An DCU:NG Email Interview
Sean: What first got you interested in comics, both as a hobby and as a career?
Chuck: I don't remember a time when I wasn't interested in comics. Fate, genetics, whatever decided that my only talent in this life was telling stories in a series of static pictures.
Sean: What was your first professional work in comics?
Chuck: Other than a few embarassing abortive attempts I'd have to say EVANGELINE at the old COMICO company. From there I went on to Marvel and Eclipse.
Sean: Since this site focuses on the young heroes of the DCU, let's find out your feelings on some of DC's teen heroes. Superboy?
Chuck: I like this character a lot. Supeheroes are all usually so "perfect". It's nice to see a guy who's not as bright as the rest and who sometimes uses poor judgement. He's also so damn self centered which is a relief in a world of either altruistic or nihilistic characters. He seems to enjoy life. Karl has really infused him with an infectious personailty.
Chuck: He's a great butt for jokes. I'm still feeling my way on this one as I haven't written that much of him. I enjoy the naive aspects of his personality.
Sean: How 'bout Young Justicers like Secret, Wonder Girl, and Arrowette?
Chuck: I just wrote a ten pager featuring them for an 80 pager. They're trapped in a silent horror movie. It was fun. Again, I haven't written enough of these characters to give a "take" on them. I hate it when a new guy on a character pontificates on a character I spent years establishing and he's only written for a few pages. I bow to Peter's judgement as he created them and has far more invested in them. I really like Arrowette though. Here origins are so lowbrow and she's trying to overcome them.
Sean: Why do you think teen heroes (especially sidekicks) and young heroes (Gen Xers like Dick Grayson and Jack Knight) are becoming popular again?
Chuck: Well, the mindshift in the bizness was to change as many of the established characters as possible to younger versions of themselves. This seems to have paid off. But I think it's wrong to go completely "teen". While that attracts our core audience it can turn off older readers. 'sides, when I was a young punk I liked reading about "older" characters like Sgt. Rock.
Sean: What's your take on the relationship between Dick and Tim?
Chuck: Big brother/little brother. It's really no more complex than that.
Sean: Any chance of having the Young Justice kids drop by to visit Tim in his own book? I think a Robin/Arrowette crossover would be interesting (especially if Steph found out Tim was heroing around with another cute blonde ...).
Chuck: I already said I liked Arrowette so that's a possible. You may have noticed that the metahuman characters rarely show up in the Batbooks. (like NEVER) So I doubt we'll be seeing YJ in the pages of the Boy Wonder's book anytime soon.
Sean: Tell us a little about the creation of the Spoiler? Did you ever think she'd become the fan favorite that she is now? And why hasn't there been at least a mini-series for her yet?
Chuck: I joked with the editors when I put her into her first story that she'd probably become popular since I only had her in mind as a plot device for a single story. Heck, Wolverine was a one-off character in a string of forgettable Hulk opponents. And the Silver Surfer was only created so Galactus would have someone to talk to.
A Spoiler mini will have to wait until she's no longer pregnant. But I'd love to do one.
Sean: Say we wanted to get into the head of Tim Drake. Since you create his psyche, what's going on in there?
Chuck: He's a young guy who hasn't figured himself or the world out yet. And he has the idea that maybe things are moving a LITTLE too fast around him. He's just now beginning to realize that he barely has any of the answers.
Sean: Same thing, but for Dick Grayson?
Chuck: Dick is past that stage of life into manhood. He's the coolest character in comics but doesn't know it. So many of his talents are natural that he doesn't see himself as special in any way.
Sean: And what about Stephanie Brown?
Chuck: Her whole reason for becoming the Spoiler was to get back at her dad. Her reason for continuing to put on the mask and cape is to be near Robin. She's a teenager. That's enough motivation for her...for now.
Sean: Tell us a little bit about Nite-Wing, a.k.a. Tad. What all went on in his creation and how did you come up with his character?
Chuck: His personality is an amalgam of a few entirely egocentric people I've run into in this business. That's welded to the persona of a natural bully. Tad's elevator doesn't go all the way to the top. He operates on pure rage and whatever appeals to him at the moment. Tad doesn't seek to be a hero to sacrifice himself for a greater good. Tad just wants to be "right". Justice to him is self-aggrandizement; an ego rush. His sags is going to continue in the pages of Nightwing in a fashion that is bound to horrify our regular readers. I'm not taking any chances on this guy becoming popular as an anti-hero. But he will continue to fascinate. I hope.
Sean: Any teasers as the what's coming up for Robin and Nightwing?
Chuck: Both of them are called to Gotham to assist Batman in the hell that city has become. Nightwing will re-take Blackgate from Lock-up and an army of vengeful criminals. Look for some wild McDaniel action here. It will tie in with a Nightwing SECRET FILES we're preparing now that has a new full length origin as its front feature and will be drawn and inked by Scott and Karl. Robin will go under the city's streets in search of "buried treasure." This will bring him up against some old baddies in a new guise.
Sean: Tell us a little about the way you approach a comics story and the process of writing it. Is there a "method to your madness" that helps you write so many stories each month?
Chuck: Don't know. I spend an astoundingly short amount of time at the actual keyboard. Most of my effort is spent in thinking about the stories long before i sit down to write. I work out openings and segues and character bits in my head. I am constantly on the search for "new" crimes and interesting locales to set the stories in. I think the only "secret" I have is that I keep WAY ahead of schedule. My next issue of Birds of Prey isn't due until June. My next Nightwing until March. I'll do a Robin story next week but I'm easily a month ahead of Staz.
Sean: Which comics or characters would you most like to have a chance to do?
Chuck: The Fantastic Four and the Lone Ranger
Sean: Which creators would you most like to have a chance to work with?
Chuck: Alex Toth would be at the top of my list but I'd probably be too intimidated to write anything for him. I would love to write something for Jordi Bernet some time.
Sean: Who are your faves to work with so far?
Chuck: I have been VERY fortunate to have an opportunity to work with some of the greatest talents in the medium. I've had stories drawn by legends like Joe Kubert , Russ Heath , John Severin, Jim Aparo and so many others. I've also been lucky enough to work with Graham Nolan, Rodolfo Damaggio, Scott McDaniel, Jorge Zaffino, Tom Grummett, Johnny Romita Jr and I shouldn't have started this list 'cause there's so many and I'm bound to leave someone off.
Sean: Any future plans or projects we should be looking for?
Chuck: I'm exclusive to DC for the next year. But I do have another SIMPSONS story coming in April as well as the conclusion of the Conjurors. I'm doing this summer's Batman annual and one of the JSA stories coming up. I'm working on a skip week proposal that would bring back a bunch of DC characters I loved when I was a kid. Graham Nolan and I are working on a relaunch of a recently cancelled book. And I have a fill-in issue of Young Justice I did as well as a YJ NO MAN'S LAND special with story by me and Scott Beatty and art by Andy Kuhn. Eduardo Barreto and I are also planning a Demon story to take place back in the days of King Arthur. I'm also writing SUPERMAN/ALIENS 2 with art by Bog and Kevin Nowlan. This time the Aliens show up on Apokolips.