Walt Flanagan is an average, everyday comic shop manager… that also does a podcast, is on AMC’s Comic Book Men, has drawn Batman for DC Comics multiple times, appeared in multiple movies and has this third creator-owned series with Bryan Johnson on the shelves now. That’s what happens when you go to high school with Kevin Smith and turned him onto comic books in the first place. Flanagan sat down with Mike Raicht to talk about Cryptozoic Man being published by Dynamite Entertainment.
MIKE RAICHT: How did Cryptozoic Man come to life for you guys?
WALT FLANIGAN: The Cryptozoic Man design/ idea came from the old 1980s plastic man saturday morning cartoon. I picked up the entire series on DVD at a close out store for 5 bucks about 2 years ago… on one the episodes plastic man faced off against a villain who was half man half Bigfoot… I thought that was so cool… and if a man who is half Bigfoot is cool? How about A man who is than 1/4 Jersey Devil, a 1/4 Loch Ness Monster as well as part Bigfoot! Even cooler!
MR: Following your other two collaborations, Karney and War of the Undead, when did you decide this book was the next book to pull the trigger on?
WF: It’s actually something that took a lot longer to bring to life than I thought It would have…But when the producers on comic book men started saying amc wanted to see a pitch to a publisher…that’s when the ball really got rolling.
MR: You guys were able to launch this title in an amazingly unique way with a televised pitch session with Dynamite. I can’t imagine the pressure of that.
WF: I get nervous enough sending in a pitch over e-mail without having to worry about television cameras in the room. Do you think this type of launch can ramp up the pressure or have you guys remained calm about the whole thing? Yea, I imagine our way of pitching the book to dynamite was the first time in comics history that a pitch was filmed for a television show.as far as pressure? It was a bit nerve racking in the actual pitch.i certainly didn’t want to hear dynamite wasn’t interested and than have that seen on national tv.
MR: How would you describe launching a brand new title?
WF: Its so fun when you can create a new character and universe to work in…there are no limits or restrictions. So you get to go crazy a bit!
MR: You both have both done this before having launched both Karney and War of the Undead at IDW together. Is there anything you learned from those experiences which you brought to this book?
WF: Not really… The one thing we learned since Karney and War of the Undead were released is we were in a position to market the series in a different way than we did with those other 2 series from IDW. Since the release of War of the Undead, Bryan and I started a podcast along with an old friend named Brian Quinn of the hit tv show impractical jokers called “TELL EM STEVE DAVE” and we have slowly built a very loyal, supportive listener base that really came through for us in ordering the Cryptozoic Man set. We marketed the book substantially through our podcast and sold a lot of comics. I can’t thank those listeners enough who ordered the book in support of Bryan and myself.
MR: You guys clearly have a pretty tight relationship to begin with, but from experience, co-writing can have some amazingly fun highs and be complicated and difficult at other times. How is it working as a writing team?
WF: Well, first off there’s no way I can call what I do as co- writing… I just offer some suggestions or more so visual suggestions… Bry does all the writing. I just came in at the beginning and offered more a plot or outline to Bryan… he’s done all the heavy lifting as far as writing goes
MR: How do you guys handle it?
WF: I gave him some character designs, some plot points i wanted to try to get in there and lay out some things i wanted to draw in the series and let Bry go to town.
MR: Obviously, with you on art you have the final say, right?
WF: I guess so but if Bry felt strongly about changing something I drew or didn’t draw? I’d do what he asked.
MR: I love the out of this world sci-fi, horror mix you have going on in this book. What would each of you consider your main influences while working on this title?
WF: Thanks… Wow. So many things I can point to as influences… From Swamp Thing, to Warlock, to the Animal Vegetable Mineral Man… The list goes on and on… Let’s just say any Marvel comic from the 70s and every DC comic from the 80s is an influence as well as the old television show “In Search Of”
MR: What is the best thing Brian brings to your partnership?
WF: His insane, skewed but often very subtle weird out look… Sometimes the creepiest thing is the most subtle thing he wrote on the page… I love that.
MR: How would both of you recommend Cryptozoic Man to those looking for something new to try at the comic shop?
WF: Hmmmm, how about “You looking to take a ” trip”? Wanna sit in on the strangest tea party the universes have ever seen? Than give the cryptozoic man a go. It’s your ticket to the creepiest cosmic spookshow ever witnessed!”
MR: Do you have more Cryptozoic Man planned beyond the initial 4 issue arc or are you going to develop a new property together?
WF: I guess that’s really up to dynamite more than us if we will see more cryptozoic man .
Cryptozoic Man #2 is on sale now.
Mike Raicht writes for Dynamite as well with Dark Shadows #23, the final issue in the series, coming out this week.