From Colbert to Quantum and Woody!
Writer Daniel Kibblesmith talks about his arrival at Valiant Comics writing the "world's worst superhero team."
Daniel Kibblesmith is primarily known for his work as a writer on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert. Kibblesmith is no stranger to the fast paced and competitive world of late night comedy, which makes the comedic scribe perfect to take on one of the funniest and most farcical properties in comics with Valiant’s Quantum and Woody.
For those who have never had the pleasure of experiencing the adventures of Quantum and Woody, Quantum is a buttoned up, disciplined military man while Woody is a slacker who really doesn’t care much about anything. When the two gain super powers that only work when they bang their wristbands together, the pair find themselves as the unlikeliest super friends of all. And there’s also a goat.
Quantum and Woody were created by famed Black Panther and current Deathstroke writer Christopher Priest and Priest’s artistic partner on Black Panther MD Bright. There have been a number of incarnations of the duo, but soon, Valiant will be presenting a new volume of the pair’s misadventures. At New York Comic Con, we had the pleasure to talk with Kibblesmith about his arrival to comics, late night TV, Quantum and Woody, and of course, the goat.
Den of Geek: So what comics work have you had published before you landed Quantum and Woody?
Daniel Kibblesmith: I’ve been published in various anthologies before. I had some humor pages in Unity #25 and Bloodshot #25 for Valiant… I did a book for Heavy Metal called The Doorman. I did a digital only book for Valiant called Valiant High.
You come from the world of late night comedy…
Yes, for Stephen Colbert.
So how did you get involved with comics?
It comes from having a lot of passion and not knowing what’s going to hit. Trying to work the hardest you can on the things you love. When you do those things in parallel, sometimes you arrive at the same place. I started doing comics when I befriended then Valiant editor Alejandro Arbona. He was the one that recruited me for Unity #25 with other comedians. That’s how I got on Valiant’s radar. They asked me to pitch Valiant High, where I got to play with the Valiant characters and where I got to play outside continuity. Then in terms of writing on TV and on Twitter, people knew that I loved comics and was interested to doing more comics.
Did you have to change your process to do comics?
It’s very much a day job and a night job. The Colbert Show is very regimented. We pitch news stories in a meeting and then our deadlines are immediate. It’s a different schedule and a different muscle. When you switch to something narrative, all the comedy comes out of personalities…it’s pretty much the difference between broad one-liners and observational humor that you do on talk show versus when the comedy comes from characters and situations. In the case of Quantum and Woody, with the characters clashing off each other.
Let’s talk Quantum and Woody, you’re starting with a new #1. Where are they when you’re picking them up?
It’s a new jumping on point for readers of the previous series. It’s the same Quantum and Woody and Goat from James Ausmus’ run. We join them a little down the road where they’ve grown completely estranged from each other. As estranged as two people in Quantum and Woody’s situation can be considering that they have to clang their wrist bands together to get their powers. But they’re not on speaking terms, and we find out in the first couple of issues, it’s because Quantum knew the identity and whereabouts of Woody’s birth father. He kept that from Woody maybe for selfish reasons, maybe to protect Woody. We don’t really know. That’s the fight that broke up Quantum and Woody and where we pick them up.
Where does the comedy come from in Quantum and Woody?
It comes from their characters. It’s like the biggest gift that ’90s Quantum and Woody gave us. It’s the biggest gift Bright and Priest gave us. Their personalities were so complete right out of the gate. It’s like Peter Parker had such a complete personality. You recognize your best and worst self in them. It’s a buddy cop story, it’s an adult sibling story. It’s about two guys that literally can’t stand each other. It’s them bouncing off each other. Because their personalities are so complete, you can do any story with them. You can send them to caveman times and they’re immediately recognizable as Quantum and Woody.
I’m glad you mentioned Priest and Bright. It seems we’re living in Priest’s world now. The Black Panther film seems to have borrowed generously from Priest, you’re obviously playing in a sandbox he established, can you talk about Priest’s influence?
I discovered [Quantum and Woody] as an adult. It wasn’t until I read Ausmus’ Quantum and Woody and then went back and read Priest. It was shocking how ahead of its time it was.
It was Deadpool before Deadpool.
Yeah, it was, it was also Hawkeye before Hawkeye. The personality and the storytelling techniques. It wasn’t just self-awareness in the sense of breaking the fourth wall, it was self-awareness. It was aware of the role of this comic in the real world. It was incredible how ahead of its time it was.
Are there are any Valiant characters you also have the bug to write?
I don’t know if I’ll be allowed to, but doing Valiant High was a great way to play with the Valiant toy box. So off the top of my head, it would be Ninjak and Faith. Especially the idea of Ninjak with Faith because I love the idea of pairing the bright and bubbly super hero with the guy who takes things too far.
Does Mister Colbert know about this book? He’s a comic guy, right?
Yeah, he’s a comic guy. I don’t think he knows I’m doing this. When you watch The Late Show, there’s lots of nerd references. If he doesn’t know about it now, maybe he will soon.
So to wrap up, tell us something about the goat.
The goat we know and love is back. You do not find out what happens from the big cliffhanger in the previous series. When we last saw the goat, the big cliffhanger is not resolved in our first issue. The way we have been explaining it is, we have a plan for the goat. No one will be disappointed with the goat.
One last question. Everyone is looking for the next Deadpool, you have it. Who would you cast as Quantum and Woody?
Oh man, keeping in mind I have nothing to do with any of this. Taran Killam as Woody and Michael Jai White as Quantum. With me as the goat.
Quantum and Woody #1 arrives in December. Mr. Kibblesmith’s children’s book, Santa’s Husband, is now available on Amazon.
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