Edgar Wiggins is a Soul Plumber, and the hero of the new DC Horror title of the same name, created by The Last Podcast on the Left trio of Ben Kissel, Marcus Parks, and Henry Zebrowski. The enormously successful podcast, now available exclusively on Spotify, combines comedy and high strangeness for deep dives into the paranormal, ufology, dark history, and true crime.
And with Soul Plumber, the deep dives continue by — as Zebrowski describes him — a tolerant and pure-hearted “wet Chihuahua” of a man driven by a sincere belief in a loving God, but is just too weird to fit in anywhere. The gas station attendant builds a pirated version of a machine intended to deliver souls from Satan, but ends up getting more than he bargains for when he goes after a demon.
While an original concept, the second title from the new DC imprint draws from older, weirder podcast episodes involving demonic possession cases and alien abductions involving arcane religious imagery. Soul Plumber is accessible to audiences unfamiliar with the show, but will go deeper into layers of esoterica than even die-hard LPOTL fans have previously encountered.
But how did these swearing, R-rated creators connect with DC in the first place? Kissel, Parks, and Zebrowski briefly weigh in.
What was the initial meeting with DC like? Did you ask if they even listen to your podcast, and if they’re sure they were ready for you guys?
Ben Kissel: I used to think that we were like, ‘Whoa, that might be a little far.’ We’re just mainstream at this point. In many ways. The fact that they would come to us and ask us and talk with us about that. It was awesome. At this point I feel like everyone else is able to pervert the minds of our, of our youth. So at least we can try to right some of those wrongs.
Henry Zebrowski: DC called for the meeting and we’re like, we’ll go see what this is. Show business is just a fun experience. You know why show business is fun? Because you’re always screaming. It is like an amusement park. You are just always upset and screaming, and it’s fun.
Sometimes a big company comes to you and says, ‘We want you to do something.’ You put together all of this stuff for them. And then you show them everything and they go, ‘Actually, nevermind, we don’t like you anymore.’ And then they disappear into the night. You just get the vacuum of space from them, which is really very scary in a way that someone could disappear so fast. But with DC, they came to us to do this project and it was really very nice to hear them like our ideas.
Marcus Parks: I grew up on Vertigo. All those books are the ones that blew my mind. Preacher, Sandman, Y the Last Man, Fables, I could go on and on about how many great books came out. The Filth! Nothing gets weirder than The Filth. All of these great, weird books came out on Vertigo. So, when DC got a hold of us, we were like, this is pretty cool.
The Last Podcast on the Left is huge with this dedicated fanbase, but you’re now operating within the DC machine. What’s the balance there, and what’s in it for LPOTL listeners versus folks who just want to pick up a horror comic?
Henry Zebrowski: That was a big part of the original breakout of the idea of trying to figure out what idea we were going to write, because we really wanted to write something that encapsulated a lot of what we cover on Last Podcast, but also would be an exciting horror story.
If you know all of the bullshit from all of the years of listening to us, or your own adventures into the world of the paranormal and the occult and dark history, you would see references throughout the book. There’s little Last Podcast inside jokes in the book, but the rest of it is something that would entertain us. And we hope it is also a very unique idea. I have never read what we’re writing before, and I think it’s going to be very interesting.
Marcus Parks: The very original idea came from me going back and reading a bunch of scripts from old episodes … ideas that were a little stranger, and aren’t what you would call the fan favorite episodes. The weirder episodes.
Part of it came from the Michael Taylor possession story back in the seventies when a guy believed he was possessed by the devil. He ripped his wife to shreds with his bare hands. And the other part of it is it also came from the Andreasson Affair, which is one of our like deep cut alien episodes, about a woman who believed she had an alien abduction, and the abduction was full of old, old Christian imagery. But she would have no idea that it ever actually existed. All these ideas kind of came together, percolated and created Soul Plumber.
Kissel: Our fan base has been so unbelievable in allowing us to explore different talents. The fact DC even came to us is a testament to how sticky and great, and sticky in a positive way, our fan base is. They show up for the things that we do.
Has there been a moment where DC became concerned you went too far, and something had to be cut?
Parks: It didn’t get cut, they just said, but they told us we have to run this by legal. That’s only happened once though. And we had not heard back yet,
Kissel: We don’t show any nipples because you’re not allowed to show nipples, but you can show a lot of violence.
Zebrowski: We’ve been very transparent about the fact that we’re an R-rated show and we make R-rated content … Everybody at DC seems to be into what we’re doing. And it’s kind of nice that it worked out like this because that’s like five percent of the time [in the entertainment world].
Was there a conversation about you using established DC characters?
Zebrowski: We had options to use DC characters … so we’re looking through their IP, and we’re like, we’re not really sure what to do here because there’s also a lot of baggage. They said you could use anything you want in our library. And we kind of were like, ‘I don’t know if you want us to do anything we want.’
Parks: I’m actually a big DC guy. I’m a huge fan of even the more optimistic of deep storylines. But I could not see myself sitting down and explaining the history of Ted Grant to Henry and Ben, and telling them this is what this character would do, this is what this character wouldn’t do. It would have just been too much of a headache to try to write those characters. But in our own standalone universe, which we have created this little universe, we can do whatever we want in this. And there are no limits whatsoever. Aside from no nipples.
Soul Plumber is out from DC Horror on Oct. 5.