Two of writer/artist Faith Erin Hicks' childhood passions - horses and Star Trek - have resurfaced in her life to inspire her next graphic novel, Ride On.
Scheduled to debut in the winter of 2022 from First Second, Hicks' Ride On follows a young woman named Victoria who was a horse-loving girl growing up, but fell away from the hobby after a falling out with a childhood best friend with whom she shared it with. In this new OGN, Victoria tries to get back on the horse, so to speak, with a new community of friends to help guide her.
Newsarama had the chance to chat with Faith Erin Hicks about Ride On. We discuss how her childhood inspired the book, the possibility of her picking up riding again like her protagonist, and she even teases her next graphic novel project.
Newsarama: Ride On is going to be tackling Star Trek and horses. At first glance, these are two very different interests. Faith, what made you want to put them in a story together?
Faith Erin Hicks: Well, that was pretty much my preteen to teen years. I loved horses so much, I was absolutely a horse-crazy girl as a kid. I rode horses for many years, and desperately wanted my own horse (never happened, sadly). All I wanted in the world was horses. And then when I started getting a little bit older, I started watching Star Trek: The Next Generation and fell in love with it. It became my entry into other interests that would eventually blossom into my love of creating and comics.
Newsarama: Tell us a bit about Ride On's characters.
Hicks: There are four main characters: Victoria, a young rider who's had a big falling out with her horse-crazy best friend, and is looking for a new stable to ride at. And the other kids who ride at this ramshackle stable called Edgewood: Norrie (who thinks she's kind of the boss of the stable, but in a nice way), Hazel (who likes horses because they don't care that she's not a talker) and Sam (who's the only boy at the stable, and hates being teased by his brothers over his love of this particular sport).
Newsarama: You've stated when you were younger you were a big fan of horses. Are there any stories from your personal experience with the sport that inspired this story?
Hicks: Yes, there's a lot of my personal experiences in this book, but I'd like to keep them under wraps, because spoilers.
Newsarama: You've published a lot of work through First Second Books, what do you enjoy about working with the publishing company?
Hicks: I like what traditional publishers can offer me, especially getting my books into schools and libraries. Those outlets feel pretty important to me, as that's where a lot of kids have access to my books. Also, on a personal level, everyone at First Second is a good egg. I like working with them.
Newsarama: With this book, did you rediscover your love for horses? What's your relationship with horseback riding now?
Hicks: Sadly, I haven't ridden since my late teens. Riding is an expensive sport, and my many years of being a poor student followed by a poor cartoonist meant it was financially beyond my means.
At the beginning of last year, I was looking into the cost of taking some lessons, but the pandemic put a stop to that. Maybe I'll ride again someday; I'd like to.
Newsarama: With personal projects and work for hire, how many projects are you working on right now?
Hicks: Just one at the moment, but more are waiting in the wings.
Ride On preview
Newsarama: What's your work balance as a writer and artist? How do you break up the day with both tasks?
Hicks: I don't know that I really have a balance? I'm not good at multitasking, so it works better for me to just concentrate on one thing at a time. If I have a script to write, I focus on it 100% of the time until the script is done. Same for art, but I'll take a break from that if there's an Avatar: The Last AIrbender script (or something else) that I need to write.
Newsarama: Following Ride On, what future projects can you tease?
Hicks: I just finished the second draft of the script for my next original graphic novel: it's a teen romance, the first time I've done this kind of comic. I hope people like it!
Newsarama: Is there a genre, format, or anything in the comic book medium that you haven't been able to tackle that you want to do next?
Hicks: I love space horror (Alien is one of my favorite movies), and while I'd love to do a space horror comic, I feel like it'd be absolutely terrible. So that'll be my pie in the sky, never going to happen comic, I guess.
Learn more about this writer/artist with our Q&A, the secret origin of Faith Erin Hicks.