Space Ghost, the classic Hanna-Barbera character who strives to keep the universe safe from the terrors lurking behind every star and planet, has been embarking on adventures for nearly 60 years. In his existence, he’s popped up in a variety of cartoons, animated/live-action hybrids, and cartoons, sometimes as straight man, other times as comedic foil. Whatever his form, Space Ghost has one of the most defined looks and larger-than-life presences in the superhero genre.

And now the hero is about to be introduced to a whole new generation of readers with the debut of Space Ghost #1, out this May from Dynamite Entertainment. In the inaugural issue, Space Ghost is a lone light in the darkness, balancing fighting space pirates and taking care of two orphans without a home.

We recently spoke with series writer David Pepose, the new steward of Space Ghost, about his connection with the character, exploring the hero’s past tales in writing this new series, drawing inspiration from everything from Jurassic Park to Star Trek to Batman: The Animated Series, and who he sees as Space Ghost’s core values and mission.


Space Ghost #1 Cover A by Francesco Mattina


FreakSugar: Before we get into the book itself, what is your history with Space Ghost?

David Pepose: I grew up in the ‘90s, so my initial exposure to Space Ghost was his tenure as a talk show host in Space Ghost: Coast to Coast. But when I was in college and started my first internship in the comics industry, I naturally got into the history of the medium and its various characters — which is how I first learned about Alex Toth, the legendary designer of Space Ghost, and how the character was originally a superhero from the same era as Adam West’s Batman.

The more I learned about Toth and Space Ghost, the more I was blown away by the sheer number of incredible concepts that inhabited Space Ghost’s world — between his powers, his supporting cast, and his amazingly stacked bench of villains, Space Ghost is a character that’s just as iconic of a superhero as Batman, Spider-Man, or The Flash, and that’s something I’m excited to explore in this series.

FS: On to the book itself, how did you get involved with this new Space Ghost comic?

DP: I’ve known Nick Barrucci at Dynamite for about 15 years now, and I’ve worked to stay on Dynamite’s radar as I’ve built up my own career as a writer. Between corresponding with Nick and editor Nate Cosby, I wound up on editor Joe Rybandt’s shortlist after my work on Punisher over at Marvel. He approached me just as Dynamite was starting to roll out their new licensing line with Warner Bros., and I immediately jumped at the opportunity. It was just too much fun to turn down.


Space Ghost #1 Cover B by Jae Lee & June Chung


FS: Where do we find the character at the beginning of your tale?

DP: The universe is a big place, and that means there’s plenty of room for violence and corruption to spread, unchecked even by the efforts of the Galactic Patrol. And that’s where we’ll find Space Ghost as this story begins — he’s a lone vigilante trying to stop space pirates from preying upon the civilians of distant colonies, all while trying to find the core figures pulling the strings. Of course, Space Ghost’s mission is going to become more complicated than he anticipated, as he finds himself in the orbit of Jan and Jace, two orphaned teenagers who will desperately need his protection and guidance.

FS: In your mind, who is Space Ghost? What drives and motivates him?

DP: To me, Space Ghost is defined by two core elements: his mission to fight crime, and his role as a surrogate father figure. When our series picks up, he’s naturally going to be better at the former than the latter, but that dynamic will change as our series unfolds.

Without spoiling too much, Space Ghost has his own tragedies that have spurred him on his quest to bring justice to the spaceways, but I think that’s isolated him and kept him in a kind of emotional stasis — which Jan and Jace will be challenging in a big way as they enter his life. Space Ghost’s motivations are going to evolve in a very heartfelt, very emotional way — this is the story of redemption and found family just as much as it is about cosmic superhero adventures. These characters will help heal each other.


Space Ghost #1 Cover C Bjorn Barends


DP: Space Ghost has an extensive supporting cast in his history. Can we expect to see any of those characters? Can you tease who?

DP: Absolutely. Jan, Jace, and Blip are all core characters to this series — this is just as much about them as it is about Space Ghost, I’d even go as far as to say they’re the heart and soul of our book. I love writing ensemble titles, and Space Ghost is no exception — when I first was approached about taking on the character, the immediate thing that stood out to me was that amongst the wide pantheon of single sidekicks out there, Space Ghost was the only hero who regularly went out on patrol with three of them.

To me, what makes Space Ghost a hero isn’t just fighting bad guys, but it’s also about protecting the little guy — and that’s how Jan and Jace’s journey is going to begin in our series. But being able to see Space Ghost’s world through Jan and Jace’s eyes is also how we’re able to humanize the entire cast. I drew a lot of inspiration for the twins from Dick Grayson and Babs Gordon, as well as Lex and Tim from Jurassic Park — Jan and Jace add so much humor, wonder, and heart to our series, that I couldn’t imagine writing this book without them in it. Even Blip is going to play a big role in this book, so keep your eyes peeled!

And that’s not even talking about the villains. Alex Toth did not miss when he was coming up with Space Ghost’s rogue’s gallery — Zorak, Metallus, Brak, the Council of Doom, it’s just a nonstop parade of iconic villains, many of whom haven’t really been explored in the comics medium yet. That’s going to change.

FS: Space Ghost has appeared in cartoons, comics, his own talk show—all across media. What are you drawing on when crafting your Space Ghost stories?

DP: I did a lot of homework preparing for this series. (Laughs) I took extensive notes as I rewatched every episode from the original ‘60s run of Space Ghost, as well as the ‘80s relaunch with Space Stars, even with The Brave and the Bold episode where Space Ghost teams up with Batman. I also reread every single comics appearance of Space Ghost that I could get my hands on, from Joe Kelly and Ariel Olivetti’s Space Ghost run at DC and Jeff Parker and Doc Shaner’s Future Quest, to classics like Mark Evanier and Steve Rude’s amazing Comico one-shot. We’ll be drawing from all of that in this series, so you’ll see plenty of iconic villains that you might expect, as well as a few deep cuts you might not see coming.


Space Ghost #1 Cover D by Frank Cho


FS: Following up on that, is there any other sci-fi or cartoon tradition you’re drawing on when writing Space Ghost?

DP: Boy, I’m drawing from a ton of different influences here. Batman: The Animated Series and Superman: The Animated Series, along with Batman: The Long Halloween and Dark Victory, are huge influences on how we’re going to be pacing and structuring this series — we’ll be delivering a lot of done-in-one stories in the vein of Jed Mackay’s Moon Knight or Ryan North’s Fantastic Four to make sure that readers get a satisfying, self-contained story every month, while saving some two- and three-part stories for when Space Ghost is really in dire straits. I’m also drawing from Star Wars and J.J. Abrams’ Star Trek as far as how I’m approaching the sci-fi worldbuilding of it all. Oh, and Lone Wolf and Cub — I think that’s definitely a major influence on how I’m approaching Space Ghost’s dynamic with the twins.

FS: What can you tell us about working with the creative team on the book? What have those conversations been like?

DP: Jonathan Lau is an absolute superstar of an artist, and he’s delivering some absolutely top-shelf work on Space Ghost. I’ve been a fan of Jonathan’s since his work on Green Hornet, with all the hyperkinetic choreography he did on that series, but he’s really surprised me with his work on our book — not only is Jonathan swinging for the fences for the larger-than-life action moments, but he’s even better with the quiet moments of characterization. In particular, he understood from the jump that Jan and Jace are important parts of our story, that we couldn’t just ignore them in favor of our title character — they’re three-dimensional characters that help give Space Ghost his meaning, and Jonathan has never shied away from that. But that all said, boy, when he put the foot on the gas for the action, Jonathan has some really fun stuff coming — I’ve gotten emails from him where I was left speechless by what he’s delivered.

I also want to give a shoutout to our incredibly talented colorist Andrew Dalhouse, who brings so much mood and energy to all of Jonathan’s pages, as well as our letterer Taylor Esposito, who’s done such an amazing job pacing out our story and really making these characters’ dialogue pop. And I especially want to thank our editor Joe Rybandt and the respective teams at Dynamite and Warner Bros., who have kept this series on track and given us all a ton of latitude to bring the fun and stylish vibes of the original Space Ghost series and give it a 21st century coat of paint — we’re really pushing to deliver this story in as exciting, action-packed, and character-driven a way as possible, and they’ve been terrific partners.



FS: If you had one final pitch for Space Ghost, what would it be?

DP: What happens when a lone crusader of the cosmos finds himself having to care for two teenage orphans? How do these characters pick themselves up and find new meaning with their mission, and as their own unlikely family? Combine that with a gauntlet of the most iconic supervillains in the known universe, and you might have an idea of what we have planned with Space Ghost. Whether you’re new to Space Ghost or are a diehard fan of his original cartoon, you’ll be covered with this series — and if you only know Space Ghost as a talk show host, you should definitely preorder our series, and see how Space Ghost returns to his roots as the most legendary hero in the universe. Because where we’re headed, we don’t need coasts…

Space Ghost #1 goes on sale Wednesday, May 1, 2024, from Dynamite Entertainment.

From the official press release:

Greed and corruption flourish in the darkness between stars. The Galactic Federation’s territories are spread across the cosmos, far and wide in the vastness of space. At the scale of the cosmic landscape, pirates, hijackers and other nefarious actors are able to slip stealthily through the pitch black, ransacking distant colonies with cruel disregard for the innocent scientists that inhabit them. They’ve often been able to get away with impunity. Yet a powerful force is set to put a stop to this, a cosmic vigilante who metes out justice throughout the known galaxy, bringing vengeance to those who prey upon the defenseless.

Evil cannot hide from the gaze of Space Ghost!