WWC: Todd Dezago Goes Exploring With The "Perhapanauts"

If you had to be part of a super-powered team -- sure your standard superhero team might be nice, what with all the beautiful people, coming back from the dead, and staying young -- wouldn't you want it to be a special experience? Maybe a group called B.E.D.L.A.M (Bureau of Extra-Dimensional Liabilities and Management) would be perfect for you. Maybe you do want to work with a werewolf, a ghost, and a Bigfoot. If so, then you're the ideal reader for Todd Dezago and Craig Rousseau's "Perhapanauts," which sees a new four-issue mini-series hit stands in November from Dark Horse Comics. CBR News spoke with Dezago about the series, entitled "Perhapanauts: Second Chances," whose characters began life in an ashcan.

Dezago began by introducing "Perhapanauts" to readers who may have missed the first series. "The premise of the Perhapanauts is that there are other realities, dimensions, worlds, realms all around us and that, from time to time, bizarre and frightening creatures manage to slip through to our side," explained the scribe. "To that, there is a vast secret organization called BEDLAM whose agents are dispatched to round those creatures up and bounce them back to where they came from. The twist - the first one anyway - is that the agents are made up of many of those self-same creatures; A Sasquatch, a ghost, a chupacabra, and a psychic, for starters. The first series was really about introducing both the concept and the characters and throw them up against an otherworldly monster or two. Looking back, y'know, they didn't really fare too well. I hope they do better in this second outing."

The first series has been retroactively named "First Blood," featuring the same art team of Craig Rousseau and Rico Renzi that'll bring the second mini-series to life. As to how the two series connect story-wise, Dezago says, "Well, you know how much I hate to give away anything - I even write my solicits to be vague and/or totally distracting - but I can tell you that, yes, 'Second Chances' picks up right where 'First Blood' ended up, although you don't need to know anything about what came before or even who the characters are to get into it. We cover all that right on the first couple pages. And so now that we've established the characters again, Craig and I feel that we've really cranked things up a notch. Or two! There is a lot going on in this new story! We just finished Issue 2 and, looking back, we think that there's more action in these first two issues than in the whole of the first series! And it doesn't slow down from there! All I'll say is that everything hits the fan in this one and there are a lot of changes and twists along the way!

"We're gonna meet a lot of the support staff at BEDLAM and see more of how the place works and more of the mysteries the place contains. There are a few new Creatures/Adversaries that the 'Haps will be going up against and we'll see more of 'Red Team' - the other group of agents headed by that hot-head, Hammerskold."

The first series struck a chord with fans, but Dezago and Rousseau weren't about to rest on their laurels. The scribe admits that he's learned lessons from the first book that'll be applied to the second. "Craig and I looked at the first series and, though we feel it does a good job as an introduction to the whole thing, we really feel that we can open up and let 'er rip now!" he exclaims. "Damn the torpedoes and all that. Actually, I think one of the things that we're finding is that the book is still growing and still defining itself. What we originally conceived in the beginning isn't what it's becoming. It's very much taken on a life of its own!"

Introducing a new property into the comic book market isn't easy, especially when it's a bit more offbeat, so Dezago is very appreciative of Dark Horse's support. "It's very difficult to get a book published in the first place, but with the sheer volume of comics that are being produced these days, it's near impossible for a little book like ours to even be seen!" he contends. "Much like your favorite shows on TV that get cancelled before they even have a chance, we were desperate for a chance at a second showing, and we really appreciate Dark Horse for support and encouragement. And their confidence. And patience. Okay, that's it."

A series like "Perhapanauts" lends itself to other media really easy, with a simple core premise ripe for exploration, but Dezago says his focus is squarely on the comics. "Bottom line is, Craig and I just wanna be able to tell our stories. There has been interest in the Perhapanauts for both live action and animated--it was even on a desk at Warner Bros. for quite some time a year and a half ago--but Hollywood is very up and down so Craig and I have adopted the credo that we won't believe it 'til we're watchin' it on TV.

There's also been interest in the 'Haps as action figures and toys, but as per our agreement with Dark Horse, all of that has to go through them and we haven't heard anything yet."

Staff Writer Arune Singh contributed to this story.

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