X

REGISTER TO CUSTOMIZE
YOUR NEWS AND GET ALERTS
ON Comics

Click the box below to confirm you are over 13, not a robot, and agree to our Privacy Policy & Terms and Conditions
No thanks, take me to
X
Customize your news
for instant alerts on
Comics
Register below
(it only takes seconds)
Click the box below to confirm you are over 13, not a robot, and agree to our Privacy Policy & Terms and Conditions


X
X
Comics


 

“What if Calvin and Hobbes grew up in Sin City?” That’s how writer David Pepose described the first four-issue arc, Spencer & Locke, “about a hard-boiled cop whose partner is his childhood imaginary friend. And when his childhood sweetheart is found murdered, they both come back to their old neighborhood to try and find the killer. And in so doing, our cop really has to confront the demons of his past head-on. So, it’s really a love letter to Bill Watterson and Frank Miller, it’s certainly a black comedy, little parody. But it’s also I think an empathetic look at mental illness and trauma and the lengths the mind will go to protect itself from harm.”

With a calculated approach to its artistry and structuring, Spencer & Locke manages to do more in four issues than most comics do with ten. I asked Pepose how he managed to make such a concise book, and he said “I’m very methodical about that sort of thing. I got my start as an intern at DC Comics so I worked with editorial, so I saw how they were putting stuff together. In some form or fashion for, like, the last ten years, I’ve been an editor of some kind. Whether it’s at a newspaper or in comics’ press or working on this book, I like to sort of have an idea of how the visuals should go.”

In regards to the visuals, Pepose tells me more about the book’s artist, Jorge Santiago Jr. Pepose. “The reason why I reached out to him for this project was I saw his portfolio and he seemed so versatile and so well-versed in so many styles. But he’s also so passionate about comics. He’s a graduate of SCAD, Savannah College of Art and Design, and it shows in his work. He’s very thoughtful, and he’s got the mechanics down so pat. When I wrote the script I kind of envisioned having flashbacks, I thought it was a nice visual way to keep people off balance.”

The first issue opens with a horrifyingly realistic depiction of child abuse and only gets more disturbing from there. “Our first page of our book is really kind of a mission statement in a way,” Pepose revealed. “It’s ‘remember everything you thought you knew? We’re gonna turn it on its head.’ We kind of play against those expectation and that familiarity, either to sort of remind people how dark this world is or in certain cases to inject a little levity to make sure that it’s not totally oppressive to people.”

“We wanted to make sure every issue of this book had its own identity” he continued. “And so we have our car chase issue. We have our Rocketman Reynolds issue. I see the last issue as a kind of western shootout, in a way. We wanted every issue to stand on its own but also connect to one another. Beyond that, we did a little fine-tuning in the production process once the lettering came in. There were a couple of times where I was like, ‘Oh we jumped a little too fast, gotta throw in a caption or two to explain things a little bit better.’ It’s funny, I wrote the scripts pretty quickly but just working with the art team probably took about four times as long as the actual writing of the script. It’s just kind of crazy like that.”

I had to ask about the feature film adaptation that was announced in July of this year. Producer Adrian Askarieh (Hitman) called the books “darkly visceral and uniquely cinematic,” and Pepose told me that “I’m very happy with the steps we’ve taken so far. We’ve been working together and there’ve been some fun and interesting names that have been tossed around in conversation. The thing that I’ve been really heartened with is, Adrian has been a big supporter from the beginning, even since before the first issue dropped.”

“And the thing that we both have in common is nobody wants to see another bad movie,” he continued. “We want to do something that’s true to the spirit of the book. There are certain things that are first gonna be changed from page to screen. I don’t want a 100% page adaptation because then the audience knows where we’re going with everything. Just like I wanted this comic to be the best comic that it can be, I want the movie to be the best movie that it can be. But with that in mind, Adrian and I are both in the same boat that we want this movie to get made and we want to be proud of it. And that’s wonderful. There are a lot of producers who I don’t think would feel that way, who would just say: Let’s get it done and make a quick buck. And  thankfully we’re working with someone who isn’t that way.”

Additionally, Pepose is already hard at work on a sequel to the story, another four-issue arc. “I’m about halfway done through the third script,” Pepose revealed. “Jorge is digging into the first issue with his art. We’re definitely expanding the universe a lot and I can’t really speak a ton beyond that, but I would love to tell this in at least three arcs. I have ideas for where these characters are gonna wind up. If you thought the first arc was tough on them, you ain’t seen nothing yet. The figure that they’re going to have to face is, without giving too much away, someone who is faster, stronger, smarter and meaner than Locke. And he’s going to have to dig in really deep if he’s gonna stand a chance. It’s definitely some of the gnarliest stuff I’ve ever written. I’d say if our first arc is Sin City, our second arc is The Dark Knight. So, I’m very excited for people to read it.”

He’s well aware that even touching the legacy of Bill Watterson was a risk from the beginning, but Spencer & Locke really does hold up to the scrutiny of his inspiration and its creator. It’s an inventive, original story with a sharp wit and a true artistry at its core. “Bill Watterson did so many cool things with his visuals,” Pepose said. “He was an artist, first and foremost, and so we wanted to experiment with that freedom in our book, too. That’s why we have things like car chases and gunfights, but also space aliens and dinosaurs. We didn’t want to be constrained just to the typical boundaries of noir. This is a comic, we have an unlimited budget, we can do whatever we want. You don’t know where the book is headed but it all makes sense. It was particularly fun to write and good for me and Jorge, as kind of a baby writer and a baby artist, so to speak. I’m just glad they didn’t throw us in comic book jail over it.”

Check out the first four issues of Spencer & Locke over on Comixology!


Images: Action Lab Comics, Josef Rodriguez

GEEK Speaks w/ Spencer & Locke Writer David Pepose

We sat down at NYCC with the childhood-ruining writer of Spencer & Locke.

By Josef Rodriguez | 10/30/2017 09:00 AM PT | Updated 10/31/2017 05:16 AM PT

Interviews

“What if Calvin and Hobbes grew up in Sin City?” That’s how writer David Pepose described the first four-issue arc, Spencer & Locke, “about a hard-boiled cop whose partner is his childhood imaginary friend. And when his childhood sweetheart is found murdered, they both come back to their old neighborhood to try and find the killer. And in so doing, our cop really has to confront the demons of his past head-on. So, it’s really a love letter to Bill Watterson and Frank Miller, it’s certainly a black comedy, little parody. But it’s also I think an empathetic look at mental illness and trauma and the lengths the mind will go to protect itself from harm.”

With a calculated approach to its artistry and structuring, Spencer & Locke manages to do more in four issues than most comics do with ten. I asked Pepose how he managed to make such a concise book, and he said “I’m very methodical about that sort of thing. I got my start as an intern at DC Comics so I worked with editorial, so I saw how they were putting stuff together. In some form or fashion for, like, the last ten years, I’ve been an editor of some kind. Whether it’s at a newspaper or in comics’ press or working on this book, I like to sort of have an idea of how the visuals should go.”

In regards to the visuals, Pepose tells me more about the book’s artist, Jorge Santiago Jr. Pepose. “The reason why I reached out to him for this project was I saw his portfolio and he seemed so versatile and so well-versed in so many styles. But he’s also so passionate about comics. He’s a graduate of SCAD, Savannah College of Art and Design, and it shows in his work. He’s very thoughtful, and he’s got the mechanics down so pat. When I wrote the script I kind of envisioned having flashbacks, I thought it was a nice visual way to keep people off balance.”

The first issue opens with a horrifyingly realistic depiction of child abuse and only gets more disturbing from there. “Our first page of our book is really kind of a mission statement in a way,” Pepose revealed. “It’s ‘remember everything you thought you knew? We’re gonna turn it on its head.’ We kind of play against those expectation and that familiarity, either to sort of remind people how dark this world is or in certain cases to inject a little levity to make sure that it’s not totally oppressive to people.”

“We wanted to make sure every issue of this book had its own identity” he continued. “And so we have our car chase issue. We have our Rocketman Reynolds issue. I see the last issue as a kind of western shootout, in a way. We wanted every issue to stand on its own but also connect to one another. Beyond that, we did a little fine-tuning in the production process once the lettering came in. There were a couple of times where I was like, ‘Oh we jumped a little too fast, gotta throw in a caption or two to explain things a little bit better.’ It’s funny, I wrote the scripts pretty quickly but just working with the art team probably took about four times as long as the actual writing of the script. It’s just kind of crazy like that.”

I had to ask about the feature film adaptation that was announced in July of this year. Producer Adrian Askarieh (Hitman) called the books “darkly visceral and uniquely cinematic,” and Pepose told me that “I’m very happy with the steps we’ve taken so far. We’ve been working together and there’ve been some fun and interesting names that have been tossed around in conversation. The thing that I’ve been really heartened with is, Adrian has been a big supporter from the beginning, even since before the first issue dropped.”

“And the thing that we both have in common is nobody wants to see another bad movie,” he continued. “We want to do something that’s true to the spirit of the book. There are certain things that are first gonna be changed from page to screen. I don’t want a 100% page adaptation because then the audience knows where we’re going with everything. Just like I wanted this comic to be the best comic that it can be, I want the movie to be the best movie that it can be. But with that in mind, Adrian and I are both in the same boat that we want this movie to get made and we want to be proud of it. And that’s wonderful. There are a lot of producers who I don’t think would feel that way, who would just say: Let’s get it done and make a quick buck. And  thankfully we’re working with someone who isn’t that way.”

Additionally, Pepose is already hard at work on a sequel to the story, another four-issue arc. “I’m about halfway done through the third script,” Pepose revealed. “Jorge is digging into the first issue with his art. We’re definitely expanding the universe a lot and I can’t really speak a ton beyond that, but I would love to tell this in at least three arcs. I have ideas for where these characters are gonna wind up. If you thought the first arc was tough on them, you ain’t seen nothing yet. The figure that they’re going to have to face is, without giving too much away, someone who is faster, stronger, smarter and meaner than Locke. And he’s going to have to dig in really deep if he’s gonna stand a chance. It’s definitely some of the gnarliest stuff I’ve ever written. I’d say if our first arc is Sin City, our second arc is The Dark Knight. So, I’m very excited for people to read it.”

He’s well aware that even touching the legacy of Bill Watterson was a risk from the beginning, but Spencer & Locke really does hold up to the scrutiny of his inspiration and its creator. It’s an inventive, original story with a sharp wit and a true artistry at its core. “Bill Watterson did so many cool things with his visuals,” Pepose said. “He was an artist, first and foremost, and so we wanted to experiment with that freedom in our book, too. That’s why we have things like car chases and gunfights, but also space aliens and dinosaurs. We didn’t want to be constrained just to the typical boundaries of noir. This is a comic, we have an unlimited budget, we can do whatever we want. You don’t know where the book is headed but it all makes sense. It was particularly fun to write and good for me and Jorge, as kind of a baby writer and a baby artist, so to speak. I’m just glad they didn’t throw us in comic book jail over it.”

Check out the first four issues of Spencer & Locke over on Comixology!


Images: Action Lab Comics, Josef Rodriguez

0   POINTS
0   POINTS