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April 7, 2010

Deep Discussions with Decapitated Dan: Fred Van Lente

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Written by: DecapitatedDan
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Welcome back kiddies. I have lured Fred Van Lente into the depths to pick his brain about life and everything in between. So sit back and relax, as he tells us about who he is, what he does, and what we can expect from him in the future. Trust me, you will like what you read!

Alright, let’s start out with a short answer section and get the usual out of the way.

Fred Van Lente

On the right side of 40. So far.


Max, Ivan, Zelda (cats)

Highest Education Level:
Proud Graduate School Dropout, from the University of Pittsburgh; Syracuse University for undergrad

High School Mascot:
Chagrin Falls Tigers

First Job:

I cleaned chicken shit off eggs at the farm down the street from my house when I was in the 8th grade. I’m serious. Didn’t last too long, though.

Favorite Food:
I’m kind of a “foodie.” I’ll say sweetmeats just to be a snob.

Favorite place to buy comics:
Rocketship, Smith Street, Brooklyn: http://rocketshipstore.blogspot.com/

Staying with short answers, let’s talk about what you do (if you want to add descriptions, I guess it would be okay):

Comic(s) you created Before 1990:
None that I can think of.

March 18, 1990 – October 19, 2003:
The most significant would be the supercrime comic I created with Steve Ellis, THE SILENCERS, which got me noticed at Marvel.

October 20, 2003 – Today:
Action Philosophers, Incredible Hercules, Amazing Spider-Man, Comic Book Comics, X-Men Noir, various Marvel Zombies, Halo: Blood Line, and the upcoming Iron Man Legacy.

Alright all that stuff aside, let’s get to the meat of the interview:

What do you do when not making comics?
I like to cook, garden, play video games and watch baseball, when it’s available.

All time best movie you ever saw, and why?
I’m not a big fan of calling anything “the best” or the “favorite.” Life isn’t lived in absolute terms like that. I like a lot of movies. The best movie I just saw was Broken Embraces, Almodovar. Very beautiful and haunting.

All time worst movie you ever saw, and why?
Ditto for “the worst” and “the best.” I never answer these questions because in this business you never know who you’re going to work with next, so there’s no get in slamming other people’s work. There’s enough negativity in entertainment — Creators, stay positive!

When you were 5 and 15, what were you for Halloween?
I don’t remember. But to plug Iron Man Legacy this is what I was wearing when I was about eight! Mom made the hip pods from Quaker Oats lids.

Any TV shows grabbing your attention these days?
I’m rewatching Deadwood, all three seasons, and remembering how much I loved it.

Favorite music to listen to right now?
At this exact instant the soundtrack from The Life Aquatic is playing. But my iPod’s on shuffle and if you asked me again in five minutes the answer would be completely different.

What could you do with a stick, a bag of oysters, and a big box of Legos?
I’d build a refrigeration unit to keep the oysters fresh and lock the door with the stick.

Back to comic stuff for now.

Knowing that Iceman is the greatest hero of all time, why do you think he is so underused?

Bad representation?

Favorite comic character when you were 5, 15, and 25?

Spider-Man, The Question, and Tranquility (which Steve and I created before the Silencers).

You find a genie lamp, but he only offers you three comic related wishes; what are they?
1.) That the popularity of iPad and related technologies makes digital comics take off in a big way.

2.) All the Golden and Silver Age creators who created the super heroes gain all the popular credit and royalties long denied them.

3.) Relatives and acquaintances would stop, once and for all, after being told I write comics for a living, ask me what’s it like to draw all day.

Alright, you’re making a comic about a guy who writes tv show commercials, but aspires to one day be on Broadway. What’s the name of the book, and sell me on a quick pitch, Go!
The Jingleman: Rich, naive ad exec gives it all up to self-finance his dream show and is nearly fleeced by a gold-digging starlet but they fall in love instead.

We all know you’re a great writer, but what do you really want to be when you grow up?
A writer. Honestly, I can’t think of a time when I wasn’t into that.

Where is the real money at in comic creating?
Zombies don’t hurt.

When you’re making comics, what’s going on around you? Music, what kind? Silence? TV on?
Music primarily. I select iTunes specific to a particular project, with songs likely (or formerly proven to) trigger my thoughts in that direction. No TV, no way, too distracting.

Favorite character you ever created/worked on, and why?
The next project is always the favorite, because that’s the fun, in creating things. Once it’s created, it’s in the reader’s hands to embrace or reject as she sees fit.

Ten years from now. Where do you see yourself?
Creating and living off my own graphic novels. That’s the goal I aspire to, anyway.

Alright, we can finish up with a quick word association game. I will say a word, you give me a quick one-sentence response.

Hulk? Herc

Marvel Zombies? Fun.

Horror Comics? EC.

Tadpoles? Frogs.

Kathisophobia- Fear of sitting down? Pacing.

Blank piece of paper? Opportunity.

Owl pellets? Huh?

Decapitated Dan? Head.

Fred Van Lente? Me.

Thanks so much Fred.
My pleasure!

To learn more about Fred and what he is working on, please go to http://www.fredvanlente.com/

Decapitated Dan



  1. Billy

    His work on Hercules was nothing short of awesome. I really enjoyed that series. It had everything a comic should. Comedy, action, great plots/schemes, it was great!

  2. Loved this guys work on Marvel Zombies Return it was the best of the series since the first vol. All around great writer if you ask me and I’m not sure if I’ve read a “bad” Van Lente story.

  3. Social comments and analytics for this post…

    This post was mentioned on Twitter by ComicAttack: Check out our interview with Halo + Marvel Zombies writer, Fred Van Lente!! http://tinyurl.com/y9nqdwf #comics #marvel #halo @fredvanlente…

  4. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Comic Attack. Comic Attack said: Check out our interview with Halo + Marvel Zombies writer, Fred Van Lente!! http://tinyurl.com/y9nqdwf #comics #marvel #halo @fredvanlente […]

  5. Fred went to ‘Cuse!? That’s awesome! Right near my hometown of Buffalo.

    I want the soundtrack to “Life Aquatic”, that movie is my f-…that movie I really really like.

    As for digital comics, I hope they’re successful but only in making COMICS take off in a big way. Publishers have the opportunity now to reach hundreds of thousands of people they couldn’t before, and that’s great news. I just hope it gets those people to walk into their LCS and look around, ask questions, and purchase something they’ll enjoy. This also means it’s time for retailers to step it up on a few different levels.

    And that Halloween costume rocks!

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