Dennis & Jessie Hopeless Discover "Invader Zim's" Hidden Talent

Though he's known best for his superhero work at Marvel Comics, with his latest project writer Dennis Hopeless is expanding his universe. Tapped by Oni Press to script the tenth issue of "Invader Zim," the writer of "Spider-Woman" and "All-New X-Men" isn't boldly going it alone.

For his foray into the wild, insane world of creator Jhonen Vasquez's would-be alien conqueror, Hopeless id joined by his wife, tattoo artist and Zim fellow enthusiast Jessie Hopeless. Together, they plan to dive fully into Zim's rivalry with Dib, the diminutive alien's school-aged human foil, allowing the pair's never-ending war play out on that most fearsome of battlefields: an elementary school talent show.

CBR News: Without giving too much away, how would you sum up your plans for issue number ten?

Dennis Hopeless: Our primary goal was to hit all of the high notes. We wanted Zim and Dib going at it, elementary school minutia seen through Zim's weird alien lens, Gaz's eye-rolling disinterest, Gir's gleeful insanity, and a bunch of Intergalactic nonsense. So, the obvious place to start was a school talent show.

A big part of the humor of Zim is seeing an alien interact with the human world in an exaggerated or hyperbolic way. How are you playing on that in this issue?

Dennis: One of our favorite parts of the show is how it digs into the most boring and mundane elements of childhood and pulls out all this hidden absurdity. Zim doesn't take human culture for granted. He doesn't give anyone a pass. He blows everything out of proportion. That's why the elementary school talent show seemed like such a fun place to start. Most small children aren't very talented. We sit through their performances because we love them and appreciate their potential. Zim would have absolutely none of that. "WHY ARE YOU APPLAUDING THIS TALENTLESS BUFFOON?!"

Jessie Hopeless: We spent a long time talking about all the things we could have kids do at the talent show. A creepy Sparkle Motion-style dance routine? A kid playing a recorder with his nose? When Dennis was a kid, he played the melody to "Jailhouse Rock" behind his back on his guitar at the talent show. I've always imagined that being just the cutest, most pathetic thing, but D didn't appreciate it when I suggested we have a kid feebly play an instrument behind his back.

What, to you, is at the core of the Zim/Dib relationship? What makes it so effective to you?

Dennis: Zim and Dib are Batman and The Joker. They're made for one another, so much so that without their counterpart they might completely fall apart. These two kids see the truth, when everyone else around is blissfully unaware. Sadly, they're always on opposite sides of everything. It's sort of beautiful and tragic.

Jessie: I actually think Zim and Dib would make a great team if they ever decided to go for it. They'd rule the world.

Last question, and this is important. What is your preferred mode of Gir: Dog costume, or robot?

Jessie: Robot! Although I've tattooed dog costume Gir on a girl before, so he has a special place in my heart, too.

Dennis: I actually like red-eyed Duty Mode Gir the best. He's so broken and silly that it's fun to watch him try to be all business.

"Invader Zim" #10 is on sale now.

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