Multiversity Comics is proud to present (once again) an interview with prolific writer and former Boom! Studios Editor in Chief Mark Waid! Be it his runs on The Flash or Fantastic Four, his mammoth epics like Kingdom Come or his light-hearted romps into the world of The Incredibles, Waid’s diverse body of work has made him a household name to many comic fans. Entering 2011, Waid has devoted himself to freelance writing work, leading some to believe that the best is yet to come from him. Click below to hear his thoughts on his current and past work, as well as the past, present and future of the industry called comic books!
Joshua Mocle: When piecing together Boom’s partnership with Stan Lee, had you always planned to write one of the three new titles yourself? And why did you ultimately end up with The Traveler as opposed to Soldier Zero or Starborn?
Mark Waid: I’d always planned on writing one, yes–and Traveler made the most sense to me as I LOVE time-travel stories and have yet to do a time traveling character as a lead.
JM: What makes The Traveler different from other sarcastic characters that deal with time manipulation/travel?
MW: HA! Well, first off, I think you’ll see his voice is more colorful and varied than simply “sarcastic”–but beyond that, his motivations make him different. He’s less interested in “preserving the fabric of the spacetime continuum” or whatever claptrap time-travelers are always ragging on about, and more concerned with a very personal quest.
JM: It’s clear from the first issue that not only is Kronus NOT The Traveler’s actual name, but that he may not have that clear of an idea WHO actually is. How important is the true identity of this character to the overall story?
MW: Utterly essential. See issue three.
JM: The Split-Second Men appear to be the first of Kronus’ villains that we’ll meet, but eagle eyed readers also caught a mention of them in Soldier Zero #2. Will we be seeing these two books, or indeed all three of the “Stan Lee Presents…” books, interacting with each other any time soon?
MW: Not immediately–we want them all to develop their own identities as books–but eventually, sure!
JM: Switching gears…with both Irredeemable and Incorruptible either well into or on the cusp of entering their second year, how far down the road are you planning this epic? Do you have the ending in mind?
MW: I have AN ending in mind, but no superdefinitive roadmap on how to get there. But we’ve planned out most of 2011 for both books.
JM: Was it always your intention to branch Incorruptible off as its own book, or was it an organic extension of your work on Irredeemable?
MW: No, it was an impromptu decision, but one that’s benefitted us, I’d say.
JM: In what ways do you feel these books differ from each other? Do you make an effort to write them with separate identities or as two parts of a greater whole?
MW: The biggest difference, I’d say, is in tone. There’s just more room for humor in Incorruptible than there is in Irredeemable. And I admit that I wasn’t doing the best job of writing them as parts of a greater superstructure until about issue 14 of Incorruptible, but now that those worlds have collided, they’ll be more closely linked.
JM: When all is said a done, what kind of legacy do you foresee for The Plutonian and Max Daring within the overall legend of super heroics/villainy?
MW: Wow. Tough question. I suppose I’d settle for being part of an overall statement that there’s always more to be said with the superhero genre.
JM: With a now fairly lengthy body of work under your belt, in what ways have your past works (both creator owned and for the Big 2) influenced the work you do currently? Also, how do you manage to continue envisioning the new properties that you do in a market where everything has seemingly been done before?Continued below
MW: The influence of past works is twofold. First, they’re a reminder to me on the dark days when I’m blocked than I can write. Second, they’re a reminder that my work always seems most fun and most well-received when I’m writing about very personal things, which comes very much into play with Irredeemable in particular. As to the second question–honestly, all writers would go insane if they had to limit themselves to only that which has never, ever, ever, ever been close to having been done before. So you can’t let that hang you up. What sets your work apart is not the stories but the way you tell them.
JM: You made a pretty compelling argument for 99 cent digital comics back at New York Comic-Con. That said, why do you view digital distribution as a viable path for the medium moving forward?
MW: You’re kidding, right? Short answer: because we’ve priced paper perodical comics about as high as we can without driving everyone away and we still can’t expand that market significantly. Digital, on the other hand, can be a browser’s medium.
JM: A few years ago, many anticipated a complete shift to digital distribution for music and since then vinyl record sales have skyrocketed, despite vinyl being considered a “dead” medium for nearly two decades. Do you think an increase in digital comics will result in a similar sales boom for print comics?
MW: Dunno. Doubt it’ll be a landslide, but what digital may do–hopefully will do –is result in a greater demand for collected editions through comics stores.
JM: Wrapping up with an admittedly broad question: now that you are, for lack of a better term, a free agent within the comic book world, what can people expect from Mark Waid moving into 2011?
MW: Revolution. Stay tuned.
Big thanks to Mark and to Chip Hill over at Boom! for setting this one up!