Milo Ventimiglia and the benefits of ‘Rest’

Milo Ventimiglia is getting into the comics biz. While all you Comic Book Guy clones may feel the urge to scoff, I advise to hold your proverbial horses because Milo is legit. He’s as big a comic buff as you or I (perhaps even more so). I got to meet with Milo at his DiVide Productions office and talk to him about his book Rest from Devil’s Due, comics in general, and yes, a little about Heroes too.

Rest is about a guy named John Barret (based on Milo’s likeness) who enters a study for a drug that takes away your need to sleep. There’s shadiness abound at Donte-Global, the company that manufactures the drug, so all signs point to things not going so well for John…

How did you get involved with this whole crazy industry?
I was raised on comics, I grew up reading comics. It was a world that I’d always been into so, for me, it was one of those things that when I had the opportunity to sit down with Devil’s Due and pitch them some ideas it was like, “Really, are you kidding me? I could actually get into comics? That’s great!” And Rest came out of the Writer’s Strike. We had this script written by Michael O’Sullivan and the script needed some work but the concept was great and the characters were really, really cool but we couldn’t do anything with it, [we couldn’t] develop it because of the Strike. So we brought it to Devil’s Due and pitched them and they were like, “This is awesome, this is amazing, we’d love to do something with this.” [So] we’re making five [issues] (a 99-cent #0 + #1-#4) and a trade paperback at the end and it’s kind of given my company here entrance into the world of comics, more so and different than what Heroes did. What Heroes did it’s like, yeah, cool, I understand how we fit in and whatnot but this is something wholly created by Devil’s Due, Mark Powers (Drafted), Michael O’Sullivan, myself, and my producing partner [Russ Cundiff]. It’s just a better feeling than something that is generated by someone else and I’m just a part of it.

Milo talks about how much input he had on the book and a signing at Golden Apple Comics in Los Angeles this past weekend.

So you’re into comics – are you into Marvel, DC, Vertigo, Independents?
Vertigo comics does some really cool stuff, Top Cow is rad, the stuff that Devil’s Due is doing is pretty cool – like Drafted. At Top Cow there was this [one-shot] they did from The Darkness called “Butcher” which I thought was super, super awesome. I liked Marvel stuff growing up and I liked DC stuff growing up. I liked Superman, Batman but I also dug [Namor] The Sub-Mariner and some Iron Man so I kind of bounced around. But then again it’s cool for me to see nowadays [books] like Vertigo’s Y: The Last Man which is such a cool story. Then there’s smaller presses like Viper, they do some really [good] stuff.

What else are you interested in doing comics-wise? Rest is just coming out and it’s early yet but surely you have aspirations of doing other things.
Absolutely. Now that we’ve got Rest and we have our other book Berserker coming out top of the year, people are saying “Well, when are you guys gonna write something?” I know Russ can write [but] I’m not a very good writer. I’m better at overall story and setting the right people to do the job. Our goal is to keep finding great stories that’ll work in the world of comics and not force anything. If it fits naturally, it’s gonna fit. If it doesn’t, it doesn’t.

So I read somewhere that you were interested in playing Robin, which I’m sure was kind of an off-comment.
It was an off-comment in the way that, when I was younger, I wanted to have something to say, something interesting. It was also something that people weren’t really thinking about then, the world of comics. I think it was, what, ’89 when the Michael Keaton Batman came out? I was a big fan and it was something [people] in town, at least my age, weren’t really talking about. I always wanted to be the guy that was running around playing a kickass Batman, Batman’s awesome. But now it’s one of those things that doesn’t haunt me but everybody talks about. People are like, “Why do you want to be Robin? Nightwing is so much cooler.” Yes, I know Nightwing is cooler, Nightwing is the grown-up [Dick] Grayson…

That being said…
If the opportunity presented itself?

Well, not Robin specifically because that’s a real tricky character to adapt, but do you have any characters you’d like to play? Is there a list?
Yeah, definitely but I think I’m going to keep it to myself right now.

It’s at this point that my recorder crapped out on me. But allow me to summarize some of the other interesting things that were said:

  • Milo is digging Peter Petrelli’s darker turn and difficult journey this year. He likes where Peter is right now, stripped of pretty much all his powers and at ground zero so to speak but still maintaining the memories of all he’s done. He’s not “jaded, badass Future Peter” and he’s not inexperienced, naive Peter from first season.
  • If he had a Heroes wish, Milo would like to see Future Peter and Future Hiro sitting in a bar somewhere talking. It’s something he and Masi Oka used to talk about a lot back in the first season of the show. They think it would be interesting to see how the two characters related to each other, the kind of bond they have, and hear them discuss their beliefs and convictions. That would make a pretty cool webisode…
  • Yes, Milo practices how to act out his TV powers in the mirror. A lot. Both because he wants it to look real (and not lame) and because Peter shouldn’t have the same motions as Sylar or other characters.
  • Milo is well aware that a lot of fans think Peter is/can be a wuss. Though he didn’t exactly use that word.
  • Being the nerd I am, I had to ask how a full functioning Peter would stack up against some of the big comic characters. “Well, let’s run them down,” Milo says. “Peter vs. Wolverine – Peter. Peter vs. Superman…well, Superman can fly into space which Peter can’t do.” But, I point out, Superman is always slow to use his full power to put an opponent down. “That’s true,” Milo replies. “And Superman won’t kill. We’ll call that a draw. Peter vs. Batman – Peter.” He concludes that Peter can beat the vast majority of characters, which I agree with considering Peter can gain someone’s ability seemingly without any of their weaknesses.
  • Finally, Milo recently went on a USO Tour and visited the troops in Iraq and Afghanistan. It was an “eye-opening and humbling” experience. On his return, Milo began working with the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America, an organization that assists military personnel and their famines, helps the troops and veterans transition back into their everyday lives, and is very active in making sure legislation that supports the troops is passed and honored. For more information, please visit www.iava.org.

And in case you’re wondering, I read the first issue of Rest and it’s pretty darn awesome. I’ll definitely be picking up issue #2.

Rest is available at your friendly neighborhood comic shop or at Devil’s Due and Heroes airs Mondays at 9pm on NBC.

About Tamara Brooks

A few things I wondered about as a kid: Why didn't Wonder Woman punch more bad guys in the face on the tv show?; How does Superman flying around the Earth turn back time?; Could someone really catch bullets with their teeth?; Why didn't the liquid bits of the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man cause 3rd degree burns on whoever it landed on? Because melted marshmallow is up there with molten hot lava.