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    Interview with Patton Oswalt

    by Tim Leong

    Even if people can’t agree on comedian Patton Oswalt’s views of the world, they can at least agree he’s a funny guy. So, what does the comic writer and occasional comic book writer think about the comic industry? In 10 questions, we found out.

    How does comedy translate differently from it being read, to it being heard?
    Reading it doesn’t give you the comedian’s intent, inflection or emotion. Most of the time.

    How do you approach that differently when writing for print?
    You can write things that sound good when someone’s hearing it in their head, which is way different from things that sound natural when someone says them out loud. I keep that in mind when I’m doing either one.

    Who’s the funniest writer in comic books?
    Ivan Brunetti.

    Have comic books gotten darker and more adult-themed and less comedic? Is that a good thing?
    I think they’ve gotten both darker and more comedic at a more or less even pace. There’s funny stuff out there if you want it, and there’s dark stuff. What I’m more excited about are writers like Robert Kirkman, Brian K. Vaughan and especially Reginald Hudlin, who simply love superheroes and solid storytelling. They’re both funny and dark. They’re themselves. And then, as always, above everything, there’s “The Goon.”

    What comics do you read?
    I’m at a point now where I read writers. Anything by (Brian) Bendis and (Mark) Millar and (Warren) Ellis and Kirkman and Vaughan and Hudlin. I’m sure I left some people out. Following writers gives you the chance to try out new stuff. I picked up “Hatter M,” (Desperado Publishing) which was great. “Hip Flask: Mystery City”(Active Images )and “Sea of Red” (Image Comics) and, surprisingly, “City Of Heroes” (Image) were also chances I took that paid off well.

    You’ve traveled the country on your Comedians of Comedy tour. Which city had the best comic store that you visited along the way?

    So far? Orlando, Fla. Shitty town. Great comic book store called Sci-Fi City.

    I’d read you were getting something together for a monthly comic. How is that going?
    Pretty well. I’m learning the discipline surprisingly fast.

    Which is harder, writing comics or writing stand-up material?

    For me, comics, because it’s still a relatively new medium (for me). Standup is just something I do pretty much all the time without thinking about it. 17 years doing something will do that for you.

    Why do you think Hollywood finally realized the potential for comic books as source material?
    Because something made money. Batman, right?

    What’s your take on the comic book movies that have come out so far?
    Some have been amazing (“Batman Begins,” “Sin City,” “Ghost World”), some have been OK (“Road to Perdition,” “Punisher,” “Hulk”), some have royally sucked (“Elektra,” “Catwoman,” “Daredevil”). It’s a huge field, so there you go. Plus, you’ve got the superlative, will-age-well-and-build-a-rabid-cult “Unbreakable,” so there’s always hope.

    You wrote a story for Marvel’s “Wha … Huh?” that never made it in the issue because of legal concerns. When you found out it wasn’t going to run, was that feeling akin to bombing on stage?
    Nah. I just wanted to see my stuff rendered by Jim Mahfood. The story’s still funny.

    Oswalt’s new DVD, Patton Osawlt – No Reason to Complain, hits stores this April. For more information, check out

    Posted by Tim Leong on April 30th, 2006 filed in Story Archive |

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