Q: What is your background as a writer? Why comics?
I've been trying to write for as long as I could hold a pencil. I submitted comic ideas to Marvel and DC throughout high school, finished my first novel at 18 (and wall-papered my college bathroom with the rejection letters a la Charles Bukowski), and continued to write as much as I could. My first professional writing gig was an off-off Broadway kid's play entitled MORTIMER THE LAZY BIRD. It got a great New York Times Review. Several years later, I realized my dream as a comic writer when Markosia published my four issue mini-series SCATTERBRAIN. That comic series was actually optioned for television and I'm currently writing the pilot episode and series bible. As for "why comics," I just love them. I've been reading them since I could read, and I just am a huge fan of serial storytelling. And the marriage of story and art is a great pleasure in life, as far as I'm concerned.
Q: With FLASH GORDON, how challenging was it to "modernize" such a science-fiction icon without changing him too much?
It was pretty challenging. Flash Gordon is very much a product of his times. It was an era when people still had stars in their eyes regarding space travel, lasers, etc. But I think there are many elements of FG that still resonate. The idea of a somewhat ordinary man trapped in extraordinary circumstances is really exciting. You couple him with a beautiful woman (who I've made into a CIA agent) and a mad scientist, and pit them against a ruthless dictator, and you're good to go. Those are the elements you don't change. As for everything else, it's important to streamline the storyline a bit and come up with story arcs, but all of the pieces are there in the original Alex Raymond strips. It's just a matter of putting them together in cool way.
Q: Who is your favorite character(s)?
I really enjoy writing Flash himself and I got the biggest compliment the other day from my 14 year old nephew. He told me he though Flash said really funny lines. I've tried to give Flash a little bit of cockiness but also wanted him to be funny and ultimately endearing. The Ming and Dale scenes are also a blast to write, and their relationship is going to get complicated fast. All I can say is... DIE HARD IN MING'S PALACE. Finally, I really like writing the Lion Men. They're reminding me of Klingons from Star Trek: the Next Generation... all about honor and sacrifice.
Q: In the past there have been many incarnations of FLASH GORDON. What are some of your favorites and why (from TV to film to other comics).
Well, I saw the 1980 feature film in the theater when I was eight years old, so that had a lasting impact on me. I also read Dan Jurgens' 9-issue FLASH GORDON series when I was in high school and really enjoyed it, too. But when I got the opportunity to pitch my own version of FG, I immediately bought and read the original Alex Raymond strips. I think that the creators of these characters usually got it right, and there is SO much to mine in those comic strips. Alex Raymond was incredibly creative, and I'm honored to be working on his creations.
Q: Has the comic been well received?
The comic has been incredibly well received (knock on wood). I saw one review the other day that called it a work of "near-genius." That floored me. I've seen a couple of negative reviews, and those always hurt, but the positive reviews absolutely outweigh the negative ones, especially on issue #2 and #3. In fact, I don't think I've seen a negative review of #2 or #3. I know that #1 had a lot of set up, which I felt was necessary, but I do think that #2 hit the ground running, and each issue is getting better and better.
Q: What's in store for Flash in the next year or so? Is he going to be encountering all of the various races of Mongo? New characters? Or something completely different?
The first arc (6 issues) is your classic Flash Gordon story. It's Flash rallying the different races of Mongo to fight back against Ming. The difference here is that Dale is unwittingly help Ming battle Flash and his army. The second arc will introduce more races of Mongo, and we'll see Earth for the first time since issue #1. And trust me, that is NOT a good thing for our heroes! The third and fourth arcs are going to blow people away. Trust me.
Q: If there was another well-known character you could "re-imagine" who would it be and what would you do?
Well, to be honest, it looks like I'm going to get my hands on a couple of other classic characters... so wait and see, my friend!
Q: Do you have any other upcoming projects?
Our next comic with Ardden is THE STAND-IN by Jim Krueger, and it's a spy thriller comic with a twist. I already have intense film interest and not a single issue has been released yet! We also have a Merlin book in the works by our Editor-in-Chief, J.M. DeMatteis. And, as mentioned, we're closing deals on 3 more licensed properties, two of which are really going to excite people.
Q: How can people contact you?
People are welcome to email me at Brendan.Deneen@gmail.com and I answer every email personally! Thanks!