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Todd Dezago interview


(NOV 06 WoW)

Todd Dezago has written Tellos, JLA: World Without Grownups, tales of Spider-Man and more during his career in comics. Now, he returns to The Perhapanauts in a new mini-series from Dark Horse, Perhapanauts: Second Chances. Westfield's Roger Ash caught up with Todd to learn more about this book.

Westfield: For those who've never read the book before, what can you tell us about the Perhapanauts?

Todd Dezago: I usually tell people that the Perhapanauts is a combination of The X-Files meets Mission: Impossible meets The Incredibles meets The Simpsons. But as Craig and I continue along, we've discovered that it's taken on a life of its own, that it's become much different than we'd originally imagined. Darker. Creepier. Scarier.

Westfield: Could you give us a brief rundown on the main characters in the book?

Degazo: Well, as the series develops, our BEDLAM cast grows larger. It is, after all, a large subterranean complex located who-knows-where and staffs and incredible number of people. And Things.

Our main cast of agents however is headed up by Arisa Hines, a young woman with telepathic/psychic abilities. She is a natural leader and strongly determined to keep her team alive. Next is Big, short for Bigfoot, captured in the American Northwest in the mid-70's and put through an experimental Evolvo-Ray"!, he is now one of the smartest - and strongest - creatures on this planet.

Then there's Molly, also a young woman, although her life stopped several years ago. Molly is a ghost, though she is reluctant to admit it, determined to avoid the 'light' and remain on this plane a while longer. And to help her team as best she can. Also, there's Choopie - short for chupacabra. Every culture has it's vampire legends and the South and Central Americans have the chupacabra. Translating from the Spanish to 'goat sucker', the chupacabra allegedly feeds on animals and livestock, exsangiunating them of every drop of blood in their bodies. Choopie was caught in Puerto Rico and put through the same Evolvo-Ray"!... with far less spectacular results. His intelligence level (as well as his behavior) is that of a 10 year old boy. He is, however, due to loyalty and the thrill of adventure, a viable agent in the group. And finally MG - a mysterious individual, MG possesses a great intellect and the uncanny ability to walk between dimensions/the planes of reality. His past is quite shady and he works hard to keep it that way. But with the recent surge of interest in his attractive team leader, MG might find himself having to relax those barriers and let some of his teammates in on his secrets.

Also, there's a Mothman, the Dover Demon, the Aswang, the Chimaera, and a "B" team that the Perhapanauts are always in contention with, and that's just a normal day around BEDLAM.

Westfield: The first mini-series ended on a cliffhanger. Do people need to know what happened previously to understand the new mini-series?

Degazo: No, not at all. The new series does pick up right where we left off, but all you need to know is that Arisa, the team leader, has been mortally injured and that they can't return to base to get her medical attention as it is currently swarming with fuzzy, knee-high, insatiable carnivores! That's all pretty well covered on the second page though.

(Note: In defense of that cliffhanger; I had a neat, pat, clean ending in store for the crew at the end of issue 4, but the characters wouldn't let me do it. Blame them.)

Westfield: What can you tell us about the new mini-series?

Degazo: Well, as much as Craig and I are proud of our first outing, as we work on this new story arc, we see that that was just prologue. I don't think I've ever been this excited about a story I've written and Craig (as well as our colorist, Rico Renzi) is doing, what I think, is the best work he's ever done too! Lots of stuff happens in this one; twists and turns, some crazy character development, and action, action, action!

With that cliffhanger, when I sat down to start the new series, I had a pretty good idea of what was going to happen next. But as I wrote it, I found I was getting bored. And then the story surprised me and took an incredible left turn! After that, it was one crazy twist after another! If the readers have half as much fun reading this as I've had writing it, then it'll be all well worth it!

Westfield: You co-created the Perhapanauts with Craig Rousseau. How do you two work together on the book?

Degazo: Craig and I met at a convention years ago and became pretty fast friends. We liked each other's work and I eventually forced him into servitude on our Tellos book, The Last Heist. We dug working together and I chucked him the idea I had for a team of cryptozoological, paranormal investigators where the agents just happened to be pretty strange creatures themselves. I sent him some basic descriptions and Craig, in about a days time, faxed me over the fully designed team which I had already started calling the Perhapanauts. With that kind of visual inspiration, I sat down and immediately began penning their bios, their adventures, and the long-term character arcs.

Westfield: To some people, this book may sound somewhat like B.P.R.D. What would you say to those people?

Degazo: I'd say, yeah, me too! Craig and I love both Hellboy and B.P.R.D. (and The Amazing Screw-On Head and anything else by Mignola!) (or Guy Davis!) and knew, of course, that there'd be similarities drawn. And to those people I say, check it out. Pick up a copy and give it a read and I think soon you'll see that we got a different game goin' over here.

I had the idea for what became the Perhapanauts long before I'd ever read Hellboy, and remember having a feeling of dread about 10 years ago when my pal, Karl Kesel told me his idea for a book called Section Zero. (Sadly, that book got caught in the "we-got-totally-screwed" Gorilla debacle, but Section Zero was an awesome idea!) Ultimately though, it was different from what the Perhapanauts is, and is becoming.

Westfield: You're also interviewing your former Tellos collaborator, Mike Wieringo, for the next Modern Masters book. What can you tell us about that?

Degazo: Well, first that it's a dream I've had for a long time! I think Mike is, hands down, one of the most talented artists in comics today, and I feel blessed to have worked with him on so many different projects/stories. I'm honored that John and Eric at TwoMorrows have given me the chance to help showcase Mike's work and to barrage him with questions which will not be embarrassing in any way. Being that Mike is one of my bestest friends, this should be a lot of fun! Westfield: Are there any other projects you're working on that you'd like to mention?

Degazo: Not really, not in comics. I've started working in television in hopes that, once I make a name for myself there, I might be able to write some comics again, since it seems that that's the only place Marvel and DC are hiring their writers from these days. I'm also working on the spec scripts for Tellos and the Perhapanauts since we've had studio interest again in both. We'll see&

Westfield: Any closing comments?

Degazo: Only thanks so much for the opportunity to chat about the Perhapanauts! If anyone is interested in finding out more about 'em, you need look no further than www.perhapanauts.com!

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