If there was a better training ground for comic book story telling than being a crime and political reporter, I’m not sure what that would be. That was how Scout’s Honor writer David Pepose got his start. From there he has written a number of successful projects like Spencer and Locke, The O.Z, Going to the Chapel and Grand Theft Astro. His current project is a Apocalyptic futuristic tale of survivalists who have based the their cult-like group on a version of the Scout Handbook. The first issue of AfterShock Comics Scouts Honor comes out this week. In recognition of this we are pleased to welcome Scouts Honor writer David Pepose to GVN Talking Comics.
GVN: Thank you so much for your time, David. So let’s start where logic dictates, the beginning. How did a one time crime and political reporter come to write comic books? (Although I can’t imagine a better background to start from).
DP: Even Clark Kent had a day job! (Laughs) I grew up in Missouri, so I considered journalism to be the “safe job,” since I didn’t know anybody who had worked a full-time creative career. But I had always harbored a dream of working in comics, ever since I took an internship at DC Comics right out of college. While the Recession meant the job market had dried up, I still kept my feet in the industry by freelancing as the reviews editor over at Newsarama.
But with the Recession in full swing, I wound up landing at The Berkshire Eagle in Massachusetts, and it was really the best job I could have asked for. Working at a newspaper is really great training for being a comics writer — you learn how to come up with ideas quickly, how to write for a specific length under punishing deadlines, and how to collaborate with a team to get a finished product out on time. You stop being afraid of a word count pretty quickly, and it just builds up your endurance for the marathon that is writing a book.
3rd Generation Comic Book Fan
GVN: Were you a comic book fan originally and if so, who were your favorites? Whose works inspired you to take that plunge?
DP: Yeah, I’m a third-generation comics fan — my grandfather passed down his comics reading habit to my mom, who passed it down to me. I grew up on ‘90s Spider-Man and X-Men, Devin Grayson’s Batman: Gotham Knights, Frank Miller and John Romita, Jr.’s Daredevil: The Man Without Fear, eventually graduating to Knightfall, Death and Return of Superman, Kingdom Come, Spawn, Crimson, Grant Morrison’s JLA and New X-Men. By the time I was in college, I was devouring stuff like Civil War, 52, Y: The Last Man, Transmetropolitan… I could go on!
As far as which comics inspired me to take the plunge, I think Afterlife With Archie was the book that really made the light bulb go off for me — I loved how subversive and darkly funny it was, and yet it still stayed true to the heart and soul of the Archie characters. It wasn’t just a remix, but a love letter — the ultimate act of respect. I read that book, and knew I could write something in that vein. And I’ve been doing it ever since.
The Inception of Scouts Honor
GVN: So where did the idea for Scouts Honor come from and how long did it take to go from idea to fruition?
DP: My younger brothers both served as Boy Scouts… and I did not. (Laughs) I think being on the outside looking in was what helped spark the idea behind this series — when you’re on the inside, it’s all about camaraderie and practical skills and time with your friends… but on the outside, the pageantry and the costumes and the time-honored traditions can look a little like a cult! That sat with me for a long time, until I saw a show called The Path, which was about a Scientology-style cult and the struggles of one man who had become disillusioned with it.
I thought a lot about what the weirdest idea for a Bible might be, and when I thought of the Boy Scout manual, a lot of things clicked into place. It reflected the real world in a scary way — the culture of toxic masculinity, the fetishizing of the military and survival preppers, the rise of hyper-evangelism and the snubbing of higher education and critical thought… you throw that into a cauldron, throw in a few nuclear weapons, and let it fester for a few hundred years, and the paramilitary Ranger Scouts of America suddenly don’t sound that far-fetched.
Working with Luca Casalanguida
GVN: You are working with Artist Luca Casalanguida. How did he become involved in the project and how has that partnership evolved?
DP: I’ve been a fan of Luca’s for a long time, since his work on James Bond over at Dynamite. I had actually reached out to him previously, but it wasn’t until Aftershock picked up Scout’s Honor that my editors Christina Harrington and Mike Marts told me that Luca was looking for his next project.
I’m thrilled with how Luca has built up this world of post-apocalyptic Boy Scouts — he’s not only done some incredible design work for the Ranger Scouts’ world, but he’s able to jump back and forth between these really poignant, emotional scenes and these totally badass action sequences. He and colorist Matt Milla pack so much intensity and mood in every page, and seeing how Luca has only improved as he’s gotten more comfortable with the characters is just astonishing to see. I couldn’t be more excited to be working with this team!
GVN: If Scouts Honor is well received (as I imagine it will be) how many issues do you foresee? Do you have more stories to tell in this universe?
DP: We’ve written Scout’s Honor as a five-issue miniseries, and while I wrote a pretty distinct beginning, middle and end for Kit’s journey, I always write with sequel ideas in mind. If the demand is there… never say never!
Casting Kit from Scouts Honor
GVN: Thank you so much for your time, David. I have one last hypothetical question for you. It is my established norm so you have to suffer like everyone else. Scouts Honor has become a big hit. So much so that it has been requested to be adapted into a live action film. Who could you see play the role of Kit?
DP: Boy, that’s a big question… I feel like someone like Mackenzie Davis or Kristen Stewart could do a great job as Kit! But honestly, I think this could be a fun role for a lot of different actors, so I’ll keep my fingers crossed alongside you!
GVN: Thank you for your time David and we look forward to following the events of Scouts Honor.
Senior Writer at GeekVibesNation – I am a 50 something child of the 70’s who admits to being a Star Trek/Star Wars/Comic Book junkie who once dove head first over a cliff (Ok, it was a small hill) to try to rescue his Fantastic Four comic from a watery grave. I am married to a lovely woman who is as crazy as I am and the proud parent of a 17 year old boy with autism. My wife and son are my real heroes.