Todd Dezago Interview
Todd Dezago, writer of Tellos, co-creator of Young Justice as well as The Perhapanauts and possibly most commonly known for his work on The Sensational Spiderman (1996), JLA:World Without Grown-ups(1998) and Impulse (1999) took some time to speak with Project Fanboy.
Steven: Todd, thanks for joining us today. How did you get into the industry?
Todd: On Scott Lobdell’s coattails. Truly, Scott and I went to school together and years after I’d finally realized that I didn’t really like L.A. and didn’t want to be in movies that bad, Scott, who had been writing the X-MEN for a while at the time, commented that I used to tell some good X-Men stories myself (back when we’d sit around dreaming about what we’d do if we wrote the X-Men...) But, wanting to make it on my own, I submitted proposal after proposal to DC and received many pleasant and instructive rejection notes. Scott urged me to send in something to Marvel and I did...and was hired right away. (Sadly, kids, it doesn’t work that way anymore...sorry.)
Steven: With the ups and downs of the industry, getting your works published has been a bit of a rollercoaster ride bouncing back and forth between Gorilla, Dark Horse and Image Comics, not to mention your time writing for the big two. What’s caused you to move from publisher to publisher throughout your career?
Todd: It was really a matter of going where I could get work. I would get calls from editors at both companies and take the jobs if they fit into my schedule. As for the creator-owned projects, that too was a matter of who would take us; Mike knew someone at Image when we took TELLOS there and, because we dug a lot of their books, Craig and I opted to pitch our PERHAPANAUTS to Dark Horse first.
Steven: Working with so many different publishers and creators, I would guess you’ve taken something from everyone you’ve worked with (figuratively speaking). Who do you think has had a major influence on your work?
Todd: Well, it’s a treat and a thrill to get to work with very talented artists, and when you find that artist that you really click with, who shares your vision of the story and whose storytelling style is similar to your own, well, it’s just amazing! And I have been influenced by just about everyone I’ve worked with in one way or another. But I think that, more than the artists, it’s the writers and editors I’ve worked with that have had the most influence on my work. Editor Kelly Corvese taught me many of the basics in writing for comics and Editor Ralph Maccio is an absolute Master of plot and story structure--I learned a lot from him, and from Tom DeFalco, JM DeMatteis, and Howard Mackie--my cohorts on the Spider-Man books when I first broke in.
Steven: What was your experience writing the character Spider-man like?
Todd: A little surreal at first. I was suddenly writing SPIDER-MAN!! Dude, I had just been reading it the week before!!! Of course, I came in just as the Clone Saga started and, at the time, the Readers were quite unforgiving (we were being told what to write by the Marketing Dept!!!) Nowadays I have more Spider-Fans coming up to me at conventions telling me that those stories were their favorites and that the whole twisted, convoluted saga rocked their worlds! So...
Steven: You also wrote Spider-man Family #7 in 2008, did you miss writing Spidey at that point?
Todd: A part of me would love to write a Spider-Man title every month. I miss Peter, miss Spidey, miss that New York City...Writing Spider-Man is great fun for me! The Spider-Man Family was a real blast--especially with Karl (Kesel) handling the art chores!
Steven: Are there any characters you formed an attachment with and were sad to see die or just weren’t writing for anymore? Who is your favorite character?
Todd: Well, I guess you would be talking about Impulse...? I was sad to hear that Impulse was sent on to the great reward, but we are talking about comic books here. Though the current administration at DC feels that there’s no place for Impulse in their DCU, I’m certain that at some point we’ll have our old, silly, wacky leaps-before-he-looks Bart back. And I really hope I’ll get a chance to tell some of the stories that I was dying to tell back when I was on the book. Between crossovers and special events and whatnot, my last year and a half or so with Bart were definitely NOT where I wanted to take him...
My favorite character to write for would be Spider-Man, though Impulse ran a close second. I loved doing fun stories about the Looter and, of course, I really enjoyed writing my own characters in Tellos and currently in The Perhapanauts.
Steven: So the Perhapanauts seem the odd bunch, but I gather that was your intention with them. What can you tell us about them? And just so we can quell Wikipedia’s burning desire to know… what does MG stand for?
Todd: The PERHAPANAUTS are the monsters you always wished you could hang around with when you were a kid! Ha! They’re a team of secret operatives for a secret organization that goes on secret missions hunting down strange and mysterious creatures. The team is also made up of strange and mysterious creatures, so sometimes it gets kinda crazy! MG stands for “Morris Garages” which started making the cars in 1923. Oh, you mean the character...? I don’t know.
Steven: What comics did you read growing up? What about now?
Todd: I first fell in love with the Justice League and quickly branched out to a lot of the other DC titles; Batman, Detective, Brave and the Bold, Green Lantern, Flash, Superman, Action, Etc. And Spider-Man!! Which then expanded to Spectacular Spider-Man, the X-Men, The Avengers, Marvel Team-Up, Marvel Two-in-One, and on and on and on...
These days I’m still reading Justice League, Mark’s Brave and the Bolds, Hellboy, BPRD, Conan, Proof, Firebreather, X-Men: First Class and many of the Marvel Adventures books--they seem to be where the fun is these days!
Steven: What characters have you yet to write for that you’d like to take a crack at?
Todd: I’m a huge Batman fan and have always dreamed of doing a run on one of his books. And the Joker is a favorite character that I’d like to take a swing at. And as long as we’re dreaming, a story arc on the Justice League would give me more of a chance to play with the team than I had in WOrld Without Grown-Ups...
Steven: What other future projects do you have on the horizon? Anything you’d like to plug?
Todd: Well, we have a lot more planned for The Perhapanauts and there is, once again, a chance that there will be more Tellos when we’re assured of an artist. I am doing a few issues of Marvel Adventures Spider-Man that will be out toward the end of the year. ANd a few other projects in the works at both Marvel and DC, but I don’t want to talk about them and possibly jinx ‘em...
Steven: According to your myspace Stephen King made the list for folks you’d like to meet. With his work Dark Tower for Marvel and your ties to the company; any chance you’ll be able to make the meeting happen?
Todd: Ahhhh, I doubt it. Peter is pretty well ensconced on that title and, if his legendary Hulk run is any indication, he won’t be abdicating that throne anytime soon! But it would be pretty cool.
Steven: Thanks again for joining us Todd, anything else you’d like to tell our readers before we let you go?
Todd: Smell ya later!