Exclusive: Ken Kristensen On What’s Next For Todd, The Ugliest Kid On Earth
Tuesday we ran the first part of our exclusive interview with Todd, the Ugliest Kid on Earth writer and creator Ken Kristensen. We covered Todd‘s origin, inspirations, and how Kristensen and artist M.K. Perker first met. If you missed that, click right here to get up to speed. In our final installment we find talk about how much creative freedom the duo have, what the next story arc will be about, and what else Kristensen and Perker are working on. Go get a paper bag and cut out some eye holes, because things are about to get Ugly!
Todd has some salty humor and dialogue. Have you ever had to pull back on a scene or a joke? Did Image tell you to change something or have you went back and thought something would be too much?
We’ve been absolutely free. There are certain things the publisher doesn’t want on the cover of the book, like the word f**k for example. They won’t allow that on the cover, I was trying to get that on the cover at one point. In terms of the content of the story, the characters, and what people say to each other, we have complete control over that. If the question is have we ever come up with something we ourselves thought was too far? We have not.
My quote in the high school yearbook was “the chief enemy of creativity is good taste.” That’s kind of how I’ve always approached writing. I always felt that way. If you let “good taste” enter into anything you’re coming up with, you’re hamstringing yourself and you’re not going to allow yourself to be creatively free. That’s the approach I have and M.K. also comes from a background that has pretty edgy comedy. Growing up he was drawing for a lot of European magazines that were humor based, and obviously Mad Magazine which he’s done work for, it’s pretty edgy. And obviously this is an adult book not to be read by little kids, despite the fact it has a kid at the center of it.
We love South Park, we love shows that are really edgy. We’re really happy that Image specifically and the comic book audience in general is open to comedy now. It seems like for so many years there was a lack of comedy in comics. I’m hoping more books like Chew, for example, are opening up doors for more books like Todd to come out. Audiences can say we can have really dramatic and serious storylines, but we want to laugh our asses off too.
Todd has been picked up as an ongoing as you said earlier. Are you batting around ideas now? Do you have an outline of where you’re going next?
We have plotted out issues 5 through 10. Issue 5 will come out after Comic-Con. Our next story arc will be those five issues. Todd inadvertently exposes a satanic cult that is headquarter at PBS. That’s the “A” story and the supporting cast will have their “B” stories too.
We don’t have an idea for that yet, but I love that idea. I love that you’re suggesting that. Maybe down the road or even as a backup story we could do that. I’m into the ideas of backup stories also. So maybe we could do a backup that focuses on something like in issue 4 when Belinda Fairchild, the actress Todd’s father is obsessed with, gets a new role in a TV show she’s hoping will take her career to the next level. I was thinking wouldn’t it be fun to show her on the set of that TV show and have everything melt down around her because she’s so nuts. I was thinking that would be a cool backup story. Maybe it’s backup story or maybe it’s a one-shot looking at one of them.
Before Todd you were known for writing and producing shows for TV. Any chances Todd may make the leap from print to screen?
I think there’s always a chance because Hollywood loves comic books. No news right now I can talk about, but there’s always a chance. Like I said, we love shows like South Park. I love Adult Swim, I love Archer. All these edgy animated shows are what I’m obsessed with when I do turn on the TV. There are plenty of places for it too. It’s not like it used to be. I think with the success of edgy, animated comedies now there’s a lot of networks beside Adult Swim that are hoping to have the success that Adult Swim is having.
So we’ve got more Todd to look forward to, but do you have anything else in the works or any upcoming projects we should be on the lookout for?
M.K. and I did an Escapist story which has been in development for a long time. We don’t have a date yet on when that will come out, but its Michael Chabon’s The Amazing Adventures of the Escapist for Dark Horse. M.K. did a story with Peter Milligan for DC in a horror anthology that is coming out very soon. M.K. and I are developing four other comic book projects we are currently talking with comic book publishers about. Image of course being one of them. I can’t really talk about what they are right now, but some of them are crime related and some of them are sci-fi related. Some of them involved kids again, so we’re still in that realm. It’s going to be edgy and hopefully we will have some news soon. Hopefully by July when Comic Con rolls around.
Again we want to thank Mr. Kristensen for letting us bother him about all things Todd. He wanted to thank everybody for embracing Todd and his dysfunctional family. To clarify, the anthology Perker will be working on is for DC/Vertigo called Time Warp. It comes out March 27 and you can find out more about it on Vertigo’s website here. If you want to meet the men behind Todd, Kristensen and Perker will be doing a signing during Free Comic Book Day as well the Book Expo in New York. Ken will be at Wonder Con at the end of the month at the Geekscape booth. M.K. will be appearing at Image‘s booth at Comic-Con as well. If you haven’t hopped on the Todd train yet, hopefully these interviews have piqued your interest. The second printing of the second issue of Todd will be out March 27 with the fourth and final issue of the first arc hitting April 10th. To find out more about Todd and where the creative duo behind him will be, you can check them out on Facebook here or at Todd’s official Twitter (@ToddTheUgliest) here. To keep up on all the latest Todd news and reviews, keep it tuned to CBT.