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“Smashing stuff and getting wasted”: An interview with Dennis Culver, writer of ‘Burnouts’

Culver’s weed-fueled teen story is more than meets the eye.

Hearing a description of Burnouts from Image Comics may not immediately catch your attention. On the surface, it seems like it’s going to be a silly alien invasion story involving marijuana and alcohol. However, dismissing the comic that easily would be a mistake, as Burnouts is a fun and action-filled story that will remind many readers of their own high school years. Writer Dennis Culver spoke with AiPT! about his relatable comic.

Final Order Cutoff for Burnouts is August 27th.

AiPT!: How would you describe Burnouts?

DC: Burnouts is the story of the worst kids in school who are the only ones that can see a secret alien invasion. The only problem is they can can only see the aliens when they get high, which makes it very difficult to stop a secret alien invasion.

It’s Freaks and Geeks meets john Carpenter’s They Live.AiPT!: What was the inspiration behind Burnouts?

DC: Besides the above, my inspiration for Burnouts lands everywhere from Mean Girls to Grant Morrison’s The Invisibles.

AiPT!: It seems like nowadays everything comes with a heavy message. Burnouts is refreshing since it just seems to want to have fun. How important was this to you?

DC: I’m not worried about heavy messages when I write although they do sometimes present themselves in the work. We’ve created interesting characters with a unique premise. Once you let them run wild and follow things through to their logical ends you can’t help but have fun despite the life or death stakes involved in the story.

AiPT!: From Cheech and Chong to Half Baked, movies about marijuana always seem to find a strong following. What is your favorite “marijuana” movie?

DC: Our book is more American Beauty than Cheech and Chong as far as how marijuana drives the story. We take ourselves less seriously than the former and more than the latter.

That said, I’m a big fan of the early seasons of Weeds.AiPT!: As a kid, were you more like Andy, the burnouts, or Andy’s friend Seth who is content staying home on Saturday nights?

DC: Definitely Andy. He’s our point of view character and both myself and series artist GEOFFO relate more to that character. Which works out as he’s how we find our way into the world of the Burnouts.

AiPT!: What can readers expect from Burnouts?

DC: Teenage angst with life or death stakes. Dark humor with a sci fi twist. Awesome comic books, basically.

AiPT!: Who wins in a fight: Snowflame, DC’s cocaine-powered superhero of the 1980s, or the weed and alcohol-fueled Burnouts?DC: Easily the Burnouts. The Burnouts are good at two things: Smashing stuff and getting wasted. Crucially they don’t need to get wasted to smash things whereas Snowflame desperately needs cocaine to function.

They’ll catch him on the comedown.

AiPT!: What future projects do you have?

DC: Burnouts is an ongoing series so I’ll be working on that every month. I also have a couple other projects I’m writing, but it’s a bit too early to talk about them yet.

Watch this space!


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