Interview: Comic Writer Michael Benedetto: Tales From The Darkside, Drive

In Comic Books, IDW, Interviews by Duff2 Comments

Hey Nerds!

A few backs the first of four issues of Joe Hill’s Tales From the Darkside comic hit stand. It’s based off his ill-fated TV pitch to resurrect the series. I loved it. Great art from Gabriel Rodriguez and plenty of good weirdness.  Writer/editor Michael Benedetto, whom adapted Hill’s script was nice enough to take some time and chat with SJP about the series.  Benedetto also brilliantly adapted  James Sallis’ Drive for IDW last year.  So he’s kinda got this adaption thing down!

Enjoy!  And make sure to pick up Tales From The Darkside and Drive at your local comic shop!

 

Hey Michael, thanks for doing this. Really dug your adaption of Joe Hill’s Tales From Darkside – how involved was he in the process?

Thanks for checking out the book! I was very excited to be working with Joe from the start, so getting his feedback and approval on things was top priority. He reviewed outlines before I started scripting each issue, but after issue one, he seemed pretty willing to give me the green light on whatever tweaks or changes I thought would work best for the comic. He’s very closely involved in monitoring the progress of each issue as pages come in, and he’s been an amazing person to work with. I only hope I can do my part to live up to his vision of the Darkside.

Were you a fan of the original show or film? If so did you have a favorite episode?

I have to admit that Tales from the Darkside totally slipped by me until I started working on the series. But I’ve always been a huge fan of The Twilight Zone and similar kinds of anthology series, so I had a good feel for things going in. I did watch quite a bit of the show in preparation for starting in on the comic series and more than once rewatched “Word Processor of the Gods,” which is one of Joe’s personal favorites. Any fans of that particular episode are in for a treat!

Gabriel Rodriguez’s artwork is stellar as always-did you provide input or do you just let a a guy that run with it?

Gabriel continually shows me how far beyond stellar he can go, and there doesn’t seem to be any end in sight. Much like working with Joe, I was thrilled to have the opportunity to collaborate with Gabe, so I let my imagination run wild. I gave him a lot of input for each issue, and he adds so much extra detail and care to each page—it beats out my expectations every time. Not knowing if I’d ever get a chance to revisit the Darkside with him, I may have asked quite a bit of Gabe for these issues, but he always pulls it off in a way that makes the Darkside a truly beautiful and horrifying place to visit. With Ryan Hill’s colors, the first issue was visually stunning, and it only gets better from there.

You’re no stranger to adapting, your take on James Sallis’ Drive is fantastic-is there a difference in adapting a teleplay VS a novel?

Thanks! Glad you liked Drive. Taking a novel and serializing it as four separate issues that tell a story together is very different from taking one of Joe’s teleplay’s and squeezing it into a single issue (or two issues) that stands all on its own. Both presented their own challenges, but being able to work on projects where most of the heavy lifting is done already by such talented writers means I just get to have a lot of fun puzzling out how to do the source material justice in comic book form.

Chiefly, you do a lot of editing at IDW. I think are still a bit confused with that title. It’s responsible for a lot more than checking spelling. What’s the day-to-day duties of an editor?

My work for IDW now is freelance—mostly writing—but I can definitely say from my experience as an editor there that spell checking is the smallest fraction of daily activity. A lot of what you’re doing day to day is keeping track of deadlines, managing projects so that all the pieces come in on time and come together to make one of several books you have your eye on for the month. It’s a lot of work, but holding the final product in your hand when it’s all done is a sweet reward!

Does the role of editor vary from project to project-say a licensed project VS a creator owned one?

Absolutely. Some projects require more of a heavy hand than others, and depending on who has final say, a book can change course quite a bit at any given point. A lot of the editing I’ve done was on creator-owned titles, which I enjoyed quite a bit.

Can you tell us what you’re next writing project is or at least hint at it?

I’ve been lucky enough to work alongside the incredibly talented William Gibson on Archangel for IDW. It’s a kind of alternate-history, time-travel, sci-fi mashup, and though Mr. Gibson is the writer and mastermind behind the universe, I had a hand in helping with the story breakdown (flexing my ever-growing adaptation muscles once again). With Butch Guice’s art, inks by Tom Palmer, and Diego Rodriguez on colors, the book looks beautiful. Go check it out!

Last question, easy one where can fans keep up with you?

Watch my website and follow me on Twitter @TheOneBenedetto for news on more cool projects to come!