Dave Scheidt Talks About Wrestling Book Agents of S.L.A.M

Acronyms are funny.

GateCrashers contributor Jimmy Gaspero flies into the squared circle to chat with Dave Scheidt about Agents of S.L.A.M, the wonderful all-ages graphic novel he created with artist Scoot McMahon and colorist Heidi Black for Oni Press about professional wrestling vlogger and superfan Katie Jones who teams up with the Agents of S.L.A.M. to take on the World Domination Society. Jimmy and Dave chat about sandwiches, professional wrestling, and writing while trading suplexes and arm bars before Dave ends the interview with a Swanton Bomb from atop a steel cage. Get ready for a fun and exciting interview, and then go get Agents of S.L.A.M. 

Jimmy Gaspero: What is your favorite sandwich?

Dave Scheidt: This is an incredible start for an interview. You really get me. I’ve been REALLY into these Cuban breakfast sandwiches called Jamon Con Huevos that are basically just really amazing ham, egg and cheese sandwiches. A dream.

Jimmy Gaspero: What inspired the creation of pro-wrestling vlogger Katie Jones?

Dave Scheidt: I’m really fascinated by positive fandoms so I really wanted to find a cool hook to bridge the story for both new fans and established wrestling fans. Wrestling in general kind of lives and dies by the fans. We were really able to develop her pretty quick once we had the initial idea of a fan that is so passionate and dedicated to the craft that she would be an essential part of the AGENTS OF SLAM team. I think there is a little Katie in all of us.

Agents of S.L.A.M by Dave Scheidt, Scoot McMahon, and Heidi Black | Oni Press
Agents of S.L.A.M by Dave Scheidt, Scoot McMahon, and Heidi Black | Oni Press

Jimmy Gaspero: It seems like you would be, but have you been or are you still a fan of professional wrestling and, if so, what’s your favorite signature wrestling move?

Dave Scheidt: It’s actually been really fun to get to dive kind of head first back into professional wrestling. I loved it as a kid and kind of fell off as I got into junior high. We did a ton of research and just watched tons of clips of classic matches and stuff so that reinvigorated my love of wrestling so we’ve been getting heavy into stuff like AEW. As far as signature moves go I would have to say maybe the Stone Cold Stunner? It’s a pretty simple move but almost always brings the house down. People go NUTS and that’s what I love about wrestling. That immediate payoff.

Jimmy Gaspero: I loved Agents of S.L.A.M., in case you weren’t sure from my review, it’s such a fun story and there is so much story packed in there. Was there any character or element that you thought might not fit or work at first, but you and artist Scoot McMahon managed to include and you were glad you did?

Dave Scheidt: I honestly can’t really think about anything we wanted to do but couldn’t. We’re lucky enough to sort of share a brain and work with great editors who really trusted and understood the story we were trying to tell so I’m pretty happy with what we did.  Sure there is a million things we could have packed in but I think we were able to fit in everything into this one thankfully.

Agents of S.L.A.M by Dave Scheidt, Scoot McMahon, and Heidi Black | Oni Press
Agents of S.L.A.M by Dave Scheidt, Scoot McMahon, and Heidi Black | Oni Press

Jimmy Gaspero: The art and the colors are so fun and vibrant, artist Scooter McMahon and colorist Heidi Black’s work complement each other so well. How did everyone come together to create Agents of S.L.A.M.? I also wanted to know who did the lettering and SFX, cause there are some great ones, especially the names of certain wrestling moves used as an SFX?

Dave Scheidt: That’s all Scoot and Heidi (laughs) Scoot already had a working relationship with Heidi so they already had good creative chemistry and I’m glad that comes across on the page. Scoot did all the lettering and I’m almost positive came up with all the SFX because I am TERRIBLE at coming up with those (laughs) They make me look good but I can’t take any of the credit for that.

Jimmy Gaspero: There’s a bit of a running gag with President Johnson workshopping what S.L.A.M. stands for. Did that come about because you had multiple things it could have stood for? Will we ever learn what the acronym stands for?

Dave Scheidt: I will say that so much of the humor that Scoot and I share is putting in funny stuff with no plan to explain it. I think it’s a lot funnier that way and lends itself well to the tone of the book. I’m sure we’ll get more acronyms (laughs) but to us it’s way funnier to think of a million things it could stand for instead of coming up with one good one (laughs)

Agents of S.L.A.M by Dave Scheidt, Scoot McMahon, and Heidi Black | Oni Press
Agents of S.L.A.M by Dave Scheidt, Scoot McMahon, and Heidi Black | Oni Press

Jimmy Gaspero: There’s a wide range of jokes/comedic moments in Agents of S.L.A.M. that I think both kids and adults will enjoy. This is a great book for kids and parents to read and talk about/laugh about together. What things have most influenced your own sense of humor and what things today really make you laugh? 

Dave Scheidt: Scoot and I both have a very similar sense of humor and we’re really able to find absurdity in everyday things. I think a huge problem with people who try and write jokes or funny comics nowadays is just relying on punching down or cynicism. There’s funny stuff happening all around us every day and I think Scoot and I are kind of always looking for something to giggle about. If a joke doesn’t make us laugh personally, we won’t put it in the book. That’s really important to us to make a book that would make us laugh, too.

Jimmy Gaspero: If you had to wrestle any former WWF/WWE tag team champions of your choice for the Golden Eagle Belt who do you pick and which wrestler do you choose as your tag team partner?

Dave Scheidt: This is a great question! I think Scoot and I make a great a tag team and would love to knock heads with Macho Man and Sting. We’d sell a lot of tickets!

Agents of S.L.A.M by Dave Scheidt, Scoot McMahon, and Heidi Black | Oni Press
Agents of S.L.A.M by Dave Scheidt, Scoot McMahon, and Heidi Black | Oni Press

Jimmy Gaspero: Will there be more Agents of S.L.A.M. and, if so, what can readers expect? 

Dave Scheidt: We’d love to do more! This is kind of up to readers to decide if they want to see more. So if you want to see more AGENTS OF SLAM let Oni Press know!

Jimmy Gaspero: If you had a Rube Goldberg machine, what task would it perform?

Dave Scheidt: It’s funny you should mention this. Our good friend Brandon Snider wrote a series of books about Rube Goldberg called Rube Goldberg and The Amazing Machines (that are really good!) and I think about this a lot. I would probably say something like the breakfast machine from Pee Wee’s Big Adventure. I LOVE breakfast but I’m also incredibly lazy so that would be life changing. 

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