“She’s totally true to the spirit of the era” Mask of the Red Panda writer Gregg Taylor discusses how to write the perfect female sidekick (and also get the girl)
What do you think being a comic brings to the characters that you couldn’t get on radio and in book? And how much influence did Dean Kotz have on the look and feel of the book?
GT: I won the freaking lottery when I found Dean for this book. It baffles me. When we started out, I did write a long, rambling description of certain things that we know about the characters, things that had already been established in terms of how things work and how things look, and we had some good back-and-forth on that… mostly because I wanted this story to work in the overall continuity. I always feel cheated as a reader when the “reset” button gets pushed, and it isn’t what we wanted to do at all. But then the pages started coming back from Dean and they were eerie. There was an early page that came back with the two heroes in their lair and it was note perfect. It was exactly how I had always seen it. So of course, feeling very clever, I looked at my script and notes to see how I had conveyed this information in a few words, and I really hadn’t said anything about it at all. He had just known. And after that I stopped feeling like this was all something that I was making happen by myself. Dean had all the freedom in the world to interpret the look and feel of the book, because it turned out to be much easier to stay out of his way and let him be brilliant. I never had to wonder if the next set of pages would be on the mark or not, because we were very much in sync with where this story wanted to live and how to get it there.