They seek him here, they seek him there, those publishers seek him everywhere. Is he in comics is he in fiction? That damned, elusive talented Chuck Dixon (My apologies to Baroness Orzy)! Chuck Dixon is a man obsessed. His work has appeared in comics for two decades already with all of the major publishers in North America. Presently, Big Badz from Platinum Comics is ready for release into an unsuspecting comic book world. Are we ready for his vision of urban redevelopment?
Tim Lasiuta: The rise of Platinum Comics has been amazing. When did you first start talks with them on Big Badz?
Chuck Dixon: Oh boy. I know it was some time last year.
TL: From the brief webpage description of the book, you seem to be taking a slightly twisted look at urban renewal. What inspired the ‘clean up the village’ scenario you have created?
CD: I went back to the Howard Hawks model of having the action take place in an enclosed environment. As he did in The Thing and Rio Bravo, Hawks would draw the action down into confined space that he would make you familiar with. I took the same approach with Badz. The location of an old Great Society high rise project is scary without werewolves. And I’m very familiar with these places most of which have been, mercifully, blown down in recent decades.
TL: Your first work with Enrique Villagran was on Wyatt Earp for Moonstone, and now you have teamed up again with him on Big Badz. What about working with Mr. Villagran made you seek him out once again. Any thoughts on his work on Big Badz?
CD: Let’s not forget Todd Fox here. This is actually the re-assembling of a team that’s worked together before. Me, Todd and Enrique have worked in this fashion on some Punisher stories for Marvel as well as runs on Now Comics’ Racer X and Alias. The guys at Platinum were kind enough to let us collaborate again for the first time in fifteen years.
Todd is an incredible storyteller and blocks out action in a fresh and vibrant way without losing clarity. He’s in a very small class in that way. Enrique is a Jedi master with a brush and knows how to embellish Todd’s layouts. Plus, we’ve been pals for more than twenty years.
On this job, Enrique gives the finishes a looser, more contemporary feel and less illustrative. I think his choice suits the story’s style.
TL: How did Platinum Comics get Nat Jones for the cover? His style is perfect for the werewolf concept, are there any plans to use him for the rest of the series or interiors?.
CD: Covers are out of my area. But I love what Nat’s done and agree it’s not a party without him.
TL: Chasing mythical creatures seems to be in vogue today. Zombies and werewolves rank right up there with mutants as top themes. Are there going to be any surprises in Big Badz not lycanthropic?
CD: I’m not re-inventing the wheel here. This is very much, “werewolves in the hood” and delivers everything you could want in this kind of deal. Its very much horror/action as opposed to spooky horror. Werewolves show up in a high rise project in the dead of winter to find the place packed with heavily armed gangstas. Hey, were it a movie, you’d have my eight bucks.
And I think these creature features are always popular. But the business moves in cycles and now we’re back to here.
TL: What working style do you use on your books? Is your process disciplined to sit at the keyboard for hours or work in frenetic spurts?
CD: Spurts and marathons. It changes all the time. Most of work is done away from the keyboard as I work it all out in my mind. Once I have it nailed down I write a minimum of eight pages a day until it’s done.
And that’s full script. The only way I work any more.
TL: In looking at the Robin and the Spoiler Special cover, it seems to be very reminiscent of a certain Batman and Robin pose, is that in homage to the ‘old’ duo?
CD: Again, it’s a cover and handled outside of my circle of influence. It darned sure looks like that Infantino classic image though.
TL: Chuck, over the last few years your writing has appeared in most of the major publishers books. DC, Marvel, Devil,’s Due, Moonstone, Across the Pond, Bongo Comics, and now, Platinum Comics! What is your secret?
You forgot Dark Horse, CrossGen, and Hyperion!
I work well ahead of schedule. That’s the secret. Stay a minimum of three months ahead of your penciler and you too can write four monthlies!
TL: You have worked on the Phantom, Batman, and Robin, and many “old,” characters. If I were to ask you today what you would love to work on, what characters would they be? Who would illustrate your dream books?
CD: The Lone Ranger and the Fantastic Four have always been two franchises I’d love a chance to put my mark on. Artists? That’s where I go into option paralysis.
TL: Currently, your slate seems full, with work on a Simpsons story, Robin and Batman and the Outsiders. Do we have to play “Where’s Chuck Dixon?” If so, what’s next for the man of many talents?
TL: Thanks for your time Mr. Dixon.
CD: Thank you! Fun questions!