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An Interview with ‘Rust’ Creator Royden Lepp

Royden Lepp, creator of Rust, talked with us a little about the much anticipated sequel, Secrets of the Cell!

Did you always intend for Rust to be multiple Volumes? Do you have an ultimate end goal or is Rust something you’d like to do forever?

Royden Lepp: I always knew that Rust would be four volumes from the start. The story of the Taylor family and Jet Jones ends in the fourth volume. I’m not sure what will happen after that, there are definitely more stories to tell, I’ll just need to wait and see if fans want to hear them.

Does your background in animation help you in creating those intense action scenes?

RL: Absolutely. My animation training gave me the tools to tell stories with pictures. For me Rust is just one long storyboard sequence. I’m a fan of film and I have a hard time viewing action sequences any other way.

What inspired you to create all these awesome robots and rocketboys?

RL: I honestly don’t know. I love drawing robots, I always have. And what can I say, jet packs are awesome, and everyone dreams about flight. I wanted to create an iconic character that lived in a universe where I could make up the rules. It’s not historic, it’s not futuristic, it’s just another time and place. That gave me the license to do whatever I wanted.

Volume 1 focused a lot on Jet and Roman, while the short story in the 2012 Free Comic Book Day offering focused on Oswald. How does volume 2 build on these relationships?

RL: Well, there’s still obviously a lot of Jet and Roman, but we’ll also get to see more of Jesse Aicot, the neighbor down the road. She’s a character I really care about in this story and I’m excited for readers to get to know her a little better. Oz plays a huge role in Volume 2, and we also get to know more about Mr. Aicot’s past.

Rust is currently being adapted to other mediums. Can you tell us about that?

RL: Yeah, I’m super excited that Rust has been optioned by 20th Century Fox and is development as a live-action film. We have incredible talent on the project: Aline Brosh McKenna is writing (The Devil Wears Prada, We Bought a Zoo), Simon Kinberg is producing (X-Men First Class, Elysium), and we just announced this summer that Joe Cornish will be in the Director’s chair (Attack the Block, TinTin). It’s literally a dream team! I’m thrilled.

Do you have a favorite character to write?

RL: I don’t, actually. This entire family in Rust is a unit. They all rely on each other and without each other they would definitely be less interesting. I relate most with Roman obviously, but all the characters are unique and special to me. I love telling their collective story.

For being an all-ages story, Rust deals with some very grown-up issues, especially war and the after-effects of war. How do you present those themes differently for a younger audience? Do you think it is important to share themes like these with younger audiences?

RL: I don’t feel the need to simplify the emotions in Rust. Kids are complex, insightful, introspective and intelligent. I want to give them a story that they can care about, that their parents will enjoy too. I honestly didn’t write Rust for kids, I just a wrote a story that would interest me and it ended up being appropriate for all ages. My ultimate desire is to respect the maturity of Rust‘s younger audience without threatening their innocence.

There seems to be a lot of your own experiences in Rust, like life growing up on a farm and a love of flight. Is it important for writers to put a lot of their own passions and interests into their creations?

RL: That’s the only way to do it. If you don’t write about something you’ve experienced, or something you care about, or maybe dream about, then there’s no story to tell. Rust is a story from my life and from my heart, and that’s what makes it a blast to draw.

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Thanks for your time, Royden! Rust: Secrets of the Cell is available now on comiXology. The print edition goes on sale Dec. 12 in comic book shops and wherever books are sold.