HiLo and Red Hood Creator Judd Winick! (He was also on MTV’s The Real World)

John and Kenric got to sit down and chat with washed up* reality TV Star Judd WInick who got a second life in the comic world! Judd is probably best known as the creator of the Red Hood (Jason Todd version) but he also has a wildly successfull all ages comic HiLo out that you should check out!

Find Judd online:
https://twitter.com/JuddWinick
http://www.juddspillowfort.com/

*Also, if you believed he’s washed up you missed the joke.

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Interview scheduled by Jeffery Haas
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Theme music by Good Co Music:
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Transcript by Steve The Robot, please excuse the stupid.

Judd Winick – Interview

[00:00:00] Kenric: alright guys. Welcome back to the show today on the show. It’s super exciting because I don’t know. Maybe you’re a fan of the red hood. I don’t know. Maybe, maybe your kids read Tylo. I don’t know. Maybe they do, but. Maybe you’re a giant fan of the real work world from back in the nineties when it actually was a good show to watch Judd Winnick man.

Thanks so much for coming on

Judd Winick: Kendrick. Johnny’s great to be here. Thank you, gentlemen. It’s really good to be here. Thank you. Thank you.

Kenric: How’s everything going, man? What’s going on in the Winnick household.

Judd Winick: No, we’re good. We are, you know, like everyone else, we are, we are hanging in there. I, I caught myself.

I almost said, you know, as good as one could, you know, Paul, you know, could expect under these circumstances, what does, what you say at funerals? You know, you know, it’s like, Oh yeah, you were doing thing you were doing. Okay. All things considered. but we are, we are very lucky everybody within our, you know, family circle and social circle is, is healthy.

You know, we are dealing with, you know, we finished [00:01:00] up with the homeschooling. I’ve got a teenage boy and a preteen girl. Uh, our kids, I should mention those are my children. Not just random people we have in the house. I was wondering, I was talking about

Kenric: baby ones.

Judd Winick: So the kids, they finished up school and now we’re doing like, you know, this, that the bullshits virtual camp, summer stuff.

my wife, Pam, is a physician. So she’s been very busy, with what? Right.

Kenric: What’s your stance on the masks?

Judd Winick: I have to wear them when they go outside.

Kenric: I am, I am losing friends on social media and old friends that I’ve known since like elementary school, over the stupid thing.

Cause they’re refusing to wear it and I call them out on it. I’m like, why, why is this your line in the sand?

Judd Winick: It’s strange. I don’t know. I don’t know if people fully grasp, like you’re protecting others, know yourself, and that you may be asymptomatic or presymptomatic, [00:02:00] I’m sorry, this is a brunch conversation in our household, but you, you know, you may be walking and talking around with the virus yourself, forgetting that you’re young and healthy and you’re not going to get it.

you might pass along to someone else. That is why you wear the mask. You wear a mask to protect other people. Now, if you’re saying like, Oh, there’s no way I possibly got it. Well, What if you’re wrong, you know, aren’t we young now and again, don’t you just want, you know, and you know, w I, and I guess the flip side would be also, let’s talk about how much mass suck they do.

They’re really uncomfortable. They’re not a lot of fun. You know, do you have trouble breathing? Yeah. For the first couple of minutes, we’ve put it on. You’re really uncomfortable. If you get a little winded. Yeah. They’re really uncomfortable. You, of course they suck. That’s why we don’t always wear them.

Cause they’re fashionable, you know, but we’re, we’re, we’re tough people, you know, we Americans, we can, we can push, we can push through this. So we’re going to wear a mask. For several months. And so we get past this and that’s, [00:03:00] that is my stance and my, my 2 cents on masks. Yeah. I, I,

Kenric: 100% agree with you. I, to me, it’s like, it’s a weird line in the sand.

I laugh when people go, well, I’m a, I’m American, it’s my rights. That’s like, what are you talking about?  just because you’re walking into Walmart, that’s open to the public. It’s still a private. It’s still someone’s locate. It’s still something. It’s somebody else’s property or property.

Did I have a 17 year old son and getting him to understand this is it’s a pain in the ass. And if they’re saying you can’t come in without a mask, it’s what you can’t come in with a mask.

Judd Winick: Well, it’s this and I, the logic, doesn’t the logic doesn’t hold up at all under like any kind of scrutiny, you know, it’s like, I’m an American, I don’t have to wear a mask if I don’t want to.

It was like what? Like red lights,

Kenric: right.

Judd Winick: I believe in stopping in traffic, this whole thing. I’m an American. And if I want to just keep driving, I’m going to keep driving. It’s like, well, you know, you do that. You might hit someone. Oh yeah. Well, you know what, I’m good at what I do. I’m healthy. [00:04:00] I’m young and I won’t hit anybody.

you know, it’s, it never holds

Kenric: my, my very special friend says, Hey, if you don’t want to wear your mask, then I’m assuming you don’t believe in vaccinations either.

Judd Winick: Yeah.

Kenric: Cause you don’t believe in any preventative measures. So Y

Judd Winick: Y yeah, so I’m actually hoping the mass thing goes away in a couple of weeks.

You know, things are getting really, really terrible here and there that I’m hoping a couple more weeks of this other nonsense and people will suffer.

Kenric: Yeah.

Judd Winick: Yeah. That’s my hope.

Kenric: That’s me too. I just can’t wait for this to be at least get down to a manageable rate. You know what I mean, where it’s not just keeps going and keeps going.

And I feel like other countries are starting to get it right. And we’re still just haggling over the dumbest things.

Judd Winick: Yeah. We, we, you would think we would learn from that, but I think really, right now we’re still in the, I mean, we’ve been in the car crash. The car has not stopped spinning yet. We’ve been in the car crash for months.

And while we’ve been in this car crash, we just got hit by another car. So it’s not in the [00:05:00] second wave. We actually didn’t quite finish with this first one. so I believe that. I believe that I think lessons will be learned this time around. We’re not going to hoard food this time round, you know? Yeah.

You know, we’ll totally Beaver was the thing. Tell if it was a real thing at first toilet paper companies, we’re actually saying that said, yeah, we don’t know what’s going on. Why people were doing it. Then I think we all read the same articles, which is, Oh, toilet paper companies no longer could sell. Well, people no longer went to work.

And people used to go to work and they use the bathrooms at their workplace. Now they’re not going to work. And they’re at home and using all the time. Sorry, the paper. So it was actually, they weren’t just hoarding. It was a real thing.

Kenric: I read a thing that said. The toilet paper hoarding is this is not the first time this has actually happened.

And what it is is people hear the word pandemic and they hear, you know, everybody, it needs to be shut in basically. And then they freak out. They don’t know what to do, or they don’t have, the means to do what is [00:06:00] necessary. But toilet paper is cheap. And you feel like I can get that. So they get three, four, five, six, 10 packs of toilet paper, and then all of a sudden you have a run on it.

And it’s just like, Oh,

Judd Winick: I think it absolutely started that way. It was a moment of panic and everyone just went for it. And as the weeks went on, I was like, why is there still no time on that paper? It’s like, well, we all bought it. And then also like, well, doesn’t everyone have the toilet paper now? So again, mostly I want to supply.

But then the, then they had to admit like, Oh, okay, we’re actually going through more toilet paper. Cause we’re not. You know, so other favorite companies apparently sell a lot of let’s use the joke. I shit down the toilet paper, you offices and restaurants and movie theaters and all these other places, which are no longer being used.

So, where you, and they’re not selling that toilet paper to, they’re not selling that cheap, giant stuff that you steal when you’re in college or rather than I hear. That some young men would occasionally go to and restaurants and maybe borrow the large rolls of [00:07:00] toilet paper from, from restaurants because they were, they were like really super poor.

I’ve heard, I’ve heard stories

Kenric: know. I may or may not have had some friends, quote, unquote that have participated in this act.

Judd Winick: That is my statement. And I stand by it.

Kenric: That’s your story. You’re sticking to. Yep. So tell us about high-low.

Judd Winick: Yeah. after writing superhero comics for 12 years, and a bunch of other stuff, about, let’s see my son now. So about a year, eight years ago, eight years ago. I was still, I was kind of coming towards what would be the end of my tenure at DC comics.

I was just, I, I. Kind of, I was just hitting a creative wall. I’d written so many superior dogs for so long and it was also around this time, my son was getting an itch. You seven years old, he wanted to, he wanted to read some of my superhero comics, you know, he’s seven, he’s getting in there. And like, so you said, dad, can I read some of your superhero comics kind of [00:08:00] read?

Like, can I read your, your, your Batman comics that you wrote? And I had to tell him, Oh, my Batman comics, no, you may not correct. You’re you’re seven and they’re kind of intense.

Kenric: Yeah,

Judd Winick: they’re not Uber violent, but he’s seven and you know, they’re kind of danced. They’re kind of violent. They’ve got stuff going on.

So I started they’re going around for, you know, some good comic books for him and for kids. There are really isn’t that much. but, but what I gave him is I gave him Jeff Smith’s bone. Oh, you know, I gave him bone, and he just loved it and he just blew through. All nine graphic novels and just lost his damn mind.

So. I’m incredibly lucky because I actually know Jeff Smith. Jeff’s a buddy of mine for like a long time. So he’s coming on

Kenric: right next, this week or something or next week?

Judd Winick: Yeah. Okay. Tell him, I told the damn high-low story again.

Kenric: I will 

Judd Winick: tell us about all the time, cause it has the benefit of being [00:09:00] true. so yeah, so I went, actually told Jeff, so I, I rang Jeff up and told him that, Jeff, my son just went crazy, go nuts, bananas for bone.

And Jeff said that. That is awesome. Tell you what, keep it on your mailbox, the guy something. So he didn’t send us something. He sent us a gigantic box of merchandise, everything. I mean, the stuff they did yeah. Even make anymore. So we had action figures, stuffed animals, tee shirts. Oh, posters,

Kenric: a good guy.

Judd Winick: Calendars, which were like, you know, a couple of years old, but had the arts and original cartoons audit. And I gave it all to my son and my son flat out just became a bone super fan. He’s playing with the action figures is where the tee shirt he’s got the calendars hung up in his room and I’m taking a step back from this.

And I got kind of jealous because I’m a cartoonist and I figure. You know, I used to be able to make a [00:10:00] story that he likes as much as bone. So that is, that is when I. Sat down and tried to figure out what’s an all ages series that I want to do. You know? I mean, I’m a cartoonist, you know, I write and draw, right.

So, so, I kicked it around and what eventually came out of it was, I did a book on spec. I did a 200 page graphic novel. It was like, you know, pen penciled in the letter ready to go. And, and I did not know what I was gonna do with it. If I’ve had to do it through Kickstarter, I would have. Right.

But, luckily, my agent sends it out to, publishing houses and, this small, independent publisher named random house.

Kenric: Very tiny, very tiny.

Judd Winick: Yeah. Independent. They’re calmer. They’re coming. Yeah. For those playing at home random house is the largest publisher of books in the English language. That’s an actual, that’s a quote,

Kenric: a long time now, right?

Judd Winick: Yeah, penguin random house is like they’re monstrous. So, so random house, started publishing my series. so the first book came out. [00:11:00] First high book came out 2015, humblebrag, it’s been a bestseller. the six one just came out this past February and, yeah. And they’re coming out about one a year and they’re in like seven or eight languages and, and it’s a good, it’s a good time.

Yeah, I. What’s the middle of the complaint about

Kenric: what’s the general concept of the book.

Judd Winick: Oh, it’s it’s like a superhero book. Yeah, this guys, the, the, the quick elevator pitch is that, there’s a little boy named DJ DJ lamb. He’s a, he’s a kid. Who’s in a, he’s in, he’s in the middle of an overachieving families, the middle kid.

He’s got two older brothers, two younger sisters. They’re all great at shit. He is just not good at anything. He’s not bad at anything. He’s just, okay. He’s a kid. Who’s literally stuck in the middle, but he used to be awesome friends with his. Next door neighbor, Gina. it was the one thing he was great at was being this girl’s best friend.

And then when he seven, she moved away and since then he hasn’t been good at anything. So we find him he’s 10 years old, he’s in his [00:12:00] backyard feeling kind of sorry for himself. When he sees in the sky, a ball of fire that comes falling out of the sky and the clear blue sky and crashes in his backyard.

And then he runs over into the crater and he finds. Another little boy, unconscious and just wearing over underpants. And this kid is high, low, and we will find out that this kid Hi-Lo actually is from a whole different place. And then he’s got super powers and suddenly giant robots show up and try and kill them.

and it’s yeah, it’s a, what’s called a middle grade book. So it’s for, for kids, it’s it means geared for kids. Well, yeah, but it’s, Honestly, I feel like it’s a pretty, pretty all ages book. thankfully I there’s a lot of crossover comp book, moms and dads who read my stuff when I was doing superhero comics who delightfully have either found it because they had children or just found it on their own.

so it’s, if you like bone, if you like Pixar movies, it’s, it’s in that vein.

Kenric: But the big question is, did you win your son over.

Judd Winick: Oh, yeah. [00:13:00] Oh yeah. You know, when I finished the dream before it was getting published, I finished a draft of the book and I printed it. I mean, I drew it out on a limb by 17 board and they photocopied it and I gave him a binder, you know, a photocopied, you know, the photocopied version of the book.

And I told, I asked him, I said, you know, could you, could you take a look at this? You read this. So he’s about eight at the time. And he kind of looks at it and some Stuart and said, yeah, Could you give it back to me when you’re finished, you want it inked and, and colored and like, you know, a book it’s like, yeah, no, I, I feel you, but so

Kenric: demanding.

Judd Winick: Yeah. Well, you know, you need standards, you know,

Kenric: super high standards of an eight

Judd Winick: year old. Yeah. No, I forget this rough draft shit, you know, bringing up, I want it polished, but yeah, no, I gave it to him and then he took it up to his room and he, and then he didn’t come out for two hours. Yeah. Now you’ve read it in one sitting, they came back down to, I was like, yeah, what’d you take?

Cause I was great. That was really funny. And I liked this part. I thought this is really cool to hear. And I like it. Can [00:14:00] I read the next one? Yeah. Yeah. Well, daddy’s about another year, but

that was good. That’s awesome. Yeah. So, so he and my daughter, you, you won’t find bigger. halo fans. Didn’t them, it’s a family project. I started doing it when they were little. And so they’ve sort of, they’ve lived through it for the last, five years plus, and they read it first and they have, they have notes, they have thoughts.

so it’s cool. I’m being very, very lucky in that way. I honestly, I live like a 10 year old. I make things up and then I draw them, you know, you know what? I was a kid. How

Kenric: how’d I, what, how do you beat that? Yeah,

Judd Winick: you don’t. I don’t, I don’t know how I actually, I don’t want to know. I mean, I don’t know this, this works just fine for me, you know, it’s, it’s a great life.

It really is.

Kenric: That’s awesome. That’s awesome. When did you figure out this is what I’m going to do? I’m doing comics because it’s [00:15:00] not the best paying job out

Judd Winick: there. no, but you know, well, there is some truth to it being a young man’s game, at least, at least when you start, I, growing up, I wanted to do a comic strip.

That’s all I wanted to do. I, when I was, when I was about seven, eight years old, I fell in love with Garfield and that’s all I wanted to do with my life.

Kenric: Did you do? Cause I was the same age when I got into it. Too into Garfield. You know, I was like second, third grade, somewhere around there. And when I was in fifth or sixth grade, so I’m just behind you, right?

I’m you, you and I are very close in age. Okay. Did you do the Jim Davis? A contest that he had in the early eighties to create a new character member. He had Garfield. We also had the other strip, about con that was out on the farm.

Judd Winick: Yeah. The farm.

Kenric: And he had a contest who could, who could create a new character for that strip.

I don’t think of that strip last, very long.

[00:16:00] Judd Winick: No, it didn’t last very long at all. which seems shocking, but you know, it’s, it’s common sense, extremely Darwinian, you know? Yeah. The only the strong survived at all. yeah, I totally remember that shit, but I also remember. Yeah. He was like, yeah, he was too strong.

Exactly. Garfield. I think it was supposed to be one of John Arbuckle’s cousins or something. He looked like John with him, dumb mustache, a lot of pig jokes, right. Jokes.

Kenric: I just remember they had it and. Al I ask people this all the time, because I, I be Garfield fans, but they’re not Garfield fans from like, when you and I regard Phil fans, when, you know, w it was at the height of Garfield, you know what I mean?

Judd Winick: Oh yeah, no. And it came out new.

Kenric: Yeah. It came out new and you’re like, Oh, duh, duh, duh. And he had this contest and I can never meet anybody that remembers this contest. Cause they had it, they ran it in the elementary school and I was like, Oh, and I create a character. It was a Beaver. That was a vegetarian.

That loves steak. And that was my character and I never heard [00:17:00] anything.

Judd Winick: You know what that’s about? That’s about it. Hello, great humor. They were doing there anyway. That was a good pitch. That, that, that I wouldn’t be, I wouldn’t be surprised if you made like top 30, you didn’t hear it. It didn’t get down to it.

Cause it wound up being. You know, I don’t know very much like a character that Jim had in mind in the first place. I’m sure. You know, and that, and I’m sure the contest was just to get asses in the seats, but I don’t remember the contest was in. And, was it like through like the Scholastic magazine or something?

Yeah, I think

Kenric: so. Yeah, it was like 83, 82 somewhere around there, maybe even 81.

Judd Winick: Well, if it, if it was around. I’m 50. So 80, 82 puts me at 12 years old and I’m and I’m moving on to bloom County.

Kenric: Oh, gotcha. Gotcha. Coming into Garfield. And I went from Garfield right into Calvin and hops.

Judd Winick: Okay. Yeah, I was, I was, Calvin Hobbes.

I [00:18:00] think I started in 85 maybe later, maybe later than that. Yeah. I was already crabby teenager by then, but I love Calvin OBS. It was, it was a different influence for me.

Kenric: Yeah. Kevin Hobbs is one of the few books that are strips that I actually read and cried because I was laughing so hard. You know what I mean?

And there’s not a lot, like I love Doonesbury and bill the cat, you know, with, you know, and all that. And, but I, but the humor was too highbrow for me. Like I honestly, some of the jokes I just did not get, I was like, I don’t get it. But Howard hops spoke to me.

Judd Winick: Doonesbury is not, it’s not necessarily laugh out loud.

Funny, you know, it’s, it’s, it’s, it’s, it’s a political commentary. It’s a particular,

Kenric: you know,

Judd Winick: and, bloom County is to crack the fuck up. People in County Boone County is why I’m a cartoonist. In the far side, I owe more to, I am more to bloom County than probably any single piece of work. Is there a [00:19:00] particular strip

Kenric: that, that just resonates with you?

Judd Winick: Oh, you know, I think, I can remember the very first one I read, ish. I hadn’t even my grandmother who lived in Florida, which actually is where Burke breath is from, in the strip started heading income. I grew up in New York and the district didn’t even make it out there yet. but she had sent me.

Like she had sent me like one of the Sunday, one of the local, Sunday magazines, like the inserts parade magazine was the national magazines. There was some local something from the Miami Herald or something. Right. We’re just doing a cover story on Burke breath. And it had just like, you know, seven or eight of his strips in there.

And there was one where. Opus, and some of the gang are at a, no protests. They’re against nuclear weapons, and Opus is there. And there’s a cockroach who is yelling at Opus. Saying that you’re, you know, it’s like, you’re all you need to say. You’re all just wasting your time. You are all wasting your time.

You’re going to blow yourselves up. [00:20:00] It’s inevitable. You will be gone. And we cockroaches will be around here as we always have it. We will be here when the world ends, there is no stopping us. And then Oprah steps on it.

Did I think that was funny and mean and awesome, you know, and it just, it just, just about killed me. I thought it was great. Then I was just dying to get this truck.

Kenric: Mine was when Calvin. Takes the family of snowmen and has the car. And he puts the base on the hood of the car, then the mid and then the head and all the other snowmen are going around it.

And they have their sticks up to their cheeks with the big old face going, Oh my God. And I lost it. That was it. I was like, I love this cartoon. That was, that was the end of it.

Judd Winick: Hmm. I can name my Varick, Alvin and Hobbs. My favorite Galvin OBS. And I posted at least once a year, just to say, like, this is my favorite government hops.

Calvin is hammering nails into his, induce [00:21:00] family’s coffee table. And his mother comes in like, Calvin, what are you doing in my coffee table? And then the third panel is looking down at the coffee table for a beat and he looks up at her and says, is this the kind of, some kind of trick question or something

still kills me? Wow. I know it’s just so smart and clever on so many levels, you know, ignoring and also on top of that, like you’re just hammering nails in his coffee table. It’s just awesome. Just, you know, he’s a monster. It’s great.

Kenric: So you’re doing. So you get, you, you, you, you find your passion at a, at a pretty young age, obviously

Judd Winick: a million years ago.

You asked me about conflict.

Kenric: No, that’s okay. It’s okay. This is how we roll, man. This is good.

Judd Winick: yeah, so I, all I ever wanted to do is complex trips and, I,

Kenric: start doing so I want to get, cause you have kind of a weird, Run off there. You like, you have a, what?

Judd Winick: It’s an honor. It’s an unusual path and journey that got me through it.

Kenric: Yeah. To where you’re at, because

Judd Winick: yeah, for sure.

Kenric: Because, okay, so you must’ve been [00:22:00] around 1819 when you read a death in the family, Batman to death in the family and they blow up Jason Todd. Yes. And then many years, a few years later, you’re on TV. How did this happen? Do

Judd Winick: you want all in, in, In dog years, it’s many, many years later.

I mean, it’s, it’s a, you know, I want to say, and you’re on season six, 87,

Kenric: somewhere around there. Seven 88,

Judd Winick: 17. and, the very short version of story, I went off to college as one, as one, as some of us do, went to the university of Michigan and, I was, pursuing my dream of doing a syndicated comic strip.

So, I managed to get my comic strip in the Michigan daily, which is, which is the school paper and actually fairly prestigious. A college paper. So I was very, very lucky. I was very, very fortunate. And for three and a half years, I did a daily comic strip five days a week nuts. It was called nuts [00:23:00] and bolts.

I did five days a week and, what’s that

Kenric: can people find it?

Judd Winick: They can I find maybe the 3,200 copies that, that we made. we did a collection my senior year and there’s about. Yeah, it was about 3,200 of them that we made and sold. So they’re floating around out there. I have not posted them online at some point.

Maybe I will. they’re they’re not great. Thankfully, you don’t want to look. Yeah. You don’t look at the stuff you did when you were 22 and go like, wow.

Kenric: You take a note, Johnny.

Judd Winick: Yes, I am. Yeah. Yeah, you should always be in, look back at your old stuff and wince that’s, that’s what you’re going for with this all leads to, before I graduated, I actually got a degree relevant deal with universal press syndicate.

they, I was very, very lucky, very fortunate. They gave me a development deal where, I would, I would do a comic strip for them for a year, sending my strip into them and then we would review it. They’d give me notes. And after a year of, tussling around with them and, getting better at it and their eyes, they [00:24:00] would syndicate me.

so this was the dream, this exactly everything’s working out exactly the way it was supposed to. I go off to college and my college trip, and now I’m going to get syndicated at 22. just, just like my idols, a Burke breadth of bloom County and Gary Trudeau of Doonesbury. Those guys got. Syndicated one year out of college as well.

So this was, this was my plan. Right. And, and you wouldn’t could not find a more, you know, big head. You could Cisco idiot than me at this point because, Oh shit. That’s all I saw. Let me walk

Kenric: into this room sideways so I can get my ego through. Oh

Judd Winick: yeah. If it make way the King is coming,

Kenric: I love it.

Judd Winick: Led about nine months into my, the development deal.

a university president of kid, called them to tell me that they, they think it was going to work out. they didn’t actually, they didn’t think my strip was up to the current professional standards necessary for the competitive market. I think one of the, one of the direct quotes and so. [00:25:00] I I do.

and you could have, you could, it just killed me. It would, it would, it would have hurt less. because again, this was like, this is the whole plan coming together and, editing it was over and I, yeah, I had no plan B. This is, I know it was going to do I know now I had a fine art degree. Yeah.

Kenric: I mean, you know, I have a backup plan,

Judd Winick: find a fine art degree with a, with a concentration on drawing and painting, which then makes me, I have the skills to just die just to starve and die.

I’ve got nothing. so with that, I did the very proud thing. I moved back in with my mom and dad, been there. You know? Yeah. Yeah. So my less than less than a year out of college, I had moved back into my mom and dad and I’m trying to figure out what I’m going to do. And I’m sitting on my butt, the summer of 1993, and I’m [00:26:00] watching, I’m watching season two of the real world and there’s a commercial, during season two of the real world, you know, the commercial was, do you want to be.

On season three of MTVs real-world San Francisco, send us a letter and a photo telling us why we should pick you.

Kenric: That show is the biggest thing at that time. It was you couldn’t be on a bigger show.

Judd Winick: Yeah, we all. And, well, we were all watching it too. Yeah. I mean, you know, in college as well in the first season and there was the first

Kenric: house I watched.

Judd Winick: Yeah, I watched, I watched the first two and the third one was, you know, compulsories and I, you know, I participated, so I figured I’d watch it. so yeah, so, so with that, I, I did, you know, you go audition. I, you know, I sent in a letter and it was a six month process to get on the show. Are you.

You sent in a letter and a photo. If they liked the cut of your JIRA, they, you fill out a 15 page application, you do a video, then they interview you on the phone when someone’s like filming you. And then they sent a camera, a camera man, or, and, or woman to [00:27:00] film you for a day. They follow you around for cameras for a day.

Then they flew me out to Los Angeles for final interviews. It took six months. And then Holy shit, you know, after six months and apparently 30,000 people try it out, I won the lottery. I got to be on the show. so I was 24 years old. I turned 24 the day we began filming the show. Wow. yeah, that was wild.

It was really, so it was one of those things. So I had my head completely caved in by having my cartooning career just, you know, it’s kind of evaporate in front of me, but then I got to go on what was supposed to be this kind of cool and stupid thing. Right. which is what I was planning on. Cool and stupid.

That’s all I really thought. It was going to be in a wound up being, you know, so much more than that. You know, it, it, it’s where to begin. I can do another hour on this, but yeah, for those playing at home, I was on season three of MTVs real-world, featured, pages of Maura was a 22 year old educator and activist too.

was very good friend [00:28:00] who, you know, we, my wife, Pam and I I’m jumping ahead and burying the lead. So, another one of my roommates in the show was a young man, a young, a young lady, named Pam Lang, who was a. A medical student at the time. Well, after the show is over, we fell in love God. Oh,

Kenric: that’s so cool.

I had no idea.

Judd Winick: Did you not know that?

Kenric: That is awesome.

Judd Winick: Yes. So my housemate, who was on the show, we met, we met doing the show, and we started dating.

Kenric: She is. There you

Judd Winick: are. Yeah, actually today and today being a, well it’s June 30th and June 30th is the day the, the show started Aaron actually 26 years ago.

so that’s how we met. You know, doing this crazy shit,

Kenric: but we’re on the anniversary of the show for

Judd Winick: 26 years ago, 26 years. Well, Eric, so, June 30th on a Thursday, 10:00 PM and started airing for the first time.

Kenric: Wow.

Judd Winick: And yeah, and about [00:29:00] man, I don’t know about. Two months after that, after this is when Pam and I started dating, long after the cameras.

Kenric: Yeah.

Judd Winick: Yeah. Which is how you should do it. I recommend that to everybody.

Kenric: Right. If you’re going to be on a reality show, don’t do it. Yeah.

Judd Winick: Yeah. We’ll wait til later, if you can trust me, I’ve got 26 years of everything working out. Just fine to tell you that it’s a better idea. Yeah.

Kenric: Well, the real world was, was.

I mean the way they shot it, the way they, they, they way they scripted it the way they did everything, especially in the night when they first started doing it was completely genius. And how much of it, when you’re watching it, is them egging you guys to do certain things or did they ever just give you a script and say, can you say this to this person?

Judd Winick: Well, as, as a reminder, so this was 26 years ago. That’s right. 1994.

Kenric: Ask that question now.

Judd Winick: And, no, I, I, I I’m just clarifying for the gang out there as, as a parent. So when the real world on back in [00:30:00] 1994, there were two reality shows on TV. There was the real world and there was cops. That’s right. And that was it.

That was the only reality TV we had. And for our season, I can’t speak for anybody else’s season. I can’t speak for any other reality show. they didn’t tell us to do anything.

Kenric: Oh, wow,

Judd Winick: cool. Ever the most they ever told us to do. And I S I swear to you, this is it. They would sometimes when we’d be leaving the house, they would tell us, can you guys wait?

A couple of minutes so we can gather ourselves. And that literally meant that we’re going to be walking yeah. The door and they just needed the crew to go with us and they had to suit up. And that was it. Aside from that, they never told me to do anything. You know, I mean, with the exception of maybe, Hey, when you drinking sodas, you gotta pull them out of a cannon, put them into glass.

So we don’t have to, you know, spend extra time in editing to fuzz them out. Can you guys do that? You know, there were some rules here and there, you know, some things we have to do, [00:31:00] you gotta go to the confessional for like half an hour. at the end of every week, you have to do a two hour interview.

Those are the interviews where you look directly at camera. But, you know, keep in mind, this is, this is a long time ago and a lot of this was still in the experimental phase. Yeah. They were still figuring out how to do that.

Kenric: Don’t they credit real world as, as one of the first unscripted, you know, reality based TV shows like that.

Judd Winick: Okay. Sure. No, no. It definitely created the genre and most of the people who worked on. Our show and our season went on too, to do most of the reality TV that you know, now, everything from, you know, you know, one of, you know, one of our, the producers, you know, clay Newbill, he created shark tank and then, and, Mac units who was a production assistant, you know, did fear factor and I can go on and on.

Like, you know, all, all the, all the men and women who worked on our show went on to do everything you could think of in reality TV,

Kenric: all of the big shows.

what was it like when they told [00:32:00] you, are you going to be comfortable, possibly living with somebody that was HIV positive? Because at that time it was a lot different than how it is today.

And, and there was a lot of fearmongering. People didn’t understand a lot of stuff still. It was still, I mean, you’re talking barely a decade since. The first HIV cases became public knowledge.

Judd Winick: Yeah. This is still in comparatively, early, early days. I mean the first case it started popping up, 82, 83.

Yeah. everything was pretty full blown by 80, 45,

Kenric: three years removed from magic Johnson saying he was HIV positive.

Judd Winick: Yeah, no, and yes, that was, I think a one or so, 91, 92. and there was no combination drug therapy. there was basically no viable medical treatment for it. So if you tested positive for HIV,

Kenric: very much a death for a lot of people.

Judd Winick: Yeah. And you just didn’t know when you, I mean, we know more about it now that. In some cases with the, it was the strength of the [00:33:00] virus you had and whatnot. Yeah. But for, for, for, for sake of this conversation, it says 1994 and yeah, during the interview process, when we’re doing our quasi auditions for the show, they brought it up, they asked, how would you feel about living with someone who’s HIV positive?

And, you know, I, and I’ve written about this. I mean, I did a whole graphic novel about. Not knowing Pedro. so this is not, this is not new information, but, I, I flat out, lied to them and I hold them. Oh, you know, you know, I, you know, I. I get that, you know, it’s like, I, well, I understand like being on the real world, is it, the whole experience is about meeting people from, from different walks of life.

You get all kinds of different people doing this show. And I don’t know anyone who’s living with HIV. And I said, I guess that’s something that, you know, I would, I would learn a lot from, but internally I’m thinking like, Holy shit, they’re going to put us in the house. If someone’s got AIDS. It’s like, Holy shit.

You know? And am I legit scared? No, but I’m edgy. Yeah. You know, [00:34:00] I mean, I am even, you know, at 24 I’m, I’m this, you know, this lefty pinko egg head communist, so, and, And, I, I do, you know, and I do truly believe in being open minded, you know? but I didn’t know anyone who was living with HIV. The information was really spotty back.

And the only

Kenric: time you actually saw information,

Judd Winick: Yeah. Yeah. The only time we saw people who had AIDS was in the news. Yeah. And when you saw them on the news, these were young men who were on death’s door. They looked like they had just stepped out of Auschwitz and they are covered in, Karposi sarcoma, Legion.

So these horrible purple splotches all over the body, they, they look like, well, they’re dying. They were dying. That was, that was the image I had of someone it was living with AIDS. And then I met Pedro. I mean, you know, we’re doing a, you know, within 10 minutes I met him and, you know, within 25 minutes it comes out to just natural conversation, [00:35:00] you know, you know, what do you do?

And Pedro said, I’m an AIDS educator. It’s like, Oh, so it’s Pedro. Okay. And, somewhat unknowingly at the time I was, I was kind of relieved. Cause in that moment is that, you know, it, the dopey thing became obvious that I’m not walking around. I’m not living with the AIDS virus walking around on two legs.

I’m wa I’m, I’m going to be like, you know, living with, and my roommate is, is this a man Pedro? You know, but, and I liked him right off the bat. And we’ve been caught. We will become really, really good friends. That’s cool. yeah, no, and you know, he changed my life. He changed Pam’s life and he changed the lives of, I mean, literally literally changed the lives of millions, millions of people.

And that’s not an overstatement. He changed the world. It was the first time that people really saw what it was like to be living.

Kenric: Yeah, I remember it was, it was a big deal. It was a really big deal.

Judd Winick: Yes, no, it was, it [00:36:00] was his, it was, it was an international story when he, and for those playing at home, Pedro passed away actually.

well, not long after we finished filming the show and he actually passed away the night. Well, the morning after the last episode aired it just, and that was just a fateful thing. And yeah, I’m president Clinton spoke about him the next day. President Clinton actually called Pedro. we were there.

He actually called to speak to him when he got sick. it was, it was a whirlwind. It was a crazy time. It was supposed to be, again, it was supposed to be this, this just cool and idiotic thing that we did

Kenric: turned out to be so much more.

Judd Winick: Yeah. Yeah, no. Did it change my life in ways that I can? I can. That I shutter to think if I was, if, if I didn’t go on this,

Kenric: how different would you be today?

Judd Winick: I don’t, I don’t, you know, there’s, there’s two human beings upstairs who were still finishing dinner. Well, who wouldn’t be here if I didn’t get picked to go on this, this dopey reality show. That’s so

Kenric: crazy though. Weird and decisions you make in life,

[00:37:00] Judd Winick: you know, You know, and from what I hear it a little, it was there where it’s touch and go where you know that I almost, wasn’t sure gonna be on the show.

Yeah. Yeah. They’re going to go with somebody else and, you know, And I would not have met Pam and I would not have my life the way it is. I just, you know, I, again, shutter to think about it.

Kenric: Yeah. That’s just insane. That’s insane.

Judd Winick: No one thinks is crazier than me. Believe me, nothing is still not normal.

Kenric: So on a, on a lighter note, you’ve you get done with TV, you find yourself, you know, I’m okay.

We’re, world’s done. I’ve watched it. What are you thinking? Are you like, Hey, I I’ll, I’ll just go write comics at that point or, or did you go, how do I get to this point of doing something that I know I’m going to love?

Judd Winick: It kind of comes full circle. I, I pursued doing a comic strip again. I got syndicated for a number of years.

They did a comic strip for creators syndicate. it was called frumpy the clown. we still, it was, I spun off on my characters from my [00:38:00] college trip and, I was doing that. I was, it was also a. I had, I had my day job cause cause comic comic strip and doesn’t pay the bills quite right away. You got to hit it like a bunch of papers.

so I was illustrating the complete idiot’s guide series, which was the rip off version of the dummies guides.

Kenric: Complete it. It’s still going,

Judd Winick: right? Yeah. They still do stuff like you only a couple of years younger than me. You’re a member. Yeah. Yeah. So there was a rip off of the dummies guys called the idiot’s guides.

Yep. I illustrated about 800 of those. I don’t think I, yeah, I don’t know. Exaggerating. I was turning them out and making a decent living doing that. We’ll do in the comic strip then at one point.

Kenric: That’s cool though.

Judd Winick: Cool. Yeah, no, it was, it was good. It was a busy time. Pam was in residency. We were living in a tiny little apartment in San Francisco and I’m doing the comic strip and I’m illustrating these books and also for a number of years, Pam and I.

Well, we’re lecturing about Pedro. We were doing AIDS education, but mostly we were, we were going around to colleges and high schools and talking about Pedro.

Kenric: That’s

Judd Winick: cool. We [00:39:00] stopped doing it because it just got too hard to do. It just got too emotionally draining over and over again to just go someplace and, you know, spend an hour and a half with some kids and talk about what it’s like to know him, lose him.

So we stopped and while I was doing the comic strip. I just, I just got this itch that I really didn’t feel like, well, I just, I wanted his story to continue. I want it to be out there in some way, shape or form. I toyed with the idea of creating a character and putting it in the comic strip that was kind of based on Pedro.

But when I started just doodling and working on it as like, yeah, you know what, let me try to do something else. So I then went through this weird process I’d never done before of making what would be a graphic novel. I never, I never did it before. I’d read comics, my whole life. I was F I was, I was a fan boy, I think, before calling ourselves fanboys.

Yep. But I, I was a cartoon cartoon. I did comic strips. Yeah. But then I, I spent two and a half years adapting this, this [00:40:00] lecture that Pam and I gave into a graphic novel. And then when I was done with the graphic novel, that’s when I, before I had a publisher, I said, yeah, you know what? I think that this is how I want to tell stories.

and I, I owe that to Pedro too. It showed me that like, you know what, I actually thought I wanted to do college trips, but I don’t think I want to do this. And I was lucky enough that, Just happenstance. I met Bob Shrek, editor, their editor, Bob Schreck, who was playing at home. Bob Shrek, on many terms was, turns.

he worked at dark horse for a number of years. and was Frank Miller’s editor on sin city and Oh, and a bunch of other stuff. it was Matt. Wagner’s go to editor. and, he, founded, only press, back in the day. And he, he actually brought Kevin Smith into writing comic books. Anyway, I met Bob at Comicon, like in 95, 96 and, and we became friends.

Know, he actually just like, knew me from the show. Like we are you going to do is dumb comic strip. Like, ah, let me check it out. You know, [00:41:00] read the comic ship and we got to talking and he said, Hey, listen. so we do this anthology book. Do you want to do like your comic strip? Like the inside cover? It’s like, yeah, sure.

Yeah. So I did and we kept talking and when I finished a draft to Pedro me, I sent it to Bob to see what he thought like, you know, so what do you, you do this. And now I’ve done it before. What do you think? And, I, Bob was the first professional grownup person who read it outside of, you know, Pam right outside of my wife.

And, I, I remember sitting in NY little, tiny little studio in the tiny apartment that we were in San Francisco and, you know, getting mugged, getting the call from Bob Shrek to say like, Hey, listen, this is great. I go, Oh, no, thanks. Like, no, no, no. Like this is a great book. But I’m not, I will publish this for you through Oni press, but I think you need to go to a mainstream publisher to try to get it published first.

Like what it’s like, what you talking about? It’s like, no, no, this is a book and you should try. He said, you know, I’ll publish it. We’ll publish it for sure. [00:42:00] But yeah, you need to go, you know, you get to stuff. I mean, in each of them, you need to get a book agent, you got to do this and we’ll talk. And so I got a book agent and it came out through a, Henry Holt, published it.

And then Bob went over to DC comics, for Moni press. He became an editor at DC comics, and then he called me and said, do you want to write superhero comics? So that’s how, that’s how that’s

Kenric: awesome. That is awesome. So, Jeff. I have so many more questions for you. And I know that you, have kind of a hard cutoff around seven Oh five, seven 10.

Judd Winick: So let’s keep going. Let’s literally keep going and tell him, but I’m gonna tell you what’s going on.

Kenric: And then after that, if, if, if we run out of time, if we could set up another time with you, I would. B I, that would be amazing because then w because I feel like you have so much to give so much to give

Judd Winick: what has led us.

I’m happy to run the clock out. And if we need to pick this up again, soon, we can do [00:43:00] that too.

Kenric: And you just let us know too. If your wife says I got to get on here, then you just, you know, then, cause we can always come back around in a couple, whenever you’re available

Judd Winick: and around possibility that we might not know, except suddenly like, okay.

Yeah. The, the, the connection got real bad, real fast. We’ll know right now. Pretty soon. So Sally forth. So

Kenric: you start at DC and you were F you were, you’re already a comic book fan you’ve we already discussed you read death in the family. Did you call in and kill Robin or did, were you one of the ones that said don’t kill

Judd Winick: him?

Oh, I’ll tell you the truth. I, I didn’t either. I actually got, I got the book. it was probably had Polis. I, I think I got S we might’ve done a second printing. I think, like I missed the cutoff for sure.

Kenric: Okay. I got lucky. Cause my LCS said the lady, I was the paperback exchange back then. It was, I grew up in Bremerton, Washington, sort of Johnny and.

But there’s this little comic book store there [00:44:00] wasn’t a lot of them, obviously in the eighties, there was one, it ran by two ladies. It was called the paperback exchange. I loved it. And I went in and, and at the time I was just starting to read, DC. I was a big Marvel kid before that. And so she said, Hey, you should check out Batman because they’re doing this whole series.

He said, you should get this series. It’s going to be a big deal. And then when they, she said, you know, they got the last one and it went, you know, Robin, and then I was a bit, I was, I would collect comic books, but my whole thing was I’d collect them. And then once they were worth like five, $10, I’d go back in and she would exchange them.

Most of them did it at 25. Percent of the value. She did it like 50 to 75%,

Judd Winick: like 60% of that.

Kenric: And then I wouldn’t collect the money. I would just put it back into getting more comic books or comics. So she was like, Hey, so for her, it was not a big deal. She said, you should hold onto these for a little bit.

And then like a month, those shot up to like 30 bucks a

Judd Winick: piece. Yeah, which [00:45:00] was insane.

Kenric: It was insane. She’s like, Hey, do you want to do, do you want to trade those in? And I’m like, yeah. So I only owned them, owned them for like a month and a half or something like that. And I just got a bunch more comic books.

And then, and now you can get, you can pick those up for like 10 bucks a piece

Judd Winick: it’s criminal. Yeah, no, the, yes, the, for the first, I mean, the first run of it too. Yeah. I, I want to say they did a second. I can’t, I can’t remember for sure if he did a second printing

Kenric: after the cutoff.

Judd Winick: Yeah, no, I’d, I’d missed it in my, it was like an eternity.

Yeah, I’m sure it was like a couple of weeks. and, I think, I don’t remember if I tried to call him. I’m sure I didn’t and you know what I, to be, to be totally honest, I spent a number of years. Posts red hood lying about it. Cause it made it a better story. And I said, I called, I called in that, that I wanted him to live.

I knew I knew made a better story, you know? And then I got to, you know, I got mine just revenge by bringing them back. but I did not call in and had I had the [00:46:00] chance to call in. I absolutely would have called in for him to die. I totally would have done that. I did,

Kenric: called it,

Judd Winick: it gives the power of God.

That is, they let us decide on killing something. Of course we did. We were terrible young

Kenric: do or generation X. Yeah.

Judd Winick: I mean, you know, I mean, we probably were thinking that like, like I wonder if they’re really gonna do it, you know? I mean, that was the whole thing is like, we didn’t actually expect it was going to really happen.

but it did. You know, I had to live with the quote that Denny O’Neil gave, which was on the back of the quickie trade. They did, which I do have. And the one that I got not long after, you know, the run finished, you know, Danny O’Neil said if, if they were to bring him back, it would be a really sleazy stunt.

Now I, with that for a number of years, until I finally got to ask Denny about it, cause I looked at it myself thinking, Oh Jesus. So I’m sure Danny O’Neil is out there going like, like. Who’s this too, is this

douchebag

Judd Winick: funded all the work. [00:47:00] And, I did a joint interview with him, I think for wizard magazine the million years ago.

so Denny O’Neill rest his soul. And for one, it was like, it was a wonderful law. It was a conversation. Basically. They just put the two of us on the phone. Occasionally put a question. Two, I suppose, basically just, you know, sort of recording the conversation. So I got to ask him about that. He was like, Oh no, no, I didn’t mean that.

I didn’t mean you. I meant, I meant us. I go, what do you mean? He goes, no, what I was trying to say, if we brought him back. Like a couple of months after he killed them off, it’d be a really sleazy stunt. I wanted people to know like, no, this is for real, we’re doing this. If we were to bring him back, it’d be a really sleazy stunt.

It’s like, that’s what I meant. He said no. And he got, yo, you still it’s like, no, I like the red hood was a great story. And he told me what he enjoyed about it. The most was he said that it kept the tragedy of the loss of Robin intact. You just said you didn’t bring him back as a good guy, brought back as a bad guy.

So he said still terrible and tragic. [00:48:00] He’s like, he’s still dead in a way. He’s like, Oh, okay. Yes. So I got, I got Denny’s approval. That’s good. So I could, no, I can. I. I go, I always claim to that. Anyone tells me it’s garbage. I’m like, yeah, Danny O’Neil doesn’t mind it. So you shut up.

Kenric: Yeah. Denny O’Neil. So that’s good.

That it’s good.

Judd Winick: I don’t care what you think.

Kenric: Exactly. So you’re at DC. Did they come to you and say, we want to bring Jason Todd back or do you go? I have this great idea.

Judd Winick: No, and actually I didn’t have the great idea. I was reading, Jeff lobe and Jim Lee’s run on Batman hush. So, I think it was a, was it 12 issues a year long?

so those play at home on red hush, you gotta read hush. Yup. I’m going to spoil a little bit of it right now. it’s, it’s, it’s past the line of demarcation. I think it’s okay to spoil it, but you’ve been warned

Kenric: you’re on sport in the country. You’re on

Judd Winick: sport the country. Yup. You should know. So I’m reading hush, which was an amazing a run on.

Batman had just had everybody in it, every villain imaginable and the crux of it, there is a villain named hush, [00:49:00] whose, face is completely obscured. Like a mummy is his head’s wrapped up in bandages. And he said, it seems to have a lot of inside dope on Batman is kind of his basic hook. And then in one of the latter issues almost, you know, like towards the very end there, he whips off the bandages and sort of the, that he is Jason Todd, who, who had thrown, who’d been thrown into the Lazarus pit and has been revived.

And, Oh man, you just could have knocked me over. I was just on my butt. I just thought that was amazing. So they brought him back and he’s a villain. It’s like, Holy shit, this is great. This is like horrible. This is, I can see it is a hundred miles a broken road. This is going to be a great story. I saw the opera of it, like, wow.

Like, you know, it’s like, I think this is, is a stroke of genius. This is great. And then in the next issue, it turns out it’s just clay fix. Like I said, it’s not Jason. No. Okay. Well that’s another way to go too. Okay. but. When it got [00:50:00] to be my turn, you totally just freaked

Kenric: me out. Cause I’m like, I don’t remember that notch.

And I’m like, Oh yeah, face

Judd Winick: that’s quite nice. Yeah. It’s like, Oh right. It’s clay face. Okay. That’s all this point. but yeah. So when I, so when, so Bob was, Bob was editing Batman, and, You know, I’d mentioned a dandy like a year before that post post Jeff and Jim that, he wanted me to come on board and, Dan was a big supporter of mine and signed me to an exclusive contract.

Jeff, Jeff Johns, and I were the first two people to be signed exclusive contracts way back when, so, So Bob was my rabbi. Dan was my guy, and took very good care of me and, and helped me, you know, create really great stories. So anyway, Bob wanted me to do Batman. Dan was in on it and I basically went to them with the idea like, so what do you want to do?

It’s like, I want to bring back Jason Todd. And, I told him what my idea was. It’s like, I want to do it for real. And, with this starting with Dan is I basically told Dan all about it over a really long breakfast at San Diego. and, [00:51:00] I basically just gave it to him. What was the ending of the story and Jason’s motivations and the spoilers, the own red thread hood the ending right now for one, the red hook, Jason, Todd, if you don’t know that I can’t help you.

Yeah. But the end of this story that I told Dan, was that. No, Jason confronts Batman would joker there. Yeah. And Babin more or less is apologizing to them for not saving Jason. I’m sorry. I’m sorry. He didn’t save you from joker. And Jason puts it to them that this isn’t about that you didn’t save me. It’s about the fact that he’s still alive.

Yeah. He took me from you and that wasn’t enough to kill him.

Kenric: You can just, despite all your

Judd Winick: job. Yeah. Oh, and you know, and I, I, I don’t know when that idea had occurred to me. But I told that to Dan and Dan said, that’s where, that’s where he end. Like, yeah. It’s like, Oh, I really like that go like that. Okay.

Thank you. I’ll go write that. so I stole the idea from, from Jeff lobe and Jim Lee, and, and, and just ran with it. [00:52:00] You’re

Kenric: heavily influenced no one stole anything.

Judd Winick: Well, I am of the mind that all comic books. basically all comic book writing is fantasy fiction anyway.

Kenric: Yeah,

Judd Winick: totally. You know, we’re, they’re 80 years old, you know, you know, Batman is 80 years old, man.

He’s still, I don’t know, 28 to 32 years old and yeah. You know, not, not incredibly different from where he started. Right. and we’re just on the shoulders of giants. You know, I mean, I was doing, I mean, I was doing stuff in my books that I thought of when I was 12, like, man, I would like to see that happen and you get to do it.

Kenric: Yeah. What was it like working on the movie? Well, that was

Judd Winick: a blast. That was a lot of fun

Kenric: because I thought they did a great job on the better DC animated movies period.

Judd Winick: Just that was, that was fun. Dumb dude. All luck. not long after. Yeah. So [00:53:00] the Chris Nolan’s second Batman movie came out dark night, came out big jet, big gigantic hits, and, I had heard, you know, just do buddies and stuff.

Cause we all talked that DC animation was looking to do a new Batman feature and they were hoping to do something a little bit darker than they had before. So we were a little bit teeth. I just, I I’d heard that from, I forget who was working at the studio. I was like, Oh, well shit, I’m going to go. I’ll pitch them.

I’ll pitch them red hood. so Gregory Novak was, someone I knew for a number of years and I, I basically pitched them over the phone. No, I didn’t think I even pitched them in person at San Diego. And he said like, Oh my God, you know, he dug it. and then I got to, I got to, I pitched it again.

And Bruce, Tim, and some of the other executives. yeah, I think that the only fun story about that is that I found out later. That Bruce, Tim who everyone she knows, you know, was instrumental in making Batman, the animated series. and most of the animation C most of the superhero animation you see today is responsible for the way he changed things up.

Anyway. So Bruce Tim told me later, That [00:54:00] he did not want to do this no way. No. How it wasn’t going to happen. We were not going to do this red hood movie. I was like, why? I said, well, what I didn’t figure. I said that I couldn’t get around the fact like, well, we gotta do deaths in the family. We gotta do this whole story where Jason dies and we don’t have time for that.

You gotta, you gotta build up the whole thing. It’s like, how do you do it? And I said, so what changed your mind? Say you, you pitched it to us and you did it as the teaser. You said you got through death in the family and the first four minutes of the movie

so you figured it out like, Oh, is that all it was like, yeah. It’s like, I know like I’m listening to you and I’m thinking like, Oh, he cracked it. That’s what we’ll do. Yeah. You just need to, you just need to kill Jason off right away. Yeah. And then you jump, then you jump ahead five years, like, Oh, okay. We’re going to make this.

He said, I don’t even remember what you said after that. I just, you, you, you gotta, you got me at like the teaser, like, Oh, okay. Yeah, we’re totally going to do this. So [00:55:00] there’s a lot of fun. So, so I wrote the script for it and, which was a blast. I just basically took all the good parts out of the two years plus worth of comics.

I wrote from my Batman run and, and, you know, made it into a feature script. and you know, Brennan Benetti was the director on and he’s amazing. And, you know, and it was, it was great. It was really, really great. I was so pleased. I came out,

Kenric: create a character that happens to be Johnny’s 13 or 14 year olds, favorite character.

By the time he goes as the red, he went to his red hood for Halloween, the last costume, and he looked great. He looked great. He made his own costume. It looked amazing.

Judd Winick: Oh, that’s awesome.

Kenric: Yeah. Under the movies, his favorite animated movie, he’s watched it. I cannot tell you how many times.

Judd Winick: That’s fantastic. That’s very flattering. Tell him. Thank you. Thank you really. I appreciate that. I’m very proud of the longevity of the character. I’m very proud to have [00:56:00] added something to the cannon. You know, it’s cool. It’s cool. You know, it’s, it’s interesting that, you know, years and years later, I mean, like right here right now, sir, right here, right now hearing about your 14 year old, who, you know, I, I’m not even doing the math of when, when my run came out, but was he even born?

He was, no, he wasn’t. It was before he was born in Oh eight. So it was three years. The fruit was even born. Okay. Okay. Yeah, no, no. He loves, you know, it’s nuts. I’m, I’m sitting, I’m sitting in the room where I thought, you know, I’m down here in my studio and it’s crazy to me. That, you know, I’m looking over at where my desk used to be and I just moved it around since then.

It’s like, yeah, that’s what I thought of it. And you know, I’m talking to you and you’ve got a 14 year old running around who like made a costume. It’s just, it’s nuts. It’s the most flattering and wonderful thing he

Kenric: spent. He spent three weeks. Yeah. He spent three weeks finding the right jacket on Amazon for us to buy for him, for his costume.

Like comparing it

Judd Winick: to the movie [00:57:00] component of the

Kenric: comics, figuring out which version of the jacket you wanted.

Judd Winick: He, he can’t, he can’t see, comes to me and like, wants to debate me about

Kenric: how Jason Todd red hood could beat anybody in kind of DHEA comic

Judd Winick: world.

Kenric: Yeah. That’s all I was talking to you and he goes, do you have any questions for me? He goes, Just just talking about how it’s really, really cool.

Judd Winick: And I’m like, okay, Jake,

Kenric: I’ll tell him that

Judd Winick: you can tell him this. I agree that that red hood could beat anybody cause he would cheat and he would, he would, and he would cheat.

He would cheat worse than Batman would cheat. That’s the thing is that, you know, Batman. Okay. Just incredible weird side. So one of my oldest friends, is, is writer Brad Meltzer, Brad and I were roommates in college. and, Brad actually, was like holding the video camera when I, when I shot. My real world video.

Brad was the defacto publisher [00:58:00] of my, cartoon collection when I was in college. Chuck, Brad, Brad, and I like published it at Kinko’s. And so, he is my oldest friend anyway. we’re we’re Doerksen in college. And so I think a Saturday night thinking my comic strip, he and I were, you know, cause we’re very, very cool.

Brad sits down next to me while I’m thinking he’s going to keep me calm. He’s like, alright. They’re going to do this right now. So in a lineup of justice league versus the Avengers who would win, and this is what these very cool college students were doing. So one by one, we paired them off about who would fight who and how it would go.

so I think our favorite moment was you got captain America vs. Batman. Yeah. And, of course a Batman would win. Because he would cheat.

We both came to that conclusion immediately. Like, Oh yeah, no, you can totally cheat because Batman doesn’t want

Kenric: to be super prepared.

Judd Winick: No, he’s just got, he’s gonna drop a smoke bomb. It goes off cap. Can’t see suddenly his shield disappears, [00:59:00] you know, and they clock someone, you know, and that’s over. So I say all that to say this.

If you think Batman would cheat in the fight? Oh, forget it. Jason. Todd, he’s not playing fair at all. He could take out anybody cause he played, he fights dirty. So I’m

Kenric: right there with him. I always wanted to see a justice league. Where the soup that like the people with super powers, like the wonder woman’s the flash Superman, just sit and rag on Batman for not being able to do anything.

You know what I mean? Like, like he tries to do something they’re like, Oh God, you’re so slow or you’re so weak or you’re. So I was like, Oh, cause he always prop him up to be this. Thing that I always talk about. Batman has to have some kind of super power cause the guy gets the shit kicked out of him time and time again.

And he just doesn’t get any permanent damage.

Judd Winick: Well, yeah, I mean, that’s, that’s, that’s the thing that, I mean, It’s the thing with comics that sometimes people decide to get into the dumbest arguments [01:00:00] about some kind of minutia and that, and you want to fall back like, yeah. But how is Batman not dead?

Alfred’s listen, you have no trouble. Like, you know, you’ve got people who can fly. You know, that defile forms of science and what not. But do you want to argue about the fact that, you know, whatever,

Kenric: dude, I call two men a bully and Johnny made me turn the podcast off

Judd Winick: to have an

Kenric: argument about it. He was told the man, he wants to just say it was more detailed than that, but we don’t have a lot of times.

So it’s like at the end of the day I called him a bully. Then he gave me all these arguments and I said, well, it’s just comics. And that just, it. That was the, that was the. That was the band. It was awesome. It was off. And then

Judd Winick: on,

Kenric: it was so funny. We look about it now. It’s so funny because it is it’s like, how do you, we’re two grown ass men with kids. How do you have argument over Superman at this point? Thank

Judd Winick: you, Brad. And I still argue about who would win [01:01:00] in a fight. Superman or Hawk. And I fall into, I, I say Hulk and,

Kenric: I think over time hook over time,

Judd Winick: Boise they’re like, wow, we’ve been having this argument for, for, for, for 30 years.

Brad is like, no, super whatever you say, doesn’t matter in the end. Superman always has to win super, super. It is the strongest.

Kenric: He threw on a mountain on top of the hole, dude,

Judd Winick: actually he’s got range. He gets, he gets angry or, and he gets stronger, you know, and yeah, it’s like, and then I again have this fact for 30 years, but you know what?

It’s a blast. It is

Kenric: good.

Judd Winick: These are pre-internet fights, which are good fights. Yeah. People actually could, you could haggle about it. You could fight about it. When you found your buddy at some point who actually read comics a lot of times. I mean, when I’m sure, Kendrick I’m sure when you were a kid and when I was a kid, you know, you kind of read comics alone.

Yup. When you went to [01:02:00] the comic store, you wind up chatting up. Yeah. Strangers. Yep. The guy at the register, the, you know, and that’s when you’re having your comp conversations pre-internet yep.

Kenric: I was lucky though, buddy lived up the street that read comics. We read the new mutants. Like they’re going out of style.

Judd Winick: There you go. You actually had an actual person that I in the neighborhood. No, I did not have a buddy that I could talk comics with for real, until. My freshman year of college, when Brad and I met and we met actually the cost of the conics. I, I became friends with his, his roommate and, like this is the first week of school and I wander into his dorm room and I’m talking with his, his roommate, but I’m like becoming buddies with, and there’s a team Titans poster up on the wall.

Yeah. And I said, is it out. Said a cool teen Titans poster. I said George Perez. Right. Which is like the secret handshake of nerd them right now. I don’t just know it’s teen Titans. I know prejudice. So with that, Brad’s like, yes, it is. [01:03:00] And we have been friends ever since that was, that was 1988. and, yeah, so that, that, that changed my life.

So yes, but tell your boy. Yeah, I think Jason would win any fight. We’ll tell him

Kenric: he’ll be here. He’ll be scenery.

So Jared, when’s the next high, low coming out.

Judd Winick: let’s see. The next one comes out. So it’s done. It’s colored. it’s just, I guess I’m vamping, it comes out, February of next year. I think tomorrow. I have the actual release date around here to tomorrow on the internet. So, I’ll be, we’ll be showing the actual cover and, begin pre-ordering book seven.

Oh, this is the seventh book in the series. I should mention. It’s actually a, the seventh books a bit. well, it’s not a departure I should explain. So we have done six ILO books. And I’m talking to, I’m talking to fanboys, so y’all know. Well, no. Yeah. So the first six books is the [01:04:00] first story arc. the first book, the first six books wraps up our first big Hi-Lo story.

I guess about 1200. so a book a year or six books, and they’re all around 200 pages. so, but yeah, it’s a, it’s a fast read.

Kenric: Yeah.

Judd Winick: Yeah. It’s for the kiddos. It’s a fast read. Okay. But, when, when Hi-Lo gets there, when he first arrives on earth, he has no memory. He, doesn’t yet he doesn’t have any super powers to know why he’s here.

It isn’t always supposed to do. And, a villain is introduced, but by the end of the sixth book, His memory comes back and then finally faces off with the big, bad, and then our story ends. And with the seventh book, we with our same three characters, but we pick up with a whole new story. Cool.

Kenric: So we’ll get the first six volumes if you want to catch up.

Yep. And then you’re ready for volume seven.

Judd Winick: Yep. Exactly.

Kenric: For the second arc. I love it. Yep. Okay. That’s awesome. Well, Jed. Thank you so much for coming on.

[01:05:00] Judd Winick: Oh no, it’s my pleasure is just, was on the way this worked out.

Kenric: Yeah. Well, I don’t know if we can convince you to come on again and talk more stuff.

Judd Winick: I would be happy to.

We can say this is a good time. And these in these very, very difficult times, I think it’s, it’s fun that we’re still, we still get to do this, you know? None of this is really effected by it, you know, our ability to like, you know, get on the horn and, talk about these things that we love. and, I also, you know, I’m, as I said earlier, I’m extremely fortunate that I get to do what I do.

and also I got no gravis in, I still love comics and I actually left superhero comics. Still loving them. Yeah, I know. Yeah. At some point I’ll come back. It’s purely about time.

Kenric: Maybe some creator home story. Maybe we’ll get a Judd Winick Kickstarter that will put the world on fire.

Okay. All right. So IDW or image

[01:06:00] Judd Winick: comics. Kickstarter was

Kenric: a hard man and a lot of work. Kickstarter is hard. We, Johnny just got done with putting on a successful one. We’re getting ready to ship, which is amazing. We got everything back from the printer and we have 500 pounds of comics

Judd Winick: to the house.

That’s a great feeling when those boxes rolling and you break it up and say, you actually hold it in your hands and like, look, it’s a reality. It’s a real thing. You know, like, look, I’m I’m, I’m 50 and every time the books finally come in, you know, I get, we get, I get one advanced copy. That is a printed copy.

They print up like five or 10 before they go to the full print run. And when that bad boy comes in, It’s just the greatest feeling, the whole world, you know, it’s real here is, you know, some of you thought of in your head and then it becomes a reality. So congrats to you. Thank you.

Kenric: It’s a long road, but it was worth it when I held my hand.

So for sure.

Judd Winick: Yeah. [01:07:00] Yeah. Well done. Well,

Kenric: Jedi, I will let you go. Have a great night and tell them wife and kids. Hello for us, if you don’t mind. And man, we’re going to reach out to you real soon because I want you to get back on like ASAP, cause this was too much fun and I kind of want to like. Well, we got so many more things to talk

Judd Winick: about.

Sure. I’m happy to, this was a delight. He was terrific. I enjoy the show and it’s an absolute honor and a privilege to be on here. So keep up the fine work, and, you know, be well, be safe and wear a mask.

Kenric: Yes. Wear

Judd Winick: masks. Yeah, no cows. Now we’re the real ones,

Kenric: guys.

Judd Winick: You can, you can be like Batman in the sense that you should wear a mask, not to protect yourself, but to protect those that you love and other people, that’s why he wears the mask to protect others, but he needs to cover his mucus membranes.

Right. So, you know, you gotta do that.

Kenric: All right, man. We’ll see you soon.

Judd Winick: You’ll be well, take care guys.

Author: Spoiler Country

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