement, which is a far cry from when she was selling Replicant parts for cash back in 2019.
Because Titan’s Blade Runner comics are “officially sanctioned”, do you have any specific rules you need to follow when crafting the stories?
Johnson: Just that we need to capture the unique tone (both narratively and visually) that makes Blade Runner unique. Alcon Entertainment has been a great partner and allowed us to explore new corners of this world.
How would you define Ash as a Blade Runner?
Johnson: She began as much more ruthless than Deckard, with a prejudice against Replicants that bordered on the irrational. She’s come a long way, but she still possesses an uncompromising streak that sets her apart from other Blade Runners.
How much do you collaborate with Michael Green on these series?
Johnson: I run all the story ideas past Michael, get his blessing, and then get to work. He cares very much about the franchise and its future.
How does Andres style flesh out the world of Blade Runner 2029?
Johnson: Perfectly. Andres is the most underrated artist in comics. Nothing is impossible for him, be it an intimate personal scene or an epic view of dystopian Los Angeles. Combine that with Marco Lesko’s perfect colors and Jim Campbell’s unparalleled lettering skill, and you’ve got a very lucky writer.
Why is Blade Runner still such a modern world for storytellers to explore?
Johnson: It’s such an intriguing mirror of our own world. It manifests the fears we have about where our society is going, whether that’s to do with artificial intelligence, overpopulation, or climate change. And it has flying cars. It’s an irresistible playground for storytellers.
You have also worked on many Star Trek comics. Do you find the futuristic world of Star Trek to be completely different from the world of Blade Runner?
Johnson: Enjoyably so. I get to embrace my optimistic side with Star Trek and my more cynical impulses with Blade Runner. I try not to let them bleed together too much. The Mirror Universe is the best example of that, I suppose.
Johnson: Plenty of Blade Runner to come. Ash is in the middle of her journey, and 2039 is around the corner.
Blade Runner 2029 Vol. 1: Reunion is currently in finer comic book shops everywhere.