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Deserving a Second Chance

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Today, Todd Dezago and Craig Rousseau follow up their awkwardly funny mini series from last year, The Perhapanauts (retroactively titled The Perhapanauts: First Blood), with The Perhapanauts: Second Chances.

Whew! That’s a whole lot of “Perhapanauts” in one sentence, so let’s get on with the Todd Dezago interview already!

BROKEN FRONTIER: Before hitting you with all these silly questions, please introduce The Perhapanauts to all those people who were too afraid of bigfoots and chupacabras to check it out last year…

TODD DEZAGO: As our “legend” pronounces: there are places in this world where the fabric of reality has worn thin, where strange and terrible creatures have crossed over to lurk in the shadows and the night. There is an organization dedicated to finding these creatures and sending them back from whence they came, sealing the rift behind them, and maintaining the integrity of those borders. The organization is called BEDLAM. Its agents are…The Perhapanauts!

Our book focuses on the Blue Team of agents comprised of a telepath, a ghost, a Bigfoot, and a chupacabra, all… interesting beings themselves, as they learn to work together in hunting down bizarre visitors from other dimensions.

While the creatures they encounter are certainly weird and in most cases deadly dangerous, it’s the story of how these unique people handle these threats that really makes The Perhapanauts a twisting, turning thrill-ride!

It’s like Men in Black meets Scooby-Doo meets Alien

BF: On with the rest of the interview then! Now, asking you whether Second Chances will pick up right where volume one left off would be stupid, as the story didn’t reach its conclusion at the end of issue #4. A better question then, is: will the ‘Haps manage to defeat the Answang?

TD: Second Chances picks up exactly where we left off, with Team Leader Arisa bleeding to death and the team unable to take her back to BEDLAM for medical help because it has suddenly been overrun with those freaky little carnivores from issue #3! And from there things get crazy!

There are all sorts of things happening in these first two issues that, in comparison I’m afraid, is going to make the first series seem kind of tame. With all that’s going on, the Aswang really isn’t right at the top of Blue Team’s priority list.

BF: Something else devout readers of the first mini will want to know: will Choopie learn how to pronounce the word ‘liability’? Or will he forever remain one himself? 

TD: I never say never, but it’s pretty safe to say that Choopie will remain the team’s weakest link in that regard for the foreseeable future. He doesn’t even understand his own conscience when it speaks to him, so, though a usually reliable member of the team, Choopie can still be easily tempted away by fruit pies, video games… or blood.

BF: Speaking of Choopie, on the cover of issue #3, he can be seen fighting a small white creature. Is he too lame to take on someone trice his size? [Laughs]

TD: Actually, what Choopie is tussling with on the cover to Second Chances #3 is the Dover Demon and it is more than a formidable foe in that its skin secretes an acid when in direct contact—its touch burns. And if you look closely at that cover, you’ll see that things don’t really look too good for our boy.

BF: A Dover Demon?! What’s that supposed to be?

TD: The Dover Demon, in the world of cryptozoology, was originally sighted in April of 1977 in the town of Dover, Massachusetts. It was seen by several different groups of people and dubbed “The Dover Demon” by reknowned cryptozoologist Loren Coleman.

BF: You guys also have a Choopie statue in the works. When can we expect that to ruin the cosy look of people’s living rooms?

TD: Actually, the sculpt was commissioned by Craig and I’ve just posted the progress on our Perhapa-blog, because I thought folks would like to see it. Andrew Wiernicki, the sculptor, is doing an amazing job and our hope is to be able to get him to do the whole team eventually. We are looking into making casts, but really we haven’t even considered what it might take to produce and sell them to Perhapa-fans. I think it might be cost-prohibitive.

BF: An interesting fact about the first volume of The Perhapanauts was that, while it was a four-issue mini series, it contained two stories, the second one kicking off halfway through the third issue. Is that something we can expect this time around too, i.e. more stories combined in one mini?

TD: Not really, no. The idea of the first mini was to introduce both the concept and the characters and play around a little bit with format, see what we wanted to do and continue to mix things up.

With Second Chances, we hit the ground running and we really don’t stop for the entire four issues. The story—and the characters—really wouldn’t let me slow down. It just took on a life of its own and ran away! There’s a moment of calm at the end of issue #3, but after that, things really start to get crazy!

BF: From the cover to the letters page and even the solicitations, this comic book is all about fun. What’s the funniest aspect about The Perhapanauts to you?

TD: Well, Choopie is our comic relief, although the others have their moments as well. And while there are some funny moments in the new series—some of the funniest so far—I think that the book is growing on us, changing, and that it’s becoming a bit more serious, a bit more urgent. The characters are coming closer and things get a bit deeper. I really think that you’ll dig the characters even more after this series.

BF: Not that it really matters [laughs], but is the primary intention of the book to be a fun romp aimed at adult readers who used to fear ‘nightmare creatures’, instead of an all-out all-ages read?

TD: I have a niece who’s 12 and a nephew who’s 10 and they are my barometers. I think that the book is becoming less of an all-ages book and more of a young adult to adult book and that the horror elements are going to keep getting creepier and creepier.

Much of Choopie’s dialogue grows out of things I say with my nephew and niece. And much of (the level of) the scarier elements come from what my niece wishes we would let her watch. I love horror movies and can’t wait to share them with her, but some of them, many of them, are a little much still.

BF: Did the choice for the title of this new volume, Second Chances, have anything to do with Dark Horse allowing you to give this another shot?

TD: It’s that, but it’s also a metaphor that runs throughout the series, and within each of the characters. 

BF: Are there any plans for a third, fourth, or—god forbid—fifth Perhapanauts volume?

TD: Oh, we’ve got plans for even beyond that. Sales, of course, will dictate whether we ever get to tell those tales. But, as with my other creator-owned comics, Tellos (with Mike Wieringo) the seeds for those other stories have already been planted in both the first series and this new one. Maybe you’ll see some of them and maybe you won’t—but there are lots of twists and turns ahead…!

BF: Now that we know all this, how about a few ‘quick shot’ questions to bow out? Here’s the first: nightmares or rosy dreams?

TD: Nightmares. I love being scared. And I’m a lucid dreamer, so I got that goin’ for me…

BF: Liarbilities or responsible people?

TD: Being more of a liarbilitiy myself, I guess I’d wanna surround myself with responsible people.

BF: First Blood or Second Chances?

TD: Second Chances!!! If for nothing more, the artwork, both from Craig and from Rico, blows the first series away! And I can’t wait to see what readers think of what the team goes through in this new storyarc!

BF: BEDLAM or BPRD?

TD: I (Craig too) LOOOOOVE Hellboy, BPRD, Guy Davis, and everything Mignola!! I’d have to say BPRD, ‘cause I know everything that happens at BEDLAM, so it’s not as entertaining to me.

BF: Beer or blood?

TD: I loves me a Sapporo with sushi… but, wait! Whose blood are we talking about here…?

BF: Bigfoot stew or chicken wings?

TD: Chicken wings! The Buffaloier, the better!

BF: Chupacabras or Chupa Chups?

TD: Never really liked those Chupa Chups. Not my kinda candy.

BF: Favorite penciler whose last name makes you think he was born in France?

TD: Could you be referring to best friend and confidant, Craig Rousseau?!

BF: Eat that, Duncan Rouleau!

The Perhapanauts: Second Chances #1 hits stores today, October 25, from Dark Horse Comics. Click here for a sneak peek, and pick up a copy soon… or choopie’s headed out for your blood.

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