Working with your kids can be a difficult scenario. There’s all kinds of history and past experiences there that can come back at the most inopportune times while you’re trying to get the job done. It’s even more intense for father-and-son superhero duo Nocturnus and Galahad, the stars of Mark Waid and Peter Krause’s “Insufferable.”
The previous volume of “Insufferable” first came to life digitally on Thrillbent and then in print at IDW Publishing, and “On the Road” picks up after Galahad revealed his — and therefore Nocturnus’ — identities to the world. Not long after, he lost all of his money thanks to a thief. The book finds the father-son team heading to Florida to find the money where they stumble upon a murder mystery neither can avoid.
Despite his busy schedule running Thrillbent, working on comics like “All-New, All-Different Avengers,” “Archie” and “Black Widow,” Mark Waid took the time to speak with CBR News about mixing up his projects, continuing the misadventures of Nocturnus and Galahad and the joys of writing characters who can be morons.
CBR News: You continue to do a wide variety of projects ranging from creator-owned books at Thrillbent to company-owned ones at places like Marvel and Archie. How important is it to you as a creative person to keep mixing it up like that?
Mark Waid: â€‹You have to keep changing up your pitch, not only for yourself but for your readers — otherwise, you begin to rely too much on muscle memory and not enough on imagination.
What muscles does “Insufferable” allow you to flex, or what ideas does it let you explore, that you might not use on other projects?
â€‹With other projects, particularly superhero books at DC or Marvel, there’s not as much latitude to whip back and forth between drama and absurdity. “Insufferable” is, at its core, a comedic concept — “What if Robin grew up to be a jerk?” — but artist and co-creator Peter Krause and I learned very early on that you can’t build a series on one joke, that there has to be depth and honesty and sincerity to the characters — even if they act like morons sometimes.â€‹
There’s a really interesting dynamic going on with “On the Road” in that Galahad gets roped into trying to help solve a murder when he can’t even keep his own life together. Aside from Nocturnus knocking sense into him, what keeps him involved in crime fighting?
He’s following the money. Whoever’s behind all this, Galahad reasons, has some connection to the arch-criminal who stole his fortune. Not that Galahad would ever simply walk away from a murder investigation — but he has selfish reasons for seeing this one through.â€‹
You’ve been working with Peter for quite a while now. How has your collaborative relationship evolved, especially when it comes to creating content for digital viewing?
â€‹I think so. Pete’s always been incredibly inventive when it comes to creating content for digital, and I think we’ve both encouraged one another to be more experimental as we go along — both in digital and in print. There’s so much humanity to Peter’s work that it’s a constant challenge to make sure I’ve injected that same humanity in my scripts. And let’s not overlook our colorist, Nolan Woodard, who’s a vital part of the storytelling team! Nolan does such great things with color — sometimes subtly, sometimes boldly — that really help establish a sense of time and space and drama.â€‹
A lot of people questioned whether a digital-first model would hurt potential hard copy sales for comics. How do the physical copy sales compare to the digital ones for books like this?
At this point, print sales are stronger, but I’m not 100% sure the comparison holds, as Peter and I ran “Inusfferable” for free for a long time on Thrillbent.com.â€‹
On a somewhat similar note, you also co-own Aw Yeah Comics. Has that influenced you on the creative side at all?
â€‹It has in that, as a retailer, you’re really forced to look hard at just how many comics really do come out every month. So many. That’s what you’re competing against to get the reader’s attention, all those comics — so knowing that really forces me to up my game!
“Insufferable: On the Road” #2 is on sale now from IDW Publishing.