While attending this year’s Amazing Arizona Comic Con I was able to sit down with scribe Ken Kristensen and discuss his title for Image Comics. That’s right guys Todd, The Ugliest Kid on Earth gets the spotlight in this interview.

UTF: So here did the idea for Todd, The Ugliest Kid come from?

Ken Kristensen: Actually Todd came from two places. One, my nephew, who was four years old visited me in New York City, and his reactions to all the ugliness there was hilarious because he looked at everything in the most innocent way possible.

Todd, The Ugliest KidOne day I was walking through Times Square with my nephew on my shoulders and he said, “Hey look, there’s a man who spilled cranberry juice all over himself,” and I looked over and there was a guy covered in blood lying on the sidewalk and I thought, that is an amazing point of view. This kid had seen something like a cranberry juice bottle ten feet from this man who’s covered in blood and he put those two things together and he came up with this very innocent interpretation of what the hell was going on.

He kept doing that the whole visit. He was walking around seeing the craziest, ugliest stuff that New York has to offer and he was reinterpreting it all. Actually, the second part of it is that M.K. [Perker] had a run in with Todd Solondz, the film director, and it didn’t end well. They got into a fight and he angrily sketched this character with a bag on his head and underneath it he wrote “Todd, the ugliest kid on Earth.”

We put the two things together.

We took that sketch and my nephew’s point of view, and we knew we had a really interesting character that we wanted to play with and then we just decided this character needs to be put in the ugliest circumstances he can be in, in order for it to be funny. We’ll put him in prison. In the first arc, he gets falsely accused of a murder he didn’t commit. In the second arc, his sister gets kidnapped by demons, and Todd has to go to hell and confront Satan. The third arc, which is the new one that we’re working on, he gets involved with a terrorist group.

We’re trying to put Todd in different worlds in which his point of view will really thrive and push the satire. It’s a social book, and we’re trying to push the satire as far as we can.

UTF: That sounds great. When you first sat down to start crafting the world, coming up with the characters therein, were there any that you were drawn to immediately?

Todd, The Ugliest Kid on Earth UTF Quoted CoverKen Kristensen: I actually love when a book can take a really unsympathetic character and by the end of the first or second issue, you start to care about them.

Todd‘s parents are really neglectful and really unlikeable, but I did my best to develop them in a way whereas flawed and terrible as they are you begin to see things from their point of view. They want something better for themselves, which we all want on some level.

Unfortunately for them, they don’t have the tools to get there in a way where they’re not ruining other people’s lives. They’re flawed beings but I loveTodd‘s mother and father, and the devil when we started with the idea we thought he’s evil but there’s a subplot. And his son gives you a chance to see the devil as just a dad who wants the most for his kid.

To most, from his point of view, is a lot of terrible stuff but I think you can, on some level, relate to what he’s going through. The pain that he’s going through because his son won’t allow him to do what he thinks are nice things for him. Anyway, it’s kind of ironic that the devil became one of the most fun and kind of heart breaking narratives in the book.

Then there’s the police chief, who’s the most inept policemen in the world. His intention really is to be on Nancy Grace weekly because he’s busted some drug dealer or found some kidnapped child but he’s so stupid. And that’s what’s fun about writing him. He thinks he knows everything, and he thinks he’s

Sherlock Holmes, but he’s a complete idiot.

UTF: Is Todd the focus which brings out the good in other people?

Family valuesKen Kristensen: Todd is definitely in the moral center of the book, and his impact on most of the characters in his world is minimal. He’s the one who has to deal with his own issues because he’s pretty neglected. He navigates all the ugliness and all the violence in his world through his super power, which is being optimistic and positive about everything that he sees.

Whereas these other guys like the police chief or his mom or his dad are navigating the ugliness of their world in a really pathetic and misguided way. They’re motivated by selfish means, ends, and the means that they use to get to those ends are sometimes horrific but always hilarious.

UTF: If you were to pitch this book to the average comic book enthusiast, what would you say and why?

Ken Kristensen: I think if you come from a dysfunctional family, and who doesn’t? You’ll recognize a lot in this book and you’ll relate to  it. Tonally reviewers have compared it to South Park and Family Guy and Drawn Together and a lot of those types of shows. That’s it. If you like edgy comedy and come from a family that’s flawed, you’ll laugh your ass off.

I want to take the time to thank Mr. Ken Kristensen for chatting with me. It was a pleasure to speak with him and I can easily say that TODD, THE UGLIEST KID ON EARTH is a favored comic here at UTF!

So what did you think of the interview my fellow fanboys and fangirls?

Sound off with your thoughts and opinions in the comments section below!