Mark Waid: A Look at the Force Behind the BOOM!

A comics interview article by: Josh Green
Recently, Josh Green got the chance to chat with writer and Editor-in-Chief of BOOM! Studios, Mark Waid. In this interview Mark gives us a sneak peek into his upcoming works on Amazing Spider-Man and Strange and also fills us in on the future of BOOM! Studios!


Josh Green: It was two years ago at San Diego Comic-Con that you announced that you would be the new Editor-in-Chief of BOOM! Studios. Obviously you are enjoying your editor position because it shows with the high standards that BOOM! has become identified by. But is working at Boom! more fulfilling than working at DC/Marvel?

Mark Waid: It’s fulfilling in a different way. I have a lot more say over every aspect of production of the comics at BOOM!, which is a lot more responsibility but, when things turn out right, a lot more joyous. Plus, it’s just a different job in many regards, not the least of which is being able to hands-on tutor some of our less experienced creators.

JG: I love your book Irredeemable, and how you were able to turn the Superman archetype on its head. When did you conceive of the idea for Irredeemable? What brought this story about for you?

MW: I’m not sure I haven’t had this idea kicking around for quite some time, but I’ll be honest with you -- it’s not something I could have really gotten a handle on prior to the Message Board Age of Comics. Some of it came from asking myself who on Earth could put up with that level of negativity without it getting under his skin -- and what if that person had, oh, laser vision? How well would THAT go for the world?

That’s not to say that the Plutonian’s entire motivation, or even a large part of it, really has anything to do with the American tendency to tear down its heroes faster than it can build them. That’s really only a tiny part of the Plutonian equation. But it’s still a factor.

JG: Can you give us a sneak peek as to what’s to come with The Plutonian in the future issues Irredeemable?

MW: Issue five moves the story ahead by a huge quantum leap. We finally see what happens when Qubit’s A.I. based on Modeus, Plutonian’s greatest foe, comes to full consciousness, and where that takes the team. We’ll learn a secret that one of the team members has been sharing exclusively with the Plutonian. And in issues six and seven, we finally reveal what it was that made Plutonian finally snap. It wasn’t the rejection by his girlfriend; that’s penny-ante stuff, comparatively speaking. No, the truth is far bigger, and far more horrific.

JG: Are there any planned follow-ups to your Potter’s Field series?

MW: Nothing concretely planned, but I’m game. The trick is finding time in artist Paul Azaceta’s busy schedule. In the meantime, though, he and I are moonlighting together on an upcoming Amazing Spider-Man arc!

JG: It was previously reported that you wanted BOOM!’s comic books to be able to stand on their own and not exist for the sole purpose of turning into a TV series or movie. But some of Boom’s comic books, like the before mentioned Potter’s Field, seem well-suited for the small or big screen. Any news on this front?

MW: Nothing we’ve not yet already announced. We’ve had great success in placing a lot of these properties into TV or movies, but thanks for acknowledging what we’ve always said -- that that’s a nice bonus, but telling good stories and creating good comics is the top priority.

JG: The Boom! Kids line has been extremely well received! How happy have you been with its success? Are there going to be any new additions, such as an Up comic, to the line any time soon?

MW: We do have a couple new additions we’ll be announcing soon, and no one wants an UP comic more than I do. Well, except for maybe the well-known indy writer/artist who’s pitched a great one. It’s in to the Disney/Pixar folks for approval -- fingers crossed!

JG: Roger Langridge’s The Muppet Show instantly became one of Boom’s must-read books. I have never seen a more perfect translation of a television series to a comic book. What is it about Roger’s interpretation of the Muppets that made you choose him for The Muppet Show series? The first The Muppet Show series was comprised of four stand alone tales, but will his second series "The Treasure of Peg Leg Wilson” be comprised of an over-arching story? Can you say what Roger’s third Muppet mini-series will be about?

MW: In reverse order -- we’re still knocking around the third arc; Peg-Leg is very much an overarching story; and I wish I could take credit for putting Roger on Muppets, but that credit goes to BOOM! Founder and Bossman Ross Richie, who spotted Roger’s Disney Adventures Muppets material over a year ago and brought it to my attention when we first opened negotiations with the licensors. But I couldn’t agree more; it’s the gem of the Kids line!

JG: What BOOM! Comic-Con announcements for future projects would you like to elaborate on?

MW: We always have something up our sleeves, but everyone will have to wait for our panel that Friday, July 24th at 1pm in room 32AB.

JG: In addition to your massive BOOM! duties, you still dip your feet in the mainstream as a member of the Amazing Spider-Man’s “Webheads”, as well as the upcoming Strange mini-series. What can you tell us about your future Spider-Man books as well as the premise for Strange?

MW: I’m not at liberty to say a whole ton about upcoming Spidey arcs other than to say that right now, Azaceta and I are scheduled for issues 612-614, which kicks off a MAJOR storyline in the Spider-Man books: THE GAUNTLET, which brings back in quick, relentless succession a number of Spidey’s classic foes.

Strange is turning out delightfully well. Now that the good Doctor has been stripped of his duties as Sorcerer Supreme, he seems to be taking the news surprisingly well. (SEEMS to -- key words.) And he thinks that maybe, just maybe, this is the universe’s way of telling him to relax for the first time in his adult life, now that he’s powered down substantially and is more of a “consulting physician” rather than “doctor” to Earth’s mystic crises, if you will. But relaxation makes for dull comics.

JG: Your initial run on Captain America was an inspiration to me. So now that you are back at Marvel, are there any plans to revisit another run on the character?

MW: Nice of you to say, but Cap’s in extraordinarily good hands. I can’t remember when I’ve enjoyed that book as much as I’m digging Brubaker’s run!

JG: Thank you for taking the time for this interview, Mark.

MW: A pleasure.

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