“The Tick” creator and “Supernatural” writer Ben Edlund joined CBR TV on our floating television studio at Comic-Con International in San Diego to his early success with the nigh-invulnerable one, his initial plans to go into television and his desire to come back to comics with a new project.
On the success of “The Tick”: “I was seventeen when I started to focus on pulling that character together and I was really obsessed with those ideas. I had a very naive notion of it. You go in and you make a tree fort newspaper and you say, ‘I’ll be Citizen Kane.’ I was really in a naive frame of mind which helped me at that point because I was lucky enough to have certain early talents that allowed me to create something that was marketable very early. I could do that right in that perfect pocket. I was still young enough to believe in some simpleminded things about where it could go. Honestly, I would think about that [possibility of success] a lot. It wasn’t arrogance, I just think I was stupid in a sense.”
On getting into television: “That was a plan. I was actually going to film school — not in TV necessarily, but just in that area — while I was writing ‘The Tick.’ It was ‘The Tick’ that allowed me — because when it sold to a cartoon, it raised my profile. I left film school to begin that. Ultimately, I did have that as a goal. I think it’s been really, really fruitful and I’m very, very grateful that it worked out.”
On continuing to draw: “I do a lot of office art because I’m in an office. My media are dry-erase pens and index cards. I like the larger versions. White-out is nice. You use that to do your Thomas Kinkaid highlights. Highlighters are great. There’s a lot to find in an office and I make pretty compelling office artwork.”
On wanting to return to comics: “I have a big itch to do that. I have a whole comic book I want to do and it’s just so absurd that I have to try to get it done, but I’m an awful procrastinator. You were early in on the schedule of ‘The Tick’ comic books, so you remember waiting, perhaps, for issues. … It was definitely stemming from a lifelong detachment from process. I do have aspirations in that area. … If you thought ‘The Tick’ was odd, this may educate you as maybe what I consider odd.”
On confidence in his art: “When it comes to drafting and drawing and sculpture, I’m pretty confident unless I haven’t tried it before. Then I need to work my way through it. I’m very analytical, very hypercritical. So much so — and this is an issue — that most of the things I might make are held behind a barrier of a certain set of standards. … It’s really a very problematic pathology. The best way to go is maybe that naivete I was talking about before. You’ve got to keep some amount of that. You’ve got to be dumb, a little bit, about what you’re spitting out.”