Scooby-Doo Team-Up Writer Sholly Fisch Talks Batman, Watchmen, and his Favorite Mystery Inc. Members!
Jinkies! Chris talks with Scooby-Doo! Team-Up writer Sholly Fisch about DC’s nostalgia-drenched comic.
You’d be forgiven if you dismissed Scooby-Doo! Team-Up as a title that is strictly for young readers… and you’d also be dead wrong. The comic is one of the biggest surprises of 2013, sweet and nostalgic for those who grew up with the Mystery Incorporated gang and just plain funny for those new to the adventures of Scooby, Shaggy and their pals. Writer Sholly Fisch has teamed up with illustrator Dario Brizuela to create a joy of a book that deserves to escape from the confines of the kid’s comic section of your local store and find a place on your pull list. Chris recently had the opportunity to speak with Fisch about all things Scooby-Doo! Team-Up. Here’s what he learned.
Den of Geek: Whose idea was it to make a Scooby-Doo! Team-Up comic? Tell me a little bit about the genesis of the project.
Sure. In the beginning… Oops, wrong “Genesis.” Originally, my editor, Kristy Quinn, actually asked if I’d like to submit some pitches for a Scooby-Doo Meets Batman one-shot. So I sent in about a half-dozen ideas, figuring they’d pick one – and was pleasantly surprised (and a little baffled) to discover that, when the Powers That Be saw how many ideas I had, they decided to turn it into a six-issue limited series instead. Then, I was even more baffled when they later decided to expand it again, into an ongoing Scooby-Doo! Team-Up series that reaches beyond Batman too. So, basically, I’ve just been baffled. But happy.
Is there a specific time period these team-up stories are set in? Although there doesn’t seem to be anything to specifically date them other than the Mystery Inc. gang’s clothes, they feel very ’70s to me.
Like most things of this kind, Scooby-Doo! Team-Up is set in a kind of timeless world. It’s essentially the present, but it’s not 40 years after Scooby’s first appearance or 75 years after Batman’s. Otherwise, they’d be “those meddling senior citizens.”
The Batman and Robin story directly references the events of The New Scooby-Doo Movies. Will you be doing follow ups to other installments of that series? It would be a weird, and downright fascinating, move if you chose to do more sequel episodes to the Scooby-Doo Movies series and featured celebrities like Don Knotts who have either passed away or fallen out of the public eye. Or are the plans to strictly feature guests from the DC Universe?
Well, I can’t say too much about any of that yet, because the approvals are all still being worked out. For now, I will say that, over time, the list will definitely extend beyond the Bat-family, and hopefully, beyond the DC Universe too. Much as I love Don Knotts and the Harlem Globetrotters, there aren’t any plans for follow-ups to any specific episodes of New Scooby-Doo Movies. But if all goes well, there’ll be more than a few real surprises waiting in the wings.
In the meantime, the first few issues center on Batman, Robin, and other familiar faces from the streets of Gotham. As you’ve probably seen already, the first issue pairs the Dynamic Duo with Scooby and the gang as they track down Man-Bat. The second one brings them back together to face the Scarecrow – but, more important, it features the first-ever team-up between Scooby and Ace the Bat-Hound, as well as the first meeting of Mystery Inc. and the Mystery Analysts of Gotham City. Not to mention one particular DC investigator who’s really a natural fit to Scooby and the gang, but I’m pretty sure no one will see him coming. And then, we go waaaaayyy over the top in #3, when that mischievous, magical imp Bat-Mite comes to town… and we meet Scooby’s own all-new, Fifth Dimensional “biggest fan,” Scooby-Mite!
Is there even remotely a chance of you making my dreams come true by having Scooby meet some of the Watchmen characters? Are any DC characters off limits at this point?
It would be fun to see Daphne pull off Rorschach’s mask, wouldn’t it? I don’t know how likely Watchmen might be, but, well, check out issue #2. Can you say “Dark Knight”…?
Perhaps the most interesting aspect of this comic is how it perfectly nails both the tone and comedy of the old cartoons. Do you find yourself re-watching the old Scooby episodes, or at this point are the characters so familiar to you that writing them comes naturally?
Thanks – that’s actually nice to hear. Yeah, whenever I write stories about existing characters, I always do some background digging to refresh myself on the characters’ speech patterns, the style of stories and humor, and so on. When I started writing backup stories in Action Comics, I re-read a whole bunch of classic Superman stories. When I wrote a Ghostbusters novel, I pulled out the old movies again. And when I write things like Looney Tunes or Scooby-Doo, I watch a whole lot of cartoons. It’s a dirty job, but someone’s got to do it.
Of course, a lot of what you’re talking about is also due to our artist, Dario Brizuela. Dario’s a talented guy, who can work is a wide range of styles, as I saw back when we did Super Friends together, or when he drew an issue of my All-New Batman: The Brave and the Bold. The way he’s captured the classic Hanna-Barbera-style of Scooby and Batman, and incorporated outside elements like the Bruce Timm-style animated Man-Bat and Scarecrow, is really impressive.
Which is your favorite of the Mystery Inc. gang to write for and why?
Besides Scooby himself? Well, I enjoy them all, and I have a particular soft spot for Velma, but my hands-down favorite has to be Shaggy. Not just because he’s funny, but because we pretty much share a hairstyle and an appetite.
Eddie Izzard once referred to Scooby-Doo as the greatest character in the history of literature. Where do you think Scooby ranks in the pantheon of popular culture?
Hmm, sounds about right. Hamlet, Beowulf, Scooby-Doo… Of course, there’s always Pee-Wee Herman too.
Why do you think the Scooby-Doo adventures continue to resonate with people?
Here’s kind of a funny story about that: when I first started writing Scooby, about ten or twelve years ago, my niece Esti was around eight years old, and in her eyes, writing Scooby overshadowed everything else I had ever done in my life. When I mentioned it to my editor at the time, Joan Hilty, she said, “Yeah, a lot of people who work on Scooby-Doo say that. I don’t know why.” And when I subsequently told Esti about the conversation, she stared at me, wide-eyed, and said, “Well, does she realize that it’s… Scooby-Doo?!”
And that is the mysterious, undeniable power of Scooby-Doo.
Any chance of a Crisis of Infinite Earths-type storyline with Scooby?
Ha! All I’ll say is a mysterious “Just wait for issue #3…”
Finally, do you have any parting words for Den of Geek readers?
Well, I could go on and on about how terrific the series is, and how buying it will change your life, bring world peace, and send bags of cash raining down from the heavens onto your doorstep. But, all things considered, there’s only one parting word that’s appropriate for an interview about Scooby-Doo: “Zoinks!”
And check out our 101 Comics Creators to Watch in 2014, where Mr. Fisch landed at #22!