We Interview Spencer & Locke Writer David Pepose


David Pepose has worked for numerous entertainment companies around the United States, including CBSNetflix, Universal Studios and DC Entertainment. After years writing about the comic book industry, SPENCER & LOCKE is David’s first published work as a comic book creator. When not developing new properties for comics, television and film, David has also written and performed for venues such as the Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre, Gotham Comedy Club and PUNDERDOME 3000. A St. Louis native and a one-time New York City transplant, David now resides in sunny Los Angeles.

Here is my email conversation with David about his upcoming comic Spencer & Locke.

Spencer & Locke has been described as Calvin and Hobbes meets Sin City. Two properties I never thought I would hear in the same sentence. Was that always the intention or did something else inspire the story? 

Absolutely. As fans will see on the very first page, we wear our influences proudly on our sleeves with SPENCER & LOCKE, taking that iconography from Calvin and Hobbes and putting a dark crime noir spin on it. I’m a longtime comics fan, and so when I first started writing the scripts for this book, I wanted to make sure that this was a book that spoke to comics fans first and foremost. We’re drawing from iconic creators like Bill Watterson and Frank Miller for this book, but something else that drove SPENCER & LOCKE was thinking of different ways to keep experimenting and pushing the envelope with each chapter. We want to keep readers on their toes, and I believe we throw in plenty of swerves to keep people guessing.
Is the overall tone of the series going to be mostly Noir with a bit of humour or do you believe you have achieved an even balance of the two?
I wouldn’t necessarily call it an even balance — as a parody, SPENCER & LOCKE definitely has its roots in the blackest-of-black comedy, but I think we ultimately play the cop drama as straight as possible. But considering this is a book with a six-foot-tall talking panther, I wouldn’t consider us necessarily a super-serious book — we punctuate this book with a lot of flashbacks that I think gives this book some unexpected humour, along with the biting buddy-cop banter that Spencer and Locke have as adults. The original Calvin and Hobbes were so iconic because they each had such clear perspectives. It comes with being named after philosophers, I’m sure — and by digging into the character’s distinct points of view, I think Spencer and Locke can be just as thoughtful, poetic and funny, even in the face of harrowing danger.
How did you and artist Jorge Santiago, Jr. end up working together?
Jorge has been such a great partner and co-creator on this project, just a genuinely tremendous talent across the board. He’s got such a great energy and fluidity and expressiveness to his pages, and he’s able to quickly change gears from everything from a crazy gunfight to car chases to alien worlds without skipping a beat. We wound up working together in part because I had read about how Justin Jordan and Tradd Moore got together for The Strange Talent of Luther Strode — and seeing how Tradd was a graduate of the Savannah College of Art and Design, I wound up looking at some of the graduates of SCAD’s Sequential Art program. As soon as I saw Jorge’s website, which said he was creating comics and art with “stupid amounts of passion,” I knew this was the guy I had to work with. Once you see the pages that he and colorist Jasen Smith put together, I think you’re all going to be blown away.
What type of criminals can we expect Spencer & Locke to encounter in this story?
Without giving too much away, Spencer and Locke are going to be often defined by the bad guys they face down. I don’t want to get into spoiler territory just yet, but many of the criminals our heroes will be facing have a personal connection to Locke and will test him — and his dynamic with Spencer — in a number of different ways. These characters are going to be put through the wringer physically, mentally, emotionally. It’s going to be a challenging road for Spencer and Locke.
Spencer & Locke is going to be a mini series any plans beyond the 4 issue series? There seems like there is a lot of potential for more stories. 
I think we all love Spencer and Locke as characters, and if readers call their local comics shops and preorder lots of copies of this series, I’d love to tell more stories with these characters. There is a much, much larger world for Spencer and Locke to explore. If our heroes survive the first four issues, that is. 😉
What inspired you to write comics and how has your journey influenced your current writing on Spencer & Locke?
I’ve had a bit of a long and winding road through comics over the years. I got my start interning over at DC Comics right out of college, which really opened my eyes to comics as a possible career path. After that, I wrote about comics for many years over at Newsarama, which was sort of the equivalent to grad school for comics. I learned what I liked and what I didn’t, and had the opportunity to interview many of my favourite writers to learn about their writing processes.

And after a few years of reading and reviewing comics, I just had this feeling in the back of my head that there had to be another way for me to contribute to the industry — to write the sorts of comics I wanted to see in the world, you know? It’s hard to explain, but one day I just woke up and knew I was ready to just go for it. And with Spencer & Locke, I had no idea if this book was going to get picked up by a publisher, or even if I’d ever get to write a comic again, so I just decided to throw in everything cool I could possibly think of. We’ve got fistfights and gunfights, but also crazy stuff like aliens, dinosaurs and car chases. I want people to read and love this comic, but at the end of the day, if I didn’t write this comic for me, what’s the point? Ultimately, Spencer & Locke is a personal statement, sort of my thoughts on friendship and depression and dealing with the past — and I’m excited for readers to turn this statement into a greater conversation.

 Spencer & Locke is available now for pre-order at your local comic shops. Here is a preview of Issue #1


Regular Cover by Jorge Santiago, Jr.
Variant Cover By Maan House

Variant Cover By Joe Mulvey

Writer: David Pepose
Artist: Jorge Santiago, Jr.
Colorist: Jasen Smith
Letterer: Colin Bell
Cover Artists: Main Cover by Jorge Santiago, Jr., Variant Cover by Maan House, and Variant Cover by Joe Mulvey
What if Calvin & Hobbes grew up in Sin City? Find out in SPENCER & LOCKE, a dark four-issue crime thriller from Action Lab Entertainment’s Danger Zone imprint. Written by David Pepose and illustrated by Jorge Santiago, Jr., SPENCER & LOCKE follows Detective Locke, who returns to the scene of his horrific upbringing when his grade-school sweetheart, Sophie Jenkins, is found dead in a lonesome back alley. But when Locke’s investigation dredges up menacing figures from his traumatic past, there’s only one person he can trust to help him close the case — his childhood imaginary panther, Spencer.
Stay tuned to Pop Culture Pipe Bomb for more Spencer & Locke news, and don’t forget to pre-order issue #1 of a 4-issue series!

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