C2E2: X-FACTOR Kisses, Supernatural Crimes, & Super Police
Exclusive Marvel 1st Look: X-FACTOR #204
As C2E2 2010 wound down, we took to the floor and talked to three diverse talents in Artist's Alley. The enormous selection of writers and artists held something for everyone. We had brief chats with writer Peter David, artist Ben Templesmith, and writer/artist Zander Cannon about their hot topics, current projects, and more.
Newsarama: Were you surprised by the reaction Shatterstar and Rictor’s kiss drew from fans – making the front page of the Sunday New York Times?
David: Honestly, I was surprised. Some fans claimed I did it to be “sensationalistic” but I didn’t think it was really that big a deal – it was in panel 5 of a six-panel page, not a splash page, after all. I think what happened is that Perez Hilton blogged about it, then newspapers starting picking up on it; I have Google Alerts set up, and I kept getting notices from Russian papers. I couldn’t read what they said, but they had “Peter David” in them.
That also wasn’t me saying "I’ll make these guys gay;” there had always been a subtext there that past writers had put in, and what I did was make what had been implicit explicit.
Nrama: Are you pleased with the reaction to X-Factor?
David: Absolutely. I wish it were selling more copies, of course, but the people who like it really seem to like it. Some folks tell me that’s the only X-book they buy.
Nrama: Were you surprised about She-Hulk being cancelled?
David: Actually, the first thing I said was “Gee, a She-Hulk book has been cancelled. What a shock.” Part of the problem is that She-Hulk’s fandom is splintered. Everyone has a clear idea of what the character should be, and all those ideas are different. It’s not like Spider-Woman or Spider-girl; She-Hulk’s fans don’t concur on what she should be and so it’s always been hard to do a lasting incarnation of her.
Nrama: Whats the status of Fell?
Templesmith: Nothing much. I’m waiting for Warren Ellis to get around to writing it – he’s done a few pages but I need ten more. Ellis is now a very busy guy and he’s got Hollywood stuff now too, but the book is still on. It’s not dead, just sleeping!
Nrama: Were you surprised about the success of 30 Days of Night?
Templesmith: Well, not once it got the film option, and I did feel it was well suited to that because of the story and my art, so once that hit, it was easy to take advantage of that and keep the book going.
Nrama: What are you working on now?
Templesmith: A new book called Choker, out from Image. It’s a bit like Fell, in that it’s a crime comic, but it’s set in the near future and has a bit of a retro feel. I’m told that it is a bit like old-time Chicago, but I just draw the book! (Ben McCool is the writer.)
Nrama: And you have a new hardcover art book out as well?
Templesmith: Yes, shortly. It’s called Squidgirls. 100 pages, full color, and I’ll only be selling it at conventions and on-line on my site (bentemplesmith.com) Hopefully it will come out quite nice. And they’ll each come with a hand-made sketch. Limited edition, that sort of thing
Nrama: Squids and girls?
Templesmith: Yes, people seem to really like squids. They’re quite intelligent. And what’s better than a hand but a tentacle? And I like drawing tentacles.
Nrama: What’s the status of Top Ten?
Cannon: We’re working on some new material with a new artist right now, and it should finally wrap u the Season Two storyline. Top Ten is a book that sort of sleeps for a while and then wakes up! It’s very exhausting, actually, for all the parties involved, because it is quite dense.
Nrama: It’s a strange thing, because it’s obviously set in what was the “Alan Moore” universe. Was it hard to follow up on a guy who is considered a bit of a comics legend?
Cannon: It was terrifying, actually! But I had worked from the very beginning on some of that, as the layout artist, so I didn’t come in cold. I had to move back and think about how to write moments for each of the characters, and when I did that I was lucky that I had that layout experience to draw upon. It was a challenge, for sure
Nrama: And you're doing some IDW books right now, too – Star Trek and Bumblebee in the Transformers universe?
Cannon: Yeah. Star Trek: Next Generation is a bit like Top Ten in that it’s an ensemble piece, but the difference is that with Trek, there is always a drive to finish the arc, whereas Top Ten is ironically more episodic. But I was able to take the experience from Top Ten to both new books because you have to figure out a way to give each character a little time.
Nrama: What else are you working on?
Cannon: My day job is actually working on educational comics with my partner (See FSG). We’ve had a few come out, and we’ve got a new one on rhetoric soon! Then there’s some personal graphic novels I’m working on, and then even minicomics.
Nrama: Sounds exhausting!
Cannon: Well, you know signing on to a project does take up a lot of time. It’s actually nice to just be the writer, or just be the layout man instead of doing everything yourself. And, it keeps the money coming in, which we all need.