Darick Robertson – The Boys! Happy! Punisher Born!
The Boys is a run away hit on Amazon. Happy is a fantastic series on Netflix. What else with Darick work on that becomes a media smash? Well we don’t know but Melissa did get a chance to chat with him!
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Interview scheduled by Jeffery Haas
Theme music by Good Co Music:
Darick Robertson Interview
[00:00:00] Melissa: today I have a very special guest with me. He is the co-creator of the comic, the boys and co-executive producer of the boys now streaming on Amazon time. He’s also the co-creator of the comic Oliver and has been nominated for multiple Eisner awards. I’d like to welcome Derek Robinson to this show.
Thanks for being here.
Derick Robertson: Thanks for having me. That was a nice intro.
Melissa: How are you today?
Derick Robertson: I’m good. It’s one of the, we, we just went through the wildfires here in California, my area, and today was one of the few days that we got blue skies and the air quality is returning and it’s not lazy and hot and the sky is not orange.
Melissa: It’s hot. It was a good day to get out. I’m in California.
I’m in Northern California actually. Oh,
Derick Robertson: well then, you know, what’s going on?
Melissa: Oh my God. It’s been, it’s been awful. I’ve had my windows closed and the smoke just been horrific. So I’m happy for the blue space today as well.
[00:01:00] Derick Robertson: Yeah. Yeah. It was a nice day. It was felt like, like, I feel like I got robbed a bar. We got robbed of our summer.
Melissa: I know, I know it was, well, we had a couple of very hot days and I was, you know, in Northern California, a lot of the houses don’t have air conditioning. It’s like 90 degrees out. and the smoke is in the air. We can’t open our windows and it was literally like this dying
Derick Robertson: Lord.
Melissa: Yeah. So let’s jump right into it.
I want to talk about the boys it’s in its second season on Amazon prime. Fantastic. By the way, I am so clever. So visceral, I want to ask you, how did the idea for the police originated?
Derick Robertson: it, it,
Melissa: back when I was finishing up trans
Derick Robertson: metropolitan in, 2002. Garth Ennis and I were working together a lot and, and hanging out a bunch.
And he asked me if I was interested in doing this book with him and I was at [00:02:00] first totally into it. But then I got a really nice job offer from Marvel to be exclusive and reboot Wolverine, which is one of my favorite characters. So I could not say no to that. There was benefits involved and things. That went with it.
so I told Garth, I couldn’t, and I regretted it almost immediately, but, after a year of working on a Wolverine and doing that stuff, he came back around and was like, I just been thinking about it and it has to be you. And I’m like, okay, well, as soon as I’m out of my contract, I’m all over it. And so.
He had the initial idea. And I think his initial concept was that it was going to be kind of like his book Hitman. And it would take place as a, in like a weird little fringe area of the DC universe. But as we got into developing the idea, it became more and more obvious to both of us that if it just wouldn’t work, we’d have to sensor too much.
And ultimately like his, his take on superheroes is very different than mine in that I, I actually love the DCU and the Marvel U [00:03:00] and I really don’t want to denigrate those characters, but I also love stuff like Watchman, where they took the characters and, those were originally supposed to be Charlton characters that they had gotten the rights to a blue beetle and.
You know, captain Adam and things like that. And then when more, couldn’t do his Watchman tape with those characters, he reinvented them into new characters so he could tell the story he wanted to tell. So NSI essentially did the same thing in that we wanted to create a world where the superheroes were, hidden by propaganda and the propaganda will be the stuff that if we had superheroes in our real world, the way we exist, all this stuff that you see that’s out there for the fictional superheroes would exist, but it would be representing real people who in behind the scenes are awful because power, you know, ultimate power corrupts apps are absolute power corrupts.
Absolutely. So it was that idea. And, I loved his take on it. And for me, I was like, Hey, I’m just getting to write. I’m just, I’m sorry. I’m just getting into design and create original [00:04:00] superheroes and work with one of the best writers in the business. So for me, like it was a win-win, I didn’t really. it was, it was an exciting prospect for me just to get in there and design all these characters.
Plus I loved what his idea was. You know, I loved his concept, behind the idea that the superheroes would be terrible people if they really existed. So that’s where, where all of was born from. But we spent a couple of years while I was finishing up my contract. with Marvel getting, ideas together and honing the characters and, and passing designs back and forth.
And, you know, so before it
Melissa: was okay. Yeah, no, that’s, it’s a fresh concept because as we know with comments on heroes and villains, they all have their, their demons. but behind the scenes, they’re always portrayed as still kind of positive role models. So it interesting to see the tape with the boys.
Showing, like you said, this propaganda and how they were just terrible people really that’s all fine.
Derick Robertson: It kind of redefines, what does it mean [00:05:00] to be a hero? I mean, like it’s, it’s in a lot of ways what the boys are doing is more heroic, so it’s, it’s kind of ironic.
Melissa: Yeah. No, absolutely. And what’s interesting too, with what I like about the show with all of the dark and emotional themes.
That percolate route, there are moments of comedic relief, right. And witty dancer. Was that something you set out to do from the start or did that just happen organically?
Derick Robertson: It’s very, it was well, I mean, and this is a very funny writer anyway. Like he knows how to put comedy in and at the right times.
And also like, you know, it’s hard to put tenderness into a story where you don’t think it’s going to happen. So, I really liked that aspect of it too. And when I first met her he asked me like, what was important to me about the show before he had even started writing it. I was just blown away by his consideration that he would even take the time to sit down with me and ask, you know, a lot of times you hear in Hollywood and, and I, and I’ve experienced it where you just kind of get frozen out of [00:06:00] your own thing.
So, it’s not been like that on the boys at all. And that’s really part of the reason I think it’s, it’s been such a wonderful experience overall. Personal feelings aside. But I think that inclusion in that concerted consideration to the source material really comes through in the, in the, in the television show.
And one of the first things I said was, it’s gotta be funny if it’s not funny, it is. It’s just going to be a long dark slog and people are going to tune out. But if you get what makes it funny as well as what makes it dramatic, it’ll it’ll click. And I think that’s why we’re seeing, I mean, they’ve done a wonderful job of, of, of keeping the humor alive.
Melissa: No, it’s been fantastic. And it’s definitely, you need that conference relief when, when things are very dark and you have these extremely violent, violent episodes, but, you know, are you have this sort of campiness to it in a sense where, you know, I just watch, I don’t want to get too many spoilers away for the country, but, I I’m watching right now.
And I certainly. Characters, you [00:07:00] know, that had flipped and, and I was like, Oh God, like you’re not expecting it. And then the reaction to it is comical.
Derick Robertson: Can’t laugh. Like you, you almost feel bad for laughing, but, Jack Quaid is so great. And that seem like his reaction in the van is so like spot on that.
I, I couldn’t help it Gable, even though I’m like, okay, Was kind of feeling bad for the person who just had a head explode, but his performance is so funny that you can’t, you can’t walk, you can’t walk away from it and not be smiling.
Melissa: And then I almost feel bad. I was so bad that he asked her because I’m like, Oh no, they’re not going to work.
but another thing that brings me to is, so how, how do the comics differ from this show? And I know there’s been a lot of talk about this essentially. As far as, like, how are, are there things that are left out or have been added?
Derick Robertson: Yes. they really done. They’re all, like crickey explained it to me once where he said, I hope you understand that what we aren’t [00:08:00] trying to change the comic, we’re kind of doing more like, like if we were a DJ we’re doing a remix, you know, like we’re taking the what’s cool.
What we liked from the comics and then doing our own thing with it. And I understand why they would have to, because it’s a comic. In a TV show, have two very different jobs to do. And I often say like, you know, what’s, what’s nice about comics is that when you’re reading a comic, it’s a very intimate experience.
You get to control your, your experience with a comic in that. If there’s something that looks really cool to you, you can dwell on that image as long as you want before turning the page. but with TV or movie, you know, the director decides how long you look at something like when somebody’s head explodes, you know, they.
Cut away from that. Right. Really fast. So it’s shocking. That’s their choice or in the case of like episode one, it was Dan Trachtenberg, his idea to slow it way. Like when, when Robin gets killed, you know, the slow it way down. And that would have not been my choice either. Cause I thought it needed to be shocking, but man, it [00:09:00] works.
It really works this, that slow, like spattering of blood on you, his face. And then, so when it all catches up to real time, it’s just a shocking it’s it’s it’s but that’s like. A perfect example of how you can do something on film that I couldn’t do in a comic book. I mean, I could, if I wanted to break it down, it could be multiple panels, but it wouldn’t impact.
It would read really slow in a comic because every gutter between a comic book panel is like a beat in time. And so there’s a great example of this, where, I think it was, might’ve been an how to draw comics, or understanding comics by Scott McCloud, but he shows how you can have a story about an astronaut and in panel, one is saying goodbye to his daughter, and then you see him put on his, his helmet and then you see him.
checking in with his seniors and you see him walking onto the gangplank and then you see his rocket taking off. Like those are series of panels that tells you a story about him leaving. Or you could just say, [00:10:00] he’s saying goodbye to his daughter, and then you cut to the rocket taking off. And that reads exactly the same way as far as plot goes, but it’s a very different approach to get there.
So television or with film, it’s like they have to make those same kind of, calls as well. But you don’t, they don’t have the, the same luxury we do. And they also don’t have the same fight for real estate, in, within, like my storytelling is contained into a comic book page. I have to tell you what’s happening with X number of panels on.
It within X number of pages. They don’t have that same restraint within the film, but they do have to get everything down to an hour. So it’s like, and then also they want to keep the audience interested for the next episode and they need to like figure out what’s going to happen in the third act of an hour where it’s different than a comic.
Like you can drop a thing in issue one and pick it up and issue three, you know, it’s very different in its storytelling. And so, that’s a long way about saying that yes, they change things. You know, the [00:11:00] fact that terror isn’t omnipresent like he is in the comic is, is a difference, but they brought him in, had a great episode this last Friday with terror in it.
And it was great to see him. It choked me up. I was like, Oh my God, no terror and butcher having a walk
Melissa: right out of my brain. A huge deal for you. I mean, what is that, what does that impact for you when you have these characters?
Derick Robertson: One of the more emotional moments I had, cause it kind of crushed me where I’m like, cause it’s suddenly, like this last summer was very evident to me with that.
And I have no idea why, you know, I’m an artist. I don’t know, understand my feelings. That’s why I draw things. But that’s, but it was, it was still like, Oh my God, I didn’t get to go to Comic-Con. I didn’t get to see this cast.
Melissa: All of the things
Derick Robertson: that we didn’t get to do this summer that was, should have been a really celebratory summer, especially because of the boys.
And I kinda, it just, it just kinda hit me really hard, but then all at the same time, like I felt really. [00:12:00] Seen and loved and respected by the people that are making this show, because it looked like something out of, one of my covers or, or a panel that I drew watching and, and, and Tara walked down the street with each other and just seeing them together was like, Oh God, I’ve been, you know, it was really, it was powerful because some of the things, when it first came at me, I didn’t know what to think because you only hope when you are in a part of this.
you know, you give your, creative thing over to somebody to adapt. You only hope that they’re going to love it. Like you do, and be respectful like you are. and a lot of cases, you know, you’ll see plenty of productions that just sideline the creators and do their own thing. And then they fail in this case.
They included us and it’s, and it looks. Great. And so, you know, he always taller than mother’s milk. That was weird to me when I first saw it, but then Jack Quinn so great as Huey that it didn’t doesn’t bother me anymore. Like he made it his own and he really, and the fact that they got Simon pegged to come play as dad was like, you know, just absolutely respect the source material.
[00:13:00] What’s your with a beard. I’m like, why does butcher have a beard? Then I was explaining like, Oh, we wanted him to look rougher and be more of a contrast to Huey. I’m like, Oh, I never really thought of that. So that was, you know, that’s why Carlos got the beard because, but then you see him in flashbacks and he doesn’t, and then that’s kind of cool because then he looks more like, You know, the butcher from the comics.
Derick Robertson: yeah, so I don’t really mind the cast is so great and they’re also into it. And I got to go on set a couple of times and meet them all and be around them when they’re working and the passion and the, and the enthusiasm, everybody on that show, including the people behind the scenes that you don’t see, that they really love the show.
it, it really, it really comes through and I’ve had people come up and tell me like, Oh my God, this is the best job I’ve ever had. And you know, and that’s, you know, that’s really gratifying because aircraft B knows how to put together a great team and the people that are working on the show, it’s a [00:14:00] labor of love for them.
They’re having a great time. They’re genuinely like each other. They’re all really nice people. Everybody I’ve met has been just wonderfully kind and gracious. It’s just, it’s, it’s been a really good experience. That’s
Melissa: awesome. And it shows, I think they have incredible chemistry on screen. You can just tell, you know, you can kind of envision, like, I would love to see the outtakes, you know what I mean?
Derick Robertson: Oh God. Yes.
Melissa: The episode
Derick Robertson: coming up that I was on stage, I was on set for and they kept flubbing this one line and it was Carl and Carl and Huey and Annie. And, I know I can’t give away too much because I don’t want to spoil anything, but, It’s just one of the characters is unconscious. And every time the fault will, I would get flubbed that character would start cracking up and couldn’t help it.
And it gave it, it was so it would be so fun to see, and if they have the outtakes and they share them like on x-ray, cause there’s a little button you can push push when you’re watching the Amazon episodes called x-ray and you [00:15:00] get behind the scenes stuff. that was hilarious. And that is a good example of the chemistry where they were.
You know, trying to stay in character, then you know, this one character couldn’t stop laughing in, but they’re supposed to be unconscious. So it was very funny.
Melissa: Yeah. I can’t wait to see this future one coming up.
Derick Robertson: So it’s one that hasn’t been aired yet.
Melissa: Okay. Awesome. one of my favorite senses is actually Frenchie.
God, he’s so good. And it, be half the time. I can understand it because I don’t speak French, but I actually love the fact that you don’t do the subtitles because it just makes it more authentic. When you see that, like what inspired friendship? Like how did that come about his character? Yeah,
Derick Robertson: it was just, he was there from the beginning.
he, he makes his first appearance in issue two. And the only element of it, that’s really kind of funny for me is that we did a backstory issue of him where we see him back in France and he’s, but his, the [00:16:00] description of his life is just insane. He’s, he’s doing a bicycle jealous with, hardened baguettes is the,
Melissa: you know,
Derick Robertson: but they were, and, and then, and this kind of explained it to me once.
Like, we’re not really sure if, if. Frenchie’s even really French. Like he might just be out of his mind,
Derick Robertson: that piece of it. It is sort of missing from Tomar, his character where he’s, but he’s so, he’s so cool. I love, I love the TV version so much, but it’s always, there’s a little element where I did love the fact that Frenchie was completely unpredictable and the comics, like he would just jump out a window or just.
Deal, whatever it is he was going to do. And again, he might just be insane. He might not even be French, we don’t know, but, but they do bring that mystery to him on the television show. And I, again, I love Tomar coupon’s, performance so much that, he, he just, and they’ve done a really great job of, bringing in elements of the character this season with the goggles on the head and things like that.
So it’s been nice watching them sort [00:17:00] of evolve more into the comic team, which I think they’re doing slowly.
Melissa: That’s awesome. Yeah. And I love his relationship with Nico and, you know, I just watched the, one of the episodes, but, you know, she kind of takes off now with her brother. And so, you know, there’s this whole, you know, cliffhanger for that, that I just love the chemistry they have together because they’re not sure if it’s friendship or more, or.
Derick Robertson: was always very vague in the comic book as well, but it was never a weave I intentionally, and, you know, I think the same with Ennis is like, we never intentionally sexualized, the female because she’s more like, she’s like a feral cat, you know, like you can’t, you’re not going to ever pet her or give her treats.
It’s never going to happen. she will take your face off. and only because Frenchie is incredibly. Patient with her that they develop a bond, but even he’s on like a thin, thin ice. So you can, they bring that element into the end of the TV show very well, but they’ve done a, [00:18:00] they’ve done a lot with, the female’s character and the fact she has a name Camico and this brother, and we know more about her backstory.
it’s very different than the comic in that regard. But again, this is one of those things where it works so well. It doesn’t bother me at all. Like I. It’s okay for there to be these two different boys teams, like the TV version and the comic version, because the heart of the story is intact. The heart of the relationships is intact.
So where it matters, it’s all in there. And then they’re doing stuff in a way that I think evolves what we were doing in the comic, because the comics, you know, it’s 12 years old. Now we did it a while ago. It’s another, it’s a product of a different time. and I’m proud of it. but I’m really excited about what I’m seeing on the show and it don’t feel like they’re diminishing anything by the changes that they’re making.
I feel like they’re telling a larger story it’s going in its own direction and, and they always find a way to weave back into the comics in some way or another and scoop up something good and [00:19:00] bring it to us.
Melissa: That’s so good to hear because yeah, like you were saying earlier, a lot of times when you’re an author or an artist that you sell your rights to television or film, they’re kind of like, okay, see, we’re going to do whatever we want with it.
And, you hear stories upon stories of people being so disappointed about the final product. So it’s, it’s nice to hear that you actually have been included and it’s. Reflective of your, you know, passing and your original ideal of what, you know, what the story you’re trying to tell.
Derick Robertson: Yeah. I mean, you’re an author too, is that happened to you?
Melissa: No, not yet. I’m not quite at that level yet, but thank you. Yeah, no, I, I am an author, but it is a fear. Yeah. You think about that. They’re like, Oh, if someone approached you for, for rights having to give over your baby, you know? Yeah. It would be very hard to deal with it. A standby. And, I actually was, was watching an interview with James Patterson, the mystery, you know, author.
And he was talking about, [00:20:00] when one of his books turned into a film and they invited him on set and he was basically like, so you just sit in the corner and be the author and don’t give us any insights.
Derick Robertson: Yeah. I mean, there’s a little bit of that. That happens with these things. That’s why it’s been sort of nice to, you know, be on set and be treated.
Yeah. Like I was welcome, you know, I didn’t, I don’t chime in because I know better. I mean, it’s not my place. They’re making a show and if they wanted my opinion, I’d been in the room. I would have been in the writer’s room, you know? Before they got to the camera’s rolling. So that’s okay with me. I know, but I thought for sure that it was going to be much more like arms length, and they’ve actually brought me in to do our work for the show.
the episode three of this season had storyboards that they hired me to create. For the dominant seven. And so that was really fun. Like a whole sequence of a episode has my artwork, you know,
Melissa: that’s so great. No, that’s such a huge compliment for you to be able to be so involved with that.
Derick Robertson: That’s insane.
And it has a lot to do with just the quality of the people that are working on the [00:21:00] show that they’re. that they invite me in and they want me to be a part of things it’s been really, it’s been really gratifying and, you know, I know, but I was thinking about your, like I see that you have some novels and I would imagine that those characters are very fixed in your mind.
So if you have somebody else like taking one of your characters and then dramatically changing that way, like a character, you know, how your character would he react in a certain scene? And then opposite of that, which portrays the character. It would be good. You’d be like, ah, no, that character would never say this.
Melissa: I was literally going to private rampage by the way
Derick Robertson: I had that. I had that happen to me yeah. Years ago when I was, just starting out in the business. But I wrote and drew a character for a Malibu Ultraverse and, One reason or another, it was supposed to be my ongoing book. And then the company kind of fell into hard times and the implosion of the nineties comics.
And they ended up getting sold off to Marvel. And my character went with him and I never got to do the story I was going to do. But the only thing [00:22:00] I said about my character was he would never join the justice league. It would make no sense he would always be alone or like Daredevil, you know, like Daredevil doesn’t join teams, you know, They were like, and that was my only thing.
And they. Took the character. I didn’t get to do my solo series and they stuck him in the ultra force because it was Malibu Ultraverse they put in, stuck him in ultra force. Didn’t even have me draw those comics and they made him a team character and killed him.
Melissa: Oh my God.
Derick Robertson: And I’m like, why do you hurt me?
You hurt me. He shouldn’t be dead. He shouldn’t be on a team
Melissa: one day. That’s all I asked for. Oh my God. No, I can’t even imagine. you know, like I said, I’m not at that level yet, but, yeah, you got very attached to these parents or as they become a part of the deal. Yeah. So if that ever happened, I would just literally have to probably go to like another country [00:23:00] for a little while and not look.
Derick Robertson: And so that’s why it’s been really pleasant to have the boys. Be such a positive thing. And, and I think they’re doing a great job with the characters in the show and you know, not everybody likes it, but that’s, that’s the fact that as many people do is amazing. I, I, we had a moment before episode one launch where I had seen a rough cut.
They had sent me. And then I decided not to watch any of the rest of them. And I did the same with season two. Like I read the scripts, but I didn’t want to see any of them. I wanted to see them in real time with everybody in which I’m doing, you know, my family loves it. My friends are really into it. So that’s been really nice too.
They, but it’s, there’s this point where. You have to let it go. Like you have to understand that it may not be what you want it to be, but can you enjoy it for what it is? And so there was this moment after I saw the first episode in the rough cut I’m like, that was really good. My wife was like, yeah, she doesn’t even read the comics.
Like she was like, she was like, no, I really like that. I want to see the next one so badly. And [00:24:00] I’m like, That’s a good omen. Cause like I know it’s like, you know, you think she’d be biased, but it’s kind of, yeah, there’ll be a judge it’s you like a partner, but,
Derick Robertson: but she’s not, I’m really, really good.
And so we were, I was waiting to see if, and then I, it was around the same time. Like I think the tick got canceled on Amazon. I was like, Oh, I’m going to be like the ticketing canceled, you know, like where it doesn’t find its audience. So to see it, like, it’s like the number one show on Amazon, that’s been just.
Blow my hair back.
Melissa: Oh yeah. It’s huge on Amazon. And I’ve been literally, like I watched season one and then. they, they teach you, you know, they say, Oh, these and see what’s available. And then it was just like the trailer and all that, you know, I want to see the whole season, but I mean, that’s part of the whole marketing thing.
no, I’m excited. and I’m curious, have you seen a resurgence in. People reading the comic. Now
Derick Robertson: people, I think people are discovering the comics for the first time right now because the sales on the comics have gone through the roof. So I think people are finding it’s [00:25:00] nice too, because with Amazon, like you can literally just go from watching the show to buying the comics all in one place.
So, but. You know, if you can get them from your local comic book shop, please do at the same time, I’m very happy. I’m very grateful that people are buying, that are going back and finding the comics. And it’s interesting because, I, I get different people that have never read it before. Like, Oh, this is so different.
And then people that have read it are saying, I’m reading it again and I’m enjoying it in a whole other way. So it’s, it’s, it’s been interesting. I, I don’t expect, you know, like I think Karl urban was saying in an interview that. Like he didn’t, he was a little put off by the comics, but he could see the heart of them.
And he said, you know, that they can’t do that show verbatim. So a lot of stuff they like, cause I mean, anise has a wild imagination and I I’ve always had a dark sense of humor. So between the two of us, you know, what we created wasn’t for everybody. And when it came out, it was very controversial. So, it’s been amazing to watch it succeed the way it has, because in many ways, [00:26:00] you know, the theme was ahead of the curve.
Melissa: Oh, totally ahead. I mean, and I think you’re seeing a trend now with people starting to, you know, creators going on their own path of you would have these Erez at different types of comics. We have the Spider-Man, the Batman, the Wolverine, you know, the XN. But now we have shows like the boys and umbrella Academy and things like that are doing such different things and younger audiences are really eating it up.
Derick Robertson: Yes. That’s actually what, you know, I have two teenage sons and that’s what they’re into. Like they big, they’re big fans of umbrella Academy and. and they’re also enjoying the boys, but they, but they really like umbrella Academy, for example, of like, and now they’re more getting more interested in reading comics.
So that’s definitely, but that’s great to see because that was sort of my dream. it’s this is my. Third go round with a successful, created Rome property. and, but that I got on that. I went off on that path early on because my very first, creation that [00:27:00] got me into comics when I was 17, was an original creator own book that I was, that I wrote and I drew and created from scratch.
Okay. And so I started there and then I, what I’ll ever wanted to do is draw Spider-Man and Batman and Wolverine and X-Men and all that stuff. That was my dream. And then I got in and I’ve, I’ve worked on most of the major superheroes that I’ve wanted to work on in some form or another, even if it’s just doing some covers or trading cards, I’ve drawn just about everybody.
And, and I love it, and I still love those characters, but as I. Gotten more caught up in the wheels of the machinations of working on, you know, properties that are owned by corporations, the longing to do something original and work with the gloves off is, is hard to resist. And so I found myself more and more wanting to get back into doing original stuff.
And what’s nice about when you do original stuff, is that, you know, if you play your cards right, and you retain your rights, when it gets turned into something, you can be a part of
Melissa: it. Absolutely. Yeah. [00:28:00] And it becomes your original thing becomes like the norm. It becomes the classic, essentially. There’s not potential.
Derick Robertson: Well, I feel very lucky in that, like, you know, just to see how successful this show has been. cause I didn’t know if everybody was going to react to it the way we reacted to it and to see that they really enjoyed it. And that it’s it’s, it’s reached this. Level of popularity. I mean, there’s spirit, Halloween stores are selling the boys’ costumes this year.
That just hurts my brain so
Melissa: I can, yeah,
Derick Robertson: I think it’d be people walking around, dressed as Homeland or this year.
Melissa: I think that that’s how, you know, you’ve made it. I have,
Derick Robertson: I have to tell you an anecdote from yesterday that just blew my mind. So, I w I was going out for a walk cause it was the first day I could actually get out in the open air and not feel like I was going to suffocate.
And so I went out for a walk, up in this road where I like to walk. And as I was getting out of the car, I listened to [00:29:00] a Sirius XM, and I’m a big new wave fan. And so I was, I always was, I always have first way of going on my car. And so, as I was getting out of our car Richard blade, who I’ve listened to, since I was a teenager, he used to do this show in LA and I have his eighties compilation CDs in my collection.
I’m like, love the skies. You know, I’ve known this guy for my whole, most of my young life. And, he was introducing in like REM Superman starts to play and he’s like, and here’s a song from Arianne that I imagine if they did it today, he’d call it home. Lander.
Melissa: Will make,
Oh my God. You’re like, I need to go back in time and tell my 16 year old self. I was like,
Derick Robertson: hearing your song on the radio. I was like, Oh my God.
Melissa: Oh my God. It’s amazing. He has in my mind,
Derick Robertson: pretty low.
Melissa: No. That’s [00:30:00] amazing. so going forward, are you going to be doing any more of the boys comics or is that final? Is there an ending,
Derick Robertson: S went back and did a prequel called dear Becky, which is on sale now. I think it’s approaching the end of it’s eight issue run. I don’t know if they’re going to do more or not.
I’m, I’ve done covers for them, but that was the only level of involvement I had on it.
Melissa: Okay. Okay, cool. so is there anything you can kind of tease about, season three? I heard he get renewed.
Derick Robertson: Yes, I can. I can tell you that there will be a season three. That’s literally as much as I even I know about at this point.
Derick Robertson: one of the reasons I think that they, chose to stretch the, the release out rather than dot and dumping it all at once was to kind of give a little bit more air to the schedule because COVID has slowed everything down, going back up to Toronto where they shoot the show has been difficult because a lot of the American actors aren’t allowed.
[00:31:00] Across the board, you know, so it’s been a very weird year, but there will be a season three and there’s a lot of enthusiasm for it. And I don’t think the boys as a franchisor, as a show is slowing down anytime soon it’s doing so well. I think they’re going to keep this thing going as long as it goes.
Melissa: cool. I really want to. I see you about is all of that.
Derick Robertson: Thank you for bringing up Oliver.
Melissa: I just downloaded volume one that’s today. and I think the physical concept, it’s a re-imagining of Charles Dickens Oliver twist. That in a post-apocalyptic England and he’s a superhero like this was the coolest thing.
tell me more about Oliver.
Derick Robertson: I’m so glad you brought it up. That’s been a real labor of love. my friend, Gary Wood, and I have been working on this thing for over a decade. It’s ridiculous how long it’s taken me to deduce the four issues. And then I need to go back and finish the story [00:32:00] at this point, but this is one of those double-edged swords with create our own comic, where I have to balance it out with other work, because.
Well, there’s not a lot of money until it’s done, you know, and then this, then it’s still maybe so it’s like two in order to kind of make ends meet. I can only work on it when I can work on it, but I love the book. I’m proud of the book and I think it’s some of my best work and I love Gary’s story. He created it.
and we actually became friends because of this book. It was based on his original screenplay that he wrote back in 2001, I think. And he approached me. He just kind of cold emailed me, got my email from somewhere. And asked me if I’d be interested in drawing it. And at the time I was like juggling three projects, finishing transmit, and taking on doing some Punisher for Marvel.
And then I just got hired to do over. And so I was like, well, I can’t try it, but I, I can and help you find somebody. And we ended up becoming friends because I was willing to help him out. And we got to know each other, just as people you flew to New York, I was living in New York at the time and he [00:33:00] flew us to New York and we got together and got to know each other as people.
And then when I moved back to the Bay area, we started hanging out and then it turned out that I said, Hey, whatever happened with Oliver? Cause I thought he had found an artist and went on without me. He said, no, I never did anything with it. So years ago I said, Hey, well let’s all do it. Let’s figure it out.
And we got it up and going after a while, it took me a long time to get the designs locked down. We changed our minds a bunch. and I started having kids. did you know? So we, You know, it didn’t, it’s not happening quickly, but I have this deep belief that it’s it’s. If it’s really good, people will find it when they find it.
And what is terrible is when it’s inconsistent. So, you know, cause a lot of times people, like I said, as you mentioned earlier, you know, people are just now reading the boys for the very first time. And I wish that I could, you know, and then also a trans metropolitan it’s been out for. Like we finished. I finished drawing that in 2002 and I still get people that are just now discovering it.
So it’s all those [00:34:00] things where it’s, it’s a complete story. Oliver’s going to be a complete story. So I just want it to be this kind of beautiful, all complete. Consistent what you product, where when you get it, it’s something that you’ll want to read over and over again. So I’m going to return to drawing it and hopefully get it the last of the story out, in the, by next year.
but it’s been a labor of love and a, and a slow one at that. And so I’m really grateful when anybody finds it at this point. I hope they see that the amount of work that I put into it.
Melissa: No, it’s gorgeous. I, I of just picked, you know, at a few of the pages and I mean, it’s absolutely beautiful and I’m all about the whole post apocalyptic thing.
And it just the colors, you know, that the safety, colors that we invoke that time period. I think it’s really interesting. And I’m curious, did you, like, when do you guys set out to do this comic? Was it. Going to originally be post-apocalyptic or whether other settings we’re throwing around.
Derick Robertson: It was always, that was always the main plot of everything.
Like what was like it’s, it’s, [00:35:00] that’s very much. And I’m basically adapting Gary screenplay into a comic, like there’s, you know, the first one we kind of went back and forth on, by the time I got to issue four, I was just breaking it down, you know? And now we’re going to try to figure out how to.
Condense the latter half, so we can get the next one out in four issues as opposed to eight, as a way of finishing the story and making it, you know, available to everybody and not making them wait another 10 years. Okay.
Melissa: I think it’s relevant. You know, the contrast of her class. No,
Derick Robertson: I’m sorry. There’s a lag and I’m cutting you off.
Melissa: Sorry. No, no, no. He w he was either this terror. That was four, and now you’ve made it into a superhero. And I think that’s interesting,
Derick Robertson: really fun. The next arc is a lot more interesting than the first arc in that. The first arc, you kind of see what he’s capable of. And in the second arc, we were going to meet our friends, Dodger and Fagan and all those characters.
And then there’s a [00:36:00] whole rich story there with them. And so, that, that I’m excited to get back into and draw those it’s a little more actiony and got a little romance and some other stuff about that. It’s a really good, he’s done a really great job making it his own while staying true to like what makes that character tick?
Melissa: Re-imagining yeah. That’s trials to compare, which I think would appeal to a lot of people because I think that’s a thing that’s also popular now is taking a, re approach to, you know, the fairy tale retellings and the classic literature that’s being re-imagined to fit, you know, our current concepts.
And then the themes tend to be very current as well. You know, like history repeats itself. I think that’s very interesting as well that you’re exploring that.
Derick Robertson: Yeah, I think so too. I mean, it’s funny because, kinda like with the boys TV show, like, you don’t know what your, sometimes it feels like your timing is.
All wrong and you, you can curse the darkness. And then other times [00:37:00] you look back and you go, man, this was just happened, right. When it should. So like with the boys, it’s so funny how contemporary it feels and they shot this season last year. And then there’s stuff in that that’s popping up that you go, Holy Toledo.
I had a crystal ball about where things were pivoting, you know,
Melissa: Exactly. Yeah. References to the play. We’ve been thinking about that. Yeah, it’s crazy.
Derick Robertson: Crazy. Eh, but, but at the same time, like, and they optioned the boys to make it a movie series back in 2008 and we waited and we waited and it never happened.
And I gave up on it at one point where I’m like, I’m just writing it off. It’s never going to happen. They’re going to. You know, somebody is going to renew the option every year or so. And, and I guess that’s all I can hope for. And then crib got ahold of it cause he wanted to do it. It turns out when he found out it was available, he loved the.
Comics so much. He was like, I have to make the show. And so, and then, and I did, and it’s amazing, but the, but in [00:38:00] 2008, like I remember thinking, Oh, it’s going to be Adam McKay was going to direct it. And like, it was going to be a movie series. And I got to see what Adam McKay was working on. He got to be friends with him and it was amazing just to see.
When the right person gets involved, how quickly it can move forward. But now it’s this television show and I think it works better as a television show than it would have it as a movie franchise. And at the same time, it’s, it’s more poignant and it’s hitting the, it’s hitting the Mark, right when it should, as opposed to.
had they maybe put it out 10 years ago. It might’ve been watered down into a PG 13 movie, and then you would’ve got like mystery men rather than, you know.
Melissa: Yeah. God perfect.
Derick Robertson: Mystery man could have been so much better, but they, they, they kind of lost what made it tick, you know?
Melissa: Yeah. No, absolutely. And that does tend to happen, but we are in different times now.
And I think that people are pushing the boundaries a lot more [00:39:00] audience Dominic, a lot more to that craving it almost. And it’s time, you know, raw on it. So, yeah. Well, I want to ask you also, so going back a little bit to make you reach back, what were your influences growing up? Like what did you, what made you think I want to do this, but a career.
W what were your influences growing up?
Derick Robertson: Oh, I loved, I was, you know, in the comics from a very young age, but I didn’t really understand. I just loved the storytelling element of them. I didn’t, I really didn’t have a particular favorite writer or artist when I first started reading comics. I just loved comics as a thing.
and as I got older, I started to realize. You know, people were getting paid to draw them. And then that’s when I realized, Hey, I could have a job doing this. but the other things that were a big influence on me, I loved like, Frank Frazetta is, and Boris Vallejo is fantasy art. I [00:40:00] loved heavy metal magazine.
I loved album covers and that kind of stuff really made an impact on me. I really loved, horror movies and Saifai, I’m a huge star Wars nerd, have been for life and, you know, like everybody else is just catching up with me as far as I’m concerned, but,
Melissa: I got it. Now. What’s your favorite star Wars movie?
Derick Robertson: well, the first, new hope, but it has to be like, it has to be qualified with, I think empire strikes back is the best, but I, but new hopes where it all started and my imagination was so, in the cradle. with that film long before I even knew there would be a second star Wars movie, much less nine, you know?
yeah, I was, that, that one has all the sentimentality for me. So it has nothing to do with quality as everything to do with the . So for me, it’s it’s star Wars and then, new hope, and then after that, you know, but I absolutely crazy about the Mandalorian. It’s like that’s renewing all of my old fields.
[00:41:00] Melissa: Okay. I haven’t seen it yet talking about it. Yeah.
Derick Robertson: If you’re a star Wars fan, you’re gonna, you’re gonna love it.
Melissa: I mean, he’s, I’m 41. so I was little young when it first came out, but my parents were big star Wars fan, so they may be lots of, you know, growing up and, of course there’s like three star Wars movies.
I believe that we won’t talk about certain people that were cast and then the original birth of best bet. everyone’s been talking about baby. I gotta get on this
Derick Robertson: really captures the heart yet. Cause you could tell Jonathan Rose like one of us. So it’s one of those cases where our fan is getting to make his thing.
And then my friend Giancarlo Esposito plays. Edgar on, on the boy, it’s also in the Mandalorian. So when I saw him last, I’m like you’re in everything, but it’s, it’s, it’s, it’s fantastic. I think the, it really captures if, if you’re a fan of. If you really want star Wars, like it really brings that home it’s meaty [00:42:00] and it’s gritty and it feels right.
I actually really liked solo a star Wars story, like the, the, his backstory when they, even though they recast. And I thought that really worked. I find myself going to that one a lot. I’m not a big fan of the prequels. I think that’s probably what you were alluding to. And then, and I, but I did like the last trilogy a lot.
I enjoyed it. I think people take it too seriously now, which they didn’t when I was a kid. So it cracks me up to see everybody getting so like, you know, entrenched about it. Cause it was, you know, when we were, I was a kid, I was lucky if I’d find somebody who also knew who Chewbacca was, you know?
No, well, we didn’t have social media back then. That’s the difference? I think
Derick Robertson: your opinions had to be discussed in person.
Melissa: Right in private, nobody cared back in my day. I mean, nobody cares now, but like now you can just publicly post it
Derick Robertson: things about the internet is like now everybody has a platform. So you don’t have to earn your way to having your opinion [00:43:00] read.
You have to just. Put it out there and you know, anybody, anybody you’ve already get some, it gets an equal voice and that just creates a capacity, but you know,
Melissa: keyboard, warriors,
Derick Robertson: keyboard, warriors.
Melissa: That’s awesome. I love star Wars. I think star Wars. And I was, I will say I was a little bit worried when they were like, we’re going to do all these new star Wars films, but I’m like, Oh God.
Derick Robertson: got to say, like, I’m super excited about that there, you know, there’s going to be an OB one series with who immigrate, or at least they’re supposed to be, I dunno if COVID will let that happen. But, I’m excited about that. I love Mandalorian. I can’t wait to see season two and, and I liked the last trilogy quite a bit.
And then of course, rogue one written by my friend, Gary would, after we had started on Oliver. That was pretty cool.
Melissa: No, that was fantastic. I mean the last. All the ones they’ve been putting out recently, have been absolutely amazing. I mean, just, they reminded me of, of the old original feeling that you had when you [00:44:00] were in that theater, you know, that epicness.
Derick Robertson: I really liked the last trilogy a lot. Yeah. I like the new characters. I love BB eight. I have a BBA Mo guy drink out of, but I’m a nerd I’m like easily swayed. So like, I don’t get that. I don’t get that marriage, you know, new ideas. I had the, have you, why have you ever done the machete? Cut? Okay. So because you’re like me and you’re not crazy about the prequels.
but I love a lot of the characters. Like I love Darth Maul. I just wish he was existing in a different, like, I love seeing him show up in the new trilogy. At the end of solo, for example, you know, that was pretty cool to see Darth Maul show up at the end of solo. But, the, the machete cat is like, you, you watch the movies in a different order, and if you do that, it makes it so much more enjoyable.
So what you do is you watch, solo, I is probably the earliest in the timeline, and then you watch rogue one. And then you watch star Wars, a new hope, [00:45:00] and then you watch it prior strikes back. But when you get to empire strikes back, you know, it’s got that kind of like truncated ending. It really doesn’t end.
It really just leads into and into returning. So, yeah. So when you get to the end of empire strikes back, then you go back and you skip, Phantom medicine entirely because you don’t really need that movie. And then you watch a attack of the clones and revenge of the Sith and you get. Oh, B one and darts backstory, because at, if you watch them in the order of one, like when they were like supposed to be watched, as far as the prequels are one through three, four through six, you know, if you watch them in that order, by the time you get to Darth Vader’s story, the greatest twist in movie history is ruined for you, you know?
Derick Robertson: I mean, if you’re going in cold, you need to know that Darth Vader is, is, is you don’t need to, you know, you gotta be surprised by Luke and Darth being father and son. That’s, that’s shocking when you saw it for the first time I saw it as a kid in the eighties and we were like, what? You know, so [00:46:00] you know that.
So if you watch it, so if you go and you. take a break from empire strikes back and you watch, tackle the clones and revenge of the Sith. Then you get the backstory, how Darth Vader became Darth Vader. So when you want, and then you go back and you watch return to the Jedi, the, the confrontation between Luke and Darth is really heartfelt.
Like it suddenly amps. Set up in a way that you, you wouldn’t get just going right out of empire, into return of the Jedi, because then you understand all of that, like Darth Vader is lost and who he was and when he almost was and what OB wants sacrificed it’s, it’s very powerful. And then, yeah. And then you roll into, you know, the obvious force wakens and last
Yeah. Yeah, that’s amazing. I never would have thought to watch them out of order. I literally got this down as you were talking, I was like, all right, I gotta write this down. This exact order. I was like,
Derick Robertson: I would like to take credit for it. It is not my original idea by any means. It’s something that I stumbled on, but it’s great.
But now you also have the attack of the clones, or the clone [00:47:00] Wars animated series and the really awesome rebels animated series that you can, that other people have broken down and woven in. So you can go and. Like watch. If you really want to extend this, you can weave those series into your watching as well as Mandalorian now.
So, you can. Plenty of nerds sites. We’ll lay it out for you, but, doing the movies, like that’s the way to do the movies, because then especially if you’re watching with somebody who might be new to star Wars, like if you’ve got a young person in your life, that’s never really watched the movies or just seeing a couple of them, that’s a great way to introduce them because then they get the rollercoaster that you’re supposed to have emotionally that you kind of get to pride of.
If you watch from Phantom menace to, you know, re rise of Skywalker.
Melissa: Right. There’s more like climax and suspense and yeah.
Derick Robertson: Yeah. And then the spoilers not ruined, you know,
Melissa: Right. That’s awesome. And I thought things like to even think about when they were writing it, because everything’s sort of happened over different decades in different areas.
Derick Robertson: Really clearly they were not thinking through what was [00:48:00] going to happen with, you know, Luke and Leia, because you watch the early trailers for the original 1970s star 77 star Wars as like a story of a boy and a girl in a galaxy. And it’s like, Oh, it’s a sister. She’s making out with him. It’s like, that’s his sister.
Don’t kiss your sister.
Melissa: I started watching it on TV. Now, when it, when they show it and you’re like, Oh, I said, it’s on television. And they’re like, Oh, that’s right. They’re not supposed to be romantically involved, but they really do a good job. tricking you and then making you feel dirty, like after
Derick Robertson: the groundwork triangle and the original new hope, and I, there’s no way you can give her otherwise.
And then they just decided after the fact, when I think Lucas was growing weary of the franchise, by the time he got to a return to the Jedi, but he, they just kind of wrapped it up in a bow with, Oh, they’re related.
[00:49:00] She’s truly clearly trying to make Han jealous by kissing Luke.
Melissa: So like we don’t have any other parents to do, they trying to live
Derick Robertson: lonely galaxy, I guess, you know?
Melissa: Yeah, exactly.
Oh, wow. so I do, I know you’re probably super busy and you gotta get you settled, but I do want to ask you, like if you have any things in the future coming up that you really want to talk about the exciting project you’re working on,
Derick Robertson: I’ve kind of run out of everything. I know I’m not getting anywhere. No, actually I’m in the middle of a wrapping up a Hellblazer rise and fall for a DCS black label. And I’m very excited about that and working with the great Tom Taylor and he and I are buds. And so it’s been a real labor of love. Andy Corey who’s been editing has been an absolute pleasure to work with and, the same Oliver colorist.
Diego Rodriguez is coloring. Hellblazer Ryzen Paul, and it’s been, it’s been a lot of fun issue [00:50:00] one’s out and doing very well and got good reviews. So I’m having a good time with that. And that’s just about wrapped up it’s each issue is 44 pages. So one issue is quite a bit of a. work, but I’m doing that.
And, I’m going to get back on Oliver as soon as I wrap this issue and hopefully have, the next four issues of Oliver out for everybody next year. And that’s on my plate for right now. Other than that, I’m sort of focused on just getting these projects back on track. Yeah,
Melissa: no, that’s amazing. I know I bought all of her on Amazon prime on Kinzel.
you can also purchase paperback, and I believe it’s listed on image comics as well.
Derick Robertson: Yes.
Melissa: Okay. And, do you have any other well, if you have any other way to supply to sell, we’ll put them in that show notes. so that way everyone can get a copy of all of her. I’m really excited about it just because yeah, I love the literary, but I’m a big Charles Dickens fan.
And, anytime it was like, I’ll be [00:51:00] imagining in a different setting. I just think that’s so brilliant.
Derick Robertson: You said it’s been a real labor of love for me. I’m very proud of the book and I just wanted, you know, it’s, it’s sort of like rock and a hard place where I could get it out, you know? Faster, but it’s like the old same fast, cheap or good.
You got to pick two. So I’m, I’m, I’m choosing to do it as to make it as great as I can make it. So when it’s all collected, it’ll be something, you know, somebody will enjoy owning. also, there’s another book out there. If you’ve never seen it. Couple of years old now, but, ballistic my black mask.
It’s an original creation, by myself, anatomy, Egypt, Mortimer’s gone on to be a pretty successful horror director. if you’ve never read that, I highly recommend it, especially if you like, my world building like I did in trans metropolitan, but that’s good stuff, ballistic. And, I think you’ll like it.
And so, and also if you’ve never read trans metropolitan, it’s more poignant than ever,
Melissa: right? Yeah. That I need to read through. I was looking that up by the way, [00:52:00] or, yeah, no, I’m absolutely interested in all of that and I’m a big core fan and, the theme of. Current versus, you know, fairy tale, but making them all sort of, and our main goal.
and re-imagining, I think that’s amazing. So, yeah, but let’s stick as look. I’m very excited. so also let’s not forgot. Everybody’s watched the boys on Amazon sign. Yes. Well, thank you so much for being on here today.
Derick Robertson: It’s been a pleasure talking to you.
Melissa: Yeah, no, you’ve been great. I’m so excited for everything you’ve thought coming out.
it’s just been amazing. So thank you for taking the time to talk to me to say, and like aside we’ll post things in the show notes. if you have anything else you want to plug that you forgot to mention, just like, you know, email, whatever country we’ll put it in the
Derick Robertson: show notes. Sounds good. And I’m going to go follow you on Twitter.
Melissa: I’ll call you back.
Derick Robertson: Awesome. It was nice meeting you, Melissa. It was good talking to you
[00:53:00] Melissa: so nice talking to you as well. There are other great night.
Derick Robertson: You too. Stay safe.
Melissa: Bye bye.
Derick Robertson: Bye.