“Robot Chicken,” “Mad” and newly minted “Avenging Spider-Man” writer Kevin Shinick visited the CBR Tiki Room above the show floor at New York Comic Con to claim his official CBR kazoo and talk about his “Avenging Spider-Man” story featuring the wallcrawler and Deadpool in high school, his comedic day jobs, his serious theatre career, playing a porcupine man on “Grimm” and the possibility of another DC Comics “Robot Chicken” special.
On his Spidey/Deadpool team-up and writing from “disco experience”: The villain I made the Hypno-Hustler who hasn’t really been around since 1978 with a name like that, jumping on the disco craze. I brought him back and the three of them just make a great trio. … [I drew from] a lot of disco experience is what I harkened back to in my days of — no, no.
You know, I always loved Spider-Man and so when I could pair him up with Deadpool — [editor] Steve Wacker had an idea, he said, “What about Deadpool and Spider-Man in high school?” and I said, “That sounds great! I have no idea what that means. Because Deadpool wasn’t Deadpool in high school. I said, “Let me go away and wrap my mind around this,” and so I came back to him and came up with this, like, “Inception”-type idea where Deadpool has to go into Spidey’s mind. And so that was issue #12, and then issue #13 you realize the master pulling all the strings behind the scenes was the Hypno-Hustler. It’s quite a ride.
On how his experience prepared him for the “Avenging Spider-Man” assignment: My background is I write for “Robot Chicken,” I write for “Mad,” turned that into a show and the great thing about it is those shows — you know, “Robot Chicken” is ridiculous, it’s risque and you can’t really air it during prime time. For me, that’s Deadpool, you know what I mean? And Spider-Man, when I was writing this stuff, they had to keep reminding me, “Remeber, this is a Spider-Man comic. We can’t go too crazy. He’s more funny, he’s friendly.” And that to me is more “Mad.” So to bring those together was kind of like bringing my two day jobs together as well, so it was a nice match.
On how creative restrictions actually allow him to stretch his creative muscles: First you get going from “Robot Chicken” where you can do practically anything, and you go to “Mad” they say, “Can’t do this, can’t do…” and you’re like, “Ohhhh god!” And I’ve always found — even with the comic book — restrictions just make your work better. I thought when I got to “Mad,” “I can be funny without bleeping or kicking somebody in the groin.” I love that, but I can also be funny without that. With Spider-Man it was great because since the first issue of “Avenging Spider-Man” was all hallucinations I thought, “Maybe it could be Mysterio.” And then they told me, “Oh, he’s tied up. You can’t use him.” I said, “Well who can I…?” And I just started digging into my mind, I thought, “Oh my god, the Hypno-Hustler.” He just opened it up so much more to the comedy and so much more of what I wanted to write. See, restrictions always help.
On the possibility of doing more DC Universe skewering in “Robot Chicken”: It’s a 22-minute special. We had like 80 pages of stuff [Laughs] but we never re-do — most of that you’ll see on the DVD, ’cause a lot of that was the animatic and we had to cut down from that and stuff like that, so we’re always gonna start fresh. But yeah, there’s so much material to be mined, and Geoff [Johns] let us write in the DC offices so you’re surrounded by all this stuff. You know, Green Lantern’s lantern, you go to the bathroom and it’s, “Oh my–!” You’re inspired everywhere you look. … Maybe we’ll get to do another one.