One of the most fun interviews I had at this year’s San Diego Comic Con was with Rob Rossell, Jack Lambert and Scott Marder, the crazy creative team behind IDW/DarbyPop’s wild and wooly Doberman. Rossell and Marder are writers for It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, and if you like that show you’ll love reading this interview with these hilarious writers.
Jason Sacks for Comics Bulletin: Please tell me about how often you have sex with the wife.
Rob. Rosell: Three times a week. Yesterday we had sex three times though, because we didn’t have sex at all before in the week.
CB: So that counts for the week.
Rosell: So I gave it to her and she was insatiable. To live at my house yesterday. Film that and you can put on TV.
CB: I’m not sure I’d watch that, no offense. Not sure I need to see that.
Rosell: I wouldn’t want you to. It’s very ugly.
CB: I like you all enough, but I don’t need to know you that well.
Rosell: Food was involved, and the cats.
CB: Isn’t always best when food is involved?
Jack Lambert: It kills two birds with one stone.
Rosell: A lot of times, a lot of times.
Lambert: You don’t have to break for meals.
CB: You get hungry, you know.
Rosell: She likes to combine eating and lovemaking. She’s a sweet girl.
CB: Yeah, that’s important. It’s important to take care of the two most important drives in life too, you know?
Rosell: She’s a good woman.
CB:You’ve gone from Always Sunny to action heroes. That’s a bit of a transition — or is it?
Rosell: It was kind of the same brand of humor, I would say. Same things make us laugh, just on a different format.
CB: So how did you come up with Doberman as the lead? He’s kind of the classic, quintessential ’70s action dude?
Rosell: Jack had a vision one day. Go ahead, tell them about your god-damn vision.
CB: I had a vision that the whole world lived together in peace and harmony.
Lambert: No, I mean we were just big fans of these action movies from the ’80s and early ’90s: Lethal Weapon, Die Hard, Beverly Hills Cop. You just loved the world, and I think really we were drawn to a real macho character. We just kind of did what he felt was right. He didn’t play by the rules of what he was supposed to do, but it still all kind of worked because he was just cool and funny.
Rosell: Yeah, he called me up. I was in the middle of having sex and he called me up.
CB: Might be more than three times a week.
Rosell: Back then it was.So I was just mid-thrust and Jack called. So I answer when he calls.
Scott Marder: He puts it on speaker on his wife’s back.
Rosell: She doesn’t care. She enjoys it. It helps her get to where she needs to go. And he was like, “We should do a parody kind-of, of like a Cobra/Segal movies.” And I was like, “I’ll call you when I am done having sex.” I called him and it just seemed like it was a fun world to play in.
CB: It’s kind of appropriate, I guess. This guy definitely has his share of sex.
Lambert: He’s a lady’s man.
CB: He’s a lady’s man, yeah. How could he not be? How could you not be attracted to a guy like him?
Rosell: A real Romeo.
CB: Yeah, he must be. I almost showed the comic to my wife. And then I decided not to because I’d be afraid she would try to jump into that universe.
Marder: Steam comes out of the comics.
Rosell: We are trying really to turn people on with this. The comedy is second to the eroticism.
CB: The hair is a major upgrade compared to what she gets with me.
Marder: The comic comes with a wig. It comes with a big pompadour.
CB: I’m all there.
Rosell: If we can turn on one person with this comic harder than they have ever been turned on, then we’ve done our jobs.
CB: Yeah, he’s very manly, very manly. The bit with the beer can in his shoe in issue one was hilarious.
Rosell: Oh, thanks. That’s based on a friend of ours from college who does that.
Doberman fights crime using cans of beer?
Rosell: He wears an Italian horn and pierces it and first shot guns. I think that’s an issue one, isn’t it?
Marder: Yeah, he’s an absurd man whore.
Lambert: He does it quite a bit throughout the series. But yes, issue one.
CB: It gets a little Rambo by the end, though. The classic thing where the partner gets killed and he’s broken. He goes off in the woods, but he comes back.
Rosell: Yeah, it’s a real original plot.
CB: Where did you come up with the ideas?
Rosell: We wanted to be true to those movies, which there are a lot of themes and similar story moves that you see.
Marder: It gets more absurd as it goes on.
Lambert: We wanted to hit every cliché in the book. That was our goal. That was what we set out to do.
Marder: We were going to call it Clichés. It’s just all cliché.
CB: I think Doberman is cliché enough, man.
Marder: I thought so.
CB: Macho, tough. Just snarl.
Marder: Dog lover, though.
Rosell: I’m not a dog lover. I’m anti-dog.
CB: Good, good. You’re a wife lover, so that’s good.
Rosell: Unless it’s my woman acting like a dog, you know what I mean.
CB: Will you be my dog?
Rosell: The amount of leashes I got for my wedding registry was incredible.
Marder: His registry was at PETCO.
CB: I know so much about your sex life. I don’t know if I am happy for you or appalled.
Rosell: Jack doesn’t have sex at all. It’s not a good scene. It’s too much. It’s way too much.
Marder: It looks like a dogfight sort of ring.
Rosell: The house has a distinct smell. There is a distinct smell when you walk in the door.
CB: Yeah, we have that in my house too that we don’t talk about that much. A few bodies buried under the porch and, you know, stuff like that.
CB: Adds to the appeal of the house. It’s actually driven up our home’s value, too, so you know.
Rosell: I would buy the house.
CB: Yeah, for sure. How did you make the transition from TV to comics? How did that happen for you guys?
Rosell: We had this idea and it seemed that we were having trouble fitting it into a movie or a TV show. Scott really likes comics. He called me one day when I was having sex and said that maybe we could do this as a comic book instead of a movie or TV show. I said, “I’ll call you back. I’m having sex.” And then I called him back and I said, “Yeah, that actually might work. That may be a fun way to introduce this character into the world.”
CB: So you had some idea of him as a TV character?
Rosell: I think so. We kind of toyed with different formats. And it just kind of ended up coming out like this. And we were hooked up IDW. This woman I have sex with knows Jeff Kline and people over there. They connected us and we saw what they did. And it seemed this could actually be kind of cool.
CB: Are you happy with how it turned out?
Marder: Absolutely, yeah.
CB: How did you get hooked up with the artist?
Marder: All through Darby Pop. Darby Pop put the whole thing together.
Lambert: Darby Pop, we came to them with the idea. They asked what we wanted. We wanted to be true to the 1980s. We didn’t want it to be superhero. We didn’t want it to be kind of cartoony. We wanted to have a real feel, paying homage to those movies that clearly inspired us. It was a very specific look and I think they really nailed it.
CB: Yeah. It worked. It feels very ’80s.
Lambert: As far as style, the coloring is great. We are really happy with how it turned out.
CB: You get more outrageous and more ’80s bad boy.
Marder: You stay tuned.
CB: Okay, I am looking for strippers, cars crashing through windows.
Marder: Check. Keep going.
CB: Lots of hitting on women, of course. Drinking
Marder:Dog smoking on cigarettes.
CB: Yeah, there are not enough comics with dogs smoking cigarettes.
Rosell: A dog chewing gum. Man’s tongue turning black.
Marder: This is financed by Phillip Morris, getting kids to smoke.
Rosell: Scott’s a big smoker. So everything he does always comes from a place of his addiction to nicotine.
Marder: I’m wearing a hundred patches. It looks like leaches on me.
CB: Well we all have our vices. You know, you have to embrace your vices. Sex, nicotine, and, you know, cheap living, right?
Rosell: When I go home today, it’s just going to be World War II in the bedroom.
CB: One guy goes to the gym and the other just has sex and smokes cigarettes or whatever.
Rosell: Jack doesn’t have any sex.
CB: Well, ok.
Rosell: He’s the saddest one of the three of us.
Rosell: We call him LJ, Lonely Jack.
CB: Lonely Jack. You can take some lessons from Doberman.
Rosell: That’s part of it, yeah. Newton is based on Jack. Newton’s kind of this feckless guy who can’t accomplish anything. We were like, “I don’t know how to write that. Oh, I’ll just write it like Jack and the way Jack lives his life.”
Lambert: That would be the part that will be in new issue, too. Because he gets paired with…
Rosell: Oh, yeah, he wasn’t in issue one.
Lambert: He’s not in issue one.
Rosell: That’s something.
Lambert: His partner in the first one is like his hero.
Rosell: He’s the most masculine guy ever.
Lambert: And then you’ll find out in issue two that he gets paired with a sub-Jack.
Rosell: A real loser like Jack. So it’s like the opposite situation that he’s had before, being with a guy who is basically a clone of him to this guy who is the exact opposite of him, who gets taken advantage of by the world and can’t stick up for himself and doesn’t get any women. Look at Jack’s Facebook page. All of that and Doberman hates this guy that he gets partnered with, but maybe they become friends.
Lambert: Maybe he teaches him how to be a man. Maybe.
CB: Wow, start reading, start listening to music other than heavy metal. There’s more to music than Ozzy Osborne.
Lambert: You’ll have to stay tuned.
Rosell: Doberman’s very into techno music, which he discovers when comes back to the Force. He was gone for a while and techno exploded while he was gone. He’s really turned on by it and thinks of it as the music of the future.
Marder: And he’s right to think that.
Rosell: He’s right to think that
Marder: Because it is.
Rosell: Scott’s our techno guy.
CB: You’re a techno guy?
Marder: That’s where I like to smoke.
CB: In the future?
Marder: At raves.
CB: At raves, yeah.
Marder: I dress in a futuristic robot outfit.
CB: Excellent. You fit in perfectly down on the floor at least.
Marder: Thank you. Yeah, I would.
CB: I’d follow you around and take your pictures.
Marder: My costume today is looking normal. Every other day of the week I look like a robot.
CB: Wow. You pull it off really well.
Marder: Thank you.
CB: I didn’t see your shoes, but otherwise you look just great.
Marder: Thank you, I’m barefoot.
CB: Okay. Is there is a big conspiracy that they bring down, that whole storyline too?
Lambert: The villain, Jasper Kane, who ends up killing his partner, goes to jail you find out in issue two. Years have passed as he was in exile, but this guy got out on a technicality and is actually doing really well. But he is up to some nefarious activities that Doberman covers. So he comes back to take down this guy.
Marder: Doberman doesn’t believe that this guy could have gone straight like he is making himself out to be. So Doberman sets out to find what exactly is this guy doing, because he knows it is something.
Lambert: And that is how the chief lures him back to the Force, by showing him that this guy that killed his partner is not only out of jail, but he has this new sort of façade of being a good citizen. That’s sort of the conflict as the story goes on.
CB: Oh, so he cleans up.
Rosell: He comes back to take out the trash.
CB: With his mouth, dragging it out.
CB: Like a dog pulling it out. Who would play Doberman in a movie, if you made a movie? You can have any actor from like 1984 or something.
Rosell: Any actor ever it would be Sylvester Stallone.
Rosell: In circa 1988.
CB: Circa Commando and those shows?
Rosell: Uh huh.
Marder: Kurk Russell in the ’80s would be great.
CB: That’s who I am thinking of, Kurk Russell, yeah.
Rosell: And then the third choice probably LeVar Burton.
CB: Yeah, I mean, he’d teach some good reading lessons as you go.
Rosell: Just to go a different way. Why not?
CB: Yeah, and the visor might look good.
Rosell: I’ve got no problem with LeVar Burton. I’ll put him in anything.
CB: He does make you cry like Donald Glover, I mean.
Rosell: I hate Danny Clover.Donald Glover.
Marder: Crispin Glover. How many Glovers can we name?
CB: They are all related, right?
Marder: They are.
Lambert: Savion Glover, the tap dancer.
Rosell: That was good. You pulled that one out of your socks.
CB: Wow, you really don’t have sex.
Marder: That’s classic Lonely Jack.
Rosell: The weird thing is I had sex with Savion Glover on YouTube a few days ago. Just the rhythm in gave us. It kind of really set us into a good zone.
Marder: They wear bottle caps on their shoes.
Rosell: Yup, yup.
CB: Wow, that’s kind of beautiful in a really sad, pathetic, horrible way.
Rosell: Then the Gregory Hines memoriam came on and it ruined the mood, so we just turned on more Savion Glover. And that got us right back where we started.
CB: So they gotta make a movie of this. Always Sunny has been a little big, kind of a popular show. People love it.
Rosell: Yeah, we would if someone would want to make a movie about this.
CB: Have Danny DeVito play the police commissioner.
Rosell: He would be great for it. Do you know anyone who can make that happen for us?
CB: As a matter of fact, let me give you my credit card right now.
CB: Just go make it.
Rosell: We hang out by the Hollywood sign with scripts. There is no road there, so no one ever comes by.
CB: Oh, so you aren’t were the cosplayers are dressed as Michael Jackson and Madonna? I always enjoy that.
Rosell: No, that’s by the theater.
CB: I love the Marilyn.
Rosell: The Spider-Man robbed someone.
Rosell: Oh yeah.
CB: Why am I not surprised? Those tourists are stupid down there, stupid.
Rosell: Yeah, I go down there and yell at them a couple times a week.
CB: Just pity them.
Rosell: Eh, they need to be set straight.
CB: They have to drive on freeways too, and they don’t know how to do it.
Rosell: Yeah, it’s crazy.
Marder: Yeah, yeah, it’s true.
CB: Anything else you want to mention about the book? Or anything? About your sex line?
Rosell: I would tell people this is the greatest comic book that’s ever been made. And as someone who has never read one comic book, I can confidently say that. If you don’t buy it, you’re a jerk. You’re just a jerk.
Rosell: Put down The Punisher and X-Men. Pick up something like this. It’s going to take you on a ride emotionally, erotically, comically. It hits on all cylinders.
CB: You’ve done Hollywood pitches, obviously. Listen to that: hits on all cylinders.
Rosell: Yeah, I’m trying to sell.
Marder: He’s in sell mode right.
Rosell: Yeah, putting the hard sell. So, if you don’t buy it, you’re an idiot.