Today, we are so happy that we have been joined by the multi-talented writer David Pepose. David is the writer of numerous comics including Spencer & Locke and Scout’s Honor.
As some of our readers may not be familiar with your work, could you please tell us about yourself?
I’m David Pepose, and I’ve written comics like the Ringo Award-nominated Spencer & Locke and Going to the Chapel at Action Lab Entertainment, The O.Z. on Kickstarter, Scout’s Honor at AfterShock Comics, and more. I’ve worked as a crime reporter, a comics journalist, and even in TV publicity, but thankfully I’ve landed exactly where I was meant to be.
How did you get into the comics industry?
I’ve been a comics reader my entire life, dating back to my copy of Amazing Spider-Man #346 when I was a kid. I got my first break in the comics industry as an editorial intern at DC Comics, where I worked on books like Final Crisis, Batman RIP, and Green Lantern: Secret Origin. After that, I landed at Newsarama, where I wound up serving as their reviews editor for over a decade. Somewhere in the middle of all that, I found myself really restless creatively — and so I started writing scripts to pass the time. The first full-length script I wrote wound up becoming my breakout series Spencer & Locke — once I sold that series, I’ve been writing ever since.
Who are your favourite comic creators?
Boy, how long do you have for me to answer that? (Laughs) Frank Miller and Devin Grayson are two creators that have always really informed my work, just in terms of experimenting with style and emotion. I’ve also drawn inspiration from Dan Slott, Geoff Johns, Rick Remender… as I’m thinking about it, Jonathan Hickman and Al Ewing might be my two favorite writers today — they’re insanely talented and brilliant, and their work has consistently inspired me to keep upping my game.
Could you tell us about the origin of Spencer & Locke?
When I first decided to try writing a longer-form series, I thought about how people say “write about what you know.” That’s a piece of advice that I think is often misinterpreted, but at the time, all I could think was, what do I know about anything? I knew about comics. My first instinct was that might be pretty limiting, but then I realized I could lean into it, by mashing up the iconic creative voices of my youth. The idea of remixing old-school Frank Miller crime fiction with something as wild and imaginative as Bill Watterson’s Calvin and Hobbes felt like I was putting myself up for a dare — there’s a surprising amount of overlap in terms of their sensibilities, and that overlap allowed turned our psychological crime thriller into a really compelling exploration into trauma and mental illness.
How did you find the rest of the team for Spencer & Locke?
Through a lot of trial and error on the Internet. (Laughs) I connected with artist Jorge Santiago, Jr. by looking for recent graduates from comic book art schools — SCAD, RISD, the Kubert School, SVA, just to name a few. I was really impressed with Jorge’s portfolio, and as it turned out, he had been really interested in tackling a crime series, so the timing was perfect for us to develop Spencer & Locke. Meanwhile, I knew letterer Colin Bell from my reviewer days at Newsarama, where I had been Colin’s editor — he was really the first pro letterer I ever met, so I pretty much deputized him immediately. Colorist Jasen Smith was the trickiest person to find — we had looked at samples from a few other colorists, but it wasn’t until my friend Taylor Esposito recommended Jasen that we found the right fit for Jorge’s lineart. The rest is history!
What can you tell us about Spencer & Locke 3?
I have to keep things a little close to the vest on this one, since it’s still pretty far out — Spencer & Locke 3 is going to be the exclamation point at the end of the sentence that is our series. We’ve got a Garfield-themed serial killer picking off our homage to the Peanuts gang, all while Spencer and Locke find themselves navigating a critical crossroads in their unlikely friendship. Combine that with a brand-new partner for them, and there’s a lot of balls we have to juggle in this series!
What can readers expect from The O.Z. #2?
Now that Dorothy Gale has found herself stranded in the war-torn land of Oz, she’s going to have to make some tough decisions as the Resistance goes on the hunt for the Silver Slippers. Without spoiling too much, we had a reveal at the end of our first issue of another character who will be joining Dorothy’s squadron — a warrior-king with plenty of experience with courage on the battlefield…
You started this year by releasing Scout’s Honor with AfterShock; how did the opportunity to work with AfterShock come about?
Working with AfterShock has been a long time coming — I worked under editor Mike Marts when I was an intern at DC, and when I saw him step away from the Big Two to head up AfterShock’s publishing line, I knew it was a company I wanted to work with. It took a little while to find the right pitch for AfterShock’s publishing slate, but I just kept in touch with Mike and president Lee Kramer with each new book I produced. Eventually, the stars aligned and we found something that clicked.
How would you describe Scout’s Honor?
Scout’s Honor follows a post-apocalyptic cult that has risen from the ashes of a nuclear war… and their bible is an old Boy Scout manual. Hundreds of years later, the Ranger Scouts of America are the leading force for law and order amidst the irradiated Colorado Badlands — and their most promising recruit is a young initiate named Kit. But Kit is harboring a secret — in this patriarchal survivalist hierarchy that only allows men to serve, Kit’s had to conceal her identity as a woman in order to pursue her calling as a Ranger Scout. Unfortunately, Kit makes a chilling discovery that is going to shake her entire faith in the Ranger Scout doctrine, as she struggles with losing her religion on a dangerous quest for the truth. It’s like a post-apocalyptic Joan of Arc, tailor-made for fans of Mad Max: Fury Road, The Hunger Games, and The Handmaid’s Tale.
What has it been like working with Luca, Matt, Carlos, Andy and Jose on Scout’s Honor?
It’s been really terrific — Luca Casalanguida has such a sense of drama to his work, but he’s also got that rawness that permeates all the action sequences. Pairing him with colorist Matt Milla has been a real dream team, as we’re able to bounce between the harsh earth tones of a post-apocalyptic world, while throwing in neon accents that remind us of the radioactive energy of this world. Letterer Carlos Mangual also threads the needle nicely, not just making my dialogue flow on the page, but adding his own degree of grit to the Ranger Scouts’ world. And I can’t say enough good things about our cover art team of Andy Clarke and Jose Villarrubia — these are some of the most beautiful covers I’ve ever had on my books, and they’ve really leaned into the high concepts of each issue nicely.
For readers who are looking forward to issue four of Scout’s Honor, what can you say about issue four?
Kit’s going to find herself lost in the wilderness, both physically and spiritually — and if the monsters of the Colorado Badlands aren’t enough to finish Kit off, her growing crisis of faith just might. It might just be my favorite issue of the whole run.
You are working on another project called Grand Theft Astro. Can you tell us all about Grand Theft Astro?
Grand Theft Astro is the story of Hakeem “Hermes” Henrikson, who races spaceships as the fastest starchaser in the galaxy. Unfortunately for him, after he tests out an experimental quantum supercharger in the middle of a race, he winds up ripping open a wormhole seven years into the future. Stranded in a universe that’s long since left him behind, Hakeem must embark on a faster-than-light heist with his formerly younger brother if he ever hopes to return to his home era. It’s kind of like The Fast and the Furious meets Back to the Future, with a little bit of Star Wars thrown in for good measure.
Any message for the ComicBuzz readers?
Thank you all for your support for Scout’s Honor, Spencer & Locke, and The O.Z. — every preorder counts, so be sure to call your local comics shop to add our series to your pull list! Beyond that, you can follow me on Twitter and Instagram at @peposed, on Facebook at @davidpeposecomics, subscribe to my newsletter Pep Talks at bit.ly/pepnews, or visit my website at davidpepose.com!
We would like to say a big thank you to David for taking the time to chat with us. Scout’s Honor #4 is on sale next week on the 14th of April.