An Exclusive DCUNG/TUSW
Email Interview with
He's been the creative mind behind Spiderman, the Tangent Flash, and most recently, Young Justice. We recently had a chance to talk with Todd about why he left Young Justice and what was coming up new on his plate.
TUSW/DCUNG: What first got you interested in comics, both as a hobby and as a career?
TD: The art. I was always doodling and I just gravitated towards comics as soon as I first saw them. Since then I've just been fascinated with the entire medium and the possibilities of telling my stories through it.
TUSW/DCUNG: What was your first professional work in comics?
TD: X-Factor 103
TUSW/DCUNG: How did you get the gig with Young Justice? Why did you leave?
TD: After my Flash: Tangent I was asked by Eddie Berganza if I would be interested in Young Justice (then called Justice League Junior) and who wouldn't be!?! I worked in preparation and development on it for about 8 months, but an Editorial decision at the very last minute changed the tone of the book and I realized the it would profoundly effect the stories that I had wanted so much to tell. I didn't think that these changes would be good for the book and I didn't feel that that would be fair to the Readers. I didn't want to make that compromise, so I removed myself from the project.
TUSW/DCUNG: If it was TOTALLY up to you who was to be in YOUNG JUSTICE, who would you pick??
TD: Impulse, Superboy, Robin, Secret, and another whose name I can't reveal at this time
TUSW/DCUNG: What was it like writing all those wonderful DC teen heroes? Who is you favorite to write? Least favorite?
TD: Actually, with these guys, it was the dynamics of the group that really sang to me! They work so well together and I had so many different things that I wanted to say with them, that I'm sure I could've written this book for years without getting tired. It was the three of them together that really intrigued me; the Superboy-Impulse relationship was really fun!
TUSW/DCUNG: Who else would you love to write? What is your dream project?
TD: I'm a huge Batman fan, and so, I s'pose that I'd like to do my Legends story. It also involves the Joker, another favorite, so I'd be killing two birds with one stone. Dream project? Because I am such a fan of so many different artists, I guess my dream project would be to get to work with as many of them as possible. I'm somewhat spoiled in that I've been fortunate to be working with Mike Wieringo and Rich Case over the past few years, whose artwork I really love! They're great guys and Mike's storytelling is so wonderful that it makes every page I get fun to put words to!!
TUSW/DCUNG: What can you tell us about the new character Free from YJ:The Secret? What was the original plan for her?
TD: Actually, her name is Secret, and as for her long term plans, I can't say ince I won't be handling the book. I did have a lot of plans regarding her interaction with the BOYS and how her presence would alter the teams dynamics,...
TUSW/DCUNG: What are your feelings on DC's teen heroes. Superboy? Impulse? Robin? Wonder Girl? Captain Marvel Jr.? Inferno? Arrowette? Teen Titans? Others?
TD: Well, being a big comics fan myself, I can't do anything but love them! They are, after all, inhabiting one of my favorite places in the world!!
TUSW/DCUNG: There's a growing movement to get Damage back from comic book limbo. Quite a few of us think YJ would be the perfect place for him. What do you think of him?
TD: If I remember correctly, Damage was kinda older that what I was considering the age range of the group (about 12-16), and so I don't think I really considered him seriously...but hey, that's the beauty of comics--anything is possible!
TUSW/DCUNG: Also, it was rumored that you had wanted to get permission to use Static from Milestone for Young Justice? Is that true? If so, is that door still open for DC?
TD: A fan had suggested/requested that Static come on board and, since I had read and enjoyed the charaacter when his book was being published, I thought it would be a mad, cool idea! I asked DC and it seems that there are several legal aspests to the whole Milestone line that would hafta be ironed out, a big hassle, but that doesn't mean it couldn't be done you never know in this business
TUSW/DCUNG: What was your original direction for YJ, and how does it differ from the new direction?
TD: During the development of the seeries, I wrote several 18-month overviews, outlines detailing both story and character arcs for the first year and a half. Because various characters were involved in the series, all of DC's Editors weere asked to check it over, and so, I was asked to rewrite the overview to incorporate their notes.At first the book was going to be a Scooby-Doo/wild/wacky/anything-could-happen book where the Boys would be shrunk down in size, their heads turned into fruit, high concept, silly stuff like that ! We were then told that the book needed to be more realistic, more similar to the JLA with some seriously dangerous threats, situations, etc. I re-wrote the whole thing, and was very excited (along with Editor Eddie Berganza) about the new stories that I came up with. At zero hour, however, DC once again made a change in the tone of the book that I felt would water-down/compromise the powerful stories that I had spent so long developing. I didn't feel that that would be fair to the stories or to the Readers!
TUSW/DCUNG: What makes this team better than any other team that has come before?
TD: I don't think it's a better or worse question...I'm always looking for that character interaction, those gettin'-in'each-other's-face moments, or those quiet emotional moments, or those outrageous, wacky moments...This bunch has so much potential there and Iwas eager to see how they would grow as a team.
TUSW/DCUNG: What, in your mind, was the easiest and hardest things about the books?
TD: The easiest was listening to the characters and the hardest was picking which one of them dies in World Without Grown-ups...
TUSW/DCUNG: Tell us a little of how you envision Tangent's teen extraordinaire, the Flash.
TD: When I first read the premise, I immediately got this Alicia Silverstone in Clueless vibe from the character that she seems kinda caught up in the trivialities of her day-to-day life, but when it comes right down to it, she can apply that bouncy, fun, light-heartedness to the important serious stuff when it comes down to the wire. I think she's a happy person and that she does whatever's in her power to make other people happy. and that's not such a bad thing!
TUSW/DCUNG: How old is she exactly?
TD: I think she's about 15.
TUSW/DCUNG: Is she the only superpowered teen in the Tangent universe, or are some of the other characters teens (Joker, Atom, Spectre, new Power Girl, etc.)?
TD: I really don't know the ages of the other characters; I'm pretty sure Joker's in her early twenties, Atom, mid-twenties, I dunno. in the Secret Six we saw another teen character named Canary, but I don't know if she has any superpowers
TUSW/DCUNG: What's most fun about having the freedom to work with a clean slate like on the Tangent Flash?
TD: Well, actually, freedom's the name of the game! To be creative, and really let that part of you go, it's best not to have a great many restraints. For example, I can tell just about any story I want to in my Spider-man book as long as it's a Spider-man story! There are rules to Spider-man and it's the Writer's job to follow them and still try to tell an exciting, entertaining story. With Flash, I got to write the rules, and so it was a whole lotta fun!! I really love her and all the characters that are a part of her life!
TUSW/DCUNG: Who do you consider your biggest influences on your writing style?
TD: Stephen King, Kurt Vonnegut, Denny O'Neil, Alan Moore and just about any one else who's ever written a comic book.
TUSW/DCUNG: Why do you think teen heroes (especially sidekicks) are becoming popular again?
TD: I really hadn't noticed they had. Robin's always been around, Bucky's still dead, and the only other of is Rocket from Icon?
TUSW/DCUNG: Any future plans or projects we should be looking for?
TD: TWell, The World Without Grown-Ups books, The Flash from Tangent 2, A Wolverine two-parter out in Aug-Sept, X-Men Unlimited featuring Strong Guy and Multiple Man for Halloween, and then, who knows!
TUSW/DCUNG: Any chance you would or could ever return to Young Justice? What would it take?
TD: At this point, maybe a petition. (lol)
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