Thursday, October 18, 2012


One of my very first writing jobs at DC was a story in their Halloween Special back in 2009. As it goes with these type of anthologies, they're used to try out new writers and artists on a holiday themed one-shot with stories that usually are pretty forgettable. And that's not a knock to the people contributing to them, but just the format itself. The stories generally run 5 or 6 pages long and aren't especially tied in with anything else going on in the DC universe at that time. Basically you're just there to get in and out and tell something that relates to the holiday in question.

For something like this, it would've been very easy to just do something using familiar characters around that holiday…Scarecrow, the Demon, or any other horror related characters in the DC universe. Throw in some ghosts or kids in costume, and call it a day. But my feeling was, why not use this very brief opportunity to create a new villain for our hero to go up against. And that was how Sugar Tooth was brought to life.

I always appreciate the characters who start off as decent human beings but through tragedy, become the villains that we end up caring for. Mister Freeze is a perfect example of this. And I wanted something similar for Sugar Tooth. A mild mannered family dentist that was unfortunate to cross the path of the Joker, resulting in the demise of his loved ones, and forever cursing him into the tragic villain he would become. And I felt he even fit the holiday very well, with all that candy being given out to kids.

I'm hopeful to get the chance to bring the character back at some point down the line. Either through a cameo or extended storyline. I feel there's still some untapped potential for him. So we'll see where he gets a chance to turn up next.

It's also fun to look back on this story, as it's one that very few people probably read, since these holiday specials don't attract the same numbers as the regular books. It's possible for the Dustin Nguyen completist fans, that they've never even seen it. And of course, I sort of wince at my early days of writing. Being a little overly verbose for the page (stacks and stacks of caption box dialogue crowding out the art in some instances). With every project you write, you start to figure things out. Get more comfortable. Know when you're writing too much or too little. Having lettering proofs and the re-write stage helping you to chisel and rework your story until you're more satisfied. And what it comes down to is not being too married to what you've written. I think I usually always start out writing too much, and then trim it down to fit the story. In this instance, I didn't do enough trimming in some cases. And bless the letterer for having to figure it all out. They're the unsung heroes in these instances.

All that said, I grew to love writing Damian in this story as well as co-scripting his dialogue for a couple issues of Streets Of Gotham. I think it's a shame there's no solo Robin title out there for him currently. Because I'd write that book in an instant!