This week over at Thrillbent, the third volume of Insufferable by Mark Waid and Peter Krause kicks off. I got a chance to talk with Waid about the latest volume, the relationship between Nocturnus and Galahad and the future of digital comic publishing.
DW: The basic premise for Insufferable is that a pair of heroes, Nocturnus and his son and former sidekick Galahad are forced to work together again. As we now move into the third volume of the series, what is the relationship like between the two men? Have the resolved any of the issues that caused them to split?
MW: HA! Not hardly. It would seem so, because they have to pull together to save the city, but as we all know, forced relationships rarely last. They say they've put their differences aside, but if anything, their conflict is coming to a head, and fast. And with much ugliness.
DW: How much of today's 'reality show" mentality, that has become prevalent in our culture, has played into the characterization of Galahad? Are we only seeing the surface of his character or is this who this young man is deep down?
MW: That's a great question. I honestly think that, when it comes to Galahad, there's not much "there" there. He really is all surface–or, at least, that's where he's most comfortable, burying the deep stuff away. One of the reasons the relationship between Nocturnus and Galahad is so dysfunctional is because Nocturnus was so invested in his work as a crimefigher, the only way he could relate to his son was as a sidekick. He didn't know how to talk to his boy like a father would, and he never learned. That left Galahad growing up not sure who he is if he's not wearing the suit.
DW: With this being the third volume, do you find it necessary to up the stakes to keep the two heroes having to interact? And is it only the outside forces bringing them together or do they have a desire to repair the rift between them?
MW: I think they have a desperate desire to heal their rift, but that's not a wound easily patched. And as you'll see with this third volume, we're about to up the stakes about as far as we can. Both Peter Krause and I are tired of simply having these men bicker and fight; Pete is the one who challenged me to move their relationship forward drastically–though not necessarily happily. And that's the core of the third arc.
DW: The synopsis talks about the city being under siege by all of their arch-enemies. We've seen villain's team up in the past and it seems like their individual greed and ego is most often their demise. Who are these villains and how do they keep from being their own biggest problem?
MW: I'm tempted to give you some big song and dance about how awesome and formidable and malefic these villains are, but I'll shoot straight with you; they're not the problem. They're not the real threat.
DW: There series has been referred to as a dramedy, combining the comedic aspect found in the surface parody as well as straight forward comic book drama. Does your approach to writing this series differ from your other titles and how do you find the right mix of humor, action and drama?
MW: I don't really approach it any differently; no matter what the project, what I'm looking for is the heartfelt moments, the character pieces. Pete reminds me that, as originally envisioned, this was more of a comedy, but what's made this a passion project for us both is how we pushed that boundary so that Nocturnus and Galahad are real characters, not just cartoons.
DW: You are working again with Peter Krause on this series. Having worked with him on the earlier volumes and Irredeemable, how has the creative collaboration between you grown? Do you write specifically for his strengths? And how much does the 4 x 3 landscape format play into your scripting?
MW: I'd be a dope NOT to play to Pete's strengths, which are legion. Primary among them, though, is the way he can illustrate and dramatize the quiet, subtle character moments. That's why, while INSUFFERABLE is full of action, it's also full of more subdued scenes. And the landscape format? It doesn't play so much into my scripting as it allows Pete's art to really breathe.
DW: I've read in other interviews that Thrillbent was made to explore the possibilities offered by the digital comic medium. Now that you are over two years in, where do you see the digital comic world, how can it be improved upon and what needs to happen to make it reach its full potential?
MW: Good questions. First and foremost, I think the digital publishers–and we've been in discussions about just this–need to ally a little more closely to drive awareness of digital comics. The great thing about the internet is its accessibility. The bad thing about the internet is that easy accessibility means the signal-to-noise ratio becomes a loud din, and it's tough to be heard and to stake out real territory in the digital plain. I think that's the most imperative improvement at hand–we need to marshall our forces and get the message out that we exist.
To read Insufferable Volume 3, head on over to the Thrillbent website.