Writer Daniel Kibblesmith talks “Quantum and Woody,” out December 20!
When you think about funny comic books, especially funny superhero books, the usual suspects sprout up: Deadpool, Harley Quinn, Spider-Man… and Quantum and Woody. If you were a comic book reader in the ’90s, you know that series blew up and became a cult classic. It was also hilarious. Valiant Entertainment will be releasing the first issue of the new ongoing Quantum and Woody series December 20 with writer Daniel Kibblesmith (who also writes for The Late Show with Stephen Colbert), artist Kano (with a laundry list of credits, including Daredevil), and covers by artist Julian Totino Tedesco (who has worked on Hawkeye)! We got the chance to pick Kibblesmith’s brain and discussed everything from Quantum and Woody to the difference between writing for TV and comics!
AiPT!: Thanks for taking the time to chat, Daniel. Quantum & Woody has always been about the banter and I’m curious, how do you get into their voices? Talk out loud, scream in the street–what?
Daniel Kibblesmith: I’m not much of an “out loud” dialog crafter. For me, the trick to getting it to sound like Quantum and Woody has been to let my mind relax into a blank stage, (especially if I’m taking a walk or in the shower or something) and let a “real” conversation between the two of them take place. The characters’ personalities are so complete that it’s easy to imagine how one insensitive remark from Woody would lead to an incredulous reaction from Eric, followed by more defensiveness from Woody, etc. etc. Even if the whole scene doesn’t get used, I can get into the rhythm of their bickering, which I imagine to be virtually nonstop.
AiPT!: The preview pages that have come out look visually striking, which begs the question–how do you balance visual humor with verbal humor?
Kibblesmith: The scripts come first, so I get to be as surprised as everyone else when Kano’s otherworldly art comes in. When you’re working with a collaborator with that much talent and vision, it’s wise to just let him add his own discoveries and stay out of the way. Then, whatever gifts he gives me in issue 1, I can bounce off of in issue 2, and hopefully we can latch onto discoveries we’re both into and grow them into bigger things.
AiPT!: What made you fall in love with comics?
Kibblesmith: My dad always had comics around, but I didn’t latch onto them until I was around 9 or 10, because my passion was video games. It wasn’t until I saw the six-player wrap-around screen X-Men arcade game that I realized there were all these compelling characters and power concepts and designs out there beyond Superman and Spider-Man. Nothing against those guys, but maybe I would’ve been more jazzed about comics earlier if Nightcrawler had his own Ruby-Spears cartoon in 1988.
AiPT!: Coming from TV and video, is writing comics (and comedy in comics) any different than writing for a show like The Late Show with Stephen Colbert?
Kibblesmith: It’s definitely different, in as far as it’s a narrative where the humor has to advance a story about characters, and also mostly come from those characters. When I’m writing for The Late Show, it’s usually observational humor to explain a news story, or when I’m dumping jokes on Twitter, it’s just one-liners that exist in a vacuum. Writing Quantum and Woody has been more like a sitcom or a movie, the jokes come from watching two people with really consistent and totally opposite personalities clash with each other and the world around them.
AiPT!: I’m sure you have at least the first few issues scripted so you have a sense of the tone and feel of the book. In the perfect world, who directs the motion picture adaptation and why?
Kibblesmith: Kano’s art is so vivid, and I’m in love with the color palette he’s using, and all the little formalistic touches, and tricks with panel insets. This is such a capital-C Comic that it doesn’t feel like the storyboard for any movie that could realistically be made! So, I’m going to say… Wes Anderson doing stop motion? Or possibly Ava DuVernay, based on The Wrinkle In Time trailer. If you can visualize something that abstract and high-concept into a movie that kids can understand, you should definitely do a comic book movie.
AiPT!: Can fans expect this series to cross over into other Valiant titles (or have other Valiant characters pop in)?
Kibblesmith: Quantum and Woody have so far occupied their own little corner of the Valiant Universe, other than appearing in a few big crowd shots and fighting a “big bad” cameos. But anyone who read our alternate universe story “Valiant High” can tell how much I enjoyed playing them off the personalities in a larger Valiant Universe. Stay tuned.
AiPT!: The upcoming series of Quantum & Woody has the characters at odds with each other, which seems to be a facet of the best buddy comedies (21 Jump Street comes to mind). How do you write a buddy team-up book when the characters don’t even want to be near each other?!
Kibblesmith: Well they don’t have a choice! Quantum and Woody need to KLANG the “quantum bands” on their wrists once every 24-hours or they evaporate into atomic energy. It’s one of the most brilliant conceits of the characters: No matter how angry they get at each other, they’re joined at the hip. So our story begins with a totally “estranged” Quantum and Woody barely on speaking terms who, nonetheless, have to see each other every day or face oblivion. Pretty typical adult sibling relationship.
AiPT!: What is your favorite method of procrastination?
Kibblesmith: Twitter. Sorry.
You can pick up Quantum and Woody #1 at your local comic shop December 20, or preorder it now from Amazon now!