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David Avallone talks Twilight Zone: The Shadow #4, on sale in July

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  • David Avallone talks Twilight Zone: The Shadow #4, on sale in July

    David Avallone talks Twilight Zone: The Shadow #4 (of 4), on sale in July from Dynamite.

    BYRON BREWER: David, as the end of this series approaches in July (issue #4), have you told the story you wanted to tell? And how do you think you have handled each end of the two franchises you are writing about?

    DAVID AVALLONE: They’re two franchises I love, so I hope I did them justice. In fact, I love them too much to think of them as “franchises,” but I suppose that’s what they are. For better or worse, this is the story I set out to tell. One of my favorite things about this series is the basic concept of mashing up these two things is not an obvious slam-dunk and required a lot of thought and a lot of research. I’m glad I grew up with – and was greatly influenced by – The Twilight Zone and The Shadow, and that prepared me for the challenge. It’s for the fans and the readers to judge how successfully I handled things… but I can tell you that it was a labor of love.

    BB: Writers do a lot of things to put them in the mood for their session before the blank screen. What do you do to get in a Twilight Zone/Shadow mood?

    DA: Before I sat down to write, I reread some Shadow novels. I listened to the episode of The Shadow radio show that makes an appearance in issue #2. I reread my dog-eared copy of The Twilight Zone companion, cover to cover, to remind myself of the tropes, the shapes of the stories, and to read all of Rod’s intros/outros again. That was my prep for the project.

    Once I actually sit down to knock it out, I’m big on music. There’s a terrible Shadow movie from 1994 which has an amazing musical score by Jerry Goldsmith. I listened to that, and the four-disc compilation of the music from the Twilight Zone TV series, while working.

    BB: You are Rod Serling in the 21st Century. You pick up the Twilight Zone/Shadow comic from Dynamite. What do you think?

    DA: I would like to think he’d get a kick out of it, particularly the meta-fictional stuff in issues #2 and #3. I think he’d appreciate the theme of the whole series, and appreciate that it was working in Twilight Zone territory. But I’m no Rod Serling. I’m quite sure he’d pick up the phone, call me, and say, “I have notes…”

    And they’d be fantastic notes.

    BB: David, I know how those TZ plots twist and turn. I also as a writer know how some stories like this begin to write themselves. Did your tale take any swings that you were not expecting at first?

    DA: The overall story didn’t really hand me too many surprises, but in the process of turning a short pitch into a script, the characters definitely take on a life of their own and surprise you now and then. Margo was tougher and smarter than I remembered her, but that’s my own preferences coming into play. I particularly loved writing for Madge and Preston in issue #2, having a great fondness for the people those characters were based on. And speaking of issue #2, I hadn’t planned on a cameo from my father – who, in 1937, was a little boy and a big Shadow fan – but he just strolled right into the scene and there he was. My dad introduced me to the Shadow at the same age he discovered those books, and he’s a big part of my love for the character.

    Click image for larger version

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