A Decade of Dynamite: An Interview with Dynamite Entertainment's Nick Barrucci
Nov 13, 2013
The year 2014 marks Dynamite Entertainment’s Tenth Anniversary of publishing some of the industry’s most exciting licensed and original series. From Battlestar Galactica (Classic and Modern), Voltron, and The Six Million Dollar Man, to Red Sonja, The Lone Ranger, The Boys, and Army of Darkness, Dynamite Entertainment has covered every genre under the sun, with truly something for everyone.
And the man behind it all is Nick Barrucci, CEO and Publisher of Dynamite Entertainment. Since 2004, he has steered his company ever-forward, striving to present the best comics, from some of comics’ best creators, including Alex Ross, Charlaine Harris, Chuck Dixon, Dean Koontz, Garth Ennis, George R.R. Martin, Jae Lee, Jim Starlin, John Cassaday, Kevin Smith, J. Michael Straczynski and many, many more.
With their 10th Anniversary approaching, Nick took a break from his breakneck schedule to discuss Dynamite’s history, and some of their new series coming in 2014 to celebrate their decade of publishing!
DYNAMITE’S TENTH ANNIVERSARY
PREVIEWS What are your thoughts on ten years of Dynamite publication, 2004 through 2014?
Nick Barrucci: It’s amazing on many levels. I'm proud of what everyone at Dynamite has helped to create in leading up to our 10th Anniversary, and it's truly humbling to know that we have been in business for a decade, since the first issues of Army of Darkness and Red Sonja hit store shelves. It feels as though we’ve achieved so much as a company, building a successful home for licensed, creator-owned, and Dynamite-owned comics. As we look forward to our next ten years, however, we see so much growth potential, so many more accomplishments to claim. More than anything, I feel like our ten years of publishing has brought us a huge responsibility — to our fans, to our creators — to not only generate compelling stories and products, but to also publish high-quality stories and products consistently. Personally, I feel that we’ve done right by our fans, and I cannot wait to deliver ten more years of Dynamite comics, graphic novels, toys, games, and more!
P: Why is Dynamite the “Next Big Thing”?
NB: People use the term, “The Next Big Thing,” an awful lot, but it’s rare that something bursts onto the scene, has an immediate impact, and then stays for the long haul. Often, The Next Big Thing becomes “Last Year’s News.” To truly attain that standing in the eyes of the public, you have to get there little by little. It’s all in the details. What creators are placed on a given title, how much attention is paid to each page, and the amount of creative freedom given to the writer and artist — that’s how greatness is achieved. It's usually a slow build to get there. Above all, comics are a collaborative art form, and the path towards becoming The Next Big Thing requires hard work, talent, and drive. And at Dynamite, we certainly have all three. We’re going to rock the industry with hot new licenses and revolutionary creator-owned projects, and expand into new product lines with our Dynamite Toys and Games division. Get ready!
THE TWILIGHT ZONE
P: What can you tell us about The Twilight Zone?
NB: J. Michael Straczynski, a legend in writing for comics and television, brings back the groundbreaking TV series that defined the science fiction genre! Similar to its original format, The Twilight Zone comic book will be a series of separate stories… but with the twist that JMS will string them together into unique, interlocking ways! It’s a classic concept, but with a fresh, unexpected take.
P: Why is The Twilight Zone the “Next Big Thing”?
NB: I said, “J. Michael Straczynski,” didn’t I?! Seriously, he’s an amazing talent who counts writing The Twilight Zone television series as one of the many highlights in an illustrious career! We've wanted to work with Joe for years, but we didn't have the right project that got him excited as a fan and a storyteller. When I mentioned The Twilight Zone, he literally just said “YES”. When you think about it, The Twilight Zone has always been a Big Thing, and it always will be. You’ll be surprised to see new levels of experimental storytelling, and how its terrors and surprise twists reflect what’s most terrifying to today’s generation (just as the original Twilight Zone controversially tore into the societal problems of its day). These will be horror and sci-fi stories that speak volumes socially, not just superficially, and people will talk about this title for years to come.
LEGENDERRY: A STEAMPUNK ADVENTURE
P: What can you tell us about Legenderry: A Steampunk Adventure?
NB: Take the Dynamite universe and imagine it Steampunk’d! Legenderry takes many of the main players of the Dynamite universe — including Steve Austin of The Six Million Dollar Man, the classic pulp duo of Green Hornet and Kato, legendary masked adventurer Zorro, Dynamite mainstay Vampirella, beloved Jack Kirby-created superheroes Silver Star and Captain Victory, King Features legends Flash Gordon and The Phantom and finally, the swords-and-sorcery icon Red Sonja — and twists them in a Victorian world with mad science run amok!
P: Why is Legenderry: A Steampunk Adventure the “Next Big Thing”?
NB: Only Bill Willingham — the bestselling creator of the runaway success Fables — could re-imagine the main Dynamite characters for this otherworldly adventure! Without the constraints of continuity, with free rein to reinvent worlds and characters, Willingham delights in the new Steampunk landscape and promises to carry us off on flights of fancy. Fans of the characters, fans of Steampunk, and fans of highly imaginative event comics will thrill to this series!
P: What can you tell us about Li’l Dynamites?
NB: Vampirella, Red Sonja, Evil Ernie, Battlestar Galactica’s Starbuck and Apollo, and the Bionic Man and Bionic Woman are some of the most well-known characters in the Dynamite Universe... but we only know them as adults. Li’l Dynamites presents these fan-favorite characters with a much more… juvenile bent. It’s fun to think of Red Sonja as the “She-Devil with a Plastic Sword”, or Vampirella as the undead queen of the sandbox, innocently stealing the hearts of all the boys! It’s a whimsical romp, a fantastic fun-fest!
P: Why is Li’l Dynamites the “Next Big Thing”?
NB: When you have “Li’l” in the title, can it still be The Next Big Thing? Well, sure we can! We’ve never played with our awesome characters quite like this before — nobody has! In welcoming renowned all-ages creators (and Eisner Award winners) like Art Baltazar, Franco, and Roger Langridge to join our incredible team of Dynamite writers — including Brandon Jerwa, Eric Trautmann, and Jim Zub — we’re going to see our heroes and heroines get in touch with their inner children… leading to a whole new dynamic and unique insight into the characters themselves!
P: What can you tell us about Bad Ass?
NB: Bad Ass is a story of a hero you would love to hate... mostly because he’s actually a dangerous psychopath. The main character, Dead End, is a morally corrupt and hilariously sarcastic vigilante who is more concerned with his own goals than anything else. Dead End is that man that just wants to watch the world burn, and crack jokes the whole time it’s happening. Dead End is more than just a self-involved, psychotic mercenary — he is also really good at basketball. Never before has there been such a quick-witted and highly intelligent vigilante. While characters like Deadpool are more about slapstick humor, Dead End is more about the quick-witted answers, delivered with a hysterically crushing apathy. We like to think it should have the tagline, "If Deadpool and Kick-Ass had a baby, it would be Bad Ass."
P: Why is Bad Ass the “Next Big Thing”?
NB: I’d say that Bad Ass fills a void left in fanboy and fangirl hearts after our bestselling and envelope-pushing series, The Boys (by Garth Ennis and Darick Robertson), came to its explosive end. If you want violence and sick humor, if you crave madcap antics and irreverence, Bad Ass is your Next Big Thing!