From Friendly Ghosts To Gamma Rays, No. 156
Hello readers and welcome back to our all-ages comics column, From Friendly Ghosts To Gamma Rays! This week we have a Q ‘n A with Scott Gross who works both as an artist and writer on DC all-ages titles Scooby Doo, Where Are You? and Looney Tunes! Let’s get to it!
Scott Gross: I was totally green in the business and wanted to find a niche outside the mainstream (superheroes, skulls, and guns) where it seemed like the best people were scurrying around murdering each other for scraps. So I made a portfolio of funny characters inspired by my then-hometown of Oakland and brought it to SDCC where I met someone from Warner Bros. Consumer Products, the department that coordinates licensing. It’s the first and only break I’ve ever got in the business.
CA: Sometimes you do both writer/artist duties, and sometimes just art. How does the process differ for you? Do you feel like you have more freedom when doing both, or either way are you more at the fate of an editor?
SG: My ego would like me to think that the best product results when I have total control from script to color. The fact is though, there are some really talented people who work on SD & LT and everyone brings different strengths to the table. Sometimes having someone else write the story is a relief — at least you can lean on the (hope) that this thing is going to make sense, all the loose ends are going to tie, and if you just draw what’s on the page everything’s going to be all right. And sometimes I write a story and think, “Am I glad I don’t have to draw all this stuff!“
CA: The Scooby-Doo and Looney Tunes comics are published here by DC, but also in Europe by companies like Egmont. When drawing for the European side of publication is it different from the U.S., or essentially are you drawing for Warners and they pass it onto DC here and Egmont there?
SG: I work directly with the editors in each country and often tailor my scripts to each market’s interests / styles / tastes. The foreign companies are great. Europeans are much smarter than us — you’d never know English wasn’t their first language.
CA: Do you have a favorite Looney Tunes or Scooby-Doo story or cover you’ve worked on, and why?
SG: The artistic life involves overcoming an endless stream of tiny obstacles every day on every project. Often the things about which we are most proud are small matters that, while they represent milestones for us, would be very unimpressive to others. Hopefully the work you’re most satisfied with today will be almost embarrassing a few years from now — although there will always be a soft spot for certain pieces. This LT cover is like that for me:
CA: For Scooby-Doo it seems the comics stick to the classic gang and not any of the other Scooby-universe characters. Is this an editorial choice to tie in with what is currently on TV? If you could go into Scoob’s “extended universe” so to speak, who would you love to write/draw about (i.e. Scrappy-Doo, Flim-Flam, etc.)?
SG: The licensor, WB Consumer Products, has a strategy for how they want to market and hopefully grow the Scooby brand. At present I don’t think that vision includes either of those characters. Scrappy in particular has become a very divisive figure among the fan-base — the last thing we need is to set off a message-board flame war.
CA: At SDCC DC announced a Batman/Scooby-Doo crossover. If DC starts letting some of the WB cartoon characters crossover with the superheroes more often, is there a pairing you’d love to write/draw about?
SG: Duck Dodgers v. Marvin Martian and Martian Manhunter — hmmm??? who’s with me?!?
CA: Any final thoughts for our readers or other projects you want to tell us about?
CA: Thanks for chatting with us!
As mentioned, Scott works on the DC titles Scooby-Doo,Where Are You? and Looney Tunes, and not only does he do stellar art, but when he gets to write one his awesome sense of humor (he’s pretty funny if you couldn’t tell from the above) shines through and lights up the issue. Check out those titles.
That’s it for this week! See you next!