Quantum and Woody! is one of the hot, new series from Valiant Entertainment. In the last little while, it made news by having the “Most Variant Cover of All Time” which incorporated all of the variant cover gimmicks of the 90’s into one, uh, glorious (?) image.
Rogues Portal had the opportunity to chat with writer Daniel Kibblesmith about his work on Valiant’s worst superteam, his all-ages series Valiant High, and sandwiches… naturally. Take a look at our chat with Daniel below!
Rogues Portal (RP): What is it about Quantum and Woody that drew you to them as a fan and creator?
Daniel Kibblesmith (DK): I remembered Quantum and Woody from their original 90s comics, but I’d never read any of them — despite becoming a big fan of Priest’s work later. So as a total newcomer to the rebooted Valiant Universe in 2013, people recommended the new Q&W as the funny, accessible book that you could use as my gateway to Valiant. It helped that then-writer James Asmus was an acquaintance and I knew he was a really funny guy as well.
RP: How far ahead have you planned for the Henderson’s? Can you describe your writing process for us?
DK: Like Quantum and Woody themselves, I’m flying by the seat of my pants. I don’t need to plan TOO far ahead, because Issues 6 and 7 are going to be written by my good friend Eliot Rahal, who I’ve also co-written creator owned comics with. As for my writing process, it’s a pretty standard of starting big and then getting granular. I write a short pitch, then a longer movie treatment-like outline, (both of which go through editors before I continue). Once the basic storyline is approved, I break the action down into Issues, then break those individual moments or scenes down as a list of pages. Then that outline is invaluable when I sit down to break those pages into individual panels and word balloons. For me it’s kind of like seeing a big picture all at once and then needing to reverse engineer it out of progressively smaller parts.
RP: How much does the Christopher Priest/Mark Bright run on the characters affect your writing? Obviously they do to a degree since they created the characters.
DK: That’s the thing — Even though I hadn’t read those comics before I read the Asmus-penned Quantum and Woody, I did seek them out and read them before starting my own run, and they’re remarkably similar. There’s superficial details that have obviously aged, but the personalities and dynamic of Quantum and Woody were so fully formed right away, and the comics feel incredibly ahead of their time. For me, the biggest influence from Priest and Bright’s run was the way they used multiple small panels, often from the same angle, to pace out a joke, or an awkward conversation or a piece of physical comedy. I’ll suggest things like that in the script, and sometimes we do something similar to their style, or sometimes Kano takes the idea in an even more innovative direction.
RP: In Valiant High you’ve written about pretty much every character in the Valiant universe, but what would be the next character you would like to tackle after Quantum and Woody? Would that also be a comedic series or something more serious?
DK: That’s a great question. I’d love to write Faith or Ninjak, but I wouldn’t want their current writers to be taken off those series, because they’re a big part of the reasons I fell in love with those characters! I’d also love to return to Valiant High for a Valiant High: Senior Year, or Valiant High: Winter Vacation. I set up a lot of secrets and mysteries and I feel like we’ve barely scratched the surface.
RP: With Valiant High, you took all these different characters and put them in a new setting, while maintaining who they are at their core. How do you get down to the essence of who these characters are and and transform them into teenagers?
DK: I think it’s the same advantage I had writing Quantum and Woody. The characters’ personalities are so fully-formed that it becomes a fun puzzle to boil them down to their archetypes and plug them into a set of different archetypes, like a high school. In the case of Valiant High, Quantum is the approval-craving Hall Monitor and Woody is the guy who volunteers to be the school mascot so he can ditch class. If you haven’t check it out, it’s available digitally now, but I’m pretty excited that they’re finally releasing a print run in May.
RP: Have you thought about writing your own creator owned series, or doing work for other comic book companies like Marvel or DC?
DK: I’ve actually done a bit of work for Marvel and D.C. — A short Swamp Thing team-up story in the Harley Quinn 25th Anniversary issue, and on February 28th, our first issue of Marvel’s Lockjaw miniseries hits the stands. So, as someone who grew up reading comics, I obviously love characters from across the whole Corporate Mega-Spectrum. As for creator owned stuff, absolutely. I had a blast working with Eliot and artist Kendall Goode on our sci-fi comedy, The Doorman, published by Heavy Metal. So that’s another universe it would be fun to return to.
RP: If Quantum and Woody entered in a sandwich-making competition, how different would they be?
DK: Quantum would stay up all night baking homemade focaccia and serve a sopressata and hand-shredded mozzarella sandwich with arugula, sun dried tomato jam, and truffle oil. Woody would put cheez-whiz on hot dogs, add rainbow sprinkles, and call them “Woody’s Famous Woody-Dogs.” Then Woody would slip the judge fifty dollars, win the contest, and steal the judge’s wallet.
Thanks Daniel for taking the time to talk with us. Quantum and Woody #3 will be in stores Wednesday, Februrary 21, 2018, and keep an eye out for Valiant High this May.