Ken Kristensen Dishes On The Punisher, Happy!, And Comics At Comic Con Palm Springs

by Gary Catig

This past Saturday, screen and comic writer Ken Kristensen held a panel at Comic Con Palm Springs. He discussed his Image comic Todd the Ugliest Kid on Earth, writing for the television shows The Punisher on Netflix and Happy! on Syfy, and his future projects.

When Kristensen was younger, he would write to the letter sections of comic books and would check the backs of his favorite series to see if his letters made it in. One finally did in an issue of Firestorm written by Gerry Conway. He was so ecstatic to see something he wrote published in a comic, he decided that’s what he wanted to do in life.

He’s written The Amazing Adventures of the Escapist for Dark Horse and Indestructible for IDW, but his most well-known work is Todd the Ugliest Kid on Earth from Image Comics.  Todd, which is illustrated by M.K. Perker, is a satire on American society that follows a young optimist keeping a positive outlook towards life despite the hijinks of his dysfunctional family. The comic was even optioned by FX to be paired up with animated show Archer, but eventually was not picked up by the cable network. Kristensen has finished writing the next arc, but fans will have to wait a while due to Perker’s busy schedule.

Afterwards, Kristensen shared what he could about the upcoming Netflix and Marvel series The Punisher.  He feels it’s the darkest take on the anti-hero yet compared to the previous films and that star Jon Bernthal brought an intensity throughout the entire shoot. The series is heavily influenced by Garth Ennis’ run on the comics and fans can see some direct references to that work. Fans can expect another trailer within the next month and he goes back to write for season two in late September/early October.

Kristensen also talked about the new series on Syfy, Happy! The show is based on the funny and dark graphic novel of the same name from creators Grant Morrison and Darick Robertson. The story follows an ex-cop turned hitman, played by Christopher Meloni, battling his inner demons and stuck in the seedy underworld of his current occupation. After an on-the-job accident, he befriends an overly cheerful imaginary blue winged horse named Happy, voiced by Patton Oswalt. The series takes place a week before Christmas and Kristensen described it as the most screwed up version of It’s a Wonderful Life.

At the end of the panel, Kristensen plugged his future comic projects.  Next year he has a gritty crime series from Scout Comics entitled Firewater, which is inspired by historic events in 1920’s Oklahoma involving the Osage Native American tribe. On September 19th, the graphic novel Fairy Godbrothers will be released, which follows two brothers being magically transported to a world of fairy tales. However, this world is the shadier world imagined by the Brothers Grimm, rampant with beheadings, bestiality, and brothels. Fairy Godbrothers will be exclusively sold by Barnes and Noble for three months and then can be found anywhere comics are sold. Both projects are illustrated by Kristensen’s frequent collaborator, M.K. Perker.

Gary Catig

Gary Catig is west coast raised, east coast educated, and has a touch of southern charm. He has spent most of his adult life making science fiction a reality as an engineer conducting research in the military, microprocessor, and biotechnology fields. While currently living in San Diego, he enjoys all facets of pop culture including but not limited to comics, TV, movies, and music.