Originally published on Substack, The Oddly Pedestrian Life of Christopher Chaos is making its way to print for the first time this summer with Dark Horse Comics. Following a queer, teenage mad scientist, Christopher Chaos follows its titular character as he's thrust into a world of monsters, heroes, and cults -- all while watching his crush turn into a werewolf. This series takes the mad scientist trope in an engaging new direction.

Initially from the mind of James Tynion IV, Christopher Chaos has been realized through a collaboration between Tynion IV and series writer Tate Brombal and brought to life by artist Isaac Goodhart and colorist Miguel Muerto. Building a new world for characters to inhabit takes time and passion. In an interview with CBR, Brombal and Goodhart discuss the creative process behind Christopher Chaos, finding a character's voice, designing a world, and more.

Christopher Chaos holds a reanimated bird

CBR: Congratulations on the upcoming release of this book in print! How does it feel to have the series releasing in stores?

Tate Brombal: The fact that we've been actively developing this comic since 2021, and it has only ever existed in the pixels on my screen, has me VERY EXCITED to finally hold it in my hands! I seriously cannot wait.

Isaac Goodhart: It feels really great! Things always feel more real when you're able to hold them. With the print announcement came the decision to commission variant covers from some of the top talent working in the industry today. That's been the most exciting part for me. Pretty soon, I'm going to hold printed art with some of my biggest heroes in comics!

Tate, what was the creative process like building out this world with James Tynion IV?

Brombal: The creative process with James was incredibly collaborative, instructive, and freeing. The most exciting part of any project is at the start when a book can be anything. But it's equally daunting because you want the comic to be the best version of itself. Luckily, this is NOT James' first rodeo when it comes to world-building, so he shared his initial story pitch with me and some major foundations for the world that he had in mind. Then he set me loose to build everything else up! I basically ran away for a month or two, did a ton of research, and constructed a Bible document for the story and world. Ninety percent of that Bible isn't even in the first six issues, but it influenced everything moving forward.

I came up with a bunch of story ideas that we jammed on, then constructed the outline for the first arc. It was all really organic in that the story and world-building fed off each other in exciting ways. I remember the first arc was supposed to have totally different villains because I was basing it on my Bible, but I quickly realized that the story needed something different. I changed direction, penned some new chapters in the Bible, and now, we're saving those original villains for a future arc. Even one of our core cast members, Viveka, was a late addition because James had one of those miraculous shower thoughts that always save the day!

All-in-all, it was a blast to build this world with James and everyone involved. Throwaway ideas in Nick's designs and Isaac's pages also spurred on entire avenues in this world, so it's been incredibly collaborative.

Isaac, what was your process for bringing this world and its visual language to life?

Goodhart: When I first signed on and started drawing, James and Tate had a very clear vision of how they wanted the series to look. Importantly, the incredible Nick Robles had already worked out several amazing designs for the series, so my job coming in was easier than usual! Of course, I'm coming in with my own influences and point of view, which [are] mixing in interesting ways with Nick's aesthetic. I draw hair slightly differently now!

Tate writes very tight scripts, and we're always texting ideas back and forth. We have regular Zoom calls to go over layouts, and we're constantly messaging each other cool art we like on Facebook and Instagram. It's fun! [It's] definitely my favorite way to make a comic book.

Christopher Chaos cover inspired by retro horror movie posters

Tate, what about Christopher makes him an appealing character to write?

Brombal: To be honest, besides Mark Markz in my comic Barbalien: Red Planet, Christopher is the one character I'm bringing myself to the most. That wasn't always the plan. Don't get me wrong, I suck at math and am nowhere near as smart as Christopher! But bits and pieces of his personality and struggles come from some of my own experiences, especially from my high school years. I thought that little things like internal dialogues and drifting away into my head mid-conversation only made sense to me, but I've seen more and more people connect to those parts of Christopher, which is really cool. So it's easy to write Christopher. But it also has its edge because I'm constantly looking inward or pulling up nasty experiences from the past! But the character [and] the story need to come from somewhere real.

Isaac, Christopher has such a striking design. How do you use that to balance the rest of the page?

Goodhart: The brilliance of Christopher's design is that he naturally stands out. He has a unique color scheme and silhouette, so the reader can always find him quickly in a crowd. With that, I can play up the "pedestrian" elements of the rest of the world. The whole point is to make Christopher look like a fish out of water.

This story blends multiple genres and tropes, with classic monster movie mayhem meeting coming-of-age teen angst. What's it like merging energy from one spectrum with another?

Brombal: It came easier than expected, to be honest! I think the inherent melodrama found in both Horror and Coming-of-Age stories really connects the two genres, so I tried to feed into that and not hold back too much. Keeping Christopher as the clear anchor in the middle of it all helped ground everything with a clear POV. We're witnessing his story. His coming-of-age [is] the clothesline. Everything else is hanging off of it. And you're right. It is totally a spectrum! My favorite thing about our first issue is the ebb and flow from horror to teenage angst to sad romance to moments of levity (which is almost always Isaac being hilarious). I love that our series allows for all of that. Isaac really was the perfect, unifying piece to this puzzle, as his style allows for those big swings from horror to silliness to truly heartbreaking moments.

Isaac, how do you approach visually unifying the various tones?

Goodhart: One of the things I love about comics is how flexible you can be with the visuals to convey the energy of the narrative. So during the horror and emotional beats of the comic, I can play with the lighting to change the tone and feel of the scene. I'm finding that because Tate and James created such a rich world for me to play in, I can push things visually further than I'm used to. That's inherent in the title! The more chaotic, the better!

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Christopher Chaos in front of massive lab equipment

Christopher fills the mad scientist archetype but feels fresh in the role. Tate, what's it like writing that role from a more modern perspective?

Brombal: It took me a while to unlock Christopher's voice. There was a version of him that was much edgier and already a bit "mad" and scary. There was a version that was more robotic or unfeeling and used much more "science talk." However, I kept bumping on those versions because they just felt false. They seemed a bit obvious or cliché, and I couldn't connect to them. I didn't enjoy writing them! So when it came to Christopher, I started wondering what would happen to someone who knew they were different from a young age, but their "difference" only ever scared people or hurt them. What happens after years of repressing temptations so intrinsic to your very being? Well, you'd either break and become a bully, or you'd turn inward and try your best to go unnoticed by the world. From there, a much softer and [more] insecure mad scientist was born. He knows he's capable of terrifying but incredible things. He just needs to find the confidence and acceptance to let it all out. Maybe then, it won't be so scary.

Isaac, what was the process like creating the mad scientist's laboratory?

Goodhart: I knew I wanted Christopher's lab to feel like it could be five times as large if he weren't holding back, as per his mother's wishes. His lab is a normal shed that he's taken over with all his genius. You'll see futuristic machines and doodads built around everyday carts and lawnmowers -- ordinary power tools and extension cords mixed with made-up technology that no civilian could fathom. I think that contrast is the charm of Christopher's little laboratory.

When this series dives into the horror, it doesn't hold back. Tate, how important was it that the series be willing to go there?

Brombal: We wanted the Horror to be felt viscerally. Horrible things happen in this comic, just as they happen in real life, and we didn't want to soften it here. The toughest scenes to write are often those moments, but we never want to hold back on the dark stuff that is quite important to our messaging and themes.

Isaac, what is it like rendering those intense, detailed scenes?

Goodhart: When James first talked to me about this series before any scripts were written, he mentioned that he didn't want to hold back on any of the horror. And knowing James and Tate's work (and being a huge fan of both of them), I knew exactly where they were coming from and what they were expecting. When I draw those horror moments, I'm trying to make them visceral and scary. If I'm able to accomplish that in some way, that's the most satisfying part of the job.

Thank you both for your time! As a final question, what are your favorite classic monster movies?

Brombal: Does Re-Animator count because Re-Animator! I watched it (virtually) with James during the early days of development, and it's just a riot. Special shout-out to Bride of Frankenstein, of course.

Goodhart: The Nightmare Before Christmas!

The Oddly Pedestrian Life of Christopher Chaos goes on sale on June 28th.