The Danny Husk Interview

Due to naughty talk, some naughty language, and generally adult themes, reader discretion is advised.

There are a couple of things that I have to clear up with regards to this interview before I go on to post it. First off, be forewarned: thar be spoilers ahead, matey! Also, please keep in mind that this is a VERY tongue-and-cheek interview (I’m interviewing Danny Husk for cryin’ out loud!). As I was transcribing the interview this morning I realized that since Danny Husk’s humour is pretty dry, it doesn’t necessarily translate well into this transcript (I couldn’t also figure out a way to transcribe the copious amounts of laughter on my part).

I have three regrets with regard to this interview. The first is that it wasn’t videotaped; Danny Husk is a very visual character and a lot of the humour comes from his facial expressions and mannerisms. The transcription could not even come close to reproducing the intonation and facial expressions that are so much a part of Danny Husk. The second regret is that I left my cards in my bag back at the CBD table, so I couldn’t leave one *for* Scott Thompson. The final one is that I couldn’t find a way to transcribe my laughter because, and I’ve got a couple of these under my belt, and it was the funniest interview that I think I’ve ever done.

Danny Husk (DH): So, what was your name again?

Shelley Smarz (SS): Shelley

DH: Shelley

SS: So…

DH: So, Shelley, how do I know that you’re actually legit? You could just be anybody with a…

SS: I have a press thingy

DH: Ooohhh. I’m just joking. But I think, yesterday I did give an interview with a young lady who said she had a blog but when she gave me her card, it was just a piece of scrap paper that she’d written her name on but I still gave her the interview.

SS: Oh, that was very nice of you.

DH: Because you never know. The craziest person on Earth might be the one that sends you over the top. You know what I mean?

SS: Exactly.

DH: She might re-Tweet it and the next thing you know, that’s the one. So, you know I don’t care if it’s TheNew York Times or crazy-woman-who-thinks-she-has-a-blog, I’ll talk to anyone. That’s how proud I am of this book.

SS: It is an AWESOME book.

DH: Well, thank you so much.

SS: It is. And, when I read it, I kept hearing your voice.

DH: Well, it is my voice.

SS: Well, yes, but it was like you were reading it to me. So that was a very interesting experience. I don’t think that’s ever happened to me with a graphic novel.

DH: Oh, well, thank you.

SS: You’re welcome.

DH: I guess I have a distinctive voice.

SS: Yes, you do.

DH: You know I think that’s the hard part about the book. Even though that it’s a true story. And it’s not an autobiography ‘cause it’s as-told-to; I told it to Scott Thompson ‘cause, I’m not a writer. He says he’s a writer, I had to believe him. Uh, but people said to me “This guy’s career is not going so well, so he might need this gig.” So, in the great tradition of as-told-to, we did an as-told-to book. But I think it’s a story of courage and redemption.

SS: It is. It very much is. And a story of S&M.

DH: It’s about a man discovering that he likes to be spanked.

SS: And I think that was a very interesting bit of it because there was this remarkable transformation…there was a pushing of the boundaries.

DH: Yes.

SS: In terms of any good Dom/Sub relationship

DH: Oh

SS: Where you kind of have to test those boundaries.

DH: You sound familiar with those.

SS: I do. I am. …that might get edited out of the final version.

DH: That’s all right.

SS: And, in that respect it was very interesting. But I love the whole fantastical nature of your adventure.

DH: Well, you know, the thing about it is that whatever happens, I just work through it.

SS: Exactly.

DH: And when you’re being beaten to within an inch of your life everyday for months, you have a choice to go insane or to somehow incorporate it into your life and make it work for you. So, I think that’s what happened to me. But then, as a result, now that I’m on the other side, I can no longer return to just vanilla sex.

SS: And that’s a very interesting transformation because you did say that vanilla was your passion.

DH: That’s how the book starts. You didn’t miss a thing, did ya?

SS: I didn’t.

DH: And, you know, there’s three books.

SS: I cannot wait to read your further adventures.

DH: Because I’m here, so obviously you know I got out.

SS: Yes, exactly.

DH: So, there I am with my son and my daughter. My youngest son, who is now older than my little girl. That’s going to be trouble. And you know what’s going on with me and Killa, you know that there’s a very rocky road ahead. And the fact that my son and I are both sleeping with the same woman or want to. That’s awkward. The second book, it’s very bloody and there’s a war and you’ll discover a lot about why it was I was brought to this world. I mean because remember…where is it? [Checks his pockets] I thought I had a the magic disk but I forgot it, but you’re going to discover what that’s all about, who the gods are. What’s the destiny of Tondi and Danny. You’re going to discover…I’m sure you want Gloria back. The girl at the beginning…the Filipino girl.

SS: Yes, because I loved her.

DH: I did too.

SS: When I was reading her, she was only there for a bit

DH: One scene, that’s it.

SS: But there was such a connection and I kind of had a bit of a girl crush, I have to admit that.

DH: Oh, we had such chemistry.

SS: It definitely came across.

DH: And, you know, that was the moment when I knew my marriage was broken. You know, she’ll be back. And, ‘cause, you know, don’t give too much of this away and also…eh, Aaron Douglas! How ya doin’? Do you know my friend Aaron Douglas here?

At this point, I’m sad to report, Danny/Scott stood up and walked over to meet Aaron Douglas. Unfortunately, due to the background noise levels, my laughter, and the distance from the microphone, most of what follows is unintelligible on the recording (mostly due to my laughter).

DH: Yes, we do. [Aaron Douglas waves goodbye and departs; Danny turns to me] Well, that was exciting. That was Aaron Douglas. Chief from Battlestar Galactica.

SS: Ahhh, I thought I recognized him.

DH: Yes, it’s a very good show. And he’s right beside Kate Vernon who is Colonel Tigh’s wife. [Motions behind me] And look at those right there [Katherine Curtis of the Naked News, is standing in front of Dustin Diamond’s booth, wearing her red PVC Super Nerd Girl Costume]

SS: Yes.

DH: It’s difficult for me.

SS: It’s difficult for me too.

DH: Really?

SS: YEAH.

DH: You know, I’ll tell you something. One of the things that my experiences in The Hollow Planet taught me is that sexuality isn’t as black and white as I thought it was.

SS: And that, actually, is extraordinary for a man. Women, I have found are able to go back and forth.

DH: Oh, women are allowed to be bi[sexual] until the cows come home

SS: But men…there’s this very dichotomous thing. In fact, there’s a lot of people who are like “Men can’t even be bi[sexal]” which I think is crap.

DH: Oh, of course they can.

SS: Of course. And there are some people who embrace that fluidity and some people who are very much rigid but I find that more a male trait than a female trait.

DH: Well, male homosexuality is much more feared.

SS: Oh, definitely. Definitely.

DH: In fact, nobody fears female homosexuality.

SS: No. Well, all they think they need is a good deep dicking. I find that really offensive.

DH: It’s offensive.

SS: It’s horribly offensive!

DH: Thank you so much for your time.

SS: Well, thank you, Shelley. We got into some territory I didn’t expect to.

DH: Well, I always try to push those boundaries.

SS: Thank you.

DH: Thank you very much. Nice talking to you.

SS: Nice to talk with you.

Shelley Smarz is a comic book scholar and business woman. Kids in the Hall was an integral part of her life from 1988 to 1994. She’s still glowing from this interview (also, she lets out an occasional “Squee!”).

Wizard World Toronto 2011 Con Report :: Day 3

Ahhh…the last day of con.

Though it was much quieter than yesterday, it was still quite busy. The only real annoyance was that the hall itself was quite cool. I had on a long sleeve shirt, a t-shirt, and a uber-warm sweater and I was shivering.

I don’t have much to report on the day. I spent most of it sitting at the Comic Book Daily table, telling everyone about the Comic Book Movie Prize Pack. I wandered the booths for some last day deals and scored a couple of first-printings of Marvel original graphic novels (God Loves, Man Kills and Days of Future Past).

Ended up leaving the con a little earlier than planned; I was completely exhausted (the result of a sleep deficit caused by the time change last week) and had a bit of a sore throat. I’m sitting at home, watching TV, wearing a pair of knitted socks, drinking a Hot Toddy – which is basically a mug of hot scotch diluted with liberal amounts of both lemon juice and honey – desperately trying to fend off the dreaded nerd flu.

Shelley Smarz is a comic book scholar and business woman. She’ll be a busy bee transcribing these interviews – and a couple from last year’s TCAF that she thought had been eaten by the digital wolves. While brevity has never been her strong suit, the story is as follows: She thought that the digital audio files had been lost (my computer-sticky-thing crashed) but she found a copy in a very unlikely place.

Wizard World Toronto 2011 Con Report :: Day 2

Well, I’m ready to eat my words.

The con today was awesome. It was hip, happening, and everything you want in a con – the only thing that could’ve been better is if there was more comic programming and retailers.

I think that if Wizard World aims to have another con this size, perhaps even grow it VERY SLOWLY over the next couple of years, this is going to be a nice little addition to the Toronto con circuit.

I spent my day hanging around the Comic Book Daily booth. I also got to interview the man himself (no, not that one, the other one), Danny Husk (Scott Thompson’s alter-ego, a straighter-then-straight business man with a rocking ‘stache who claims “vanilla” is his passion, who is also the main character of the graphic novel, The Hollow Planet). The interview kind of went to a naughty place, but it was awesome! During the interview Aaron Douglas (Chief Galen Tyrol) of Battlestar Galactica (BSG) fame dropped by.

You have to understand, I’m a huge Kids in the Hall fan. I have been since I first saw it. One of my favourite Danny Husk sketch is where he reads in the paper that he’s been kidnapped and that the kidnappers are demanding $3,000 ransom (all in $2 bills). The only problem is, Danny hasn’t been kidnapped. Yet he goes through his day as if he has been, even dropping off his own ransom to the kidnappers.

In a nutshell, Danny is a plain ol’ regular guy with a super-duper positive attitude (he’s the guy making the lemonade when life gives you lemons), he’s super eager (despite not being the sharpest tool in the shed) and he never gives up.  (Which comes in handy when he’s sent to another world).

Though there is a reference to “Husk Musk” in the graphic novel (one of three, SQUEE!), it appears that Danny’s Kids in the Hall past is erased (he’s no longer the exceptionally well-endowed Blade Rogers no longer j 70s-style porn star (Blade Rogers), his wife looks nothing like Kevin MacDonald in drag, and his boss doesn’t ask him to look at the brown goo coming out of his mouth).

Shelley Smarz is a businss woman and comic book scholar. If you were at Wizard World Toronto today, you may have seen her in her pink cardigan and Angry Birds Buffet shirt.

Wizard World Toronto 2011 Con Report :: Day 1

I’ll be the first to admit that I wasn’t all that blown away by last year’s Wizard World Toronto. But, it was the first year, so I was quick to dismiss any issues as growing pains. But, I got to meet and interview Gail Simone, so it wasn’t all bad.

This year, the con’s hall space is half of what it was before, which is a good thing as last year there was too much space. (I was honestly quite surprised when I pulled into the parking lot of the Direct Energy Centre to see so many cars, until I realized that the Canada Blooms festival was going on in two of the other exhibition halls.)

And, while there was a pretty good turn out for a Friday night at 7pm – two hours until close – it was no where near the waiting-in-three-hours-to-get-into-the-Metro-Toronto-Convention-Centre insanity on the first day of 2010’s Fan Expo.

Perhaps it’s the guest list – very few comic book creators were announced. Which is disappointing because I remember Wizard World being synonymous with the best in comic conventions. But the focus has shifted now to celebrities and sports personalities. The cancellations – of Joe Madureira, Carlos Pacheco, Bruce Jones, Gabriel Hardman, Ethan Van Sciver, Bill Sienkiewicz, and Chester Brown – out of an already lean comic book presence doesn’t help at all. But, there are some old favourites: Agnes GarbowskaMatthew MohammedJason “J. Bone” BoneFrancis ManapulAndy BelangerMarvin Law, and Conor McCreery.

Regardless of how little comics programming there is, never fear, True Believers, I will endeavour to bring you whatever news (and interviews) I can. Also, take the opportunity to drop by the Comic Book Daily table and say hello to your favourite columnists (we’re all taking shifts manning the table).

But, there is a brighter side. As I was walking through Artist Alley, there were a lot of new comic creators that caught my eye and I’m really excited to check those out tomorrow and Sunday. Also, there are some pretty sweet deals on TPBs and HCs.

Shelley Smarz is a business woman and comic book scholar. She blogs when she can and thinks that she should probably invest in one of those mobile internet sticks so she can post more often.

The One Where I Ask You to Donate Money to Japan

Forgive me, dear readers. But I’ve taken a break from the utter insanity (and the rage!) that is the Boycott Thor website, to talk to you about non-comic related matters. *pulls out a battered, well-used soapbox from under her desk*

I’m posting the following links in the hopes that some of you will donate (if you haven’t already) some of your money to help the people (and animals) affected by Friday’s 9.0 earthquake and the resulting tsunami. (Then there’s the ever worsening nuclear emergency – though, I’d caution you about falling prey to the fear-mongering, the misinformation, and the panic. I know it’s easy, when news is scarce (and it keeps getting worse), to think that the world is ending or that nuclear energy is the devil and should be abolished or that we’re all going to die a horrible death from radiation sickness. Stop. Take a deep breath. Collect your towel and, above all else, DON’T PANIC.)

Since the tragedy, I’ve actively sought out stories of survival – the man they found hanging on to the roof of his house 10 miles out to sea, two days after the tsunami:

The four month old baby unharmed after being swept away from (and now reunited with) her parents.

Or, The 70-year old woman found in the wreckage of her home, now in hospital, conscious but suffering with hypothermia.

But, the stories that get me, that always make me tear up (which, embarrassingly enough, I’m doing right now) are the stories of the pets that are left behind or lost after a disaster such as this. Those tales of being reunited, when you think that the other is lost, or “Two survivors in Japan, reunited by a rescuer”:

 

(The photo and text come from the Tokyo Shinbun Takeo which has been translated as: ““A nameless rescue worker – one of many paid or unpaid highly trained professionals who dedicate their spare time or their entire lives to being ready to help strangers in emergencies, delivers the least of this day’s beneficiaries to a grateful and relieved loved one.”

Or refusing to leave an injured mate’s side (video) until both of you are able to be rescued, given veterinary care, and a warm safe place to sleep.

And, this just in, a video: “A woman enters her tsunami-ravished residence only to discover that her pet cat had managed to weather the devastation”.

Also, as reported by Discovery (via the Facebook page of the Japan Earthquake Animal Rescue and Support) the people and cats on Tashirojima, the cat island are safe, despite the earthquake and tsunami. However, they are short of food (they’re trying to arrange a delivery by helicopter).

Which is why, in addition to the Red Cross and other human-centric charities that are working tirelessly to help, I’m including a list of charities that help the pets (see also: the plight of the animals after Hurricane Katrina). Please consider giving something to help if you’re able to. (Note: These are Canadian donation links for the most part; also, I’ve tried to ensure that all of these organizations are legit.)

Canadian Red Cross

Oxfam Canada

Médecins sans Frontières (MSF)/Doctors without Borders

UNICEF

Salvation Army

World Vision Canada

Canada Helps

Plan Canada

ADRA (Adventist Development and Relief Agency) Canada

Global Giving

The following charities help the animals:

Japan Earthquake Animal Rescue and Support (a coalition of three separate groups: HEART-Tokushima, Animal Garden Niigata and Japan Cat Network)

Kinship Circle has a great list of resources that are Tracking And Assessing Animal Aid Response In Japan and their Animal Disaster Aid Fund

World Vets

Animal Refuge Kansai

I believe in the power of the human/pet bond and know that it’s just as important, as valuable, and as rewarding as other bonds are (as only unconditional love can be). I realize that I tend to look at it differently than many people do. Maybe it’s because I’ve been lucky enough to have a succession of exceptional furry family members. It’s also because I hope that, if I should ever be in a similar situation (*knocks wood*), that there will be someone who understands and will help reunite my Pomeranian and I, or, in the worst case scenario, to look after her if I can’t.

It could also be that, in the face of such loss being reunited with your pet is one step back from the void. It is one step away from being completely annihilated by that wall of black water that tosses cars and boats around like they were nothing. That, in the wake of tens of thousands missing and thousands of bodies washing up along the coastline, something remains and pulls you forward; something to hang onto when it seems like the world is ending.

In the end, whatever aid you give is going to help people devastated by what happened over the last five or six days. Whatever form that takes is no less worthy than another.

*toes soapbox back under her desk*

Shelley Smarz is a comic book scholar and a business woman searching for work. What may seem like pointless melodrama aside, she tends to get up on that soapbox a lot. But, unlike most times, she’s not crying as she does it. She’ll return to her angry feminist-panties-in-a-perpetual-knot, libertarian-situated, gay-marriage-protecting, basic-human-rights-for-all, pro-choice, pro-sex, pro-porn, pinko-Commie-scum, refuses-to-shut-up-liberal, socialized-healthcare-having agenda during her next post. In case you’re wondering, she’s strung together every “insult” that ever’s been lobbed her way (some of which she’s quite proud of and thanks you for the complement). Don’t worry. She’s got a Thaco of 1 and is a Beholder to your Magpie.

“I’m not a racist, BUT…”

I’ve been following the online kerfuffle among some fanboys that Idris Elba is playing Heimdall in Thor, which made the front page of Yahoo!Canada this morning. Some are saying that this is political correctness run amok, others are saying that this is “messing with the natural order of things.” Some are just peeved that their beloved series is not being adapted in the way that they want it to be.

If I may distill the criticism down to its essence: a black actor is playing Heimdall, a white Norse God who was “the whitest of the gods” (thanks Wikipedia!),  is wrong because it is disrespectful to both the comic book source material and Norse mythology. However, keep in mind that all of this is frame in the decidedly racist discourse of “I’m not a racist, but….”

Comic book film casting will always be controversial, regardless of characters (see: Keanu Reeves as John Constantine) simply because different people envision adaptations differently. Some want it exactly as the source material is, usually the case with fanboys and fangirls. This is next to impossible, by the very nature of adapting one medium to another. The method of adapting a narrative is the process of first reading the source material, interpreting it, and then recreating it. In addition, because adaptations are to a different medium, they are re-mediations, that is, specifically translations in the form of inter-semiotic transpositions from one sign system to another. Within the process of such a transposition from one medium to the next, both the signs and the signifiers change.

Therefore, a film adaptation is, by its very nature, different from its comic book (or mythological) antecedent/source. It relies on different sign systems and on different ways of communicating meaning. Just as the superhero comic book has a language, a set of conventions through which the author can communicate meaning, so too does the film. It is through this process of re-mediation that those subtle and not so subtle changes occur within the adaptation. Negotiating the filmmaker’s interpretation of the adaptation with the source material is a tricky thing, especially when the audience is aware of the source material and when that adaptation is explicitly linked to its comic book antecedent. Unavoidably, the adaptation becomes a kind of intertextuality as comic book fans are well acquainted with the diegetic worlds from which the adaptations drew, identifying references not only between the original text and its adaptation but also from the wider universe within which that original text is situated. Furthermore, Thor cannot be a simple transposition of the comic book source material onto film because of the intertextuality with other Marvel films – especially the upcoming Avengers movie, which will draw all of these characters together.

I, for one, have faith in Kenneth Branagh’s vision for Thor, including any changes to the source material. And, frankly, I think Idris Elba’s going to do a fantastic job – he was absolutely brilliant in both RocknRolla and The Losers.

Shelley Smarz is a comic book scholar and business woman. She spends her time advocating for silly things like women’s rights and increasing both equal representation and visibility for all (whether in popular culture or in business). Stay tuned for Shelley’s next column where she dissects the website Boycott Thor!