Fueled By Death Cast Ep. 83 - DEAN HASPIEL
COMIC CREATOR AND EMMY AWARD WINNER - DEAN HASPIEL
"I figure you put stuff out there that might seem at first absurd and ridiculous, but then little, by small, they become real." Dean Haspiel, comic artist and writer, The Red Hook, Billy Dogma, The Alcoholic, HBO's Bored to Death
ABOUT DEAN HASPIEL:
Dean Haspiel is a comic book artist, writer, author, playwright and all around incredible creative force. Dean has worked with Harvey Pekar on American Splendor and Jonathan Ames on The Alcoholic and HBO's Bored To Death, for which he won an Emmy for designing the title sequence. Currently, Dean has been working on his own series, The Red Hook, which he writes and draws for Line Webtoons and Image Comics. It is a three part series, the second part War Cry, has just came out and is part of a larger tale with Brooklyn as a central character spanning multiple books and heroes. Dean joins the show to talk about all this plus his thoughts on the current state of comics and the cinematic universes.
ON THIS WEEK'S COMPANION SHOW:
This week on Science, the oldest known fragment of Homer's Odyssey was found in Greece near the Temple of Zeus. That was the site of one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, so Dustin and Jeff discover what those were. On The Roast, Jeff and Dustin get mad about a new trend, Raw Water, and then some exiting new products are revealed on The Update.
DEATH STAR OF THE WEEK:
This week meet Tom Bolda, who found Death Wish Coffee via his brother and their mutual love of coffee. Meet Tom in this week's show right here:
Dean: Is that a GoPro?
Jeff: Yeah. Yeah.
Dustin: It's a good one.
Jeff: It's perfect for ...
Dustin: You throw it in the water and shit.
Dean: Oh, you can go under water with it. That's dope.
Dustin: Oh, by the way, you can swear. Don't worry about it.
Jeff: Oh yeah.
Dean: Okay. Cool.
Jeff: We are Death Wish Coffee.
Dustin: I forget to tell people that and they end up swearing in the interview and they're like, "You know, shit. Oh wait, can I swear?"
Dean: Can I swear? It's kind of cute when people ask.
Jeff: The thing about it ...
Dean: WTF. There's always somebody like, "Oh, can I swear?" It's like you clearly haven't listened to this podcast ever.
Jeff: Exactly. Exactly. It's not even that. It's like swearing, yeah, the stigma is there. Your mother told you not to do it when you were a kid. But we all are adult. We all use blue language in normal talk and when we started this show, we've had very few rules when we started, but one of them was I always want it to be explicit because I don't want to be in the middle of a conversation and have someone have to edit themselves while they're talking.
Dean: It's kind of like asking Art Spiegelman to not smoke for five minutes.
Dean: Five minutes. That's all I ask. He still can't do it. He insists one of his writers to, I'm half joking here, he has a writer like green M&Ms. But one of the things it seems is like he has to be allowed to smoke because that's just part of his process of talking.
By the way, we're probably going to hear some Brooklyn, New York sounds.
Dustin: I mean, it's authentic, right?
Dean: That's right. Keeping it real.
Jeff: It's super authentic because we're here with you in your home, which is I can't believe. Thank you so much for inviting us in.
Dustin: Thank you guys for coming.
Jeff: I mean, let's start with Brooklyn. Let's talk about what you're doing right now. This incredible Red Hook story.
Dean: Show it to the folks at home.
Jeff: Yes, yes.
Dean: I had come up with this character in 2012 called the Red Hook. In fact, his original name was the Rascal because I just loved calling something a Rascal.
Jeff: Right. Yeah.
Dustin: It's a good word.
Dean: Then in the first story I wrote, his first ... I mean, he's a super thief in Brooklyn, New York in Red Hook. But the first story I wrote, what he steals is another character's name, the Red Hook.
Jeff: The Red Hook.
Dean: So there was another Red Hook. He winds up dying with his paramore, this girlfriend, and he figures, "Well, they're dead. It's a good name. I'm going to take it." Because he's been denying this thing that he had killed someone with his right fist in a boxing match. So like that's a right hook, and it was a bloody mess. So it was like the Red Hook. So that's where that partially comes from, as corny as that is.
Jeff: You actually include that in the actually iteration of this.
Dean: That's right. So what this book comprises is three stories. The first story that is kind of a pre-New Brooklyn story during the New Brooklyn phase, the one that I live in and you're visiting right now.
Dustin: Mm-hmm (affirmative).
Dean: That was published in Dark Horse Presents, in three issues of that. That's an anthology series I've been wanting to be in for eons, ever since Frank Miller pitched to Bob Shrek. He wanted to do a character that was a Conan in a trench coat. Do you know what that one is?
Dustin: I love that.
Dean: Do you know what Conan?
Jeff: Which would've turned into Sin City.
Dean: Sin City. Marvel Sin City.
Jeff: Because he's as big as Conan.
Dean: THat's right. In a trench coat.
Jeff: In a trench coat.
Dean: Yeah. Actually I hung out with Frank for about five minutes last weekend at Denver Comic Con.
Dustin: Oh, that's awesome.
Dean: Talked to him about movies and stuff. So he was really cool.
So anyway, I always wanted to be in anthology Dark Horse Presents, which right now it's de-funked once again. I think it has it's own phases. But that's what the first story is. About 24 pages of that. Then we take a quick little chapter break and then we hop into the New Brooklyn part of the story. Then the book ends with a little kind of ... Well, it ends with a two-pagers of the Purple Heart was the character I co-created with Vito Delsante and artist Ricardo Venancio. The reason why I co-created that character is I present some cool ideas in the Red Hook, which we'll talk about in a second, but then it becomes a story about Sam Brose, the Red Hook, and what happens to him. Okay. So it becomes more of a personal story about him versus ... And so the background of Brooklyn becoming New Brooklyn, which we'll get to in a second, is pushed into the background, but I wanted to have another character talking about more about what happened to New Brooklyn. So the Purple Heart kind of does that a lot, which is also online at Line Webtoon, which you can read now for free.
Jeff: That's awesome.
Dustin: He was a specific perspective of ...
Dean: Very specific because okay, so here's the pitch for the Red Hook, which you'll put two and two together. So the Red Hook is a bequeath the omni fist of altruism.
Jeff: Say that three times fast.
Dean: Against his will or he will die. He's a super thief. So he's suddenly made this superhero where this character, the Gree Point, is dying. You have to read the story to get all the information, and the closest person to him is like one of his enemies. He's like, "Well, I have to pass on my altruism to somebody." So he punches him in the chest, grabs his heart, and that is the omni fist right there. Cuts off his hand, repairs him, and he's like basically it's like if this guy walks past any danger or crime being committed, his hand will start to squeeze his heart, killing him. So this like makes him have to do good things. Kind of like he even says, "It's to be good for goodness sake." Almost like a Santa Clause superhero. He's like, "What the hell just happened to me?" This is during a time where Brooklyn reveals herself to be sentient, and she's heart broken by the indifference and apathy of the world, and decides to physically and literally succeed from New York City, ergo America, to start her own republic where there's a pandemic of new heroes and villains that rise from this kind of cosmic, scorched earth thing that happened.
Dean: Also, and this is where I get to fantasize and we can talk about Brooklyn, is where art can be traded and bartered for food and services.
Dean: So it's a little hippie-dippy in that way. A little socialist maybe somewhat. But I figure because of like the Jack Kirby comics I grew up on or like the TV shows like Star Trek where something had flip phones and you had cell phones that was on Star Trek or the mother box or whatever from Jack Kirby comics. I figure you put stuff out there that might seem at first absurd and ridiculous, but then little, by small, they become real. They're prescient. These comics are prescient. I mean, art is prescient.
Dean: In my case, I write and draw comic books and I love comic books so that's where I've been noticing it. You put something out there and little, by small, it happens later.
Dean: Or it occurs. Because I don't know how science and technology works necessarily, but maybe if you just seed the brain with something. So with that in mind, part of the reason why I was struggling with Brooklyn as an artist is because it's so damn expensive. I moved here to this apartment 21 years ago because I couldn't afford Manhattan.
Dean: Where I was born and raised and grew up, right? Not only can I not really afford Brooklyn, but Brooklyn's more expensive than Manhattan.
Jeff: Yeah. It's crazy.
Dean: When did that happen?
Dean: It's insane.
Dustin: I feel like a lot of parts of the city and many other cities go through this phase where it's broken down and it's poor. So then the artist gets to move in and create. Then the artist creates and make a cool place to be.
Dean: Make it a cool place to be.
Dustin: Yeah. Then the money moves in because they're like, "Oh, this is a hip, cool place to be."
Dean: That's right.
Dustin: Then all of a sudden it becomes, I don't know, gentrified the word?
Dean: Gentrification gets a bad wrap. I understand why it's used as a negative, but I always have to remind people it takes someone to sell first.
Jeff: That's true.
Dean: Before people can buy.
Jeff: It's true.
Dean: And flip and turn and all that jazz, right?
Dean: So let's start with them first, and probably what happens is like a whole bunch of young artists or scallywags move into the neighborhood, and it's not like the tribe they're used to, these older folks who kind of settled here and hung out. In this case, Carol Gardens was actually a part of Red Hook. But then he sliced a part of it out to make it seem like it was nicer. Call it Carol Gardens. Put little gardens over here but in other streets you'll walk around and see that. I mean, listen, Red Hook has a really brutal history. It was where Al Capone started as a gangster, but it was so rough, he had to go to Chicago to be Al Capone.
Dustin: Oh, that's crazy.
Dean: That's where he got his scars from I think in Red Hook, Brooklyn. It's also the place that apparently Steve Rogers was born and raised and then became Captain America.
Jeff: Of course.
Dean: Plus a lot of other things. I feel like even though On The River Front with Marlon Brando, I think that's actually based in Hoboken or in parts of New Jersey. But when I go to the waterfront here, all I see is Brando, the ghost of Brando walking around.
Jeff: Of course.
Dean: Anyway ...
Jeff: I wanted to ask, and this is kind of more of a generalization on you, but with this story and the over arcing stories that that tie into it with New Brooklyn and the Red Hook and a lot of your work like I'll throw it back to Beef with Tomato and even Billy Dogma and those types of things, you have this inherit love for where you're from, for New York City and now with Brooklyn. The question I want to ask you is so many people, sure, they love where they're born, but when they become of age, of an adult type age, the first thought is usually to flee the nest and to leave. You've held onto it and celebrate it with what you create. Is there a reason for that?
Dean: I think it's a few reasons. One is, and I'll start off with this, whenever I meet someone that's like, "I remember the first time I ever came to New York City," I will never experience that because I'm from here.
Dustin: Oh, that's so weird.
Dean: Born in New York hospital. I don't know what you're talking about. What is that like? I don't know. I don't know what that means. Actually, no, I do know what it means because when I've gone to other cities or other places that feel new, brand new to me, maybe that's the same type of feeling.
Dustin: But even so, other cities aren't as big as New York City is. It isn't the monster.
Dean: It isn't the monster, but I've been to Paris. I actually really like fell in love with New Orleans. I had no idea I would. When I got there, I was like, "Whoa. Wait a second. This is kind of an amazing space." I don't mean like the touristy part, but my friends who live there, they took me to the side stuff. When I bring people around when they come to New York.
The other thing is I was always more of a Marvel comics fan than a DC comics fan. DC kind of made up their cities or were versions of Metropolis, Gotham, right? But Spiderman was in Queens. Dr. Strange was on Bleecker Street.
Dean: The Fantastic Four was in Midtown. It was real places. To the point where I would try to find these places.
Dean: So it felt more real and with that in mind, it meant that the city is a character too. So I've always recognized where I live is a character. It has characterizations. Someone said to me, "How do you write a story in New York?" I said, "I just have to write it. It's a New York story. If it takes place here, that is a New York story." Is there something that makes it New York? Maybe. For a long time there was a certain accent that a cab driver had that if you saw a movie, that was New York, you know what I'm saying? Now it's very different because of who's driving cabs, right? That's cool, and that's the melting pot of ... That's the other thing, New York City is a melting pot. I'm spoiled. It's everything. It's not just like an okay version, an average version of everything. It's the best versions of everything. Sure, I should go to India if I love Indian food and Indian culture. Of course. But we have a pretty good taste of it here. You could say that about all ethnicities.
I'm just one of many. That's how I've always seen New York City to be is this cacophony. This is a bad analogy but a Benetton ad. Where you have everything and everybody.
Dustin: Yeah. Yeah.
Dean: I mean, diversity is New York City.
Jeff: Yeah. That's true.
Dustin: It's kind of cool how you ... And it's so true, cities have their own personality, have their own life. Now what you have done in your comics, you've actually given a city life. Is that where you got that idea?
Dean: Well, I mean, forgive the pun, but I needed a hook for the Red Hook. It wasn't just enough that it was ... Yeah, mic drop. I mean, my challenge originally and I think I don't know if when I met you, if it was the first, second, or third time I went to Yato. It might have been the third time I went to Yato.
Jeff: I think so. You were working on this, I think.
Dean: So when I went to Yato the first time in 2012, I wanted a creative palette cleanser because I was going in for writing only. I wanted to just challenge myself with just writing pros or writing a screenplay or play or something, right?
Dean: That meant like shrugging off what I'm used to doing, which is making comics. So the first night I was there, I was like, "All right. Let me just quickly do a comic thing and get it out of my system," right? Then I would just face the man in the mirror and try to write other things.
Jeff: Right. Right.
Dean: That night I didn't really have a job or a gig at the time. So I was like, "Well, what if ..." I had a what if in my brain, which was, "What if Jack Kirby and Alex Toth got together and created a character?"
Jeff: Right, which would be crazy.
Dean: Which would be fun and crazy.
Jeff: Oh my god.
Dean: I thought it would have some kind of cosmic kind of fall out, the character, and I wasn't sure exactly what that was, which later on turned out to be the omni fist of altruism with a sword that he can pull out of his chest and all this fun stuff. But I thought it would be a hero but maybe be like an anti-hero but not just an anti-hero, he's actually a thief. But he's not evil. Just a little selfish or he's in a situation where he has to steal. So I kind of like wrote that first little story that's in the back of this, and then that was it. I just wrote it and I was like, "That's what this character is for right now." Then when I did another residency a half a year later at the Atlantic Center for the Arts, I actually drew the damn thing. So then I had this in my back pocket. In fact, it was my audition to get to write and draw the Fox for Archie Comics.
Dean: Which I did 10 issues of. Two story arcs. In fact, the first story arc was published. It was called Freak Magnet. That came out a couple years ago. The next one, Fox Hunt, is coming out at the end of August.
Dean: Thank god. This ones coming out.
Jeff: So excited.
Dean: So anyway, I mean, I've always been a fan of silver age comics, golden age comics. I grew up in the, I guess, the bronze age. Is that '70s and '80s or whatever?
Jeff: I think so. Yeah.
Dean: So that's kind of where I peaked when it comes to superheros. Now, of course, our comics have gotten a lot cooler, more sophisticated as has our television and movies. I mean, I've said this before and so have other people, but one could hazard that television has become our modern literature some of it.
Jeff: I think some of it. Yeah.
Dean: Because of how complex it is. It's not just one episode. You're watching a season now. That tells on story and then it's seeding the next season. It's bananas how complicated this stuff gets.
But I still love that older kind of comic and that older kind of single episode, single camera TV show. That's a sensibility that ... I mean, that's the original text for me. The source material, what I'm responding to. So I'm doing my version or a modern version of the stuff I grew up reading.
Jeff: It's totally relevant for fans who would read your Red Hook, especially the newer stuff with the Red Hook, because it's peppered with exactly what you're talking about, the stuff that you love. There's Frank Miller in there. There's Dicko in there. There's a lot of Jack Kirby in there.
Dean: Yep. Will Eisner has it.
Jeff: Will Eisner. Yeah.
Dean: The city being a character.
Jeff: Of course. Of course.
I wanted to ask you this question actually because a lot of people cite Kirby as their gateway into comics, especially from that era, the '70s.
Dean: He wasn't my gateway to comics.
Dean: I think it's funny. I'll talk to a lot of artists and I think as kids we were all afraid of Kirby or didn't understand Kirby because I just turned 51 so I started reading comics '70s I'd say, early to mid-'70s. And that was like when Jack had left DC, came back to Marvel. What was he working on? Devil Dinosaur, Captain America, Machineman, and maybe one or two other things. But that was also as he was aging out kind of. I think they were just letting him do some comics because I think it was also the time when he was also his own editor. Basically.
Jeff: That's true.
Dean: It's before he went into Captain Victory at Pacific Comics in the '80s. So he was kind of aging out. So I think as a kid I was looking at his stuff and it was kind of like Cubism on crack.
Jeff: Oh, it's ...
Dean: Like what is this stuff?
Jeff: It's mind blowing some of his stuff.
Dean: I mean, I love it now.
Jeff: Yeah. But when you look at it as a kid, yeah.
Dean: So my Jack Kirby was John Byrne.
Dean: George Perez.
Jeff: Yeah. That makes sense.
Dean: Ron Wilson who I also just said hi to at Denver Comic on Marvel two and one. Those were the artists that I was following a lot as a kid. Those X-Mens, those Teen Titans, Fantastic Four, of course. Then I had this amazing moment when one of the first comics I ever read was a comic called Star Wars. It was about this movie that was going to be coming out soon.
Jeff: Mm-hmm (affirmative).
Dean: It was drawn by Howard Chaykin.
Dean: I want to say how many years later, like nine years later, I would be his assistant on American Flag.
Dustin: That's crazy. It's weird how those things work out.
Dean: My senior year of high school I had gone to Music and Art basically in Harlem the first three years. My first three years of my senior year, Music and Art got married to Performing Arts and became LaGuardia High School.
Dustin: Mm-hmm (affirmative).
Dean: So that went to Midtown, went from Harlem down to Midtown, Lincoln Center, actually, right new to Martin Luther King. I had befriended Larry O'Neil and Larry is the son of Danny O'Neil. So he was also a comics fan and we loved horror movies and we just became best friends for a while. He had gotten wind from his dad that Howard was looking for an assistant and then down the hall Bill Sienkiewicz was looking for an assistant. So I actually first became Bill Sienkiewicz's assistant.
Jeff: And this is you breaking into comics.
Dean: This is 1985. I'm 17, going on 18. Instead of doing my homework, I was running downtown to the studio, Upstar Studios. So then I'm sitting in a room with Bill Sienkiewicz working on New Mutants and Electro Assassin.
Dustin: Oh. Cool.
Dean: Next to me is Michael Davis who would go on to co-create milestone, I believe, and some characters.
Jeff: I think so. Yeah, yep.
Dean: Then Denys Cowan.
Jeff: Oh my gosh.
Dean: Working on, what was it he was working on? I think V the mini series of Vigilante and stuff like that. Then down the hall was Upstart, and that was Chaykin, Simonson, who was working on Thor, and Jim Sherman. Previous to that, other people who had shared that studio was Jim Starlin and Frank Miller and others.
Dean: Was crazy, right?
Dean: All that energy, man.
Jeff: I got to ask then as a 17 year old kid, you're obviously a lover of comics, but does it resonate with you at that ...
Dean: It's Holy Grail.
Jeff: You're in that moment, right?
Dean: Oh, no, no, no.
Dustin: It must have been so cool for you.
Dean: Totally aware, afraid. That's the best.
Jeff: That's what I was getting at is like ...
Dean: Totally afraid. But that energy, that fear. I would never say I'm like Marvin Gay, but apparently Marvin Gay was terrified to sing in front of people.
Jeff: I've heard that.
Dean: With that kind of terror, look at what he created.
Dean: Yes, of course, I was afraid. But then the minute you're dissing each other, you're in. You're making fun of each other. You're in and you're relaxed. You're working on stuff and you're making things. I mean, I've never been ready for primetime I feel. I've been too indie for the mainstream, and too mainstream for the indie in a way. So I've been hopscotching and in this little space where I dodge things. So it's a weird ... It's always been a weird career for me in that way, and also because of the type of things that I do. I've worked on Memoir. You brought up Beef with Tomato or Billy Dogma. Billy Dogma was a character that I created in 1995 that's basically that last romantic anti-hero.
Dean: It just occurred to be recently working on Red Hook because I haven't done a lot of Billy Dogma lately that I'm kind of revisiting Billy with spandex.
Jeff: There is a link. I noticed that when I was reading Red Hook there is a little ... You turn down that road a couple times.
Dean: I went down the Billy Dogma road. In fact, when you read War Cry, you'll see a lot more of that and then my current story that I'm going to be hopefully done with the first draft with the script for the third story to make the trilogy.
Jeff: Mm-hmm (affirmative).
Dean: It's so Billy Dogma, it's absurd. I might as well call it Billy Dogma. But I love where it's going. Obviously as an author, you start to do, or an author, you start to realize your own trends. You keep revisiting the things that bother you or the things that you want to impart out into the world or communicate with your art. Love and loyalty is really important to me it seems. So I write about those things all the time in my works. I think it's an itch that you keep scratching. I think that's another way that people can relate. You can put villains and heroes and conflicts and the end of the world or someone's doing something, whatever it is, the root of it is love. The root of it is a romance comic at the end of the day. That's kind of what I'm making, a romance comics with these other trappings, these other genre trappings on top of it.
Dustin: Well, speaking of trends, you tend to have a lot of this hopeless romantic, anti-hero theme repeating out through some of your characters. Where does this come from? Where are you inspired by this thought, by this type of character?
Dean: Well, I mean, you just threw that in my head and the first thing that pops and sometimes that's what you have to respond to is Frankenstein. Frankenstein's monster.
Jeff: I love it. Of course.
Dean: I also think my favorite character in the Marvel universe is Ben Grimm, the Thing.
Dean: A really good guy who like finally finds love with a blind woman, the irony because she doesn't care about the monstrosity in front of her. In fact, she probably touches it more than a person that can see because that's how she sees. So the love is even stronger if you think about it. So do I identify with a monster? Not really, but I've always loved misunderstood monsters. So maybe there's other ... I could probably cite other characters or movies or books, but there's something about the misunderstood monster that I've always been attracted to.
Listen, we're living in a time right now where I can't believe we have to teach empathy. But whenever I see ... I'm not a classist either. I feel like we're all the same. Although often I'm either there's evidence that we're not, okay? But having said that, I always have empathy for person's down and out or misunderstood or like Boo Radley from To Kill A Mockingbird. Those characters who on the surface look like a ghoul or look like you don't want to know that person, but do you ever talk to these people? Often there's gold in these people's stories and narratives and hearts. They've had to build up a shield because they're either ugly or they don't act right or whatever it is. I feel in a way, as a cartoonist, early on, comics became cool at some point. I don't know how that happened.
Jeff: I don't either. I'm so happy it did, but I have no idea how it happened.
Dean: It became cool maybe because of Hollywood and cinematic universes and whatnot.
Dustin: That's definitely a huge part of it.
Dean: Definitely helps. Also because I think the people who are rising up the ranks in the companies that were comic book fans got the seat, right? They could then green light the projects and do it right.
Dustin: It's kind of like why we're seeing marijuana legalized now because all the people going into office now have smoked weed and realize that, "Hey, I like it."
Dean: Like it and it doesn't hurt nobody.
Jeff: Even through comics.
Dean: That's right.
Jeff: Yeah, exactly.
Dean: But I do remember feeling rejected for loving comics.
Jeff: Me too.
Dean: First of all, I liked comics and I had to come to love it as a defense because I was told, "Yeah, that's for children. You're stupid." I remember being in the train, the subway, and like I'm reading a comic and this girl just came up to me and just made fun of it for me. I was like, "What the hell? I wasn't even talking to you. I'm doing my thing." I remember thinking, "I have to ..." Now I love comics. Because you're not going to tell me what to do. Then eventually everybody fell in love with comics and that was a weird turning point. Like I used to be embarrassed a little.
My very first interview I did was on cable TV in New York eons ago. I was being interviewed about doing something early on. My dad watched it, and I go, "What do you think about it? What do you think?" "Well, you're really good except for one thing." I was like, "What?" He was like, "You keep apologizing for what you love." I guess the way I would describe was like, "Well, I know people don't like this. I know you probably don't do this," or whatever. I would always have a caveat to explaining what I did and liked. He was like, "Remove that part. Just own it." I was like, "You know what, you're right. You're right."
Early on, I just became an advocate for this forum. To the point where I devoted my life to it. Of course, I do like doing other things like writing pros or doing plays, which I've done recently, developing TV shows and stuff. So what I realized at the end of the day what love is storytelling. But you cannot deny the power and the unlimited budget of a blank page that you can fill with whatever you want.
Jeff: That's true.
Dean: I don't need a crew. I don't need craft services. I just need my imagination and my will and testament and commitment to fill that page and do it again and again and keep showing up not only to my stories but to my own party. That's another thing I tell people is like when people ask me now today, "How would you do comics? How did you get into comics now?" Well, first of all, you don't ever have to be published by Marvel and DC to be a professional in comics, which is interesting time. It just means that it's expensive.
Jeff: It used to not be the case.
Dean: I know.
Jeff: You had to. Yeah.
Dean: My dream as a kid was to pencil the Fantastic Four one day, and I would've been set. I did bank on that eventually, which was really cool.
Jeff: Four part Thing series.
Dean: Yeah. I know. Then recently before the book ended, I had some pages in there as well.
Dean: Anyway, it's come back. Thank god.
Dean: But what I tell people now is you have the internet. If you can post about our lunch or complain about lunch, take the same energy, and if you want to make something, create something. Use and abuse the internet. You've got all the social networking tools. You've got Instagram. It's a visual platform. The only thing I suggest is once you start, keep doing it. Because if you're asking other people to invest in you, you're adding like a calendar to their life. It may not have an alert letting them know, but if they come back to you and you're not there when you say you're going to be there on a Wednesday or a Sunday or whatever, they're going to start to think that you're full of shit and that you don't care either. Part of that contract between reader and author is for the author to show up no matter what, no matter how many clicks and likes you get.
I think the internet's become somewhat of a popularity contest, which is a little unfortunate because it means that publishers are now asking, "How many people are following you right now?"
Jeff: That's how it works.
Dean: Because they don't want to do the job of marketing you. They're expecting you now to market yourself. So you have to wear all these hats. Creator, publisher sometimes, publicist. After a while, when do you have time to make the work if you're always promoting? So it becomes a harried situation. Or you get an agent or something like that that do all the 'work', and that can be cool I guess if you're doing really well. But you can't afford that if you're just starting out or a guy like me living in Brooklyn, I need every dime I make just to get by. Yeah, I could move to a basement somewhere in middle America, but I'm a New Yorker.
Dustin: You seem like you stand against that pretty heavy though, even with some of the stuff you write. Just like you mention something about a lot of artists escaping New York City and moving like upstate in a safer area, but you seem to have maybe a bit of disdain that type of retreat.
Dean: I get it. I get it why people need to split because their wallets and bank accounts. I guess just the same idea of sticking to your own production schedule. If you're a New Yorker or wherever, Chicago, California, whatever, wherever you stuck your flag in the ground, unless it's beating the shit out of you, don't be abused by it. Don't be in a bad relationship, but figure it out if you can, especially if you're using the city. That's another thing, I don't use this city like I should. This city, you're asking like, "What makes a city?" If I was in New Orleans, I'd probably have to drink every night, number one.
Dustin: It's true.
Dean: Which is why I don't go to New Orleans. Not that it's a bad thing but I can't recover like I used to.
Dustin: I know right.
Jeff: We're all getting too old.
Dean: I'd be like, "I don't belong in New Orleans. I'm not drinking today. What's wrong with me? I'm a bad New Orlean." But these cities provide so much entertainment and different points of view. I think it's what keeps you young and keeps you thriving and creative is don't get stuck in your own familiar. Reach out. Go and do weird stuff. See what's happening. Big cities have a lot of weird stuff happening. I mean, I think small towns probably do too, but it might involve animals. I'm sorry. I'm being a jerk right now.
Dustin: Wildlife and nature.
Jeff: Yeah. We got a bunch of horses, all right. I get it. I get it.
Dustin: I have a couple red tailed hawks in my backyard. They're killing everything.
Dean: They kill everything.
Dustin: It's very interesting. Yeah, routine is kind of like the enemy of creativity, right?
Dean: Absolutely. Absolutely.
Dustin: Being in a lively city like this, you can murder routine easily.
Dustin: You can just become so creative. Is that where your disdain lies is that ...
Dean: I don't know if it's a disdain. I feel like ...
Dustin: Maybe it's not the right word because I'm not really pushing off like an angry behind it, but just ...
Dean: No, maybe I'm angry that we're being pushed out.
Dean: I'm angry that real estate developers come in and go, "Oh, I know what we'll do with your cool. We're going to do it this way and monetize your cool." I'm like, "But we're trying to monetize our cool. We're trying to get by. In fact, don't look at us. We found a spot that's affordable enough and it's a crappy area of the neighborhood. Don't come and make it nice because when you make it nice, I can't afford to make my work here anymore."
Dean: We're putting ourself out there, and then they develop it. They put up a nice ... They dress it up and then they have rich people come in, buy out the spaces, don't live there, so then it's empty anyway. You're like, "What is going on here? How is this a city?" Then all the cool spots where you have salons or you go and there's funky music here or whatever, they get bought out, turned around, sold, and they become either a bank or some kind of all purpose pharmacy. After a while, is that what you want? Is that what New York City's supposed to be? So that's my anger there. So in a way I'm angry that they're being shoved out.
Dean: The exodus is more of a survivor thing. Just so that they can make their art somewhere else or else they would've gotten a job, some job that would let them stay here and not have to ... I don't know. I just feel like there's so much cool stuff happening, you have to let experiment gestate.
Dean: The avante-garde has to have a laboratory, okay?
Jeff: It's true.
Dean: I don't know. Sometimes I feel like what is this city doing for me? I know I was doing a lot for the city. At least through my art and everything. But am I making the city ... I don't know how I'm energizing the city except maybe omnisciently through creativity. That's actually something I bring up in my third story.
Dean: I don't want to give that way.
Jeff: Yeah, don't give that away.
Dean: Again, putting those ideas out there, maybe it'll be come back.
Jeff: We talk about that a lot on this show actually. The same kind of tenement that if you say it into the universe, then it exists.
Dean: Mm-hmm (affirmative).
Jeff: Even by just vocalizing that idea, that idea now exists.
Dustin: Has legs now.
Jeff: It might never go farther than the words you just said out loud.
Dean: Right. Right.
Jeff: But it can now because it exists.
Dean: And that goes also for the bad ideas, just so you know.
Jeff: Of course. Of course it does.
Dean: But you're right. I like the idea of it has legs.
Dean: And hopefully if it's good, it will maybe come true. In a version maybe you never even thought of.
Dean: Because by the time it gets there, maybe it was necessary then.
Dean: It's good to hope and dream. I mean, you have to.
Jeff: It definitely is, and a lot of that, obviously, stems from creativity. I kind of wanted to ask you on the side of a creative process because it's always interesting to talk to someone who is both a writer and an artist. I wanted to know when you set out to develop a story, this is kind of a two-fold question, do you start with the idea, the script first or do you start with the imagery first? And on that, do you start with the type of creativity that you're going to go for because, like you were saying, you have written a lot of pros. You've written plays. By the way, saw you're third play Last Bar At The End Of The World, which was excellent. But even seeing that play, I'm watching these visuals being performed to be in front of me and that could easily be something that I could've seen you draw.
Dean: Sure. Sure.
Jeff: So how do you being that creative process?
Dean: Well, because I'm in a weirdly autonomous space right now, because Line Webtoon basically hired me to write, draw, create, fully produce ideas I own. It just basically licensing it for exclusivity on their app for a few years before I can take it anywhere else, which is why the Red Hook, this just came out a couple weeks ago, but it's been online for about two years.
Dean: Then the sequel War Cry is out now, wrapped up, and that should be out hopefully fall of next year. Then the one that I'm writing now that I'll start drawing in a couple weeks will probably debut early next year, wrap up, and then be the following year like 2020.
Dean: So that's just the scheduling of stuff, right? But with that in mind, that means if these projects that take at least a year to produce, I have to really be into these ideas.
Jeff: Oh, of course.
Dean: Sure, I can do little diddies and like if it's just a couple pages, I don't have to be in love with it. If it pays well or I get to collaborate with somebody or, "Oh, this is a goofy thing," it's less of an investment. But these are emotional investments to put these out there because in a way, I'm creating a testament of life through my work. I have a platform that I've been working really hard to have to be able to exploit these ideas and put them out there and hopefully be able to live off of them just enough to squeak by.
So I guess when I'm coming up with a big idea and it's something that, again, it's weird because when you produce something, you don't know when it finally comes out if it's going to do well or be a snooze. I mean, there's a term I hate. I'm going off to the side for a second. You know the term 'meh' like 'meh.'
Dean: I want to punch people. I want to punch people.
Dustin: I know somebody who got it tattooed it was like ...
Dean: No. No. Because those people have never made anything.
Dean: Like the worst movie, the worst comic book hopefully has some critical thought into how you respond to it. But I could never say meh because I'm like, "Well, it didn't work. It's not good. But they tried to do something."
Jeff: They created something.
Dean: They created something.
Dustin: You know what it took to make that.
Dean: Yeah. What it takes to make it.
Dustin: You know the emotional investment and the time investment that it took.
Dean: Nobody set out to make a piece of shit.
Dean: Just like a villain doesn't think they're the worst person on earth.
Jeff: Right. They think they're the hero.
Dean: They have ideas, they're just different, right?
Jeff: Every villain believes they're the hero.
Dean: They're their own hero.
Jeff: Doing the right thing.
Dean: So just basically to invest in all this, I have to really be in love and really own this idea and be inside it. Then of course once I finish writing it, because everyone loves to get to the end of something, I got to go back to the beginning and draw it. Then I got to find that energy again because I know where it goes, but I'm writing it in five-page clips because that's how it's delivered online.
Jeff: So you don't draw while you're writing.
Dean: I should and when I did Fear, My Dear, the Bill Dogma graphic novel, there were two stories, Immortal and Fear, My Dear that I did online, and activate, and then got collected. The way that process was I kind of laid it out first at each week that I drew it like four to eight to 10 panels because I wanted to play with the idea of how in comics, image is text too. So I would let that navigate the way the story would move in pace, right? So then I was writing on top of it, meaning script came second. Because what I wasn't showing you, I had to tell you. Does that make sense?
Dean: Because that's the marriage.
Dustin: It kind of filled in the blanks.
Dean: Fill in the blanks and/or tell you something that the visuals not telling you because there's concurrent things happening or whatever. So and I realized it in that process, that was more true to comics than me writing first and then figuring it out what to draw with it kind of thing, which is what I'm doing right now. So what I'm doing as a veteran of writing comics now is what are the words doing that the visuals aren't and vice versa. So you have to think like that. Same thing I think happens for other visual medians. You're making movies with sound and moving pictures. What do you not have to have the character say or what is the sound going to do that the pictures aren't doing?
Dustin: It makes me think of like movies or any piece of film that has extremely like little dialogue because they're showing so much in the image that not much actually needs to be said.
Dean: And it's engaging the viewer and/or reader to sometimes even be a co-author.
Dean: Because of what you're throwing down, what are you picking up? How are you interpreting what's happening?
Dustin: That confuses so many people.
Dean: It does because they don't want to do the work. The most passive thing is television and movies.
Dean: You sit there.
Dustin: Spoon feeds you.
Dean: It's told to you at a pace where as a comic book, you have to get to the next panel on your own.
Dean: Right. So you change the pace. In fact, that was also interesting creating ... Because I drew the Red Hook for print first, then cut it up for the phone second, but that's the way you were going to see it first. But knowing that one day it would be the print version. But I had to think twice.
Dean: I'm doing it right now. I've been doing it for a couple years now.
Dean: But then just the process like the other thing is like what makes a good story. I think that someone once said there's only like seven plots or something like that.
Jeff: Yeah, I've heard that.
Dean: It's just the way you say it, the way you tell it. Why is it different? Because we all want basically a happy ending or you want it to have meaning. How do you lace it with current meaning, like modern terms? How do you make ... I also think that the hardest thing to do is to make you fall in love with a character, a brand new character especially, not one with history. But like who's this person? Why do I care what their problem is, right? The part of doing that is being vulnerable, and if you can show that you, as the author, are down to like be a little vulnerable and spill a little beans and maybe even be controversial. It's not always about being likable.
Dustin: Do you think that's because it's relatable because vulnerability is relatable?
Dean: That's how you relate. That's exactly how you relate.
Dustin: That's how I feel about like that hopeless romantic idea is because it's suffering. We can all relate to that.
Dean: But there can be a kind of suffering where you want to beat the person up.
Dean: Bury them. Like shut the fuck up.
Dean: Stop whining. Jonathan Ames is a buddy of mine who we did the Alcoholic graphic novel 10 years ago. In fact, it's being reprinted through Burger Books and Dark Horse Comics coming out in the fall.
Dean: I did a new cover and it's some new material in it. But reading his essays, he's also where I got my Emmy for Bored To Death.
Dean: Created Bored To Death and wrote that and then Blunt Talk with Patrick Stewart. Great guy. But in reading his essays and his short story collections, which are amazing. His first one I think is called What's Not To Love. I realize that he could talk about other people or encounter other people that might have been oddities or might be questionable, but he always made himself either the most vulnerable character in there, like, "I'm going into this space so that you can feel that you too were entering this space as a newbie." But at the end of the day, sometimes he was the loser. He was never like a hero in his own stories, not necessarily. I thought that was an interesting thing that Jonathan did as a character, and probably even in his real life. That's who he is in a lot of ways. I thought, "Okay. That's an interesting thing to think about."
Then with working with Harvey Pekar, I realized ... And Harvey Pekar, American Splendor and basically wrote every moment of his life in comics, every mundane moment too.
Jeff: Oh yeah.
Dean: But he lent an ear. He observed and listened to people. I realized that's also important is to listen to people. What are people saying? What's the controversy? What are they saying that's different from how you're thinking?
I remember as a kid, my parents would watch this show called Maude with Bea Arthur, and then it was Archie Bunker, All In The Family.
Dustin: Jeff still watches that all the time.
Jeff: Oh, shush.
Dean: As a kid, I was like, "Meh. Why would I like that?" Politics and like racism and bigotry and all kinds of stuff, feminism. I was like, "That's not fun for me. I want Batman."
Jeff: Batman, of course.
Dean: As I got older, I was like, "Oh my god. These are incredible shows."
Dean: Especially Bea Arthur on Maude. Wow. A 47 year old powerhouse. Then Archie Bunker you're supposed to hate but he's just lovable because if only he could just see it the other way, just for a minute. That was the whole point of these characters, but now you try to do a show like that today, and there's outrage.
Dean: You can't have that, but it's like, "You don't understand. They're there to teach you."
Dean: Because there are people like that everywhere, more than ever, not even new.
Dean: I live in New York City. That's part of the problem is I live in a bubble. I didn't know about America until recently. America is a little scary, a lot scary.
Jeff: Yeah. It is scary.
Dean: But you live up in the woods, so ...
Dustin: Yeah. It's scary there too.
Dean: Scary there too.
Jeff: But okay. So you've been at this game now for the better part of 30 years ...
Dean: Hold that thought, there's something I wanted to say about the process of writing.
Dean: I'm not a confident writer. But I realized because I drew a lot of other people's stories, and I realized as an artist drawing comics, I am writing. Because the art is also writing. It's a collaboration in writing. So then I thought, "Well, let me just try this on my own." So that's where I'm right now. That's the road I'm on right now. This is the writing.
Jeff: That's kind of where I was getting at is like you've done work for other people, you've played with others in other people's sandboxes. You've worked for the big guys. You've done your own stuff. Now you're writing and drawing stories that are inherently yours and all this. What fuels you to keep doing that? What fuels you to keep getting up and wanting, having that need to create?
Dean: Well, since I can't produce, direct my version of The Last Jedi Star Wars movie ... No, I'm kidding. I actually love that movie.
Jeff: It was fun. It was fun.
Dean: It's fun. When you came in ...
Dean: Meh. I really enjoyed it. It was a weird move in certain spots, like why'd they go that way and that way? But in general, I just like the whole ... I like the Luke Skywalker stuff. I like the Kilo Ren stuff and Rey. But so I think what I do is I'm just writing my versions of the characters I love. I'm trying to go in that direction. If I get the opportunity to actually write and draw franchise characters in canon terms and I really love that stuff, I might as well play with those toys too. I have in the past. Little, by small. Here and there. I've never had my ... I don't have my Dark Knight. I'm hoping at least Red Hook will be my Sin City. Does that make sense?
Jeff: I think it definitely makes sense.
Dean: So and I thought Billy Dogma would be that and maybe he could be in the future, but I think Red Hook might be a little bit my Sin City. Then maybe they'll let me do a Batman my way.
Jeff: That'd be absolutely ...
Dean: I have ideas. I have ideas.
Dustin: Well, you just put it out in the universe.
Dean: I did. I just put it out in the universe. Although, as much as I love Batman, I got to do Fantastic Four.
Dustin: There it is.
Dean: I have to do Fantastic Four.
Jeff: Definitely, especially if it's coming back.
Dustin: What do you love so much about Fantastic Four?
Dean: It's like the first comic that I think I glommed onto. I mean, I remember vividly as a kid Shazam, Captain Marvel. It was like, "What's this about?" Then War Cry kind of plays a little bit to my love of Shazam because in Shazam, it's a little kid named Billy Batson, a cub reporter, who comes across a situation, you have to read the comic, where eventually you're going to shout the word Shazam and become this immortal superhero, right?
So in War Cry, there's this black teenage kid who befriends all the superheroes in America, and there's an alien invasion and they all basically get murdered except for him. They've created this caveat that basically turns him into the greatest superhero of all. What is the greatest superhero of all? A woman. A human of mass destruction. He just shouts War Cry to become that. Then that turns out, spoiler alert, to be the dead girlfriend of the Red Hook, the Possum. So you have to read the rest of that for where that goes.
Then also other characters like OMAC, she's like instead of one man Army Corps, she's one woman Army Corps. So it's like if Shazam turned into OMAC or OWAC with a little hints of Hawk and Dove because she's like this warrior so she's the hawk, and the kid is the dove, the peaceful side. Then a sprinkle of Firestorm, duality. Two people sharing this form. So it's a lot of going on.
Dustin: A little yin and yon action.
Dean: Yeah, exactly. A lot of that going in there. Then it's all told through the straight, white guy because that's what I can write, right? What I'm allowed to right, which is the Red Hook. It's like what is going on here? What just happened? Then there's this whole conflict that happens. You've got to read it. It's a lot of fun.
Jeff: I can't wait.
Dean: Then that ends on kind of a cliffhanger that I'm almost done writing tomorrow.
Dustin: That's so cool.
Jeff: Excellent. So bringing that back to the Fantastic Four ...
Dean: Oh, right, right. Sorry.
So real quick, it was about family. It's about family, and I think that my best friend Mike Houston, when I met him, he was holding a copy of Avengers Number Three in his hand. We were standing on line at the school yard, and I'm Haspiel, he's Houston. It was alphabetical order. We're best friend to this day since we were 12. He had Avengers Number Three. I was like, "Oh, you like comics?" He's like, "Yeah." I'm 12 years old. I'm like, "I like comics too." I was like, "You like Avengers, huh?" He's like, "Yeah, what do you like?" "I like Fantastic Four." So we had those duality of like those two different types of teams when you think about it.
Jeff: Oh, totally.
Dean: I was like, "Well, why's he holding this expensive, old comic in his hand?" His birthday always landed on the first day of school, which sucked. So his mom would give him a special present, and in this case, it was an older Avengers comic, right.
Dustin: Oh, that's so cute.
Dean: But the Avengers are really cool, especially like recently with Infinity War and all this going on. But those are like these different types of heroes that had solo comics brought together, right?
Jeff: It's the token thing. It's the fellowship of the ring. It's let's get all of these people that shouldn't work together, all together and oh my god, they're saving the world. That's the Avengers.
Dean: FF is like an experiment gone wrong, and they're basically family. Then actually Guardian of the Galaxy, those are actual true misfits of the universe, right? Or universes, whatever. Who in the first movie learned to become friends, and in the second movie, learned to become family. So in a way, that's like Avengers becoming FF in a way.
Dustin: Interesting. Yeah.
Jeff: So on that then I got to ask, why have we not been able to get a good Fantastic Four movie then?
Dean: It doesn't make sense.
Jeff: It doesn't make sense because it's on the page. It's been on the page since the '60s. There's so much stuff to take from and, like you just put it into perspective, at the end of the day, just write a family movie.
Dean: And I would hazard, and bare with me on this, I think part of the movie at least has to take place in the '60s.
Jeff: Yes. I think so. Make it a period piece.
Dean: Make it a period piece. So I'm going to throw a little idea out there. We've all seen Avengers Infinity War.
Jeff: He hasn't yet, but it's okay.
Dustin: I feel like I'm holding out just to piss off Jeff.
Jeff: Yeah, he's just ...
Dean: Well, you understand that it has to do with this power, the gauntlet, right?
Dustin: Yeah. Yeah.
Dean: Thanos and all this stuff.
Dean: It's kind of a dramatic, kind of cliffhanger ending that happens.
Dustin: Yeah. Yep.
Dean: Of course, we get to the next movie they're going to come out with. I think part of what's going to ... How its going to be resolved and now that the businesses are all we're hearing what's going on and everything.
Jeff: Just today.
Dean: I know.
Jeff: Fox was bought.
Dean: I know. So I think what might happen is that, and especially because, again, contracts. Some of our older actors might be see you.
Dean: How do you deal with that, right? How do you write that out or how does it ... So part of what I'm thinking is maybe Tony Stark ... Who plays Tony Stark?
Jeff: Robert Downey Junior.
Dean: Robert Downey Junior, maybe he's ... And I think this also happened in the comic. He has to deal with the gauntlet. Like they get it, they retrieve it or something, right?
Dean: And like what do you do with it? What do you do because Thanos is using it for specific reason, right?
Dean: But what if he didn't do anything with it? What if you just decide to disperse it, back out all those gem stones back out in the universe, right?
Dean: And it created this big ... This is how I think it's going to end. Creates this big explosion, right? And it just ba-boom, right across the universe, but it's over earth, right? So as it goes whoosh, it creates cosmic rays.
Jeff: Oh, boy.
Dean: A little ship goes flying through the cosmos with four people.
Dean: That's one thing. Okay?
Dean: Talk about the fall out hits the earth and it creates a mutant gene so you have your X-men. I'm talking about the Marvel Cinematic Universe, right?
Jeff: Right. Exactly. Exactly.
Dean: The last shot is you see a fist, a hand turn into a fist, and three claws come out.
Dean: That's how you end that like wave of cinematic. So then you re-launch and what it might do is also mess with time. So the way I would bring the FF into the Cinematic Universe is the tagline is, "It's about time." Meaning, finally we got FF coming, right? But it's about time, what is time about? Kang the Conqueror. Isn't he a time guy?
Dean: So what happens is the FF did happen but they happened in the '60s. So you have this thing but they've been somehow locked in the negative zone to be brought back out into ... So they're the new heroes are going to come in and launch the next wave I think of the Cinematic Universe.
Jeff: I love it.
Dean: That's how I would do it.
Jeff: Because comics.
Dean: With that in mind, maybe it's a message or story about time so you can have the younger, new actors that are going to embody these roles for the next 10-20 years come in.
Dean: Then they'll be the passing of the torch of one actor to another so you can have your Captain America's and all these other characters, new actors.
Jeff: Totally. And, I mean, you could even do it as an easier route and you could have a period piece where you introduce the Fantastic Four in the '60s, and then, like you said, with Kang the Conqueror, some sort of time travel kind of thing.
Dean: Oh, by the way, Galactus.
Jeff: Galactus. Yes.
Dean: Galactus comes in great.
Jeff: Something like that where the end of the movie is in the vein of the end of Captain America: The First Avenger where flip, now you're in real time. Now they've been transported into present day. We just saw everything that happened in the '60s like it was yesterday, but it was yesterday for them.
Dean: Right. Right.
Jeff: It's like, "Oh no. What do we do with these characters now." And here they are.
Dean: There's so many ways to make that work.
Dustin: I hope somebody very, very important is listening.
Jeff: I hope so too.
Dustin: We just wrote a movie.
Jeff: We did.
Dean: We did. But I will say this ...
Dean: What's his name, Kevin Fee?
Jeff: Kevin Feige.
Dean: He's doing a great job.
Jeff: He's doing a great job.
Dean: I don't even want to ... Whatever he decides next, I trust this guy. I wish he'd take over Marvel Comics. He's amazing.
Jeff: Yeah. He's doing a great job.
Dean: Yeah, but I'm looking forward to Dan Slot and, what? Sarah Pichelli I think is the artist on the new FF.
Dean: I really liked what Chip Zdarsky and the artist did on Marvel Two and One.
Dean: So I'm glad to see the character. Those are my characters.
Jeff: Me too. Me too. I'm very excited. I was interested as the reasons why they took Fantastic Four away from a comic standpoint. I understand it.
Dean: It's stupid. I don't get it.
I don't like it.
Jeff: I don't either. I don't like it.
Dean: And I don't think that that actually works.
Jeff: It didn't. In my mind, it didn't work.
Dean: What are you saving money on? What are you not making money on? Like, I don't get it. It became a money thing?
Jeff: But maybe what's going to come out of it is, like you just said, Dan Slot just ended a seminal run on Spiderman.
Dean: Yes. Yep. Yep.
Jeff: And has proved to everybody that he needs to have his stories be told. So to have that power behind new stories of Fantastic Four, we might not have ever had that. Now we're getting that. So we might be getting this new age of Fantastic Four.
Dean: I hope so. I'm into it.
Dustin: I'd be down. I'd love to see that done right.
Dean: In fact, one of the people I was hanging out with Denver last weekend is Donnie Kates.
Jeff: Mm-hmm (affirmative).
Dean: Do you know that writer? He's done stuff for Image and now he's the guy ... He wrote Thanos recently and he's going to be doing Ghostrider and whatnot. He told me a great idea for a Thing/Hulk story. That hopefully he'll rise in the ranks over at Marvel and then be like, "I want to do this." I was like, "You got to throw my name in the hat for this one."
Jeff: Oh my gosh, yeah.
Dean: It'd be a lot of fun.
Jeff: Oh, that'd be so much fun.
Dean: So many ideas.
Jeff: Comics are the best.
Dean: But then when you can't really use them. I've written a handful of ideas that had to be the franchise character or it doesn't work.
Dean: But a lot of my ideas, I.e., Red Hook, is a bunch of other ideas mashed up from what didn't sell or didn't get pitched or whatever and turned into my own characters. I mean, you can see who half these characters are if you just like think for a second.
Jeff: Oh yeah.
Dean: But then I'm making it mine and that's what I'm always encouraging creators is don't feel let down because you're not sanctioned or can't get hired or they're not even looking at you at Marvel and DC. A lot of people are trying to get in the door there, you know? If you don't, well then do your own thing. Yes, it can feel a little foolish to try to like compete with superhero comics with a new superhero comic.
Dean: But it's what I love and hopefully because I have an indie slant, it'll be looked at that way.
Dean: So far anybody's read it seems to like it. So it's just getting it into their hands.
Jeff: That's the whole name of the game. For all of our viewers and listeners, I will put the links to Line Webtoon because you can get all of this on there right now.
Dean: And this is post by Image Comics.
Jeff: And that's out now.
Dean: Out now, and go to your local comic shop first.
Jeff: Definitely. Definitely. Finally, for our listeners and viewers, what's the best way to stay up to date with you, with Dean?
Dean: Right. Luckily there's only one Dean Haspiel on planet earth, my name. So you can find me on Facebook. You can find me on Instagram. I don't really tweet but I'm on Twitter. DeanHaspiel.com leads you right to my old live journal.
Jeff: Oh, perfect.
Dustin: Oh, that's cool.
Dean: I still update.
Jeff: Perfect. I'll put those all in the show too. I can't thank you enough for ...
Dean: Thank you.
Dustin: That was fun.
Dean: That was a lot of fun.
Dustin: Great. Cheers.
Dean: Thanks a lot.
Jeff: Awesome. Sweet. Yeah, that was ...