Paul Tobin talks with the Outhouse about his upcoming works with Spider-Girl, the Young Allies and more!
Paul Tobin is the comic book writer best known for his many contributions to the Marvel Adventures line, Marvel's all-ages comic book line. He took time out of his busy schedule to discuss his first ongoing series set in the mainstream Marvel universe, Spider-Girl, as well as his upcoming Young Allies/Spider-Girl/Avengers Academy crossover, Arcade: Death Game
The Outhouse: How did you get your start writing comics?
Paul Tobin: Way back in college, actually. I was friends with Phil Hester, and he was doing smaller press comics at the time. It interested me. It was the first time that I'd REALLY ever thought about the act of making comics. It was strange, but although I knew the names of a lot of creators, the actual "making comics" process was still alien. It took meeting Phil in order to understand that it ACTUALLY HAPPENED. I wrote a pile of comics, then began to concentrate on novels (which I'm still working on) and then my girlfriend (now wife) Colleen Coover began to do comics, and I slid back into doing them as well, from a common interest.
OH: Your first work, Banana Sunday, was a collaboration between you and your wife, illustrator Colleen Coover. Any chance of seeing a Tobin/Coover collaboration again in the near future?
PT: Banana Sunday was actually the first work of me getting back into comics after my first go-round. And there's definitely more Tobin / Coover on the way. She's currently working on 5 pages that will be integrated into an issue of my Spider-Man comic, and we have a graphic novel called Gingerbread Girl that will be coming out from Top Shelf, and we've just begun work on another graphic novel, entitled Imbecile: A Love Story.
OH: What can you tell us about Spider-Girl, your newest series with Marvel?
PT: It focuses on the life of Anya Corazon... a young girl with the triple threat of making it in life, and as a superhero, and in the Spider family. I'm always a big proponent of making characters into real people, so that I and the readers can really feel for her with things are going wrong, or things are going wrong, or she's a 16 year old girl and she's standing in front of a raging Red Hulk.
OH: Will we be seeing any other existing characters in Spider-Girl?
PT: Absolutely. Anya is friends with Sue Richards, the Invisible Woman. And Spider-Man will be around. And Nomad from time to time. The afore-mentioned Red Hulk plays a pivotal role in the series. Other surprises abound. Anya / Spider-Girl is very much a part of the Marvel Universe, so it knocks on her door with a fair amount of frequency.
OH: What sort of pressure do you feel to make Spider-Girl succeed?
PT: Not too much. Nothing past my usual self-applied pressure to make the book the best I can.
OH: What do you say to fans of the "previous" Spider-Girl, Mayday Parker, to encourage them to read the new Spider-Girl series?
PT: That, first of all, it isn't an either / or situation. It's okay to love both Mayday Parker and Anya Corazon. I certainly do. Past that, the team (myself, artist Clayton Henry, and editors Tom Brennan and Steve Wacker) are working hard to make this book count as an integral part of the Marvel Universe, and Spidey's universe in particular. Dan Slott and I had a nice talk about meshing the projects... what each of us could do to make the shared universe more compelling. We've all contributed a lot, and are excited about the book, and I've always felt that an excited creative team makes for an exciting book.
OH: You have another big project coming up that involves Avengers Academy, Spider-Girl, and the Young Allies. Could you tell readers a little bit about Arcade: Death Game?
PT: It's Arcade trying to get his groove back, and he's going to pick on a group of the Marvel Universe's youngest heroes to do it. I love working on it because I'm structuring two types of Murderworld... one of the usual type, and another that's New York as a whole... because Arcade thinks BIG. Big and crazy.
OH: The main villain for Arcade: Death Game is Arcade. Why Arcade and what can readers expect to see from him?
PT: Arcade is just such a great villain. I love the "gentlemen killer" types... they're much more interesting to me than lunatics, or villains that are after gold or power. As far as what readers can expect, when Arcade's on the page, I'm hoping to see a few things that the reader DOESN'T expect. I know he's surprised me a few times.
OH: Do you have any other upcoming projects you can talk about?
PT: Beyond my work on Marvel Adventures: Spider-Man and Marvel Adventures: Super Heroes, my Spider-Girl title and the Arcade: Death Game mini-series, I'm also doing some work with Conan, and syncing with Spielberg's people to do an online comic establishing the world of the Falling Skies television series that will premiere next June, and a couple other un-talkable projects. Whenever I get the chance, I'm scratching forward on progress with a couple novels, and Marvel and I are talking about some more material as well. Marvel's heroes, for me, have that blissful blend of super-heroic nobility and human emotion that makes it so enjoyable to work with the characters.
Written or Contributed by: Christian Hoffer