Five Questions With Mark Waid About Insufferable: On the Road


Mark Waid and Peter Krause's acclaimed Insufferable enters a new (to print readers, anyway) act in this week's Insufferable: On the Road from IDW Publishing.

The first issue in a six-issue miniseries, Insufferable: On the Road sees Nocturnus and Galahad on a mission to the Cayman Islands to recover Galahad's stolen fortune. The pair will uncover a trail of murder and mayhem and find themselves in mortal danger--if they don't kill one another first.

Waid joined to discuss the series, which originally published through his digital-first storefront Thrillbent.

Obviously with these characters who start off as kind of a pastiche of better-known characters, they break away from that as they evolve. Do you think there is still a benefit, in spite of all the changes. Do you think those original ties make it easier or harder to craft the characters' own identities with the readers?

​I think riffing off of archetypes is as good a starting ​point as any, but in order to give characters their own identities, it's important to run away from that starting point as fast as possible, or else you're just doing pastiche, which is cheap and easy.

You've been building this world for a while -- how much easier is the world-building element of a title like this when you're working with a collaborator you've known and trusted for years?

​Infinitely easier. With Pete Krause, I get to write to his strengths (which are legion, but chief among them is facial acting). There's a level of trust working with Pete in that I know I can count on him to communicate the story we're trying to tell and he'll always do it clearly and cleverly.

With "On the Road," did you think about how having a static setting affects superhero characters? In many cases, it's a big part of who they are and "Their City" becomes more than just turf -- it's an extension of identity.

​That's true--and maybe it's because I grew up in rural Alabama or because I've lived in dozens of cities in my life (I move a lot), but while I applaud other writers who build characterization out of the cities themselves, I was never one of those guys. That's not my wheelhouse.

That said, it is a lot of fun to take characters out of their environment and do "fish out of water" material--it shows who they can be and what they can do under new stresses.

How does the dynamic between these characters change when their resources are stripped away and it becomes more "them against the world?" At the start, there's literally no scenario that would have seemed more stressful to either man.

​That's a great question. Nocturnus, by his nature, is always reasonably adaptable, but Galahad is like a hothouse orchid--mess with his routine or his environment and he wilts.

I honestly think that a big part of what gets Nocturnus through the stresses of On the Road is watching Galahad's meltdowns.

What can you tell us about the threats they're facing in this storyline?

​In the first Insufferable story arc, Nocturnus and Galahad were manipulated into warring on one another by a retired super-villain whose son ran off with their money.

The super-villain's out of the picture now--but his son is still wreaking havoc from his Cayman Island headquarters, outside the reach of American justice, so it's up to our two heroes to track him down in a foreign land.

Along the way, they encounter a number of smaller mysteries and crimes that seem unrelated--but which add up to a sucker punch about halfway through the On the Road arc.