St. Louis comics artist Lorenzo Lizana and I created The Squirrel Squad™ a fews years ago for a pitch to a cartoon network. They didn’t bite, which we thought squirrelly, but we had fun using them on this poster urging on the St. Louis Cardinals in a 2012 World Series race. (Squirrels were a thing for the Cards then. You can Google it.)
Q: Are you and your collaborators getting a piece of the action from the new movie “Paul Blart: Mall Cop?”
Q: Why is that?
Walt: Paul Blart: Mall Cop is not (as far as we know or can legally prove) based on Mel Cool: Mall Cop®, the long-running comicbook and web series created by Don Secrease and me in 1995, even though there was both a Mel Cool feature film screenplay and a cartoon series pilot script floating around Hollywood for years.
Q: What is your reaction to that?
Walt: Existential sadness mixed with raging anger.
Walt: No, I’m just playin’ with you.
Walt: I’m cool with it. Mel Cool with it. I’m philosophical about the whole thing.
Walt: Yes. In fact, let me put on this toga. [Rummages through a box of costumes, looking for the toga.]
Q: [While he does so.] But you just said there was a completed screenplay…
A. [Still rummaging.] There was. Cary Anderson and I wrote the story, based on the comic; Cary wrote the screenplay. Paul Fey produced. It’s a funny script. But in Hollywood, you gotta be your own agent and work the thing on a daily basis. I was in St. Louis, Cary is in Baltimore, and Paul has World Wide Wadio to run.
Q: Quit rummaging.
Walt: [Finds toga, puts it on.] Ah, here it is! My philosophy is, “live and learn.”
Q: All that for that?
Walt: “Live and learn.” To the victor, the spoils. That is, to the first one to actually get a star and a deal and Happy Meal tie-ins, the spoils. Have we gleaned nothing from “Entourage”? Next time we bring a comedy concept to Hollywood, we dig in like a pit bulls on amphetamines.
Q: You have more movie-worthy comedy concepts?
Walt: What, are you kidding me? I’d tell you, but…
Q: …you’d have to kill me?
Walt: [stares at him from an angle] No, but what an odd thing to say.
Q: [quickly changes subject] So: you’re not bitter about Paul Blart and you’re not suing?
Walt: No. I really think it’s just great comic minds thinking alike. The movie looks really funny, actually. Kevin James. He knows from funny.
Q: Any sales of your work in the wake of publicity from the movie?
Walt: We’ve sold one comicbook, one t-shirt, and made about 46 cents in AdSense revenue.
Q: So it looks as if you’re raking in some dough from the whole Mall Cop thing, after all.
Walt: Praise the mall gods. There are mall gods, you know.
Q: We believe you. Um, are you going to leave that toga on?
When I approached artist Bill Lux with the concept of a “Take a Chillaxative and Chillax” line of merchandise, he created this incredible image, exceeding my chillax-pectations. He wrote the bottle copy, too! Though there’s a like-filled Chillaxative page on Facebook, sales are not yet booming. Guess everyone stocked up on Chillaxative at Costco.
That’s me, left, with two great, St. Louis comic friends and collaborators from Auld Lang Syne: Don Secrease, co-creator and artist of The Herobots™, Ned and the Nude, Mel Cool: Mall Cop™, and many more comics with me; and Sam Maronie, long-time comics and pop-culture journalist and author of Tripping Through Pop Culture. This was New Year’s Eve, 2015, at the home our mutual friend and ace comic creator, Paul Daly. Ever been to Paul’s place? It’s like stepping into a movie set. Anyway, my point is: Happy New Year!
Comic friends!! Donate unwanted back issues to hospitalized kids! That’s what I did at Star Clipper in August, 2013, thanks to a new, worthy initiative of the Zombie Squad. Here’s Laura of said Squad accepting a box of 1980s Marvel and DCs. I’ll never miss ‘em. (Quipped a friend: “I notice you didn’t donate a box of Ditko Spider-Man.”)