“Whitfield really rewarded my curiosity, exploration, and growth; my classmates and I were given a lot of latitude to make our own decisions and to think critically about the world around us.”
David Pepose graduated from Whitfield in 2004, followed by triplet younger siblings, Max, Sam, and Morissa Pepose, who graduated from Whitfield in 2013. After Whitfield, David attended Brandeis University in Waltham, Mass., where he studied American history, creative writing, and theater. He later attended a graduate program for publishing at Columbia University in New York. A crime and politics reporter turned comic book author, David Pepose has worked for Netflix, CBS Entertainment, Universal Studios, and DC Comics. His critically acclaimed breakout comic series SPENCER & LOCKE earned five Ringo Award nominations, including for Best Series and Best Writer, while his new sequel SPENCER & LOCKE 2 recently landed on Barnes & Noble's Top Comics and Graphic Novels list for August 2019. His latest work includes GOING TO THE CHAPEL at Action Lab Entertainment and the upcoming GRAND THEFT ASTRO for Image Comics/Top Cow Productions. David lives in Los Angeles, CA.
Why did you and your family choose Whitfield?
I give my parents a lot of credit, in that they let me choose where I wanted to go for school. The thing that set Whitfield apart was the element of trust they offered students: they believed in us to make good decisions and to do the right thing. I felt that giving students the room to pursue their own interests, rather than to rigidly enforce any particular structures, was really important for me; if you can teach people to be driven internally rather than externally, you’ve got a recipe for lifelong success. Whitfield always encouraged me to think for myself. I’ve been in the comics industry for the better part of a decade where my independence and high intrinsic motivation are essential to my success.
What were some of your favorite classes at Whitfield?
While I naturally gravitated towards English, history, and theater more than math and science, looking back on my time at Whitfield, I tend to think less about favorite classes, and more about favorite teachers — I was really fortunate to have so many supportive and attentive teachers, many of with whom I still keep in touch. I feel like the investment my teachers had in me was such a rare thing — and such an important thing.
How did Whitfield prepare you for college and beyond?
For me, Whitfield rewarded curiosity, exploration, and growth; we were given a lot of latitude to make our own decisions and to think critically about the world around us, which I think is often a lost art in academic circles. Whitfield also gave me the opportunity to pursue a number of different passions, ranging from cartooning for the school paper to learning the drums to writing and directing a play. Whitfield taught me the value of striving for things and to never settle for anything less than excellence.
What skills do you use in your career that you began forming at Whitfield?
Thanks to the English Department, I learned to write. I learned to explore and support my ideas, and I lost my fear of word counts or deadlines. I also was a cartoonist for the online paper, and those were probably my first-ever attempts at making comics. I also learned Photoshop, which I use almost every single day; that’s the kind of next-level training from Whitfield that kept me a step ahead. Lastly, my senior internship really instilled a lot of the skills I use today in terms of outreach, publicity, and marketing. While that experience made me realize a career in law wasn’t for me, being able to pound the pavement has been crucial in getting any foothold in my career, and my senior internship was instrumental in helping me establish those kinds of professional relationships.