Kord Industries: Donald, thanks for taking time away from film making and crime fighting to chat with us! You're obviously a fan of the character. But can you tell us, why? Why the Blue Beetle, and specifically why Ted?
Donald McKinney III: I guess the seeds of The Blue Beetle were planted at an early age as the first two comics I came into contact with were on my parents’ book shelf. They were, The A Team and The Old Modern reprint of The Blue Beetle #3 (with the Mad Men!). Over the years I enjoyed the character, his humor, charm and his ability to get the job done when needed. Ted was funny, Ted was a man you'd wanna go have a burger and a beer with. Over the years he kinda fizzled, almost disappearing. Then came his death; the death of Ted Kord was so powerful, and so well written it made me realize that there was room for him again, there was room for a well-written Ted Kord story! The minute I thought that was the moment they killed him off. It was devastating to Kord fans everywhere.....
KI: That's funny, in another blog that I was working on, but haven't posted yet, I tried to answer that question myself and came to a similar answer. He's the average Joe who became a superhero! The kind of guy you’d want to hang out with! And when I read that book and saw Ted shot, I couldn’t believe what I was reading! It hit me hard...like the death of a good friend. It's good to see him back in action though! Tell us how your web series came about.
DM: The web series came about after a few short films I had finished, SUCCUBUS, and THE BIRTH. I enjoyed making them, and I enjoyed working with the people involved. I thought geez, maybe I can do something besides shorts, maybe I could do a web series. I was still upset about Kord's death and their refusal to bring him back (I asked DC at a panel at WonderCon about 4 years back). Then I thought if I have the time and can get the funding, perhaps I can bring him back on my own terms. I knew how to film, I knew the production side..the rest...the rest was history, lol.
KI: I had a similar encounter at the Baltimore Comic-Con a few years ago when I asked about Aquaman's possible return...DC shot my question down quick! They brought Arthur Curry back though, so I'd hope there's still a chance for Ted Kord. Speaking of history, on your website, www.rumblespoon.com, you have several shorts and outtakes in addition to the series episodes, including one titled "The Death of Dan Garrett". Any plans to revisit that character?
KI: Looking forward to seeing that! Some BB related characters you've haven't brought back, or brought back yet. How'd you choose Dr. Hypnovert as Ted's sidekick over say...Booster Gold?
DM: I chose Dr. Hypnovert for 2 reasons...I didn't want to introduce Booster just yet, and I wanted to introduce a bumbling sidekick of my own creation into the mix. It's a very simple call-back to Giffen and DeMatteis's occasional reference to Laurel & Hardy.
KI: I think you're onto something there! The rolling chair scene in the Scarecrow's hideout, while brief, had me laughing out loud! Now, you've referenced Blue Beetle history, DC continuity and several characters (especially those from the Batman mythos) already in series 1*. Any plans, teasers, or spoilers from series 2 you want to share?
DM: I chose to place several Batman characters into the series as Batman is a huge draw and his villains are so dynamic. Ted has a small amount of villains, and I thought "why can't Batman share?!". We'll be introducing 2 new Rumblespoon Original creations for season 2: Black Licorice and The Scarlett Beetle. We'll also be bringing in TED'S Ultimate Villain...the guy who started this all, Maxwell Lord. Season 2 is about revenge, redemption and a large man in a dress! lol
KI: This I have to see! Well, Max Lord...not the guy in a dress, unless they're one and the same? lol
Anyway, tell us about your Kickstarter project.
DM: My Kickstarter campaign is to get funding for season 3 of The Blue Beetle. I am adding a bit of a supernatural element into the 3rd season, which is not a cheap thing to do. I asked for a little amount so hopefully if people believe in the project, they'll donate what they can. The more money, the better the season!
The campaign story itself is about a 3 minute video filled with fun, laughs and information. I highly recommend people check it out! http://www.kickstarter.com/
KI: I second that! I've already become a backer myself! A man doesn't don a spandex costume without being a comic fan...let me ask you cats this question...Who were your influences? Which artists popped your cherry? Sorry, flashbacks to "That Thing You Do"*, lol What books are you reading now? Who are some of your other favorite characters?
DM: I'm currently reading Justice League Dark, Deathmatch, Age of Ultron, Batman, Superior Spiderman, Five Ghosts, The Black Beetle...my list goes on and on! (I'm a huge fan of the medium in general and am fascinated with it's history.)
Some of my current favs(besides Ted of course) would be Booster Gold, Deathstroke, Blue Devil, The Tick, Eclipso, The Spectre, Swamp Thing, Frank, Beast, Plastic Man, Jonah Hex, Hercules, and The Question.
KI: SPOON! You have very good taste in comics, sir! Several of those titles and characters are part of my regular pull list too!
Ok, one last question...if Blue Beetle had appeared on the old “Batman” TV show with Adam West, which celebrity would you have cast to play him?
DM: That's a great question...I've always wanted to see William Shatner and Adam West share the small screen, so out of necessity for ridiculousness, I'd go with him..If that's too much crazy, I'd have a fallback...Patrick McGoohan! :)
This was fun...cheers!
KI: Shatner as Ted Kord! I'd have never come up with that! I was thinking Micky Dolenz from "The Monkees" as Ted, and Russell Johnson from "Gilligan's Island" as Dan Garrett, lol
Thanks for the interview, Donald! Hopefully we can bring you back to talk about future seasons at some point!
Check out Donald on Twitter @TedKordAlive
Like him on Facebook at The Blue Beetle: Ted Kord Returns Web Series
And check out the links to Rumblespoon Productions and Kickstarter, you’ll be glad you did!
* I've been watching lots of British TV lately, and have taken to referring to "seasons" of a show as "series" as a result. Some, like Donald, find this amusing...but in case you were confused I thought I'd clear that up.
** I worked in a video store for several years during college..."That Thing You Do" played in the store at least once a day for several years...I think the total number of viewings for me numbers in the thousands!