by Vince Brusio
With cartoons now as prevalent on YouTube as they are on cable, the old school shows are no longer left to languish in obscurity. There’s always someone who wants to put a fresh coat of wax on the old ’69 Camaro. In the case of cartoons, American Mythology saw Underdog as their next hot rod. Already putting out retro titles like The Three Stooges and Pink Panther, American Mythology saw Underdog as a natural fit. The coat that’s always comfortable. In this PREVIEWSworld Exclusive interview, writer Batton Lash and artist Bill Galvan chat about their new gig for an old crime smasher that kicks off in Underdog #1 (FEB171115), shipping to comic shops this April.
Vince Brusio: What made you want to resurrect this iconic character? What personal attachment do you have for Underdog?
Batton Lash: Underdog's penchant for rhyming! Seriously, even though Underdog is super-powered, he remains an "underdog" until he gets out of his current jam!
Bill Galvan: I used to watch Underdog after school when I was in the third grade. I loved the characters, Shoeshine Boy, Sweet Polly Purebred, and the villainous Simon Bar Sinister. It was like a funny version of Superman. I always wanted to see his fight with the giant in the end credits too!
Vince Brusio: For those who may not be familiar with the property, what kind of introductory primer could you give us to put the Underdog mythology into perspective for new readers?
Batton Lash: it's all there for those who need to have a mythology: "There's no need to fear– Underdog is here!"
Bill Galvan: Underdog is a great parody of silver age superheroes. His secret identity is Shoeshine Boy, and he changes into Underdog in phone booths around the city. Sweet Polly Purebred is his “Lois” and she is usually getting into danger looking for a story. Simon Bar Sinister is a mad scientist who is always hatching a scheme to take over the world, and destroy Underdog at the same time!
Vince Brusio: Some cartoon properties cut both ways, appealing to both young and older audiences. Spongebob Squarepants and Bugs Bunny come to mind, just for references. Do you see Underdog in that same vein of reaching across the ages?
Bill Galvan: Absolutely, the plots of the cartoon usually make fun of current events, and work on two levels, adventure for the kids and satire for an older audience. And no matter how silly the story was, the narration for the cartoon was always done very seriously, much like the Batman TV show.
Batton Lash: Underdog is a kids show– and what's wrong with that? And that harkens back to when comics were for kids (not that I don't enjoy "grown-up" comics . . . I do! It's a big tent. I'm glad there's so much diversity out there!). I'm pleased to work on a comic book aimed for kids– and the young at heart. Again I ask, what's wrong with that?
Vince Brusio: What was your first impression of Bill Galvan’s work on this title? What does he bring to the table as an artist on this book?
Batton Lash: Bill can draw just about anything– "straight" super-heroes as well as "bigfoot" super-heroes. And he caught the "bigfoot" universe of Underdog perfectly!
Vince Brusio: If you could go keyboard commando for a few minutes, and rant about a particular scene/scenes in the first issue that you think would work best as a YouTube trailer for Underdog, what would we see?
Batton Lash: The splash panel of Shoeshine Boy trying to talk Underdog out of watching himself on TV!
Bill Galvan: Batton Lash is my favorite collaborator, and he’s written a great story as usual! My favorite scenes are when Underdog gets the key to the city and then, because of a scheme from a magical villain, turns apathetic, and just wants to watch himself on TV… and Shoeshine Boy turns heroic!
Vince Brusio writes about comics, and writes comics. He is the long-serving Editor of PREVIEWSworld.com, the creator of PUSSYCATS, and encourages everyone to keep the faith...and keep reading comics.