Tom King Late Night with Seth Meyers

Batman writer Tom King explains why looking like a nerd made him a better CIA agent

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Jun 13, 2018, 9:37 PM EDT (Updated)

Right now, Tom King is one of the most important writers at DC Comics, scripting ongoing series like Mister Miracle and Batman, after rising to stardom through titles like Grayson and The Omega Men. Before all of that, though, he wasn't just trying to break into the business. He was working as a counterterrorism officer for the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA).

Counterterrorism spy by day, comic book writer by night sounds like a pretty cool gig, which is why host Seth Meyers had to ask King about it during his appearance on Late Night with Seth Meyers Tuesday night. Meyers, a longtime comic book fan who frequently has creators visit his show, asked King if he was also a major comics fan while working in the CIA.

King confirmed that he was, and explained that there was actually an "odd benefit" to being a huge comic book nerd when you were trying to cross borders into other countries without telling anyone what you were really doing there.

“Most of my colleagues, bless them, wore suits like this, and looked very much like James Bondy and kind of cross [the border] as nice businessmen," King said. "And I would always cross as the super nerd comic book writer. I would go on an airplane, I would spill on myself, I would read comic books, I’d have graphic novels with me. I’d basically be me, and they’d be like ‘That guy could not ever be CIA. Let him in, please. No, he could do no damage to anything!’”

So there you have it, kids. If you want to be a good CIA agent, you should be a good comic book nerd first, because the two of them actually turn out to be a pretty natural fit. Now, after tackling counterrorism, he's handling some of DC's biggest stories, including the upcoming wedding of Batman and Catwoman and the just-announced new event series Heroes In Crisis. It's an odd career transition, but King is making it work.

For more from King, including how he maybe, sort of, unofficially snuck Meyers into an issue of Mister Miracle, check out the full interview above.