Mel Cool: Mall Cop.™ Copy and layouts: Walt Jaschek. Art: Don Secrease.
Is Paul Blart based on Mel Cool: Mall Cop?
The short answer: not as far as we know or can legally prove. In fact, bless that Paul Blart. Somebody had to be “the” Mall Cop in pop culture. He won.
But here’s a longer Q&A with Walt Jaschek about that, originally published in 2009, when the movie was coming out but more than a decade after Mel Cool: Mall Cop was published.
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?
Walt: Yes. I think it’s flattering to my shape.
Q: Thank you, Walt.
Walt: You’re welcome, Q.
Walt Jaschek has created and co-created other comics, such as those Dang Gnats!