Writer John Layman took a trip on the CBR TV golf cart during Comic-Con International in San Diego, during which he and Jonah Weiland discussed the path his career has taken since launching “Chew” at Image Comics with artist Rob Guillory, adapting the acclaimed series in animation VS live-action, his role at C Comics as the writer of “Detective” and more.
On “Chew” working better for animation than it does for live-action television: That was one of the problems Showtime had, because they like “Chew,” but Tony’s eating some guy’s face in the comic and it’s funny, but in the script or when they’re visualizing the TV show, it wasn’t funny. What’s the difference? The difference is Rob Guillory. I can understand some of the problems Showtime had, but we can solve them all by making it a cartoon. If we’re doing a cartoon, it’s going to be our art style and it’s going to be very close to the book. Each Showtime draft kind of deviated and got a little further from the book, and this way allows us to get as close as possible.
On the nature of the collectible Chogs sold at Comic-Con International: I don’t understand — I always think I’m going into a con and everyone stops caring. Wednesday rolled around, I walk in early on Preview Night, no one is quite there yet and I’m terrified nothing’s going to sell. Now it’s Friday morning and we’re bringing a giant box of 48 Chogs that we get there to sign at 10, they’re gone at 10:20. We’re selling one per customer and we had a giant line. We’ll be gone tomorrow. They’re really cute, we’re doing glow-in-the-darks this year and the cool thing is we’re doing 150 for the show, but on Monday, we’re opening it up to 350 mail orders so people won’t be paying $200 on eBay.
On his current run at DC Comics: You thought I would have a ridiculous flame-out after three issues. So did I! When I took the Batman gig — you hear stories and if you follow certain sites on the Internet, you would think that DC is this wretched snake pit where no one survives. It may be in places, but for me, I said, “I’m going to write Batman just to say I wrote Batman. We’ll see how it goes. I’ll get an arc, maybe I’ll get a trade.” But I’m 15 issues in and it’s smooth sailing and it’s going great. I’m staying on.
On “Detective Comics” being more focused on villains: I didn’t go in thinking, “Oh, I’ve got Batman, now I’m going to change everything.” No. If I want to play God, I’ve got “Chew.” It’s my chance to do Batman, so I’m going to play with as many toys as possible. I’m perfectly fine with Scott Snyder being the world building one. I just want to follow in the wake of that and write a good story.