Catching Up With: Todd Stashwick and Dennis Calero on moving between comics and TV

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by Pam Auditore

A one time member of Chicago’s famous Second City improv, with a long resume in TV and film, Todd Stashwick is currently best known as Father Kieran on CW’s “The Originals”  (Tuesdays, 8pm, 7pm Central The Originals). But the multi-talented Stashwick came to comic book fan attention as the Multiple Man on NBC’s “Heroes.” The show’s web-comic, which ran around the same time, brought to mainstream attention a slew of artists all ready known to comic fans, among them, Dennis Calero.. ALong the way, Calero and Stashwick decided to team up as creative partners for a variety of projects.

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With Todd fighting Vampires in “The Originals” and Dennis tussling with an “Army of Darkness” for Dynamite (along with Steve Niles), you’d think they have enough to do. However, together they collaborate on the online Comic The Devil Inside  which Todd writes and Dennis draws.

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Having multiple projects in the works, we thought it was time to take a breath and catch Up with these two talented gents:

 Todd Stashwick

Q) So you’re playing Father Kieran in the CW’s the Originals.  What can you tell me about him and about the show?

TS: He’s a man with a lot on his mind. His nephew was hexed to commit a horrible murder. Distraught, Father Kieran left town. He’s returned to New Orleans 8 months later to take revenge on the people who fused it. At the same time he is the voice of the Human faction. We have an alliance with the witches and Vamps to keep the peace. What we may lack in supernatural abilities we make up for in sheer numbers. It’s potentially an ants and the grasshoppers situation. So we keep their secret and they keep the locals safe. I find the show fascinating. It’s structurally a Gangster show. Powerful families vying for control of a town using, violence, manipulation and coercion. They happen to be vampires. Boardwalk Vampire if you will.

Q) Are you and  Dennis thinking of  “Devil Inside” film?  Have you thought of doing it as a KickStarter?

TS: We definitely want to do a live action version of Devil. There’s many different avenues to go with it. We haven’t thought of it as feature though. I think a longer form medium would serve it better. Kickstarter is tricky because you get one shot with it. We would need to know exactly what form we would want to do it in before we took to Kickstarter.

Q) I heard you both were doing some project with SyFy is that true?

TS: We have been developing a pilot with Syfy, an outer space adventure called Clandestine. It’s about a family of space brigands who steal an abandoned military vessel and go on the run. We have completed the writing and are now awaiting to hear what the next step is. We’ve been working with some great people. Our supervising producer is John Shiban who worked on X-files, Supernatural, Breaking Bad and most recently Hell on Wheels. We are partnered with Gale Ann Hurd and her company Valhalla, that produces Walking Dead. It’s been a great experience so far and I hope we go further.

Q) At the “Batman: The Dark Knight Returns” premiere you said Batman was your inspiration for getting into writing comics? Why?  Are there any other comics you are currently following?

TS: I guess I meant that Batman was what got me into comics way back when. Started me on this journey. It’s a treat to contribute to a medium that I am a big fan of. I’m reading Scott Snyder’s Batman, Walking Dead, Saga, East of West and anything by Grant Morrison and Neil Gaiman.

Q) You have a movie coming out?

I did a western with Ewan Mcgreggor and Natalie Portman called “Jane Got a Gun” and I’m continuing my role on The Originals. Cheers Everyone!

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Dennis Calero

An Illustrator and Comicbook artist, Dennis has worked for IDW, Marvel, DC, Valiant, Dynamite Entertainment on books such as Star Trek: The Next Generation, Kolchack: The Night Stalker, Legion of Super Heroes, X-Men Noir, Doctor Solar, Masks and a webcomic The Little Green God of Agony for Stephen King

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Q) So how was NYCC for you?

DC: Very productive, it continues to grow and I predict will soon be the show to go to mostly because SDCC is very far away and much too warm and comfortable. It’s always nice to see friends I haven’t seen for months or even years, and it’s a good chance to meet with people and see what’s coming up. I think, for me, sitting at a table is less important, surely just less possible with the amount of work I have.

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Q) What are your current and future projects?

DC: I’m currently finishing up a run of Ash: Army of Darkness and am turning my attention to next year’s projects including an original tale I’m writing and drawing for Dark Horse, as well as a turn on the Vampire Diaries comic for DC digital. That’s of course in addition to Devil Inside.

Q) You once expressed interest in directing and knowing your work and having met you I think you’d be a fine one–so how is that ambition going?

DC:  It’s something I continue to be interested in doing and hope the opportunity will present itself someday. It’s an interesting topic because there’s a storytelling component and a real technical and administrative component, I think, to being a great director. I’m far less interested in that side of it. You need to have a passion for both the artistry and nuts and bolts of any endeavor to really thrive. I also continue to be against the idea that film somehow is the ultimate story telling medium, with novels, comics and the like being lesser forms, mainly just because of the amount of money involved.

It also comes down to the honest sense that there are many other things that I would be for more disappointed if I never got to do, such as really sit down and write a novel or put up a solo show of my paintings and drawings.

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Q) Are you and Todd thinking of “Devil Inside” film? Do you think of doing it as a KickStarter?

I think we approach Kickstarter as a last ditch effort for something deeply personal, which Devil is, and also completely unfundable by systemic means, which I think Devil is not. There’s been enough interest in Devil going into other mediums that we don’t see that as a necessary option right now.

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As anyone who’s ever met Todd and Dennis at their table in Artist Alley at a Con can tell you, they are very fan friendly, creating, along with fellow “Heroes” alumnus, director/actress Brea Grant, SlamCon a fan/pro meet-up which takes place yearly at San Diego Comic Con. Read more about it here.

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If you happen to be at SDCC next year and find yourself between interminable line ups for TV/Movie panels, I recommend taking a side trip to their table in Artist Alley where you can meet them and get a signed copy of the collected versions of “Devil Inside.

Todd and Dennis would like everyone to know that Devil Inside comes out for free every week http://www.toddstashwick.com/comic.asp  and you can check out Dennis’s website denniscalero.com for news and upcoming events.

 

 

Comments

  1. Beautifully written, well thought out, interesting and engrossing… Impressed by you, Impressed by them =) Thank you!!!
    Shein

  2. I am a big fan of their respective work and I love the web comic. I’m eager to see them bring their talents to television, provided some network people recognize a good thing when they see it!

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