David Pepose takes on SPACE GHOST

Dynamite is gearing up to release Space Ghost this May. Partnering with Warner Bros and Discovery Global Consumer Products, the new book starring the legendary guardian of the spaceways will feature the creative team of writer David Pepose and artist Jonathan Lau.

The Beat chatted with Pepose ahead of the release.

DEANNA DESTITO: How did this project come about?

DAVID PEPOSE: I’ve known Nick Barucci and the editors at Dynamite for going on 15 years, and I’ve worked to stay on their radar as I’ve built up my writing career. I’d like to think my work on Punisher and Moon Knight: City of the Dead is what got Joe Rybandt and company to consider me for Space Ghost — and I’m so glad they did. It’s been such a dream project to work on, getting to juggle all the action and emotion and sci-fi worldbuilding behind these characters.

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Francesco Mattina cover

DESTITO: What attracted you to Space Ghost?

PEPOSE: Boy, there are so many elements that have me excited about this project. The first has to be the character arc we’re putting together for Space Ghost and his supporting cast — Space Ghost came out the same year as Adam West’s Batman, and the original cartoons shared so much DNA. And beyond the wide range of abilities he possesses thanks to his Power Bands and Inviso-Belt, when I initially started thinking about Space Ghost as a character, my first thought was that it was so unique that he not only had one sidekick but three! 

The original cartoons were so stylish and so fun, but they never really had any time to establish any backstory to how or why this unlikely team came together — and that became the heart of my take on Space Ghost. Beyond all the fun sci-fi action and adventure, this series is ultimately about how Jan, Jace, and Blip find themselves in Space Ghost’s orbit, and how their dynamic evolves from them being rescued orphans to becoming trusted partners to eventually coming together with Space Ghost to form their own surrogate family. It really is a fun ensemble story where all the characters have a chance to learn, grow, and even heal.

And of course, I’d be remiss if I didn’t talk about the villains. Space Ghost was designed by the legendary Alex Toth, but he didn’t stop there — when you see all the amazing villains that Toth created for the character, like Zorak, Metallus, Brak, Creature King, and the rest of the Council of Doom, you realize that this is a character who has just as iconic of a rogues’ gallery that Batman or Spider-Man has. It allows you to tell all sorts of exciting stories with a character like Space Ghost because he has such a variety of threats to work against.

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Jae Lee cover

DESTITO: Were you a fan of the character beforehand?

PEPOSE: I was! I grew up during the Coast to Coast years but really keyed into his potential as a superhero in his own right with works like Joe Kelly and Ariel Olivetti’s Space Ghost run at DC, as well as Jeff Parker and Doc Shaner’s incredibly fun work on Future Quest

But I think as I rewatched all the original episodes to prepare for this project, my appreciation has only deepened — I did a super-deep dive not just with the cartoons, but even reading every Space Ghost comics appearance I could get my hands on. Mark Evanier and Steve Rude’s Space Ghost one-shot at Comico, for example? Absolutely sublime stuff.

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Bjorn Barends cover

DESTITO: How is it working with Dynamite and this creative team?

PEPOSE: It’s been absolutely spectacular. First and foremost, I am so grateful to my editor Joe Rybandt and the teams at both Dynamite and Warner Bros., who have really given me a ton of latitude to dive into Space Ghost’s universe in the most exciting and character-driven way possible. This series has my longest runway to date, and the fact that everyone involved has been so open to the wide-reaching plans I’ve come up with is such a heartening experience.

And I can’t say enough great things about Jonathan Lau — when I first saw his artwork, the thing that stood out to me was not just how powerful but ethereal he was able to make Space Ghost, or how powerfully he establishes the mood of each scene, but that he didn’t ignore Jan, Jace, or Blip. He understood right from the jump that this is a story that’s told through their eyes as well, and that they can share the spotlight with Space Ghost as they work and grow together. (Also, Jonathan’s cutaways to Blip regularly crack me up.) Colorist Andrew Dalhouse also deserves a ton of credit for giving this series so much mood and energy — I’d worked with him once before on a Miles Morales short story at Marvel, and he’s just a real artist’s artist with his colors. I’m lucky to be working with a really top-shelf team here.

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Michael Cho cover

DESTITO: What does this incarnation have for both old and new fans of Space Ghost?

PEPOSE: We’ve been working to gear this series so that whether you’re new to Space Ghost or you’ve watched every episode of the original series, you’ll be able to follow this book from the very first issue. For those who are diehard fans of Space Ghost, we’re going to be digging deep into his rogues’ gallery — I rewatched every episode of the original series and the Space Stars revival of the ‘80s, so keep your eyes peeled. It’s a dangerous universe out there — you’re going to see just about everybody you might expect, plus a few deep cuts that you might not. 

But even for newcomers who might not be instantly familiar with the lore, the characters are key here. We’re telling a really wonderful story about family, loss, and redemption with this series — without giving too much away, I think Space Ghost, Jan, and Jace’s stories each complement one another in some truly heartfelt ways, and I think if you stick around with this book, you’re going to fall in love with these characters just as much as I have. 

DESTITO: Any teasers about the series you can share?

PEPOSE: Hmm, what else can I tease that I haven’t discussed already…? Expect plenty of villains. Expect plenty of sci-fi adventure, drama, humor, and heart. Expect to fall in love with this cosmic quartet. And most importantly, if you only know Space Ghost from his talk show, make sure to check out our book to find out why he’s the greatest superhero in the galaxy.

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