Posted - 06/15/2013 : 05:53:27 AM
Co-Creator/Writer Genie the Genius
Published by: Ape Entertainment/After Hours Press
Interviewed by: Richard Vasseur/Jazma VP
Rich: How did "Genie the Genius" the comic book come into being?
Darren: When I met Boomer (and Lee Becker) for the first time, Boomer mentioned an idea he's had in his head for years about a character that could be used in an educational way to help kids and parents better understand Cystic Fibrosis. His character was named Genie the Gene. I told him if he wanted to develop it I would love to help him. We later decided that a comic book would be the best approach to get started and I came up with the idea that the comic be called, GENIE THE GENIUS. With the help of Ape Entertainment, our little comic idea quickly grew into reality.
Rich: Can you tell us the basic storyline of "Genie the Genius"?
Darren: GTG is the story of a fifth grade kid named Andy, who is a procrastinator and a slacker, like a lot of kids. He finds a Genie lamp in a back storage closet of a museum. When he rubs it, he releases a Genie who turns to be a hyperactive and curious KID Genie, with limited powers, and a specific mission to help kids (so he can make it to Full Genie status). Not yet allowed to grant wishes, Genie has to come up with creative ways to “help” Andy.
Rich: Why is this a great book for both kids and parents?
Darren: The story is a wacky and fun adventure but has some real information. Kids will absorb and remember information better if it’s presented in story format. So that’s my approach with Genie. The first issue is about dinosaurs, so there's a lot to do and see in that kind of environment. Genie is a fun and likable character who will hopefully give a parent and child a chance to laugh together and enjoy a great ride.
Rich: Who is Emily Sanchez and how does it work sharing writing duties with her?
Darren: Emily is my 14 year old daughter. She's always been interested in writing stories so she's helping with Genie and learning about writing comics along the way. I give her full credit because she contributes great ideas, she's a good barometer for what's funny (and what isn't), and the little sister in the story is almost completely her creation. Emily has even taken a crack at writing the first draft of issue two, using an outline that we wrote together. She’s a fast learner and is also good at keeping me and my easily distracted mind focused. It's been a lot of fun working with her.
Rich: What was it like to work with Boomer Esiason on "Genie the Gene"?
Darren: Working with Boomer has been a pleasure. He is a very busy guy with his daily radio show "Boomer & Carton", his NFL television responsibilities and his foundation (fighting Cystic Fibrosis). But he's always really cool and easy going. His enthusiasm and dedication to helping kids really shows in Genie's personality. Boomer and Lee Becker had a great idea with Genie, and I have been very lucky to work with them in creating the look and the stories while developing such a fun concept.
Rich: What are a couple of your other titles you have worked on that stand out for you and why?
Darren: Some other titles I created are Foxwood Falcons, Celestial Alliance and Impossible Tales at After Hours Press. I also wrote a few issues of the Centsables, and a couple of Valiant comics (Armorines: Yearbook, Archer & Armstrong inventory issue) stories in the early 90's that never got published. Foxwood Falcons was probably my favorite (before Genie came along) since the premise was similar to the Sandlot or Goonies with some fantasy elements like Percy Jackson or Harry Potter. Most of my career in comics has been on the business and production end, but I always wrote stories on the side.
Rich: You have worked in different capacities in the comics industry; editor, writer, creator, CEO, VP, production… Do you consider yourself well-rounded in experience?
Darren: I'd say that's a fair statement. Being experienced with the different aspects of producing and distributing a comic has been helpful. But even more helpful are the friends I've met along the way. If I ever have a question on anything from writing, art, coloring, lettering– or on the business side, with solicits, design, marketing, printing, distribution, etc... If I don't know what to do I always have someone I can call and ask.
Rich: What would you do if you had a genie?
Darren: I'd probably be living in Hawaii in a big resort with friends and family. I’d be on the water just about every day, fishing or diving and then I’d play shortstop for the Yankees as my summer job... when I'm not curing diseases, saving the world from pollution, rescuing polar bears, flying jets, driving race cars or exploring the universe.
Rich: How can someone contact you?
Darren: Just go to, AfterHoursPress.net and click "contact"
Rich: Any words for your readers?
Darren: Yes... THANK YOU, for reading Genie the Genius.
And please send us your comments.
The whole Genie team would love to hear what you think.