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Singe You Asked: Inside The Dragon's Lair Comic By David Weter
It's the 1980's, and you enter into the local arcade wearing your stone-washed jeans and your hair is feathered. Then you see it. Is it a cartoon? Is it a game? Just what is this thing called Dragon's Lair? Decades and a pile of sore thumbs and burning eyes later and it's one of the most celebrated and fondly remembered game of the 1980's. Now MVCreations is bringing Dirk the Daring to the printed page this August with a Dragon's Lair miniseries. Slush talked to series writer Andy Mangels about this project.
So who is Andy Mangels?
Andy Mangels is a man with a dream - the dream to unite the people of the world through a shared love of comic books, strawberries, tall black boots, and cinnamon toast. He also has the biggest moustache in comics.
Andy Mangels is a man whom none would call shy. He first attempted to break into comics around the age of 10, when he called DC Comics and offered to be an "idea generator" for them. They declined, but years later, he would indeed generate ideas for DC and many other comic companies, including Marvel, Image, Dark Horse, Innovation, Eclipse, WaRP Graphics, Topps, Acclaim, Rip Off Press, Gay Comics, and many others.
Andy Mangels has also written and/or co-written seven books, including two best-sellers (one Star Trek novel and a Star Wars book), and has three more books, two ebooks, and multiple short stories due out before the end of 2003.
Sometimes he sleeps, but never, ever on deadline.
What can readers expect, come August, when they pick up Dragon's Lair #1?
Action, adventure, romance, and witty dialogue. While there are not any mutants in sight, there is the beauteous Princess Daphne, the evil Dragon Singe, and Dirk the Daring, who has more lives than a cat. . .or any Marvel super-hero.
What drew you to Dragon's Lair?
No, you misunderstand. I'm not drawing Dragon's Lair. I'm writing. . .
Oh, I misunderstood the question. The irresistible pull of Dragon's Lair comes from my enjoyment of Don Bluth animation. I was writing the book ANIMATION ON DVD: THE ULTIMATE GUIDE (available in stores now!) and got the Dragon's Lair and Space Ace DVDs (available in stores now!) to review in the book. Soon after, I heard the comic rights had been picked up by MVC, and I begged the fantastic writer Robert Kirkman of Battle Pope infamy (available in stores now!) to introduce me to the guys.
Soon after, I auditioned for the job (no casting couch stories though), and was on my way to scripting the series.
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How do you shift gears from Star Wars and Star Trek novels to something light-hearted like Dragon's Lair?
I work on them on different days. The days I wake up feeling like Borg nanoprobes are infecting my mind are Star Trek days. When wake up I do like Yoda speaking, Star Wars day it is (although I don't write much Star Wars these days). But on the days I awaken to a glistening sun in the otherwise rain-drenched skies of Portland, Dragon's Lair calls me to adventure.
I've written all over the medium, from horror to kid's stuff to science fiction or super-heroes. Humorous fantasy isn't too far a stretch.
What do you think has spawned the eighties revival of the last couple of years?
Clamato juice from Canada. Why would anyone drink clam juice and tomato juice mixed? It's just gonna screw with your mind.
Or the fact that the people who were young'uns in the 1980s are now old enough to use disposable income to buy what their parents wouldn't let them back then. And there are a few who are trying to recapture those carefree halcyon days of their youth, and the joys of Ronald Reagan and a world filled with parachute pants and break-dancing.
Have you drawn any ideas from the eighties' Dragon's Lair cartoon?
Just the name of Dirk's horse, Bertram. Anyone who wants to send me copies of the cartoons is welcome to though.
How involved was Don Bluth's studio?
Thank heaven for expense accounts. MVC doesn't know it yet, but all those trips to Bluth Studios are coming soon via a stack of invoices.
Both Don Bluth and Gary Goldman have been very involved in the creative process, working with me on the initial six issue plot, and offering notes on each and every script.
Do you have any memories of the arcade game that stand out in your head?
That question paints a really disturbing image, you know?
Although it's of "my era," I was never very good at video games, so I only played Dragon's Lair a few times in arcades. Let's say I rarely made it past the moat monsters. I've played it on DVD though, and gotten to see my way through to the end.
What are some other eighties properties you would like to see revisited?
For Innovation, I wrote the Child's Play and Nightmares on Elm Street series, and was scheduled to write a Dark Shadows story arc. I'd love to do another Freddy Krueger series, and I would do just about anything to write a Super Friends or Wonder Woman TV series book for DC. I am approaching Marvel about a Wham! Vs. Wolverine maxi-series as well.
Would you consider returning to the Dragon's Lair universe for another miniseries, or even an ongoing?
I would love to. Taking a note from J. Michael Straczynski's playbook, I've plotted out a five-year story arc that will lead into toys, DVDs, and eventually, a video game. What? There is a. . . ohh, sorry, I was still on the Wham! Vs. Wolverine maxi-series idea.
Dragon's Lair has been a lot of fun to write, and I've set up other characters and hints of other stories so that an ongoing series or more mini-series would be a snap to do.
Who would win in a fight, Dirk The Daring, or Space Ace?
Ace has the gun and all, but Dirk has a sword and a horse. As an ex-Civil War cavalry reenactor, I'm always betting on the guy with the horse.
How would you convince Singe to buy the comic?
Well, I do have these very compromising pictures of Singe and Carrot Top that were taken for "artistic purposes" early in Singe's career.
But I'd probably rather use a scrying glass to show Singe that in the future, Dragon's Lair comics will be treasured for their witty and exciting scripts, dazzling Bluth-like art and colors, and excellent production courtesy of MVCreations. Even a dragon would instantly see that Dragon's Lair is worth trading in some of his gold to purchase.
Dragon's Lair #1 on sale this August. WHAM! Vs. Wolverine is still pending.