While attending this year’s Comic-Con International I was able to sit down with an outstanding scribe, Ken Kristensen. You know him best for Todd, the Ugliest Kid but he’s also the current writer for Indestructible. And there’s more because Jeff Kline, the man behind Darby Pop, chimes in as well.
UTF: So Ken [Kristensen], how did you get involved with Indestructible?
Ken Kristensen: Jeff [Kline] was looking for someone to take over the writing chores on the book. He interviewed a hundred writers. I beat out most of the top A-List guys.
We were joking earlier today about how we had a very nice meeting. And we bonded over our mothers. Greg [Pincus]’s mom plays a role in the comic and that character is based on Jeff’s mom. She even has her name. Anyway, in my interview with him we just started talking about moms. I told a story, he told a story, remarkably these women have similar attitudes. Anyways I got the characters, I understood their family and I was excited to play in this world of superheroes.
Jeff’s architecture for that universe was more about their personal lives than it was about giant battles. He said, “Obviously there’s going to be a big story about superheroes and super-villains. But really we spend the majority of the book on the trials and tribulations of dealing with the decision that Greg and Barry made, which was to lie to the world.”
That was a new twist for me on the genre and I thought that’s something that I could embrace. And he obviously wants to push the comedy in the book which is something that I do a little.
UTF: It’s doable.
Ken Kristensen: He invited me to work on it and I’ve been loving every minute of it. I got to bring my creative team on board. It was one I selected and Jeff said, “Yes.” That’s great because it’s people that I love to work with and I’m having a blast. I think every issue of the book that I’ve worked on has been remarkably successful on every level. We really tried to hit everything that we could. In fact I just got the inks for the last four pages of issue #9 and they look fantastic.
Jeff Kline: Do you remember where we were when we actually shook hands and said, “We’re doing this?”
Ken Kristensen: We were near a hot dog stand outside of New York Comic Con across 10th Avenue from the Javits Center. The smoke from the bratwurst was choking us.
Jeff Kline: So if anyone questions where business happens, it’s at a Con!
Ken Kristensen: [laughs] It doesn’t happen at the Con. It happens within one hundred and fifty yards from the parking lot, where there’s food, that’s not 20 dollars for a pretzel.
I want to bring up a specific scene that happened this year. It involved these workout shoes that are perfectly formed to your feet. Greg‘s roommate Barry gets a pair and I believe he steps in dog shit.
Jeff Kline: That’s right.
UTF: How’d that come about?
Ken Kristensen: Okay. I often run the canyon in LA. One morning, I see a good friend of mine with his dog. He’s got these shoes on. He’s like Tarzan and he happens to be a star on Black Sails. He’s Captain Vane (Zach McGowan) with these toe shoes.
He’s running. He’s got a shirt on. He’s got his pit-bull. I was like, “Man! That’s too funny. If you ever step in dog shit with those, it must be really hard to get it out of the toes.” I’m goofing on him a little bit. He takes himself really seriously. He’s like, “No! These shoes are the best.” He’s like, “I feel so connected to the Earth.”
Anyway, I had to use that in the book. Barry basically makes a point of saying that it’s really “tribal” and he’s “connecting himself to the Earth.” It actually pays off in issue #9 where he’s got a very big action scene. There’s a call back to that moment and yes it’s a headline ripped from my own experiences.
UTF: So where do you see Indestructible going from here?
Ken Kristensen: I think that the theme of this arc is that Greg‘s learning more about himself by telling lies than he ever learned telling the truth. That irony is something that I love and tried to really layer in the last few issues. He wants to be a superhero and this league is trying to recruit him. But he’s afraid because after they succeed they’re really going to shine a spotlight on him and figure out that he doesn’t have powers.
For him, I think, there’s going to be a breaking point where he’s going to have to confess and tell somebody.
UTF: I’ve got one final question. As you continue to work on a piece, with characters that are established, how do you come up with new stories to keep their property fresh?
Ken Kristensen: I think it’s really about the depth of the world you create. Generally speaking it’s the deeper it is in terms of its construction the more you’re going to be able to come up with great stories for a long, long time. When I came on this book, Jeff handed me essentially a thirty page document. It was all about this world and the characters, including ones you’ve never even seen.
I think that’s really what you need to do. Before you start writing your first issue flesh it out, “What is this world that we’re dealing with? What are the politics of it? Who are these characters and what are their dynamics?” Fifteen, twenty, thirty characters that you can really draw a diagram around and say, “This is how they interact. This is how they conflict.” Once you’ve created that then it’s going to be easy to immerse yourself in it as a writer.
The other way to do it is constantly keeping your characters moving either to new locations or relationships. The stories come out of those circumstances. The theme is also important. When I started this arc I said, “I love this theme of a man who lies and find the truth about himself,” so find ones you’re really interested in exploring.
As writers we’re all professional liars. I always like the idea of, “How do you get to the truth by telling a lie?” I think that’s what fiction does best.
I want to take the time to thank Mr. Ken Kristensen for chatting with me. It was a great pleasure to talk about Indestructible, which is by far my favorite title coming from Darby Pop Publishing, so far!
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.