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The Dark Side of the Marvel Universe: Rob Williams Talks Ghost Rider and Daken

Written by Christian Hoffer on Friday, April 22 2011 and posted in Features

Rob Williams stops by the Outhouse to talk about his new series Ghost Rider and Daken: Dark Wolverine!

Recently, it seems as if Rob Williams is at the center of every announcement at Marvel.  The newly exclusive writer will not only be starting a run on Daken: Dark Wolverine in the upcoming months, he'll also be launching a new Ghost Rider series as well as a bevy of miniseries this summer.  Rob sat down with the Outhouse to discuss what it's like to write two of the darker characters in the Marvel Universe.

ghostriderThe Outhouse: Well, Rob, you've been the subject of a bevy of announcements recently.  How are you handling the workload of two ongoing series (Daken and Ghost Rider) along with a bevy of miniseries?

Rob Williams: I'm working hard, put it that way. Some of these projects have been ongoing for a good while now, so while it may sound like everything's come at once, that's not been the case in reality. The Iron Age and Ghost Rider have been in the works for a while now. But some things have come together more recently. It's been fun and a very exciting time. I've worried a little about the workload in the short term, but I seem to have been managing to juggle things pretty well thus far. I'm tying up a few loose ends right now and then it'll be nice to concentrate on Ghost Rider and Daken for a little while.

OH: Let's start with your new Ghost Rider series.  We've gotten our first glimpses of a Rob Williams' penned Ghost Rider in the Shadowland tie-in and last week's backup in Amazing Spider-Man.  What's your attraction to the character?

RW: I love the combination of the crazy visuals and the themeatic threads of this biblical character who is constantly on the edge of damnation and sin, heaven and hell. Plus, it's a ridiculously fun character. A flaming skull riding a demon motorbike? You'd better make that a fun read. I think it would be completely the wrong thing to do to make this book too overtly dark or naval gazing. It needs to be big. Big action, big comedy, big drama.

OH: What will the new Ghost Rider series be about?

RW: We decided early on that we needed to define what the Ghost Rider is. He's not a superhero a la Spider-Man, Captain America etc. He's the Spirit Of Vengeance who feeds on sin and that gives him power over every living person on the planet.. He's a supernatural Weapon Of Mass Destruction. And that means a lot of very powerful people are going to want to get their hands on the Ghost Rider. So, we're looking at an apocalyptic road/chase movie.

ghostrider2OH: Solicitations have hinted at a new Ghost Rider.  Where would this leave Johnny Blaze and Danny Ketch, the current hosts for the Spirit of Vengeance?

RW: That would be telling. We don't want to give away too much right now. But old school fans shouldn't fear - Johnny Blaze is a major player in our series. It's very much his story. And we've got enough old school Ghost Rider visuals in our initial issues to give people their Ghost Rider fix. Beyond that? Johnny feels the Ghost Rider is a curse he's had to carry, and when someone comes along offering to relieve him of that curse, he's going to be very tempted.

OH: Ghost Rider isn't the only dark character that you'll be writing in upcoming months.  Your other ongoing series, Daken: Dark Wolverine, will feature the character move to Los Angeles?  Why the move?

RW: We wanted to have Daken chase his own destiny for a while rather than be constantly interacting with Wolverine. Daken, like any child, has to grow out of their parent's influence and define their own path. Daken wants to make his own mark on the Marvel Universe. He wants to be a star. And if you want to be a star there's only one place to go - Hollywood. Of course, the star he wants to create involves being a crime lord, but there you go. I pitched the story as a Kingpin Of Crime: Year One.

dakenOH: L.A. has been known to have some very corrupting influences to it.  Will Daken wind up banging porn stars, snorting cocaine and then claiming he's cured in the blink of an eye?

RW: Not on camera in a Marvel comic, no. But he's certainly a hedonistic old sort. And his healing factor can deal with anything that he throws at it. Or so he thinks. There's a new drug doing the rounds in Beverly Hills called Heat that will throw a curveball at Daken. Combine that with Los Angeles' newest serial killer and Daken's life is going to change in all new ways.

OH: It's been mentioned in other interviews that Daken will be looking to expand his power base and become a star.  What sort of obstacles stand between Daken and control of Hollywood?

RW: I can't say too much about this right now but let's just say that he's not the only person trying to become Los Angeles' newest crime lord. You may want to check out Brian Bendis and Alex Maleev's Moon Knight for more details.

OH: Both Ghost Rider and your other upcoming ongoing series, Daken, will be tying into Fear Itself.  What sort of opportunities does a mega-crossover like Fear Itself bring?

RW: Fear Itself is a storyline that effects everyone in the Marvel Universe. The stakes couldn't be higher - for many people it feels like the end of the world. That's a great dramatic palette to play in. The themes of armageddon fit right into a Ghost Rider book too. In fact, in Ghost Rider #1, there's a very definite crossover with the main events of Fear Itself.

OH: Are there any common themes between the two books?  Any chance that the books will crossover?

RW: I guess you could say these two books are on the darker end of the Marvel Universe. The theme of potential redemption is there, characters teetering on the edge of whether they're good or bad. Can their souls be saved? As for a crossover, that would certainly be interesting...

Ghost Rider #0.1 hits stores in June, while Williams' run on Daken: Dark Wolverine begins this April with Issue #9.1.

Written or Contributed by: Christian Hoffer

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About the Author - Christian

Christian is the exasperated Abbott to the Outhouse's Costello. When he's not yelling at the Newsroom for upsetting readers or complaining to his wife about why the Internet is stupid, he sits in his dingy business office trying to find new ways to make the site earn money. Christian is also the only person in history stupid enough to moderate two comic book forums at once.


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